When in Tawi-Tawi – 2016.10

My next Mindanao destination after Zamboanga City. Stayed here overnight only. It was very limited. Haven’t checked all the places but it’s one of the places I’d like to go back to.

During my researched I found out that Tawi-Tawi’s an expensive place to be so I searched over my fb groups if there are individuals going the same dates as ours. Luckily I found one and we chatted over messenger. He mentioned that his friend was going too. I was bit ecstatic to found out that there’ll  be other people going to the same place and dates as I am to lessen our expenses. But then during our conversation he mentioned he might not push through with it, I was kind of sad a bit. Oh well who am I to stop him from not going? Wooh! Few days, he confirmed it that he won’t be going and that his other friend will go. He mentioned my name to his friend and then we exchanged a few chats from there.

His flight to Tawi-Tawi’s a day earlier than ours so we compromise something that we’ll do together once we arrived there however that didn’t actually happened. 😦

After a tiring night, woke up very early to catch my flight going to Tawi-Tawi. I arrived at the airport too early for our flight so stopped by at a store.

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I checked in then paid the terminal fee and waited at the departure area until flight will be called.

At exactly 6 in the morning the plane departed for my next destination: Tawi-Tawi, yeyyy! 😀

An hour or so, I safely arrived in our destination. There was quite a crowd outside the airport, little did I know the Commissioner of Customs was there… same flight as mine. Woooh!

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Anyway, I hurriedly went to the police officers asking them about where’s the DOT Tawi Tawi located however with the new government there was none at the moment so asked their assistance instead. One of the police officer (SPO4 Garces) referred Ate Sidang (she’s quite familiar to all bloggers who visited the place already).

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At first I was thinking to stay overnight at Sandbar Lepa and Restaurant with all the reviews given and the pictures in Google it’s very relaxing however as Ate Sidang came and talked about one of her guest (Curlette) that will be staying in her house I immediately asked her if she can adopt me too since I’m only going to stay for a night and to lessen our expenses as well. Gladly she welcome me in her home, so I saved a few bucks. 😀

I met her guest who was my seatmate on the airplane. Ate Sidang served us breakfast which was generous of her and we talked of our plans for the day. I contacted Jay also, the solo traveler referred by another traveler whom I chatted on facebook. Asked about his whereabouts and his plans for the day however the island we were planning to visit was kind of expensive and well eat up our stay so we decided to meet up later afternoon instead and decided to maximize the time we had left. Ate Sidang toured us three around Tawi-Tawi.

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Our first activity for the day was going to Simunul Island and visit the 1st mosque in the Philippines. We hired a boat, upon seeing it it’s just a canoe w/ engine, I was thinking the island’s just nearby like 10-15 minutes away from Bongao however I was wrong. It took us almost an hour to reached Simunul Island. Woooh quite scary at first especially when the boat stopped and we don’t have any life vests on. HAHAHA but where’s the fun in it if the boat we used was a big one right?

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When we arrived there the Commissioner was there too, we took our chances and got ourselves a photo with him. Who knew when we would meet him again. HAHA after Simunul Island we stopped by at Sangay Syapu. It’s an island 10-15 minutes away from Simunul Island. As Ate Sidang mentioned, the island would shrink and vanish soon as sand selling’s quite a hype there. Smugglers worked their way all day even if it was too hot just to fill those sacks. Hopefully our government will do something about this T_T 😥 </3

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After admiring the beauty of the island, our boatmen dropped us at Badjao Village. After the very adventurous ride another adventure awaits us. We had to climb from our boat above. HAHAHA scary? Not really it’s just that IDK how to say it, it may offend others anyway.. FB_IMG_1471960699420.jpgUGH. If we fall upon climbing then the water will catch us with all those wastes coming from the houses nearby. So you know what I mean already why I’m scared to fall. 😦 but who says I’ll back out? 🙂

After walking the scary path passing from one house to the other for a good hour we stopped by at a restaurant for lunch but before it we passed by the mall and bought souvenirs. Waited for almost an hour for our food to be served and divulged on it. DELICIOUSO I said but it’s quite pricey! ^_^

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Hired a tricycle to bring us to the municipal hall but we stopped 1st at the market to buy bananas for the monkeys. Dropped by at a souvenir shop again to buy few things before moving to the municipal hall – we took some photos before proceeding to Bud Bongao.

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Hiking to Bud Bongao’s a bit difficult since the trail’s cemented already. I’m not against it but this could do harm to nature 😦 </3 exhausted from walking, almost gave up. ALMOST ONLY. lol. Met a troop of monkeys along the way and feed them the bananas we brought.

Phew, as Ate Sidang or any local from Tawi Tawi would say: you’ve never been to Tawi-Tawi if you haven’t climb the Bongao peak. Yes! I survived Bongao Peak, literally speaking.

