Ticao Island, Philippines
Ticao Island is one of the 3 major islands that make up the Masbate Province in the Philippines. Ticao is known as an ‘archaeological landscape’ as the island is home to thousands upon thousands of historical artifacts, mainly pre-colonial artifacts, including burial jars, jade, statues, and more. The island is also considered to be an ecological frontier and important conservation site for manta rays. It’s also a great area to see different species of sharks, making it a popular destination for marine enthusiasts and scuba divers.
So if you are a traveller who loves scuba diving, or even if you are just looking for an amazing island in the Philippines to explore that it a little more off the beaten track, then Ticao just might be the best pick for your next vacation.
How to Get to Ticao
Ticao is one of the lesser visited Islands in the Philippines and while it may not exactly be remote, it’s not considered to be one of the main tourist destinations so getting to Ticao Island takes a bit of time and planning.
The easiest way to get to Ticao Island is by plane and boat. You can fly into Masbate City and from the port there, take a boat across to Ticao Island (about half an hour). If you are coming from Manila, you can also travel by bus and boat to either Pilar or Bulan. However, you can expect these methods to take fifteen hours or more.
Considering that you can get pretty cheap flights in the Philippines with Cebu Pacific Airlines and Philippine Airways, it’s probably in your best interest to fly.
Best Time to Visit Ticao
Ticao can be visited year round, but since it is an island and requires a boat to get there, you will definitely want to consider the season and keep an eye on the weather. Obviously, monsoon season is when you will see the most boat cancellations and the poorest weather conditions.
Scuba divers coming to Ticao to see the whale sharks should keep in mind that the high season for this species is between the months of November to June, though February-May see the highest numbers of whale sharks in the area. Other pelagic species, including manta rays and thresher sharks, can be found around the island year-round.
What to See and Do in Ticao
What to see and do in Ticao depends on how long you plan on staying. Some people only visit the island as a day trip while others will use the island as their base to explore the area for a few days. That being said, the best things to see and do in Ticao are the following:
Scuba Diving: Ticao island is a scuba diver’s paradise. Not just because of all the amazing critters you can see (remember, it’s a conservation site for manta rays and a popular place to find whale sharks), but also because the waters here are clean and clear thanks in part to the lack of tourism that Ticao island sees in comparison to other islands in the Philippines. We even listed Ticao in our list of best scuba diving in Philippines.
Boating and Island Hopping: A lot of people come to Ticao on a day trip to do a bit of island hoping and exploring by boat. It’s a great way to spend a day and you’ll see some pretty stunning sites along the way including Catandayagan Falls; a waterfall which cascades into the ocean, and Halea Nature Park on the nearby San Miguel island which is home to plenty of baby sharks.
Horseback Riding: Horseback riding is actually a very popular activity on Ticao Island. The Ticao Island Resort offers horse rentals by the hour so you can tour the area. Or, if you are planning to stay for a while, you can choose the ‘own a horse’ option which will provide you with a horse for the week so you can explore as you please. You’ll also be expected to care for and groom the horse but, don’t worry, there is a guide to help you.
Ticao is a small island that isn’t on most tourist’s radar; a fact that add to its allure for those who do decide to visit. So whether you are looking for a mini island escape away from the crowds, or for some epic scuba diving, Ticao makes a great vacation pick in the Philippines.