"Tawi-tawi - Backdoor Gateway to Southeast Asia" Province of Tawi-Tawi by bike_packer

Province of Tawi-Tawi Travel Guide: 30 reviews and 135 photos

"Tawi" means "Far"

Poring out all over the big Philippine map every now and then when dreaming of a place to go, I consider Tawi-tawi as one of the places I like most to visit in the country yet the least possible to do so. So how come I did it? I was just an incidental tourist to this very lovely place. Me got some work installing generators/transformers to power up the island, and "Bingo", I didn't lose any time exploring the place. I wish, we could showcase the place minus the bad Peace & Order image. -lots and lots of tourism potential.

Dubbed as the backdoor gateway of the Philippines to the rest of Southeast Asia, Tawitawi is the farthest province of the Philippines down South. Ninety percent of the population are Muslims and the natives are of the stilt-houses dwellers confirming their deep attachments to the sea as their main source of livelihood.

The provincial capital of Bongao is the commercial center of the more than 300 islands that compose Tawi-tawi. The point of entry to the country when coming from Malaysia by boat, Bongao is just 4 hours away by fast passenger crafts to the Port of Sandakan in Malaysia. In comparison, Zamboanga City in mainland Mindanao is 8 hours away.

The peace and order problem in the Sulu archipelago is still the main deterrent in showcasing the place as a tourist "sun-sand-sea" destination.

Marine Paradise

How should I know? Taking a flight from Zamboanga City to Bongao, Tawi-tawi via an 18-seater low-flying plane gave me the best view up there to see the beauty of the islands, islets and shallow reefs of Sulu Archipelago.

About a quarter of the more than 300 islands are characterized by extensive reefs extending out to the sea. Exotic marine life and colorful corals make it a divers' haven. And it's no wonder, fresh fish catch is cheap >> fill your heart's (err.. tummy's) desire when it comes to seafood galore.

White Sand, Clear Water

White sand beaches on almost every island's coastline with coconut trees dominantly covering the islands vegetation suggest that this is the ideal tropical hideaway. And that's 300+ islands/islets to choose from. Take your pick.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Unspoiled white sand beaches and Colorful Marine Life.
  • Cons:Grim memories of tourists kidnappings.
  • In a nutshell:Less Explored means Nature exists at its Best!
  • Last visit to Province of Tawi-Tawi: Dec 2005
  • Intro Updated Oct 27, 2009
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Reviews (14)

Comments (11)

  • Dyesebel's Profile Photo
    Apr 30, 2007 at 2:33 PM

    Yes,Busuanga was truly a relaxing paradise;) Itong part Tawi tawi ang di ko yata marara ting kasi mainit pa din sila sa foreigner, di sa akin ha,sa husband ko;)

  • Mar 29, 2007 at 10:44 AM

    how much is the plane fare????

  • monina_c's Profile Photo
    Mar 23, 2007 at 2:35 AM

    :Dthis page reminded me of the time when my lolo's hometown boasted of the same scale boat building as Bongao! In a perfect world, this town will be swamped with visitors. Thanks for sharing.

  • goutammitra's Profile Photo
    Sep 25, 2006 at 6:16 PM

    Yes you are correct. But our beaches near Kolkata do not have clear blue water as the sea is shallow. South Indian and Goa beaches are fantastic! Yes they will loke them.

  • RobKSA's Profile Photo
    Sep 17, 2006 at 10:21 PM

    We lived in Jolo for a year. My dad was part of the group that constructed the Tawi Tawi airport. I agree the place is very nice if not for the uncertainty. We lived in Jolo during the 1974 "war" there, the reason we left. thx 4 sharing.

  • kiwi's Profile Photo
    Jul 17, 2006 at 2:17 AM

    Just returned and still enjoyed this page thanks. I particularly like the Sandbar Beach Resort and those Men in Black are funny :-)

  • joysweet's Profile Photo
    Jun 25, 2006 at 5:34 AM

    naku pano ba ko makakapunta dito ng makakauwi din ako ng buhay tulad ni jon? hehe

  • shintarojon's Profile Photo
    May 25, 2006 at 1:12 AM

    hindi ba delikado pumunta rito pati sa jolo, sulu? dapat ba may mga kasamang military?? gusto ko ring makaapak dito ng buhay

  • Onedragon's Profile Photo
    May 12, 2006 at 12:19 AM

    Men in Black..followed by Noah..or is it the other way.

  • daryll's Profile Photo
    Mar 20, 2006 at 9:25 AM

    Bongao is awesome place!


“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. -Ralph Waldo Emerson”

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