Tawi-Tawi has a very rich nature and culture. It is a good tourist destination for its natural zoos – the mountains and forests – that are home to a variety of exotic fauna like wild cattle, wild hog, and white and brown monkeys.
Lying in the southern part of the Philippines, Tawi-Tawi is irregular in shape, with splashes of white sand beaches and rock-bound coasts. It is composed of ten municipalities and 107 islands and islets with a total land area of 462 square miles.
Tawi-Tawi takes pride in the province of Bongao for having one of the best tourist spots in the world.
What makes the province of Bongao a good tourist spot?
Local folks often say, “You've never really been to Tawi-Tawi if you haven’t seen and conquered Bongao Peak”. Because of its extraordinary shape and fascinating view, Bongao Peak became the best tourist spot in the province of Tawi-Tawi.
Bongao Peak is the highest peak in Tawi-Tawi. The mountain looks like an elephant or a turtle depending on which side you are looking from. Furthermore, it is heightened by its prominence in local history and folklore; it is said to be a burial place for a Muslim saint.
What is Bongao Peak?
Bud Bongao or simply Bud (Bongao Peak) is a majestic landmark that welcomes visitors to the Emerald Isles, officially known as Tawi-Tawi. Bongao rose from the bottom of the sea thousands of years ago in a great volcanic eruption that created the mainland Tawi-Tawi and other adjacent islands. This geological cataclysm not only created the enchanting Bud but also told the origin of the Sama people. This perhaps explains the intermittent eruption of violence in an otherwise very peaceful province.
Did you know?
The province of Bongao is a place of tolerance and peace. Muslims and Christians live side by side in peace and harmony. They are not bothered by their differences and respect their neighbors.
Another thing, the Bongao Peak is also an enchanting “mystique”. The Bud is deemed sacred as it is the abode of the spirits or “jinns”. People go up the peak to appease the spirits and the “jinns” that disturb the lives of the people in the valley. Muslims and Christians alike believe that the “jinns” that inhabit the Bud are intimately connected to the people who live below, as well as to the land and sea. It is this mystique or magic that makes the Bud a “holy mountain”.
Are you planning a tour for this gorgeous site?
Here is a simple instruction on how to get to the place. From Manila, take a plane to Zamboanga then take the Weesam Liner that will bring you Bongao, Tawi-Tawi.
Hiking up the Bongao Peak!
Climbing the highest peak in Tawi-Tawi is a great adventure for many mountaineers. The very breathtaking view of the sea compliments the magnificent mountain. Be sure to bring bananas because there are lots of monkeys in the area. They are more friendly if you give them food, right?
Reaching the peak and appreciate the beautiful view of the place is the highlight of the climb. The Bongao Island itself and the Sulu Sea, plus the vast expanse of waters that stretched all the way to Borneo, are really a fabulous sight to behold.
Bongao is really a hard place to find, like a treasure tucked somewhere faraway. But the experience of going here will leave a remarkable mark on your life. It is really one of the most memorable journeys that you will have – a reminder that hiking, traveling, and learning about the country can go hand in hand.
How to get there
There is no direct flight from Manila to Tawi-tawi, so you need to reach first the Zamboanga Airport from Manila by Cebu Pacific or AirphilExpress. It will take 1 - 2 hours travel time that approximately cost 2,500php – 3,500. From Zamboanga, you need to catch a flight going to Sanga – Sanga, Tawi – tawi which cost 1,500php – 2,300php. At the airport going to Bongao island takes 15-30 minutes ride in a tricycle.