Tawi-Tawi is an island province of the Philippines located in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The capital of Tawi-Tawi is Bongao. The province is the southernmost of the country sharing sea borders with the Malaysian State of Sabah and the Indonesian Kalimantan province. To the northeast lies the province of Sulu and to the west is Sabah in Malaysia. Tawi-Tawi also covers some islands in the Sulu Sea to the northwest, the Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi Island and the Turtle Islands, just 20 kilometers away from Sabah.

This is I think an undiscovered beauty in our country. Due to a lot of terrorism going on the South of our country, this province I think will never be discovered. Why? Because tourist will never risk sailing going to this beautiful island. However, below are some photos to show how breath-taking this province is…

Tawi-Tawi Airport – Sanga-Sanga Airport also known as Tawi-Tawi Airport, is an airport serving the general area of Bongao, the capital of the province of Tawi-Tawi in the Philippines. The airport is classified as a secondary airport, or a minor commercial airport by the Air Transportation Office, a body of the Department of Transportation and Communications that is responsible for the operations of not only this airport but also of all other airports in the Philippines except the major international airports. It is not an international airport, contrary to its classification by the Tawi-Tawi provincial government.

Tawi-Tawi Provincial Capitol – It is built at an elevated ground at the foot of Bongao Peak facing the commercial center of the capital town of Bongao. A 270 degrees bird’s eye view of the town that extends up to the neighboring islands is just plainly awesome.

The building is of Muslim architecture with its prominent mosque dome majestically crowned atop the building like a headress.

Statue found in downtown in Tawi-Tawi

Bongao, Tawi-Tawi -Before the armed rebellion of the MNLF in the early 1970s, Bongao is merely a backwater village ruled by the prominent noble Halun family, who used to own about 3/4 of the island. The capital of the province is Bato-Bato in the mainland situated in a cove with deep waters suited for anchors of the Philippine Navy. At the height of the armmed rebellion and fearing that the provincial capitol might be overrun, the government transferred it to Bongao. The white-washed, Taj Mahal-inspired provincial capitol building is located on a hill overlooking the bay and the whole town to the North of the Island against the backdrop of Mount Kabugan and the famous Bud Bongao (Bongao Peak).

Bongao Peak –Bongao Peak is the welcoming view to those coming to Tawi-tawi as it slowly towers above upon approaching the island. The peak juts out at the center of the island giving a towering presence as if watching over you as you go around the circumferential road of the island touring the whole place.

Towering with a prominent vertical cliff on its north side, the peak is a protected monkey sanctuary in the capital town of Bongao. A natural watchtower provides a view of the expanse of sea and the string of islands of Tawi-tawi. Climbing this peak takes about 2 hours on an easy relaxing pace.

After which we went to Mapun Island. Mapun is a remote municipality in the province of Tawi-Tawi, Philippines.Mapun (formerly Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi and Cagayan de Sulu) is a small island in Tawi-Tawi. The people inhabiting the island are known as Jama Mapun or “people of Mapun”. Their dialect is Pullun Mapun, which means “Mapun dialect”.

The Jama Mapun are friendly, peace-loving people. Majority of them are Muslims although there are some who are Catholics and Seventh Day Adventists. However, there is no tension between them because of the difference in their religion. In fact, they have been living in harmony for many years already.

Don’t have much photos for Mapun, the travel time going there is very very tiresome. 72 hours in Jolo Strait coming from Zamboanga. And the boat there goes only once a week. Chances are of going home back to Bongao if ever is… “Pray that the sea is calm. If there is a gigantic wave, most likely, you will wait for the next nice season to sail” 😉

Till next trip….