From the chronicles of the early years of Spanish colonization, report about Masbate first appeared in Fray Martin de Rada’s letter to the Viceroy of new Spain (Mexico), Marquis de Falces. That was in July 1569. He mentions that in a place called Masbat there were plenty of gold and mines. Other later documents such as those of Artieda’sRalacion (1573) and also Andres de Mirandaola’s letter (1574) reported of a place called Masbat or Masbad. The name variation is understandable as Spaniards speak in an aspirated manner so Masbad must have been pronounced Masbat by the Spanish tongue. In 1582, Miguel de Lorca already reported about a place called Masbate. This was the first time the name Masbate was used in place of Masbad or Masbat. (HANDUMANAN, 2008)
In 1700, Ibalon (Albay) Province assumed jurisdiction over Masbate Islands, and Masbate was named the town’s capital village. For security reasons, the seat of government had to be moved several times. It was first moved to Mobo and then to Guiom. It was later transferred to Palanog near the mouth of Lumbang River to make it more accessible to the Bicol Mainland and to the islands of Burias and Ticao. However, government records were kept inland in Cagay.
In 1846, the islands of Masbate and Ticao were separated from Albay province and made as a single politico-military commandancia or district. Guiom was made the capital, while Ticao became a commandancia-politico-militar.
The political history of the town dates back to the 1850s when the Spaniards established their government under a Spanish Governadorcillo. The Masbateños’ vassalage to Spain ended sometime in the early part of 1898 as an offshoot of the libertarian campaign waged by General Emilio Aguinaldo.
Sometime after General Aguinaldo inaugurated the Philippine Independence at Kawit, Cavite, he issued a military order to overthrow the Spanish Government in Masbate and the Visayas. General Justo Lucban and General Diego de Dios acted on this order with the help of Masbateño rebels under the legendary Pedro Kipte. The defeat of the Spanish Crown in Masbate could be largely credited to Pedro Kipte. Immediately thereafter, the military government under the Republic of the Philippines was established. But when the American forces reached the Muniipality of Masbate in November 1900, it took over the government of Masbate without any resistance from the Masbateños.
After a devastating typhoon in 1908, an Executive Order was passed annexing the Province of Masbate to the Province of Sorsogon. Masbate, by force of circumstance, became a sub-province of Sorsogon until 1922 when its provincial status was restored. Shortly before the restoration of Philippine Independence in 1946, the town of Masbate was established as provincial capital.
In the mid-90s, the idea of converting the municipality into a city was pushed by Second District House Representative Luz Cleta Reyes Bakunawa. Her successor, Congressman Emilio Espinosa, Jr., together with the Municipal Mayor Juan P. Sanchez, Sr. and some local officials and employees took over where she left off.
On September 30, 2000, RA. 8807 officially proclaimed the conversion of the Municipality of Masbate into a component city.
Source: CLUP, Ecological Profile 2011-2020
Masbate City is the capital of the province. It is located at the center of the Philippine archipelago between latitudes 11˚43’ north and 21˚35’ north, and between longitudes 123˚9’ east and 124˚15’ east, and about 212.5 aerial miles or 362 nautical miles from Manila. It is bounded on the northeast by Masbate Pass, on the southeast by Tugbo River and the Municipality of Mobo; on the southwest by the Municipality of Milagros; and on the northwest by a portion of Asid River and the municipalities of Milagros and Baleno.
The City is politically subdivided into 30 barangays comprising of 8 coastal barangays Urban has 11 barangays while rural has 19 barangays. Of the 19 rural barangays, 8 are coastal barangays while 11 are upland barangays.
Masbate City is the capital of the province. It is located at the center of the Philippine archipelago between latitudes 11˚43’ north and 21˚35’ north, and between longitudes 123˚9’ east and 124˚15’ east, and about 212.5 aerial miles or 362 nautical miles from Manila. It is bounded on the northeast by Masbate Pass, on the southeast by Tugbo River and the Municipality of Mobo; on the southwest by the Municipality of Milagros; and on the northwest by a portion of Asid River and the unicipalities of Milagros and Baleno.The City is politically subdivided into 30 barangays comprising of 8 coastal barangays Urban has 11 barangays while rural has 19 barangays. Of the 19 rural barangays, 8 are coastal barangays while 11 are upland barangays.
As of 2015, Masbate City has a total population of 95,389. This is divided into urban population, sharing 57% of the City’s total population, and rural population sharing 43%. Urban population is located in 11 Poblacion barangays, while rural population are spread throughout 11 upland and 8 coastal barangays. Of 30 barangays, Nursery has the highest population with 12,125 while Cawayan Interior has the least with 945.
The City has a total of 19,237 households. Among the barangays, Nursery has the highest number of households with 2,536 while Barangay Sinalongan has the least number of households with 180.
Urban barangays have the highest population densities in the City with an average of39 persons per square kilometer. Rural barangays on other hand have an average population density of only 2 persons per square kilometer.
The City’s growth rate has been increasing incensal years 2000, 2010 and 2015. From 1.57 in 2000, the annual growth rate increased to 1.78 in 2010, and eventually reached 2.17 in 2015.
The City has a total of 61,771 members of labor force in which 55.23% are employed and 44.77% are unemployed. Of the employed, 70% are males and 30% are females.
Masbate City occupies a total land area of 18,996.95 hectares, representing 4.64% of the total land area of the province of 404,770 hectares. The general topography of the city ranges from slightly undulating to rolling, and from hilly to mountainous. About 9,678.83 hectares or 50.95% of the City’s total land area are level to undulating (0-8% slope), 5,375.84 has. or 28.30% are undulating to rolling (8-18% slope); 2,083.01 has. or 10.96% are rolling to hilly (18-30% slope); 1,656.17 has. or 8.72% are hilly to mountainous (30-50% slope); and 203.08 has. or 1.07% are mountainous (50% slope and above). The rugged and irregular coastline of the City is characterized by the presence of narrow to broad hydrosols, flat coastal plains and alluvial fans. (Bureau of Soil and Water Management)