Lessons on the Road | Zamboanga-Basilan-TawiTawi

Can't be thankful enough as our Zamboanga-Basilan-TawiTawi trip went well. All flights were on time. The weather was very cooperative. There are no red alert or safety advisory whatsoever. We encountered interesting and memorable people along the way. We were humbled and overwhelmed with this experience. All glory is HIS for keeping us safe.

Aside from the scenic and unspoiled views, Im always fascinated with the culture and religion of a place. A trip to the country's southernmost provinces didn't disappoint. It was an overwhelming experience. I began to understand and appreciate the similarities and differences on our cultural heritage and religious beliefs - beyond books and online information can explain.

Sharing some of our memorable experiences and lessons learned on this heart-pounding southern eskapo.


Zamboanga

Worry not about security but be ready to swim with the military men in Sta.Cruz beach.
thank you Soler family for adopting us


Sta.Cruz is also called the Pink Beach because of these tiny red corals mixed in the white sand.


There's a nearby Muslim cemetery in the island, and you can tell whether the tomb belongs to a Yakan, a Tausug, or a Badjao.


Precious black corals are still for sale- legally!


A deep sea crab called curacha is a very expensive dish. It tastes like a regular crab though. Anyway, the word "curacha" in chavacano means roach. ipis!


The famous snack Knicker Bucker is basically a fruit salad with mango + watermelon + ice cream.


These badjao kids don't only have great diving skills, but they also have superior night vision! They can do deep diving for a precious coin- even without goggles. Hameezying!


All mosques are built facing the direction of Mecca. We hitchhiked and met a Hadji on our way back from Taluksangay.


The cross in Metropolitan Cathedral is exaggeratedly built to be huge to emphasize that Zamboanga is a Christian dominated city. 60% of the population here are Christians.



Basilan

Since 80% of the residents in Basilan are Muslims, this church has always been the most favorite target for a terrorist attack. Having been bombed a lot of times, military soldiers are right outside the church entrance.


Nonetheless, it's such a great pleasure to see and touch this Last Supper mosaic which came all the way from Italy.


The White Beach in Malamawi Island is one of the finest beaches I've been to.
photo credit: Dong Ho


..not to mention this beach has a very unique lifeguard ^_^


Tawi-Tawi
Tawi-Tawi | a Trip to the Philippine's Southernmost Province


Almost everyone in the Philippine's southernmost province is a Muslim. We even glanced a Muslim wedding when we're strolling Bongao.


○ residents speak Tausug, but most of them can understand Tagalog as well.
○ placing your hand in your chest right after a handshake is their form of respect.


Alhakim became our driver, tour guide, and younger brother when we're in Tawi-Tawi. This young man's words of wisdom made our trip more fun and memorable.
Alhakim - 0947.336.4393
tell him you got the number "from kuya na malakas kumain at kay ate na takot sa monkeys." haha!

...on our first glance on top of Bud Bongao
Dong Ho and I: ha-meey-zing!
Alhakim: kuya, ate, ano yung "amazing"?
---> insert matinding mental block here
Us: nakakamangha!


Stilt houses are very common in Tawi-Tawi. It's cute to see they have gates as well.

Muslims dont like dogs, they are afraid of them. Maybe this explains why there are lots of goats instead. They are everywhere!


The monkeys in Bud Bongao are not fierce. They also dont attack people. Im afraid of monkeys, but Im okay with feeding these gentle monkeys. See, this one's got a cute baby!


Bud Bongao is the highest peak in Tawi-Tawi. Located at the peak is a sacred shrine where locals can pray, pay respect, and ask forgiveness.


Tying up knots on tree branches as you say your wishes silently is a practice made in Bongao mountain. A little warning though, those who dare remove these "knot wishes" will experience bad luck and curse.


