Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ranch tourism in Masbate: Be a ranchero for a day! Holy cow!

The first time I visited Masbate some years back, I wanted to visit its famed ranches. We've all heard of the Rodeo Masbateño and how the province is home to many cattle ranches. I was told however that most of them were closed to the public. So I was pleasantly surprised during a recent visit that the ranches are slowly opening up to visitors. In fact, I visited one!

Masbate is now promoting ranch tourism as owners welcome visitors to their ranches. And they're definitely proud of their cattle! We visited the Sese Brahmans Ranch in Mandaon, which is a sprawling property set amidst rolling hills.

As soon as we arrived, we were treated to a sumptuous lunch by our gracious host, ranch owner Judge Manuel Sese. They can organize ranch barbecues for groups.

But the highlight of the afternoon was a tour of the ranch on a horse! Yup, we were feeling ranchero as we made our way through the property, and up a hill where one is afforded a fantastic view of the Masbate countryside!

We were showed facilities they were currently constructing for visitors who would want to camp out at the ranch. I could imagine how pretty a sight the night sky would be from there. It's something to definitely look forward to for a future trip.

I wish I had more time to experience the place! So many commitments back in Manila!

On the way to the ranch, we stopped at Fazenda da Esperança's 200-hectare Montana Farm in Milagros. Fazenda da Esperança is a foundation for the rehabilitation of drug dependents based on the Gospel and work at the farm. So Fazenda can be considered a ranch too. They sell milk-based products like flavored milk and mozzarella cheese among others.

We went around the property to inspect some of their facilities. And I got to feed the cattle! I'm sure your kids will enjoy that too!

If you do pass by Milagros, make sure you buy some carmelado, a local delicacy. Carmelado is a milk candy, Masbate's version of the pastillas de leche, made by cooking milk & sugar until it dries out. We got to see the tedious process to make this really rich candy.

Back in Masbate City, our hosts brought us to the local saud or tiangge for another Masbate favorite. There's a row of dried fish stalls at the saud of Masbate City with different kinds of dried fish from around the province.

Speaking of cattle! Holy cow! It would be such a shame if I didn't have steak in Masbate! Good thing we had steak for dinner prepared for us by Tio Jose Bar & Grill. Masbate has a really good tourism product in the works. Watch our for ranch tourism in Masbate, the next big thing in Philippine tourism!
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