Showing posts with label Tawi-Tawi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tawi-Tawi. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top Philippine destinations for 2008

The year 2008 was a great travel year for me. As of today, I've stepped foot on 62 out of 81 provinces of the Philippines. Here are some of the highlights for this year. Since 2008 was also heavy on international travel, I'll come up with another entry on that!

1. Mt. Pulag, the rooftop of Luzon
I could not imagine myself 2,922 meters above sea level at the summit of Mount Pulag. But I was there! It took a lot of effort on my part but the view from the top was surreal and most definitely worth it. Is Mt. Apo next?

2. Adopting a sea turtle at the Pawikan Conservation Center
We visited the Pawikan Conservation Center early this year to adopt sea turtles. You can include it as part of any Subic itinerary. And this is a great help to efforts to protect the pawikan.

3. Journey across the Ifugao heartland
I was very lucky to join a rice harvest tour to Mayoyao, Ifugao this year which took me through the very core of Ifugao. It was a very enriching experience and it opened my eyes to the culture of our Ifugao brothers. I look forward to joing their planting rice tour this January. I made five entries about this great trip!

4. Trekking and 4x4 to Mt. Pinatubo
The crater lake of Mount Pinatubo is perfect for a swim especially when it is baby blue! It's easy to organize a visit through the Pinatubo Spa Town and when you get back, a sumptuous lunch and massage awaits.

5. Batanes, undiscovered paradise up north
Batanes is pristine and refreshing. It's a must in any traveler's list of places to visit in the Philippines. I'll be blogging about my trip soon.

6. Intro dive at Dive and Trek in Bauan, Batangas
Even if you don't have a license, you can still experience diving with the help of a dive master through an intro dive. And that's exactly what we did in Bauan, Batangas!

7. Ipo Watershed, Angat Dam and the La Mesa Ecopark
Any advocacy to preserve our cultural and natural heritage is close to my heart. Which is why we made a visit to the Ipo Watershed to support the advocacy of the UP Mountaineers to protect it.

8. Romblon, Romblon is a heritage town
Talk about the road less-traveled! Romblon was indeed a surprise. It was fun exploring the old town of Romblon since its heritage is unbelievably intact. I hope to visit again soon.

9. Anawangin Cove in San Antonio, Zambales
Another unbelievable beach destination so close to Manila, I most definitely enjoyed the surreal landscape of this Zambales beach. So remote it is that you need to hike several hours or take a pump boat to get to it.

10. Tawi-Tawi, overnight in Bongao
In one month, I was able to visit the northernmost and southernmost provinces of the Philippines. Despite my short stay, the fact that I was able to set foot in Tawi-Tawi is worth mentioning. And I'm definitely making another trip to explore more!

Read also Top Philippine destinations for 2009.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Tawi-Tawi: Overnight in Bongao

Tawi-Tawi is the southernmost province of the Philippines. Although the impression is that it is unsafe, that is far from the truth since Tawi-Tawi is a relatively peaceful place. I was told that it has wonderful white sand beaches and rich cultural communities. So I decided to check it out even just for two days.

I was in Zamboanga City to attend a conference so I decided to fly over and found myself on a SEAIR flight to Bongao. The flight took a little over an hour and I was in Bongao in no time. As soon as I arrived, I went to my brod's place to get some rest first. I hadn't had any sleep the night before so I decided to start exploring after lunch.

There are a lot of places to stay in Bongao but one of the better lodges is Beachside Inn where I decided to have lunch. Accomodations start at PHP900 for air-conditioned rooms. There's nothing much to see in Bongao and you could easily cover it in a day.

A friend took me around to the different areas of interest including some beaches, the Tawi-Tawi Provincial Capitol which is on top of a hill, offering a great panoramic view of Bongao and beyond, and the market area where you'll see a lot of seaweed being dried up (seaweed is a major product of Tawi-Tawi).

I wish I had an extra day so that I could have taken a ferry boat to Simunul, the neighboring island, which hosts the oldest mosque in the country, the Sheik Karimal Makdum Mosque, and some of the best beaches of Tawi-Tawi. You'll have to stay overnight at least though so you'll need some friends there if you want to visit the place. But you haven't been to Tawi-Tawi if you haven't visited Simunul!

Sitangkai, called the Venice of the Orient, is another option but that would take a longer ferry ride. And I heard the waves are rough. So be ready for a real adventure!

The next day, I had to catch my SEAIR flight back to Zamboanga City. On the way to Bongao Airport in Sanga-Sanga are great views of Bud Bongao. If you're into climbing mountains, trekking up Bud Bongao is a great option. Just don't forget to bring bananas for the monkeys.

At the airport, I had some local food at the nearby carinderia which included pastil, a fried empanada filled with bihon noodles, and sindol, which is the local ginataan (warm coconut milk dessert). It was really cheap! Anyway, the stay was too short to experience Tawi-Tawi. So I'm definitely going back to explore some more!

Beachside Inn & Restaurant
(068) 2681446
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