○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○



Meet my Travel Buddy | Southern Mindanao edition

"This trip to the country's southernmost islands is one of the best experience. Despite being familiar with Basilan and Zamboanga our experience of visiting Taluksangay and Bongao still imposed the challenge of moving from one spot to another with the right precautions. But with all our efforts to interact with the locals, we were rewarded with unforgettable experience including hitchhiking with strangers, feeding the monkeys of bud bongao and having a Muslim brother." - Dom

is it safe to travel to basilan and tawi tawi?
"It is relatively safe. With a local guide and the goal of being one with the communities will optimize a trip to this part of the country. Some precautions are required specially on knowing the latest situation in the area before getting there. This is best done by coordinating with a local." - Dom


why I like traveling with Dom:
He's born, raised, and spent 17 years of his life in Basilan. Now you know why I never hesitated to pursue this trip, I know very well that Dom can manage. And of course, I only travel with adventurous, funny, and crazy people. We originally planned to be discreet, serious, and quiet while waiting for our flight to Tawi-Tawi. Ang hirap! Haha We ended up befriending and sharing laughter with a bunch of Muslims who were seated around us. That was more fun.

why I dont like traveling with Dom:
He speaks fluent Chavacano, Ilonggo, and Cebuano - and that makes me pity myself big time! I feel very unprivileged for only knowing Tagalog. Life is unfair. Toinks!


thank you for being a travel buddy, a tour guide, an interpreter, and photographer all at the same time. til next time, at sana pahiramin mo na ko ng headware mo. damot! ^_^

81 responses:

Chyng said...

..at pagttrabahuhan ko agad para matapos ang basilan at tawi tawi blog. konting tiis. ^_^

ardee sean said...

fantastic pics.. ang saya ng trip nyo.. :P

Ichan said...

Ms Chyng + Sir Doms in one post + Basilan Tawi-Tawi Zamboanga Trip = BOOOOM! anlupet =)

pinayadventurer said...

congrats chyng on your southern sojourn

mozilla said...

very nice blog ms chyng...inaabangan ko talaga ito...whew! Zambo-Basilan-Tawi-Tawi, horray...kudos! im glad all of you are safe...

michi said...

nafeature yung pick beach and curacha sa "rated k" kagabi. parang satisfied na ko na nakita ko sila sa post mo, hehe! i still can't see myself booking a flight to tawi tawi or basilan. =)

Bonzenti [Con Tour] said...

Ganda talaga ng Basilan. Galing mo chyng.:-).

dong ho said...

it was for sure one of the best travel experience.

life is unfair! yes it is because the locals can go around the beautiful islands of tawi tawi which we saw from the plane while we can only go around bongao. hahaha...

saya ng tandem trip na to.

zherwin said...

i am all set to go to tawi-tawi, pero walang gustong sumama sa akin. i think i need to ask dom about it, and i'll wait for more posts about your experience, officially sobrang inggit na ako hehehe.

Nicole said...

ang galing mo teh!! Waley na ko masabi pa. :) Good job! :)

Chyng said...

@dom,

so true. abot tanaw at kayang puntahan, buwis buhay nga lang. haha!

My Nomadic Habits said...

nice one chyng. another to do list nanaman ang na achieved mo. lufet!

i cant wait for my zambo-tawi2 trip this June. Pwede penge contact ng guide nyo sa tawi2.

Pinoy Adventurista said...

Buti pa kayo nakapapag-take ng picture sa church... when i went there, we were not allowed... the mosaic is indeed beautiful!

Mahirap ba ang trekking to Bud Bongao?

Sweet Balucanag said...

BONGGA! I can't make myself visit Tawi-tawi and Basilan although I am from Mindanao. You're so lucky that you have Dom as a travel buddy.

Chyng said...

Alhakim (Rudymar) - 0947.336.4393
tell him you got the number from "ate na takot sa monkeys at kay kuya na malakas kumain." haha!

JeffZ said...

its still good na hindi ako tumuloy coz I didn't have the chance to prepare anything or even have contact persons sa zamboanga.. parang hindi pwede ang pabanjing banjing na travel lang.. :)

Elal Jane Lasola said...

Wow. ang saya ng trip nyo na inggit ako bigla! hahahaha congrats! check na basilan sa checklist mo for this year! :D

soloflightEd said...

ayos talaga kasama si dom sa byahe. lakas kasi ng trip at minsan mas makulit pa sya. hahaha. kala mo seryosong tao!

nakapagbasilan na kayo chyng! mabuti naman na everything went well. ganda pa rin ng composition ng pictures mo! :D

PS: kakatakot pala kasi may "Things I Like" and "Things I Don't Like" kung sasama sa'yo at maiblog! hahaha. paano na lang ang 900 pus subscribers mo. pressure! haha.

gillboard said...

i don't know why, but i really love the second pic.

may pagkafootprints int the sand or something. hehehe

Micamyx|Senyorita said...

