Tawi-tawi, A Journey to a Faraway Land

by - 12:33 AM

My exploration around the Philippines went a little too far, well as far as Tawi-tawi - Philippine's stunningly beautiful southern-most department. Aside from breaking the record for the farthest province I have ever visited in the Philippines It's this very lack of mass tourism that makes the place such an attractive destination for me.

Living in Manila, I have always been curious about what kind of life the Filipinos have there. The mixture of Malaysian and Filipino culture is such an amazing combination. The total package of this province is a knock out for the travelers.

I took a plane in Zamboanga City going to Bongao, Tawi, tawi. Tricycles are everywhere in this compact town so it's very easy to get around.

Samal is the dialect widely used there but Tagalog is also understood so you can definitely have a little chit chat with the locals. 

I stayed at one of those beautiful stilt houses, It was an amazing experience and I fell in love with the family who took care of me during my stay there.

We rented a small boat for 1,500 pesos to take us to some of the islands in Tawi-tawi and I must say that it is definitely worth it! There are plenty of very beautiful islands there but do your research first before going there because there are islands that are still inhabited by terrorists or pirates. Always remember safety must come first. My favorite island is Sangay Siapo, the beach is so pristine and the sand is so fine! I love the 
laid-back and intimate atmosphere it has.

In Simunul Island, I visited the the first ever mosque built in the Philippines. It was established last 1380 by an Arabian missionary named Sheik Mahkdum. His tomb can also be found behind the mosque. 

Tawi-tawi is the place where I learned a lot about the Islam religion. Azan is Islam's daily call to prayer. Check out the schedule of prayers below, It's look so confusing but fascinating.

Other places I visited were:

The view from the Bud-Bongao peak is divine. I will tell you more about my visit there soon! :)

This is the Capitol Building in Bongao, Tawi Tawi. It really has the distinctive look of a Mosque, and sits atop a hill overlooking the City of Bongao and many islands of Tawi Tawi.

In Tawi-tawi you won't see a lot of stray dogs they got stray goats... tell me it's not cool!


Nowhere in the world will you be able to taste so many cultures in one plate. Tawi-tawi a seafood paradise!

I cooked dinner on my last night of stay in Tawi-tawi to show how much I appreciate the family who took care of me. 

I love travelling and meeting new people but leaving and coming back home is the part I hate the most. Someday I will go back to Tawi-tawi and will stay longer, the place and the people will always have a special place in my heart.I know there are only a few travelers who were able to visit the islands of Tawi-tawi and I am the luckiest guy to have a very resourceful and determined friend who got me an amazing host to care of me for the entire trip. (shout out to my gorgeous friend Jane :p)

I have been hearing a lot of news about the people from Sabah fleeing back home to Tawi-tawi. It was a peaceful place when I went there and the people can safely travel back and forth to Malaysia. Whatever is the agenda of the two parties involved in this conflict, I hope it leads to a peaceful talk and agreement. 

Tawi-Tawi is not a top destination yet for the travelers, probably because of the location? I reckon it is a safe place to visit.  If you need a period of idyllic rest, there can be no place better. The calm surroundings are perfect to recoup. Challenge yourself! the farthest place is often the most wonderful one! 

You can check out more pictures of my Tawi-tawi Trip here: Tawi-tawi - A Journey to a Faraway Land or watch out for my upcoming posts.

Breakaway! :)

Jan Ashlee

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