Basilan is an island province of the Philippines in Mindanao, just off the southern coast of the Zamboanga Peninsula. Basilan is the biggest and northernmost among the major islands of the Sulu Archipelago.
Basilan has a variety of natural tourist spots that dot the island's pristine beaches and cool inland resorts; it has a peninsula point called Punta Matangal in Tuburan that offers a haven for surfers, very similar to those at the north shores of Hawaii. Basilan has gradually evolved into a charming, even surprisingly hospitable place where you could relax and enjoy a laid back, stress-free vacation, but the danger from rebels and pirates persists; it is badly affected by the Moro insurgency, and bombings on civilians and kidnapping of tourists pose risks.
There are three main ethnic groups; the Yakans and Tausugs are predominantly Muslim, while Chavacanos are primarily Christian. The lingua franca is Chavacano, a Spanish creole dialect, understood by more than 80% of the population. Tagalog/Filipino and English are also widely spoken and understood.
- Hja. Gigi Carama-Junudi, Basilan Provincial Tourism Officer, Provincial Capitol Building, Isabela City, Basilan.
- Jayson Tubil, Isabela City Tourism Officer, Isabela City Hall Complex, Isabela City, Basilan.
- Pilar Raga, Guest Liaison Officer, "Isabela City Pasalubong Center", Basilan Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Inc., J. S. Alano Bldg., J. S. Alano St., Isabela City, Basilan.
Access to the island province is usually through Zamboanga which lies 31 km (17 nautical miles) (narrowest point of the Basilan Strait) due north. From there, a boat ride of 1 hour and 45 mins (for conventional passenger ferries), will take you to Isabela and Lamitan. The fare ranges from ₱20 (student and senior citizen's discounted fare on some conventional ferries) to ₱70 (first-class w/ aircon).
Another fastest way to the location is by taking the "Fast Craft" which will only take about 45 minutes boat ride.
- Isabela-Zamboanga-Isabela Route (1 hr, 30 min)
- Lamitan-Zamboanga-Lamitan Route (1 hr, 30 min)
- Maluso-Jolo-Maluso Route (6 hours)
|M/V Stephanie Marie||Isabela||Zamboanga||6:45AM, 12:45PM|
|M/V Stephanie Marie||Zamboanga||Isabela||9:45AM, 3:45PM|
|M/V Ever Sweet||Isabela||Zamboanga||9:30AM, 3:30PM|
|M/V Ever Sweet||Zamboanga||Isabela||6:30AM, 12:30PM|
|M/V Estrella del Mar||Isabela||Zamboanga||10AM, 4PM|
|M/V Ever Sweet||Zamboanga||Isabela||7AM, 1PM|
|M/V Princess Nicole||Isabela||Zamboanga||6:50AM, 12:50PM|
|M/V Princess Nicole||Isabela||Zamboanga||9:50AM / 3:50PM|
|M/V Trisha Kerstin||Lamitan||Zamboanga||7AM|
|M/V Trisha Kerstin||Zamboanga||Lamitan||3PM|
Basilan joined the "Western Philippine Nautical Highway" through the construction of 3 new Roll-On-Roll-Off ("Ro-ro") ports located in the cities of Isabela and Lamitan, and in Port Holland, Maluso. A regular four door sedan is charged ₱2500 per trip, a van/light truck ₱3500, while bigger trucks/heavy equipment may go up to ₱5000 per trip.
Basilan is served by several light plane landing fields located in Isabela (2), Lamitan (1), Maluso (1), Lantawan (1) and Sumisip (1), all of which were constructed and maintained by the multi-national plantations and have since been turned over to the Farmer Beneficiary Cooperatives.
The lingua franca is Chavacano, a Spanish creole language, understood by more than 80% of the population. Tagalog/Filipino, English and Visaya are also widely spoken and understood. Native Yakans and Tausugs have their own language which consist of 80% of the population in the island.
- 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
- St. Peter's Parish Church
- Monte Santo
- Chapel of Peace
- Santa Isabel Cathedral
- Monte Santo Shrine
- Kaum Purnah Mosque
- Datu Kalun Shrine
- Museo ng Lamitan
- Basilan Provincial Capitol
- Isabela City Plaza (formerly Plaza Misericordia)/Plaza Rizal
- Araw ng Basilan
- Lami-Lamihan Festival
- Cocowayan Festival
- Fiesta Santa Isabel
- Semana Santa (Holy Week) - March/April (movable)
- Flores de Mayo
- Fonda de Barangay or Fiestas del Barangay
- Pascua (Christmas)
- Isra Wal Miraj
- Eid al-Fitr/Hari Raya Puasa - (movable)
- Chinese New Year
A definite recommended "buy" would be the intricate Yakan weaves, trinkets and souvenir items usually made of woven material and hammered brass/bronze pieces, with colorful beads and hand-painted wooden bangles, rings, and handcrafted Yakan bags, table-runners, wall-decor, etc. Be sure to visit the Isabela City Pasalubong Center for authentic Yakan craft (1/F, J. S. Alano Zenith Bldg., J. S. Alano St.). Since you're already in Basilan, don't miss out on the "Basilan Brew" coffee available in nearby Lamitan town (only 45 minutes from Isabela City). A number of retail establishments may likewise be visited before 6PM (traditional closing time).
Sumptuous local delicacies may likewise be sampled. Not to be missed are hearty Muslim dishes such as:
- tyula itum
- pianggang manok
Certain Yakan festivities likewise prepare a pyramidal dullang with the delectable mountain rice sappul.
A number of hotels, resorts and hostels dot the City of Isabela.
- The Farmland Resort (Lanote),
- Anson's Hotel (Sumagdang),
- Hotel Royal Issra (Marketsite),
- Casa Rosario (Port Area),
- Basilan Hostel (Eastside),
- Buwalan Beach Resort (Sumagdang),
- ISAWAD Pool Resort (Cabunbata),
- Basilan Hotel (Isabela Proper),
- Grino House (Menzi).
- Sofia Hotel (Port Area).