If you have ever seen Christian Bautista’s music video “Masusulan Tawi-tawi” and wondered where that picturesque beach was where most of the budding romance scenes from the video were shot? Look no further than in Pahut, Bongao in Tawi-tawi. This is the famous Dr Ibbo’s Beach now known as Almari Beach Resort. The landmark mangrove tree, the white beach, clear sea waters, peaceful garden and native cottages makes this a local favorite in Tawi-tawi.
Out of Town Escape
Almari Beach Resort is quite away from the action of the Bongao poblacion. Tricycle ride would cost about Php 50. It is a lot closer to the Sanga-sanga bridge, MSU and the airport. I thought this remoteness is one of its selling charms. Yes, it’s away from the establishments but those looking for a quiet place to stay by the beach, this place is worth it. The resort is also secured by a wall and gate so don’t expect any intrusion here. Outside guest could come in and enjoy the beach and garden for a minimal Php 10 and a cottage rental.
Great Value Resort
There are about 10 rooms if I’m not mistaken and most of them are spacious with a choice of Twin Beds or a Queen Sized bed for only Php 1000 from the time of my visit. It is ariconditioned and has basic channels on their TV. Bathroom is of good size and clean. Water pressure is also strong. It’s always a plus for me when rooms have their own table and chair I can work on. And outside he has this neat circular table with pull out chairs like pizza pieces and just enjoy the outside breeze. Dr Ibbo himself designed the place and do his own furnitures since he also have a wood furniture business. The resort also have a conference area.
For those worried about food since the place is away from town, they have a dining area and food ala carte or meal combos are quite cheap. Usually ranging from Php 60–100 per meal. And if there’s seafood around (and they got plenty) you can request for it as well.
Dr Ibbo’s Beach
Locals know the place more as Dr Ibbo’s beach not as Almari Beach Resort so if you ride a tricycle do say Dr Ibbo’s beach. It’s only a short stretch since Dr Ibbo secured his perimeter which I found good to avoid the nearby trash in the area or for any unwanted guest. The beach is a mix of sand and crushed coral but white still. And as in any beach in Tawi-tawi, the water is ridiculously clear. Low tide in the afternoon can get really low as I had to walk meters to get a good depth. So mornings are best time to swim when the tide is high. There’s a picturesque mangrove as well which he secured with coral rocks. I heard sunsets here are awesome, too bad though the weather wasn’t that good that time. But looking behind me is a beautiful backdrop of Bud Bongao, Tawi-tawi.
I really enjoyed my stay at Alamari Beach Resort. Aside from the good value facilities, nice stretch of beach, security and its beautiful garden, it was Dr Ibbo’s staff and family’s hospitality made me feel a lot more welcome. It’s like being a guest at someone’s home.
Almari Beach Resort (Dr Ibbo’s Beach)
Pahut, Bongao, Tawi-tawi
Contact: 0926.783.7000, 0926.427.9843
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.