Masaya talagang kasama sa trip si Koyah Dom! Sarap mag-alaga parang jowa wahaha joke :P

Gusto ko rin makapunta sa Zamboanga. Kahit yun lang muna hehe kaso hindi ako matuloy-tuloy toinks. Ok rin yung interview session ah hehe i wonder once more kelan tayo magsasama sa trip =)) dapat talaga Pangasinan chos :P

Jerome said...

waah! inggit ako! i like to visit tawi-tawi as well =)) good on you chyng!

Sendo said...

gusto ko mag tawi tawi basilan haha....sir dong ho...igala mo ako haha

khantotantra said...

ganda nung boat, military design.

yung pinuntahan niong pink beach/pink sand, kakakita ko lang sa tv, na-feauture din. :D

yung napupuntahan mo tila pinupuntahan din ng mga tv stations for places to visit. :D

PaJAY said...

Wahh!!nakarating ka sa lupang sinilangan ko? really??? ikaw na ang Matapang!! IDOL!!! okay lang samin sa Zamboanga ,talagang peaceful naman jan kung tutuusin pero sa Malamawi beach,Basilan? Huwaat????!!!kahit nga ako na taga jan e may escort pang sang batallion...and tawi- tawi? hahaha!!!ang tapang mo na talaga nyan..ako nga di ko malapitan yang mga unggoy dahil baka lumabas yung white monkeys na nanghohostage ng tao...LOL....i admire ur bravery Chyng..iba ka!!! Muchas Gracias ya dale tu mira aqui qui modo de bonito el ciudad de zamboanga y Basilan...Apir!!!

Chyng said...

^ hi pajay,

De zamboange gale tu. Astig!
Bien bonito el de inyo lugar. Mi paborito el barter y paseo del mar na de noche. Era pwede pa yo bira alyi.

iamjessiegarcia said...

Nice pics Chyng... Hope I could get the chance to be in this kind of trip. Just starting with my new interest - to travel.

lakwatserong tatay said...

grabe....lalo na ko nainggit...dalawa sa mga pangarap kong dayuhin ang pinuntahan niyo...
eto ang pinagusto ko linya..

@dom,

so true. abot tanaw at kayang puntahan, buwis buhay nga lang. haha!

sakin ok parin kahit buwis buhay...hindi naman natin alam kung ano ang mangyayari satin sa tuwing tayo ay pumupunta sa ibang lugar...pero ang alam ko sa tuwing napupunta ko sa ibang lugar..panalangin at pananalig sa taas ang gabay ko palagi....^_^

Ryan Mach I Pinoy Wandering Boy said...

This just proves that you're one hell of a fierce, fearless adventurer! Kudos!

Donnie Ray said...

ikaw na talaga chyng! ikaw na!

gaganda ng pics!

IKAW NA! :D

MarLiesTravels said...

What an interesting post! We've learned a lot! It's nice to see the peaceful, beautiful side of these places.. :)

Theonoski said...

superb!!! mukhang magiging tourist destination na ang tawi-tawi after this post.

The wanderer said...

Wow, great post! I've always wanted to go to Zamboanga and Tawi Tawi. I think if I were to choose a place in the Philippines that I most want to go to, it's probably going to be Zamboanga. There's just some allure and mystery here that makes it such an exotic place - at least for those from the outside!

tabian said...

superb photos idol!!! ^__^

Calvin said...

hastigue... pwede ito malagay sa bucket list.

knicker bucker ba talaga? kasi may word na knickerbocker eh... new york knicks, knickerbockers tawag before. pero sabi ni wikipedia dessert din ito sa UK.

McRICH said...

grabe anganda ng mga photos at nainggit ako sa trip nyo :) anganda talaga sa Mindanao, sana dumating yung time na going there would be safer :)

KUMAGCOW said...

This is nice Chyng! Grabe I can't believe you've stepped on those grounds... ako kasi hindi pwede, my Aunt got kidnapped there.. though she escaped, we who have never seen the place would most likely just stay in our homes and never attempt it... pero really the place is beautiful lalo na yung pink sand!

marxtermind said...

Astig lang nung boat!

Hoobert the Awesome said...

