Masbate City, the capital of the province of the same name, is known as “The Rodeo Capital of the Philippines.” Mention Masbate and images of cowboys, rolling hills and the laid-back haciendero type ranch life come to mind. Largely agricultural, main activities here revolve around industries such as large farming, livestock and poultry raising.
The best time to experience the Wild West lifestyle is during their annual Rodeo Masbateño Festival held every April. Though I grew up in Bicol, I have never been to Masbate so I decided to go on a short visit to witness the festivities before visiting parents in my hometown of Naga City. It was pretty fun to take part in the festival on its 25th year and see how all the residents and visitors embrace the cowboy culture.
The Rodeo Masbateño is one of the most unique festivals in the Philippines I’ve been to. It kind of felt like being in a Western flick with everyone walking around in checkered shirts, leather vests, boots and cowboy hats. For the grand parade, locals were riding on horseback and floats were decked out in rodeo fashion. All the restaurants and resorts also play up the Western theme with their decor and details.
While my visit was limited to just the city mainly to cover the Rodeo Festival, I know there’s a lot more to discover in the underrated province. But for those who want to make the most out of a quick visit, here’s a look at what you can do there.