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ZamBaSulTa: Mindanao’s Exciting Destination

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Though not formally a region or an official province group, ZamBaSulTa (an abbreviation of the places namely: Zamboanga City, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi) was just formed by travelers who saw the area’s potential as a leading tourist destination in Mindanao. As these places have a growing popularity by the day, it is as exciting as you may know it. Here is my personal take on how you can enjoy ZamBaSulTa.

Read also: Ugbo Street Food Crawl

ZamBaSulTa – Mindanao’s Next “Big Thing”

Zamboanga International Airport | Turista Boy

As one of the major island groups in the Philippines, Mindanao is a place full of mystery and culture. This melting pot of traditions is a good spot for travelers who want to explore outside Luzon. Mindanao itself is a place ready to be discovered. ZamBaSulTa, as people would call it, is a budding destination group stretching from the Zamboanga Peninsula to the Sulu Archipelago. This island group is becoming a popular tourist destination as you would be hitting 4 places with 1 go!

First, let us explore Zamboanga City.

Zamboanga City: Exploring Asia’s Latin City

R.T. Lim Boulevard Zamboanga City | Turista Boy

Zamboanga City, politically part of Zamboanga del Sur, is one of the biggest cities in Mindanao. Known for their colorful vinta boats and their Chavacano dialect, Asia’s Latin City is a surprise on its own. It has its own fair share of tourist attractions, whether man-made or natural. You cannot also skip their famous curacha and knickerbocker!

Read also: Zamboanga City: Exploring Asia’s Latin City

Vinta Boat Sta. Cruz Island Zamboanga City | Turista Boy

It is also one of the main gateways when exploring Mindanao and exploring the southern provinces in the area. The city also celebrates the Regatta de Zamboanga Festival and the famous Zamboanga Hermosa Festival. Oh, you cannot also miss seeing the sunset in Paseo del Mar! (Read more on the link above for more information!)

Visiting Basilan on a jiffy!

Basilan: Things to Explore in the Treasure Islands of the South

Lamitan City Tulip Garden Basilan | Turista Boy

Read also: Basilan: Things to Explore in the Treasure Islands of the South

Unknown to many, the island of Basilan is one of the emerging tourist destinations in Mindanao, politically part of the Bangsamoro Region, except Isabela City, this destination in ZamBaSulTa is full of hidden treasures like white sand beaches and delicious local delicacies!

Pahali White Beach Resort Malamawi Island Isabela City Basilan | Turista Boy

When I visited Basilan, I explored the cities of Isabela and Lamitan (1 hour apart by motorcycle). I explored the white sand beach of Malamawi Island, specifically in Pahali Resort and I also tried their local version of crispy pastil that was made and cooked in front of me!

Tabuk Crispy Pastil Isabela City Basilan | Turista Boy

In Lamitan City, I explored their Tulips Garden (made from thousands of recycled plastic) right in the middle of mahogany tree plantations and tried their local delicacies such as Panyalam and Lokot-Lokot. It was a short but sweet excursion and I need to go to Lampinigan Island when I come back!

Sulu: Things to Explore in BARMM’s Last Frontier

Bulangsi Beach Panamao Sulu | Turista Boy

Being one of the least visited provinces in the BARMM region, Sulu is actually a paradise ready to be discovered. As the majority of people have a notion that Sulu is an unsafe place to visit – I say otherwise. The province is full of tourist spots that are unspoiled as small numbers of tourists only ply here because of logistics.

Jolo Sulu Sunrise | Turista Boy

The fastest and most convenient way (as of writing) of going to Sulu is via the overnight ferry from Zamboanga Port. There are a lot of shipping lines going to and from Sulu at different time schedules. The most ideal schedule is 2000 H or 2100 H as you would be arriving in Jolo by 0600 – 0700 H. The overnight ferry ride is around 8 to 9 hours long, depending on sea conditions and load.

Tanduh Beach Parang Sulu | Turista Boy

Read also: Sulu: Things to Explore in BARMM’s Last Frontier

The province of Sulu is one of the best provinces I have visited so far in my personal quest for #Project82PH. There are numerous interesting things about this archipelago including their food! We tried numerous pastries namely: panggi-panggi, putli mandi, pitis, baulu, and apam.

Bangbang Sug Tanduh Beach Parang Sulu | Turista Boy

Bangbang Sug, Tanduh Beach, Parang, Sulu (L-R) Panggi-Panggi, Putli Mandi, Pitis, Bawlu, Apam

Tawi-Tawi: Exploring the Wonders of Undiscovered Mindanao

I Love Tawi-Tawi | Turista Boy

Tawi-Tawi is the southernmost province in the Philippines and in the ZamBaSulta group. This island province is also known to be a haven for sea turtles, seaweed farming and the southernmost settlement in the Philippines, including the “Venice of the South” – the municipality of Sitangkai.

Sitangkai Main Channel Tawi-Tawi | Turista Boy

One of the highlights in visiting Tawi-Tawi, too, is climbing Bud Bongao – the highest peak in the province and is considered to be the southernmost mountain in the Philippines, too. Tawi-Tawi is also blessed with white sand shores, specifically in Bihing Tahik Resort.

Sheikh Karimul Makhdum Mosque Simunul Tawi-Tawi | Turista Boy

You can also visit one of the nearest islands from Bongao, Simunul Island. Here, you can visit the very first Philippine Mosque in Barangay Tubig-Indangan, Sheik Karimul Makhdum Mosque. You can also visit one of the largest crocodiles in captivity near the Simunul Municipal Hall, in Papa Bull’s Park.

Boloboc (Bolobok) Cave Bongao Tawi-Tawi | Turista Boy

All in all, the unofficial region of ZamBaSulTa is a destination that can be enjoyed in one week (recommended)! These provinces have still a lot more to offer their visitors, especially when you learn more about their history and culture. It is a good, immersive experience to live with the locals within the region. If I were you, visiting ZamBaSulTa soon would not hurt and is a good experience on its own.

We’re born to travel!

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