Anhirap yata mag-decide to go to these places. Wala akong kilalang local. *ahem Kuya Dong* Pero in fairness, ganda nga nung beach sa Basilan.

I have something to tell you Ate. I-text ko na lang sayo. :)

Photo Cache said...

it's really important that a local is there to guide you in places where safety can be a question at all times. but you managed to make the most of it.

great job, spectacular pictures.

when was this travel?

Rizalenio said...

The best ang kuha mo ng mga Badjao kids, Chyng. Idol ko talaga kayo ni Dom. :)

docgelo said...

this post began with beautiful words, heightened with fantastic photos; well done, chyng and dom!
congratz for having a fun-filled and safe journey. people who will read this will be encourage to travel more down south.

...dami palang alam na dialects ni dom! :)

Jeo said...

superb White sand beach, Chyng! you really are my favorite travel blogger!

Ang ganda sa Basilan :)

Sidney said...

I thought the trip would end in a wedding ! :-)

Cha said...

I always wanted to travel Basilan but unfortunately there's no one who would dare travel with me there. Meron na sana kaso naoperahan naman ako hayz:-( Sabi nila napakaganda ng mga beach sa Basilan. Lalo akong naintriga sa red na red na corals na nakikita sa beach nila dahil sa post mo po. Please swing by my page

CarmisCaprice said...

One of a kind travel! curious about that Curacha

followed you through GFC. Pls follow mine, too!

xoxo,,
http://carmiscaprice.blogspot.com/

Kath said...

great photos! :)

joy said...

again I enjoyed reading and looking at the pictures. para na rin akong nandon. Thanks for sharing. Keep it up:)

Lagalag said...

Napahanga ako sa mga kuha nyo ng mga images. Na-capture nyo ang lahat ng masasayang sandali at ang ganda ng kalikasan.

Directions on Web

melvin said...

MOOOOOOOOre of this trip please.ilan lang kaya ang matatapang na kaya magbuwis ng buhay at pumunta sa basilan and tawi-tawi so wala tayo masyado alam sa part na yan ng pinas.please add more pics sa beaches nila.

Karla said...

Great job on travelling on the road less travelled. :) Hope I would have the guts to go to Tawi Tawi and Basilan someday. Salamat at nandito ang blog mo para mag inspire sa amin na mabisita ang mga lugar na to. ^___^

blissfulguro said...

can't wait.......... to see you na! hahaha...miss you chyng!

vin said...

sarap mag-chill sa paseo del mar no? too bad i wasn't able to visit basilan. now i'm itching to get another flight to zamboanga because of your post! :p

Sheygoingplaces said...

love the beach

aileen said...

grabe winner tlga!

joan | the backpack chronicles said...

eto ang mga adventures na gusto ko. yung mga buwis buhay! hahaha. sana makatapak din ako dyan balang araw!!!

Untied Escape said...

Wow Hameezying talaga mga idols!

pusang kalye said...

me white sand beach!!!!!amazing!!!!

rairaiken said...

brave enough for tawi-tawi! truly amazing part of the philippines! =)

Kap said...

Nice blog ... unlike sa news puro mga bad news this time good news naman ang nababasa at nakikita namin about TawiTawi , Basilan at Zamboanga.

Ikaw na ang nag liwaliw sa Tawi Tawi, ikaw na ang nagpunta sa puting buhanginan ng Basilan at ikaw na ang nag Zamboanga ... bongga! wahahaha...

Jenniya said...

Ang brave-brave lang! Lufet!

Diamond R said...

Hameezying trip and wow!photos.

Manila Girl said...

Ang gandaaaa pero duwag ako!

Malditang "Kura"cha said...

sh*t should I change my name? hahahaha!

Ang bongga ng trip mo. Another buwis buhay entry. hihihi! At swak talaga si dom sa Basilan Trip mo. Nakakainggit ang pagiging multilingual niya. hahaha!

congrats!

*btw,it's good to see dom in action. Parang ang onti kasi ng pictures niya sa blogs. ^_^

Christian | Lakad Pilipinas said...

ang tapang mo chyng!!! aral ka na ng chavacano! :)

stacy said...

Medyo natatakot ako when I hear basilan pero mukhang paeaceful and native life pala sila dun. Nice and informative post chyng!

Gracie said...

