Six (6) Attractions You Should See and Experience in Tawi-Tawi

Bud Bongao
Nanardx, the author, at one of  the four (4) viewing decks at Bud Bongao

Tawi-Tawi, the country’s southernmost province, is composed of 11 municipalities and more than 100 islands. The province has a lot of destinations waiting to be explored and uncovered. These include world-class beaches, colorful festivities, the rich and diverse cultures of the people, unique traditions, and heart-warming locals. I traveled to Tawi-Tawi thrice this year and still wanting to go back and explore.

Here are six (6) tourist attractions I highly recommend for you to see and experience when in Tawi-Tawi.

Panampangan Island
Panampangan Island

Never leave the province of Tawi-Tawi without going to their beaches. The province is consists of more than a hundred islands with mostly untouched and pristine white sand beaches. Most popular among tourists and locals is Panampangan Island which is part of the Municipality of Sapa-Sapa. It boasts of its crystal clear waters with rich marine life, powdery white sand and the longest sandbar in the country – more than 3 kilometers!

The island is just about 1-hour away from Bongao, by speedboat.

Bud Bongao
Bud Bongao
One’s visit to the Province of Tawi-Tawi is never complete without climbing its highest mountain – Bud Bongao, with an elevation of approximately 360 meters above sea level. Considered as a sacred mountain by the locals, Bud Bongao is also one of Tawi-Tawi’s most visited and well-developed tourist destinations. Enjoy awesome views of Bongao town and neighboring islands, catch the sunrise or await for a stunning sunset from the peak. It is also home to thousands of monkeys.

Shiekh Karimul Makhdum Mosque

Situated in the island municipality of Simunul, Shiekh Karimul Makhdum Mosque is the first masjid in the Philippines. It is named after Shiekh Karimul Makhdum, an Arab missionary who first introduced Islam in the country in 1380. Simunul is only 15-20 minutes away from Bongao, by speed boat.

Stilt Houses of Badjaos
Stilt Houses in Tawi-Tawi

Stilt houses are a common site in Tawi-Tawi. These belongs to usually the Sama Badjaos and Tausugs who have fishing and agal-agal (seaweeds) productions as their main source of living. They are also known for mat-weaving.

Old Chinese Pier and Bongao Public Market
Old Chinese Pier and Bongao Public Market

The Old Chinese Pier and Bongao Public Market are another interesting places to visit when you're in Tawi-Tawi. These are probably the busiest places in Bongao as it is where seafaring traders from other island municipalities of Tawi-Tawi and Sulu provinces, and even from neighboring Sabah and Indonesia converge to market a variety of marine and agricultural products.

Kamahardikaan Sin Tawi-Tawi and Agal-Agal Festival
Agal-Agal Festival

Agal-Agal Festival is the main highlight of Kamahardikaan Sin Tawi-Tawi or the foundation anniversary of the province of Tawi-Tawi held every September 25. The festival, named after Agal-Agal or Seaweeds, Tawi-Tawi’s main product, is a thanksgiving for good harvest. It also showcases the province’s economic potentials, rich cultures, customs and traditions.

In 2018, the Agal-Agal Festival will be held in the Municipality of Sitangkai dubbed as the “Venice of Tawi-Tawi”.

How to go to Tawi-Tawi

Tawi-Tawi, the southernmost province in the Philippines, believe it or not, is just about 2-3 hours away from Manila by plane.

Cebu Pacific has daily flights to Zamboanga with a travel time of about 1 hour. From Zamboanga City, another plane ride for 45 minutes via Cebu Pacific or Platinum Skies will bring you to Bongao, the capital town of Tawi-Tawi.

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My Mindanao by Nanardx: Six (6) Attractions You Should See and Experience in Tawi-Tawi
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