Zamboanga City & Tawi-Tawi Backpacking Tour (Part 4 of 4)
Bongao. The economic capital of Tawi-Tawi, the southernmost province of the Philippines is one of my favorite destinations in the country deserves a photo essay on my blog.
Here are some of my fave shots during my two visits there:
Bongao Island (Bud Bongao can easily be located) is sandwiched by Sapa-Sapa municipality (where the airport runway is) and Simunul island (far off). Bongao is connected to Sapa-Sapa by a steel bridge. Shot taken from Cebu Pacific Plane, I was seated on 2F.
The newly-built Bongao Municipal Hall along Datu Halun Street by sunset. See the street art and the colorful tricycle?
What I love about Bongao, Tawi-Tawi is its color- vibrant and alive, bustling with life from the colors of their public utility tricycles to the color of their clothes. This is Datu Halun St.- the busiest street in Bongao. Its like EDSA in Manila.
The street as viewed from the motorbike (habal-habal) I hired. Motorbikes and tricycles are the main mode of transportation in town. Fare starts at Php8 and up depending on your destination.
Densely populated, Bongao has the most population among the 11 municipalities of Tawi-Tawi. Here you can see the architectural designs of the roofs (torogan-inspired) and of course the minaret of a Masjid.
A dried ray being vended along Chinese Pier. The Sulu sea is rich in marine life and its a common sight to see marine products such as this dried ray. Some also sell lobsters, curacha, crabs and even turtle’s eggs at a cheap price.
Re-packed commodities. This shows that locals can only afford what they need for the day. A 2-peso sugar or vinegar; a 5-peso bag of onions, garlic and tomatoes for ginisa, a peso seasoning and the list goes on.
Street foods anyone? Unlike the common turo-turo style of carinderias in Manila, Bongao display their foods on an open table. Get what you want, pay and off you go. Your 20-peso would go a long way here.
Murtabak. A stuffed pancake or pan-fried cake that originated in Saudi Arabia is available here. This out-side food stall is part of the Malaysian Food restaurant where you can also order Malaysian foods.
Tiyula Itum. A Tausug original, the closest taste of it is our “Nilagang Baka” but this one is tastier because of the presence of burnt coconut. And that gingery taste and oily goodness- too die for.
An adult Brahminy Kite soars at Bongao Pier. Raptors fly freely over Bongao town possibly because of the presence of their food- fish among the waters of Bongao. I have seen atleast 5 resident kites and unidentified eagles when I came last 2012 and 2013.
Megabats. Also called fruit bats or flying foxes, these megabats can easily be seen on two huge trees along the road going to the governor’s residence.
Long-tailed Macaques praying while eating banana. Halfway of climbing Bud Bongao, tribes of long-tailed macaques would welcome visitors. Some give them bananas and they are trained to wait for people to throw them food. Here’s a mother and child. Cute?
Happy to re-visit the Taj Majal-inspired Provincial Capitol of Tawi-Tawi. This capitol building is perched on a hill overlooking the vast Sulu sea and the rest of the town on Bongao including nearby islands of Simunul and Bato-Bato.
Another view of the iconic Bud Bongao, from a reclaimed area near the Governor’s residence.
Waiting for the sun to set on Bud Bongao’s peak. What a better way to enjoy the Bongao right?
All photos are mine, please ask for permission if you are going to use any of those. Thanks!
Zamboanga City & Tawi-Tawi Series:
More blogs about Tawi-Tawi?
- Bongao, Tawi-Tawi Quickie
- Panampangan Island: Tawi-Tawi’s Finest White Beach
- Local Breakfast in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi
How to get to Tawi-Tawi?
There is no direct flight from Manila to Tawi-Tawi. The easiest way is to book a Cebu Pacific flight to Tawi-Tawi from Zamboanga City. Cebu Pacific Air flies to Tawi-Tawi 4x a week.
For bookings and inquiries, go to www.cebupacificair.com or call (02)7020-888. The latest seat sales and promos can be found on Cebu Pacific Air’s official Twitter (@CebuPacificAir) and Facebook pages (/cebupacificair).