Masbate is known as “the wild, wild west of the Philippines” and “the poor man sitting in the pot of gold”. Thanks to recent developments, the province is starting to shelve these names. Election observers for the May 2010 elections found Masbate to be relatively peaceful compared with the previous elections, and that the National Statistics Coordination Board noted Masbate “sliding in the list from being the poorest province in the country in the year 2000 with 70.2% poverty incidence to the 8th most poor in 2006 with 59.5%.”
Unknown to many, however, Masbate is one of the early settlements in the Bicol Region. Artifacts dating back to as early as 10th century were found in Kalanay (now Aroroy), and when Captain Luis Enriquez de Guzman anchored on the shores of Masbate in 1569, he found tiny settlements spread along the coasts engaged in flourishing trade with China – an explanation why there are a number of Chinoys in the island-province. Masbate is also said to be the place where the Christianization of the Bicol started.
In part because it is the source of class lumber for the construction of galleons during the Spanish period, Masbate was declared a province in 1864. In 1908, this was revoked and Masbate was annexed to Sorsogon. Masbate again became an independent province on February 1, 1922.
Because of historical gaps, the only governor that we can list during the first declaration of Masbate as a province is Bonifacio Serrano. He ruled the province from 1902-1903. For the second declaration of Masbate’s independence, the list of governors (regardless of election years) are as follows:
1922 – 1925 Narciso Medina
1926 – 1928 Jose Zurbito
1929 – 1931 Teofisto M. Cordova
1932 – 1934 Genaro D. Briz
1935 – 1937 Domingo M. Magbalon
1938 – 1951 Mateo Sonco Pecson
1952 – 1955 Vicente Quisumbing
1956 – 1963 Jesus O. Almero
1964 – 1967 Manuel Pecson
1968 – 1979 Moises De la Rosa Espinosa
1980 – 1998 Emilio De la Rosa Espinosa Jr.
1998 – 2007 Antonio Tero Kho
2007 – 2010 Elsa Olga T. Kho
2010 – ? Rizalina Seachon Lanete