Buntod Sandbar and Marine Reef Sanctuary
Diving enthusiasts will find a haven in the 250-hectare marine ecosystem that is known as the Buntod Sandbar and Marine Sanctuary.
Guests ought to know that the Buntod Marine Reef Sanctuary’s main priority is the protection of its entire ecosystem — so the entire area and visitors are closely monitored and regulated. Nevertheless, it is a must-visit in the Bicol region as it boasts of a beautiful and relaxing sandbar that’s perfect for a picnic or just lounging on the beach with family and friends. Plus, being a marine sanctuary, the surrounding waters are perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving.
The Buntod Sandbar and Marine Sanctuary is located in Masbate City, in the Bicol Region.
Opening Days and Hours
The sandbar and sanctuary is open 24/7, but boat trips are typically scheduled during the daytime.
Entry Fee and Bookings
Entrance to the sanctuary costs PhP 10 (USD 0.20), while other possible expenses include:
- Boat Rental: PhP 500 (USD 10) for 1 to 4 persons; PhP 800 (USD 16) for 5 to 14 persons
- Snorkeling Set: PhP 100 (USD 2) for 1 hour
- Kayaking: PhP 200 (USD 4) for 1 hour
- Pedal boat: PhP 300 (USD 6) for 1 hour
- Table rental: PhP 50 (USD 1) for small size and PhP 100 (USD 2) for big size
- Cooked meals: PhP 50 (USD 1)
- Island hopping: PhP 8000 (USD 154) for the whole day and will cover three other sites: Catandayagan Falls, Burobancaso, and Halea Nature Park
How to Get There
- From the country’s capital of Manila, you can either fly in or board a bus going to Legazpi, Albay
- From Legazpi, you can take a van going to Pilar, Sorsogon and alight at Pilar Port
- From Pilar Port, you can either take a fast-craft ferry (schedules: 08:00, 12:00, 15:00) for PhP 350 to PhP 400 (USD 7 to USD 8) per person, or RoRo (roll on, roll off) ships (schedule depends on availability) for PhP 200 to PhP 250 (USD 4 to USD 5) per person going to Masbate City Port.
- From the Masbate City Port, you can then book a small boat going to the sanctuary.
- Backpackers/solo travelers
- Group of friends
Time to Spend
You can explore the entire sandbar in less than 30 minutes, but you can stay for 2 to 4 hours to just lounge about, snorkel, or dive.
Popularity and Best Time to Go
The best time to visit the country’s beaches and marine sanctuaries is during the summer months of April to May.
- Pedal boat
- Island Hopping
The island has a small sari-sari or local convenience store that sells soda, chips, and other ready-to-eat food, so you can bring packed meals. The nearest restaurants are located around 1.5 kilometres away in Masbate City, such as FluffyLand Cafe and Doux Seduction.
- Nalum Falls
An accommodation near the sanctuary is the Greenview Hotel Restaurant, which is also located in Masbate City. Alternatively, you can also stay in Buntod’s floating cottages that are available for overnight stays for PhP 500 (USD 10) per night. However, also note that there is no freshwater supply in the area, but you can also ask your boatman to fetch water for you, one container costs PhP 25 (USD 0.50) each.