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Feel the Beautiful Province of Basilan

Basilan Province Seascape

The Province of Basilan is an island province of the Philippines within the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Basilan is the largest and northernmost of the major islands of the Sulu Archipelago and is located just off the southern coast of Zamboanga Peninsula. Its capital, Isabela City, is administered as part of the Zamboanga Peninsula Region.

Basilan is home to three main ethnic groups, the indigenous Yakans, and the later-arriving Tausugs and Zamboangueño. The Yakans and Tausugs are predominantly Muslim, while the Zamboangueño are mainly Christian. There are also a number of smaller groups. Although the official language is Filipino and English, the major language is Yakan, but other languages are well represented, including Tausug, Samal, and Zamboangueño.


There are various attractions. Architectural landmarks include the Santa Isabel Cathedral, the Calvario Peak, on which the Chapel of Peace stands, and the Kaum Purnah Mosque. Natural attractions include the lake in the Panigayan fishing village, Sumagdang Beach and the waterfalls of the Kumalarang River. Various cultures can be visited, such as the Badjao, the Yakan, and the Muslim communities. Basilan takes role in the growing tourism in the Philippines with its enchanting beauty.

Natural Attractions

  • Malamawi Island
  • Kumalarang River
  • Tabiawan and Busay Waterfalls
  • Balagtasan Waterfalls
  • Sumagdang Beach
  • Alano White Beach Resort
  • Sunrise/Lanote Resort Row
  • Bulingan Falls
  • Matagan beach paradise

Religous Sites and Shrines

  • Chapel of Peace, Calvario Peak, Isabela City, perched 400 metres (1,300 ft) above sea level and 15 minutes from the town proper.
  • Santa Isabel Cathedral, Isabela City, an art deco cathedral with a mosaic altar reminiscent of Roman-Byzantine cathedrals, named in honor of the patron saint of Isabela.
  • Monte Santo Shrine, atop Mt. Ubit in Lamitan City, is a pilgrimage site for devout Catholics who visit the shrine for the traditional "13 Stations" during Holy Week.
  • Kaum Purnah Mosque, Isabela City, an old and imposing mosque, the sight of which greets visitors on ferries as they sail the channel into Isabela.

Historical Places

  • Datu Kalun Shrine, Lamitan. Built as a tribute to a famous Yakan leader, it is a triangular park located in the heart of Lamitan City's bustling downtown.
  • Museo ng Lamitan, which showcases the Lami-lamihan Festival. It also serves as the information center for Lamitan City.
  • Basilan Provincial Capitol, site of Fort Isabela II. The original fort was bombed and destroyed towards the end of World War II, having been used by the occupying Japanese forces as a munitions dump. A newer Capitol Building was built on the spot where the old Basilan City Hall stood after it was burned in the early 1990s. The new building is a celebration of Muslim and Christian influences which shaped modern-day Basilan, and still occupies the highest point of the city proper.
  • Isabela City Plaza (formerly Plaza Misericordia) /Plaza Rizal. The twin plazas of the city have remained at the very center of Basilan's socio-political scene to this very day.

Where to stay

  • The Farmland Resort  - Lanote, Isabela City, Basilan
  • Anson's Hotel - Sumagdang, Isabela City, Basilan
  • Hotel Royal Issra - Marketsite, Isabela City, Basilan
  • Casa Rosario - Port Area, Isabela City, Basilan
  • Basilan Hostel - Eastside, Isabela City, Basilan
  • Buwalan Beach Resort - Sumagdang, Isabela City, Basilan
  • ISAWAD Pool Resort - Cabunbata, Isabela City, Basilan
  • Basilan Hotel - Isabela Proper, Isabela City, Basilan
  • Grino House - Menzi, Isabela City, Basilan

How to get there

Zamboanga City is the main gateway to Basilan Island which lies 17 nautical miles (narrowest point of the Basilan Strait) due north. If you’re from Manila or Cebu, take a flight to Zamboanga City then take a jeepney bound for Canelar and walk towards the port.

From there, a boat ride of 1 hour and 45 mins (for conventional passenger ferries), or 1 hour (for a fast craft), will take you to Isabela and Lamitan. There are discounts to the fare for student and senior citizen.

  • Isabela-Zamboanga-Isabela Route (1 hr, 30 mins)
  • Lamitan-Zamboanga-Lamitan Route (1 hr, 30 mins)
  • Maluso-Jolo-Maluso Route (6 hours)