If you are a nature lover, we recommend including on your must-see list the Miyapi tree, the largest and oldest mangrove tree in the whole of Bicol region. Bongsalay Nature Park in the village of Royroy in the municipality of Batuan, Masbate is home of the Miyapi tree or Api-Api, estimated to be over 130 years old, and with height of 7m and diameter of 1.35m. From Masbate City’s pier, it takes over an hour by boat to get to Ticao Island where the village of Royroy is situated. From the village’s docking area, you will have to brave a 30-minute walk along battered wooden planks through hundreds and hundreds of mangrove trees to get to the Miyapi tree’s sanctuary.
If you’d like to visit the mangroves, you need to inform the village captain of Royroy a day before your visit through the provincial tourism office. Contact assistant provincial tourism officer Gerardo Presado at +63929 154 1000 or [email protected]. The summer months of March to May are the best time to visit Masbate when the seas are relatively calmer. A boat hire that can transport 10 people costs P8,000 (about US$178) for a whole day use of it. Tourists are advised to register at the tourism office by the port when they arrive in Masbate.
Originally published in InFlight Traveller March-May 2016. Updated April 2016