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After the tiring visit to Bongao Peak we stopped by at a store and took a quick snacks (c/o Ate Sidang) and off we went to another mosque, the smallest mosque (personal mosque).

We head back to Ate Sidang’s place, stopped by at the market to buy food for dinner. Communicated with Jay and decided that he’d stopped by at Ate Sedang’s place. Early evening Jay stopped by at Ate sidang’s with his newly found friends. We talked about his trip and ours as well. We exchanged few stories and future travel plans. Hopefully will be able to do it. ^_^

A little later rain poured down heavily plus thunderstorms all over. Electricity was out. Rain didn’t stopped so Jay and friends excused themselves and head to his friend’s house for the night.

We didn’t wait for the electricity to come back, we ate our dinner and went to sleep. Next day, there was still no electricity and our gadgets batteries died down as well… no time to do online check in so we went to the airport since it was just a walking distance from Ate Sidang’s place and had our flights checked in. It took longer since the airport lacks power also, what we did we advised the person at the window that will just come back for our boarding passes later and went back to Ate Sidang’s place for bath and breakfast.

It was rainy day there. We  met Jay at the airport, talked and took some photos before we board to the plane back to Zamboanga. 🙂


0630 – ETD Tawi Tawi
0710 – ETA Sanga-Sanga Airport (Tawi Tawi)
0900 – ETD Simunul Island
1000 – ETA Simunul Island (1st mosque in the Philippines located)
1100 – ETD Sangay Syapu
1130 – ETA Sangay Syapu
1200 – ETD Bongao
1250 – ETA Badjao Village
1330 – Lunch at Mardo’s
– Public MArket
– Municipal Hall
– Souvenir Shop
1545 – ETD Bud Bongao
1735 – Jump off BudBongao
1755 – Brgy Simandagit (small mosque/ personal mosque)
– Sandbar Lepa and Restaurant
– Sanga-Sanga public market
1900 – ETA Ate Sidang’s house
2100 – Rest/ Sleep



Destination Vehicle type Description Fare Divide # of persons Total for 2 persons
RT Airfare Zamboanga-Tawi Tawi (partner) airplane 599 promo sale 1 way (cebpac) 1,198 1  PHP  1,198.00
RT Airfare Zamboanga-Tawi Tawi (mine) airplane Free c/o CebGo points; Web Admin Fee Only 300 1  PHP     300.00
Island tour (Simunul and Isalnd Syapu) boat (canoe w/ motor) special 3,000 3  PHP  2,000.00
Land tour (town to Bongao peak) tricycle special 200 3  PHP     133.00
2nd land tour (Bongao peak > Mosque > Sandbar Lepa > Sanga-Sanga tricycle special 200 3  PHP     133.00


Name of Accommodation Description Rate # of persons  Total
Ate Sidang’s place FREE 0 2  PHP             –


Restaurant’s Name Location Price Divide # of Individuals  Total
Mardo’s town 1,200 3  PHP     800.00
town 100/plastic 3  PHP       67.00
Sanga-Sanga public market 150 3  PHP     100.00


Kind Location Price Quantity  Total Bargain Price
Ref Magnet Town mall 50 5 pcs  PHP  220.00
Key  chains souvenir shop 35 6 pcs  PHP  150.00
tshirt souvenir shop 250 2 pcs  PHP  450.00


Description Kind Price # of persons Total
Zamboanga-Tawi Tawi Terminal Fee 150 2  PHP  300.00
Tawi Tawi-Zamboanga Terminal Fee 60 2  PHP  120.00


  1. SPO4 Garces +639068578310 (he can assist you, just let him know I refer you guys to him)
  2. Kuya Joel Baluan (tricycle driver) +639161763431 – he can assist you with the tours just like Ate Sidang
  3. Ate Sidang – I don’t have her number but she’s quite known there so easy to track down


  1. Tawi Tawi is a very tiny island when you look at our map however it’s not tiny as it seems in reality. You cannot roam around whole Tawi Tawi islands/islets for a day, 4-7 days will be good to spend there.
  2. It’s not composed of Muslim majorly however please wear appropriate clothes, don’t forget to bring pants for you to wear when visiting mosques.
  3. Don’t forget to bring extra batteries for your gadgets and powerbanks as well.
  4. Gasoline rate is quite high in there so hiring a boat will cost you much especially if you’re a solo traveler and has only limited days to stay there so bring enough cash with you.
  5. Not all from Tawi-Tawi can understand Tagalog but you can ask help from airport personnel once you arrived so they can assist you with your tours.

Hopefully this travel of ours will inspire you to go to Tawi Tawi or Mindanao even and not be afraid. Happy traveling wanderers. Safe travels! ♥









3 thoughts on “When in Tawi-Tawi – 2016.10

    1. Hi Ann, thank you. 😊 never thought its heaven as well until i went there and see it for myself. My time there was too limited. Huhu so many beauty around your place, you should see them for yourself. 😉❤


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