The island of Basilan interestingly has two major cities. There’s Isabela de Basilan, now the center of commerce and trade. Then there’s, Lamitan, the government seat of Basilan province. In 2017, the provincial capital was transferred from Isabela de Basilan to Lamitan City as it is formally part of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). In terms of tourism, one of the main highlight for a visit in this city is to learn more about the Yakan tribe, one of the first original inhabitants of the island of Basilan.
Go places where you least expect yourself to be. Basilan isn’t really on everybody’s bucket-list of travel destinations especially with the stigma attached to the province. But the pandemic has changed the way we travel. Why not go to places where you’ll see less tourist yet still enjoy equally wonderful attractions? Isabela de Basilan’s just got the right mix of natural wonders, variety of culture and plenty of halal goodness.
I experienced Basilan and it was a splendor of sumptuous seafood and flavorful halal dishes, uncrowded natural wonders and a melting pot of culture from people brimming with hope and promise. I think more than a decade a apart since my first visit was enough to see how Basilan has changed. I’m not here to erase the stigma that has attached to the province (as in with any other places) but to highlight the other side which not many people have seen yet. If you’re willing and have an open mind, a couple of cities in Basilan, namely Isabela de Basilan and Lamitan, are ripe and ready for tourism.
The City of Isabela, or Isabela de Basilan
the main capital of is an independent city in Basilan region. A city on a rise, thriving amidst the adversities. Now we look at the place as a war torn region filled with strife. True there’s disorder here, but isn’t it the same with any other place? Basilan somehow got the pounded with so much media hype it’s reputation got hammered down. Sad truth. But given the chance even a glance the people of Basilan welcomes visitors and are happy if you were brave enough to go there despite its reputation. So in my 401th (or is it ‘st?’) post (wow, didn’t notice that I already got past 400 until I saw my log), let’s take a look at some of the scenes in and around Isabela City.
I know a lot of people would ask, “Why the hell would you want to go to Basilan?” I mean, with all the bad publicity it’s getting because of the Abu Sayaff years back, the place had a negative notion of always being in a state of strife. I myself couldn’t believe stepping on this part of the country as it is the last place on my list. But since one of my travel buddy and fellow photography enthusiast wanted to visit this part of the region since he has seen most of the major areas in the Philippines, I thought, why not, so I tagged along with other 7 adventurous individuals and ventured where only the daring go.