Basilan is one of a system of 7,107 islands that make up the Philippine archipelago. Regionally, Basilan is the biggest and northernmost island of the Sulu Archipelago between the Philippine island of Mindanao and Borneo which includes about 400 islands. The island chain is one of two partial land bridges to Borneo and is an important migration route for birds. Basilan Strait.
Basilan’s nature beauty is pristine and unspoiled. From the quaint cities, towns and countryside to the majesty of waterfalls and the serenity of seashores. Most of the island consists of rugged or rolling forested uplands, with several volcanic peaks exceeding heights of 2,000 feet (600 metres). Short streams provide a roughly radial pattern of drainage. Since about 1900, lumber mills have operated in the tropical rainforest. The island’s gentle, rolling slopes and its valleys have fertile soils and are largely under plantation agriculture. Rubber, the primary crop, is processed on the plantations and sold to Manila factories.
Access to the island is usually through Zamboanga which lies 17 nautical miles. From there, a boat ride of 1 hour and 45 mins will take you to Isabela and Lamitan. Another fastest way to the location is by taking the “Fast Craft” which will only take about 45 minutes boat ride.
The climatic condition of Basilan is the same as other areas in the entire Zamboanga Peninsula. It is outside the typhoon belt. March to May is hot and dry while June to October is rainy. The temperature in the province ranges from 22 degress to 28 degress Celsius.
Basilan has a population that is 27% Christian about 90% of whom is Roman Catholic and 71% Muslim. A majority of Basilan’s Muslim population are concentrated mostly in the island’s southern slopes while the Christians reside mostly in the urban centers of Isabela and Lamitan where they constitute a majority. There has been some conflict in the past being so isolated check the situation, apart from that Basilan has some nice attractions and friendly people.
TIPS AND REMINDERS
1. Check the situation in Basilan before going there.
2. Have someone to host you so it would be easy to tour around.
3. Do not attract attention.
4. For day tours, be early in Zamboanga port to take the 1st ferry so you will have more time to explore the island.
Here I’ve listed some attractions to visit.
– Kumalarang River
– Tabiawan and Busay Waterfalls
– Balagtasan Waterfalls
– Sumagdang Beach
– Malamawi Island
– Alano White Beach Resort
– Sunrise/Lanote Resort Row
– Bulingan Falls
– Matagan beach paradise
– Calugusan Beach
– Palm Beach
Churches and Religious Shrines
– Datu Kalun Shrine
– Museo ng Lamitan
– Basilan Provincial Capitol
– Isabela City Plaza (formerly Plaza Misericordia)/Plaza Rizal