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Tawi-tawi: The Unchartered Jewel of the Southwestern Tip

January 3, 2015

The delight of travelling depends on our personal definition of it. It really comes in many forms, such as splurging on a luxurious trip abroad or taking a more cheapskate method if you’re on a shoestring budget. It really doesn’t matter, as long as you enjoy the journey and what the destination has to offer to you.

The Philippines is a tropical country composed of thousands of beautiful islands. Some of these islands like Boracay, Palawan and Bohol have been on every travel books and magazines. Without a doubt, these islands are famous not just because of its pristine white beaches and clear blue waters, but mainly because these islands are natural paradise where anyone can go there relax, meditate and be mesmerized with what nature has to offer.

However, if you are looking for the same sightings, but with a more unique adventure in an off-the-beaten-path, then you might consider planning an itinerary and book a flight on a journey to Tawi-tawi.Tawi-tawi is a province with a chain of around 107 islands scattered around the seas of Sulu and Celebes, which are very near in Malaysia. The islands of Tawi-tawi are not your typical tourist destinations because there have been only few travelers who were brave enough to conquer these majestic paradises.

If you’re curious on why you should take a leap of faith and include Tawi-tawi in your bucket list of places to travel, don’t break a sweat because we all got it covered. Here are 4 of the reasons why Tawi-tawi is an uncharted jewel of the southwestern tip.

 

1. The Holy Mountain of Bud Bongao

The tallest mountain in Tawi-tawi sprouting 340-meters above sea level, Bud Bongao is considered a sacred mountain by Muslims and Christians as well. This is one of the very few remaining moist rainforests of the Sulu province, and has been a protected sanctuary for decades now.

Well, the most basic thing to do in here is to trek your way to the summit of the mountain. However, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to witness the rich wildlife of the area, such as the long tailed macaques.

 

2. Oldest Mosque in the Philippines

Nestled in the heart of Simunul, the legendary Sheik Karim al Makdum Mosque is a national historical landmark in the province. It has been said that a trader from the Arabian world in the year 1380 built this mosque, which lead to the commencement of the spread of Islam religion in the region. Albeit the structure looks modern, the old mosque’s original pillars can still be found inside the newly reformed building.

 

3. A Journey to Sitangkai

This 2nd class municipality of Tawi-tawi is famous for two main reasons. First, it is popularly known to be the “Little Venice of the South” because water is the main thoroughfare of this island with a 1-kilometer stretch of floating market. Perhaps unknown to many, Sitangkai is also a commercial hub and a major source of seaweeds in the country.

 

4. Haven for Foodies

Aside from the richness of seaweeds in the province, Tawi-tawi is also a haven for seafood. You can find a variety of fish that are fresh from the sea and are also inexpensive. Not just that, you can try out many seafood like sea lobsters, clams, octopus. You can have those grilled, stuffed, fried, and curried for a very reasonable price.

But what’s more exciting is that you can actually ask some locals to accompany you to go on fishing , catch fish and cook them by yourself. Definitely awesome!

 

5. A dip in Manda Island

Going here is not easy. You need to rent a pump boat, and wrestle with the big waves along the way. But, it won’t be a problem if you’re up for this extreme adventure because it will all be worth it.

Manda Island is a protected sanctuary for sea turtles and birds. This is a perfect place for diving and snorkeling, as it is blessed with numerous coral beds lushing lavishly. And the picturesque view of the big rock formations and the crystal clear waters that are like mirrors of the heavens are just splendid.

So what are you waiting for? Come to the beautiful paradise of Tawi-tawi where thousands of exciting things waiting for you to be explored. And, don’t forget to plan it with Trekeffect!

 

Albert Fernandez
Albert Fernandez, a registered nurse, is a backpacker by heart who enjoys putting his travel experiences into words.