Naipamalas mo ang iyong katapangan Ms Chyng, madami ang naghahangad pumunta sa mga napuntahan mo sa Mindanao pero walang sapat na lakas at katapangan, at kahit na taga Mindanao mismo ay humanga pa sayo. Ikaw na Idol! Pero ang takot at pag-aalala ng ilan ay napalitan ng paghanga at pagkasabik na baka isang araw mapuntahan din isa sa mga magagandang tanawin dyan sa Mindanao, hindi ko masasabing isa na ako dun pero malay natin maisama ako ng kaklase ko nung elem. na muslim at taga Basilan kasi sya :D

Chyng said...

^
pang-linggo ng wika ang comment mo. hehe

The Nomadic Pinoy said...

It was a pleasure meeting you, Dom, Nina & Ferdz last week. Ang saya! Next time out of town na sana.

Kung alam ko lang na marunong palang mag-Bisaya si Dom, I should have spoken to him like Annabelle Rama LOL!

Ruby Batallones said...

Chyng, I'm inspired by this!:)

Gracie said...

Dito mo malalaman kung bakit pang linggo ng wika ang comment ko http://graciegoesgaga.blogspot.com/2012/03/bagsik-ng-blogistang-baguhan.html. Paumanhin sa mga links Ms Chyng ha. Btw, I tagged you sensya na napag-utusan lang hehe kung di mo naman feel sagutin okay lang: http://graciegoesgaga.blogspot.com/2012/03/11-queries.html

Makati Condo Rental said...

Nice pictures !!

Riz said...

Sobrang ganda pla sa Basilan -tawi tawi. I'm inspired! :)

doi said...

natatawa ako sa headware. lol. congrats sa pagconquer ng basilan at tawi-tawi chyng! :)

Leah said...

Wow naikot mo na talaga ang Pilipinas! Galing!

kat said...

Awesome. Awesome trip! nakanganga pa rin ako ngayon. WOW!!!

Anonymous said...

sa mga gustong pumunta sa Taluksangay, fear not. People there are used to receiving tourists. Most of the residents there are Muslim Zamboangueños.

Sometimes, people tend to exaggerate stories and situations about the South. What people do not know is that, it's safer to walk in the streets of Bongao and Zamboanga than in the streets of Metro Manila.

Anonymous said...

very informative! love the pictures :) ive been almost to all the places included in your travel blog. except for zamboanga-basilan-tawitawi and because of your blog now i feel the urge to visit those places! thank you!

Anonymous said...

chyngreyes,
i meet alhakim,(his real name is RUDYMAR) in my two recent travel to bongao, please edit the cp number you posted in his picture, he uses this cp(09182982043) today, this may help your little brother in bongao a little extra income to anyone who will visit BONGAO TAWI-TAWI, as there tour guide.
thank you if we can help this man, with the only dream of giving support to his nine younger brothers and sisters. on my second vist to bongao, i will buy JOLLIBEE in zamboanga as pasalubong to him. i was shocked, "ano ang jollibee". he never taste a fried chicken in his entire life, and every after we eat in a restaurant, he always loose in my sight coz, he bring the left over to his home in brgy pahut.how fortunate we are, compare to this MAN.PLS. GET THE SERVIVE OF RUDYMAR AS TOUR GUIDE WHEN YOU VISIT BONGAO TAWI TAWI. rudymar knows me as totoy.

Chyng said...

hi Totoy,
thank you very much. sige, will edit his number. someone also sent me an FB message regarding this number. did you make an FB account for rudymar? hehe

Anonymous said...

chyng.
yes i do, i create an account for rudymar, he is a man of principle and i notice his sincerity to his words,thank you that you post his pictures thru internet, some have already noticed to get his service as their tour guide in tawi tawi.in our little way, we can help him to post some of his pictures in fb in your blog. to earn rudymar a little income,
i am too a lakwatsiro, i saw many places here and abroad, kaya nga ako bumalik ng bongao sa tawi tawi, para lang umakyat sa bongao peak, which i have no done on the first time i was there,rudymar is my tour guide. thanks po,...

cha said...

Hi Miss Chyng! I've been reading your blog before and was inspired to discover about your Basilan trip. I just booked a ticket for Zamboanga today and hope to have Zamboanga-Basilan-Sulu-Tawi-tawi for my 2nd solo travel. Thanks for the inspiration brave girl! :-)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...