The best way to check places is through a habal habal.
I have contacted the Tourism Head that forwarded me to one of her staffs, Kuya Ben.
After checking in in Rachel's I met kuya Ben and began our trip. We fisrt had breakfast in one of the cafeteria and got Chicken Satey. We ordered two meals plus a mineral water and sode for a total bill of 100 pesos.
We pased through the market, chinese port, municipal hall and the port to sibuto. Headed straight to the Capitol building (which you can enter and go up to the rooftop for a better view). Passed through Sand Bar and Dan Mar resorts, the bridge that links Sang-Sanga and Bongao where you can take the best shot of Bud Bongao. We went to the port close to the Governor's residence and finally entered and met the officials in that place.
Was tired already so I decided to head back to the hotel and call that tour a day.
Note that if you wish to hike Bud Bongao, make sure to inform your guide before hand as this requires more time.
I have only seen them in textbooks, but never in reality. I have a vague notion of what their culture is, but never had the chance to speak with them. I know they are water-dwelling people, but Ive never been close to seeing their real homes.
The badjao people are simple folks trying to live their life amidst continous threats of extinction. With the current plague of modernization and rapid urbanization, the badjaos are driven too far away from the very waters they call home.
Their culture may be lost and forgotten as fast as how humans continue to destroy the enviornment. For to be able to continue living, the Badjaos must remain close to a clean water resource which is slowly too is being taken away by pollution and unmanaged waste disposal.
If ever you'll be in Tawi-Tawi, do get the chance to visit the badjao Village and personally get a chance to see history for real.
Local folks would often say, you never really went to Tawi-Tawi if you havent seen and conquered Bongao Peak. So, next time youre there, make sure you take a day off to go up the tallest point in the province.
Be sure to bring lots of bananas for the inhabitants of the mountain--the monkeys, lots of monkeys.
Rent a boat at the pier and go island hopping. The nearest islands are just minutes away and at every dock, the clear and pristine water tells you to take a dive and enjoy the colorful corals. Or just take a walk by the white sandy shore of the next island and look for that uniquely looking shell or any chip washed ashore that could be turned into a necklace pendant. Watch fishes swim and crabs crawl in the shallow water covered with mangroves. Be amazed by the local kids by their stilt houses show you off their diving skills. A tossed coin in the water as a prize would be easily and amazingly retrieved underwater by them.
P300 boat rental for 3 hours. The boat could accomodate 8persons at max.
Renting a boat to go island hopping, cluster of houses on stilts by the seashore is a typical sight. The predominantly Samal tribe/ethnic group of Tawi-tawi lives in these houses on stilts >> an affirmation of their culture that is closely linked to the sea.
Children playing by their houses bridge platforms and diving into the water is a common scene. A boat by the houses step ladder down to the sea is ready-to-go anytime just like the typical car in the garage.
The provincial capitol 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.
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.