Basilan - En Route to Isabela City

A week before I went to Basilan, a bomb exploded in a restaurant in downtown Isabela City and left two persons dead and at least 15 others wounded. I was advised by my friends not to push through with my plan, but I didn't mind them. I didn't even bother to tell my family as I don't want them to worry too much. I must admit, I'm a bit scared, but that didn't hinder me in pursuing my goal - to set foot in Basilan.

The Province of Basilan is an island province under the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), while its capital, Isabela City, is administered as part of the Zamboanga Peninsula Region. It is the largest island and located at the northernmost part of the major islands of the Sulu Archipelago. Situated just off the southern coast of Zamboanga Peninsula, Zamboanga City is the major gateway to the island.

where is Basilan?

The moment the plane landed in Zamboanga City, I felt something unexplainable. Maybe I'm getting scared as to what will happen. Anyway, I took a deep breath and tried to calm down. I told myself, "everything will be fine", "I can do this!". Hehehe!

I looked for a place to stay in the city and settled my things. Had a quick breakfast and went straight to Zamboanga City port.

Zamboanga City Passenger Terminal

There are a number of ferry boats and fast crafts that service the Zamboanga City-Isabela and Lamitan City routes, I chose Weesam Express as it is the most convenient and fastest way of getting there.

Trucks @ the port

waiting for the RORO

Since I missed the 1st trip at 6:45 AM bound for Isabela City, I bought a ticket scheduled for 9:30 AM and waited at the port. Fare is 140 pesos.

Weesam ticket bound for Basilan

The security at the port is tight, military and police visibility is very evident. After I have boarded, it still took us about 30 minutes before we were able to sail. Security checks has to be done.

Military vehicle

Port Police

Military inspection...

Ferry boat

View from the fast craft

At around 10:00 AM, we left Zamboanga City port.

Taken from my seat

Leaving Zamboanga City port

FB Status: Now on board Weesam Express going to Basilan...
July 2 at 9:54am via Mobile Web

Enjoying the ride...

I was in constant communication thru text with my host, Ludwig, the brother of a blogger-friend, Dong Ho. He will be my guide in Basilan. Although I haven't met him (or them) personally, I somehow felt secured now because I know someone will take care of me for the rest of my visit.

Other passengers...

I just enjoyed the ride staring at the beautiful scenery as the ferry traverses the Basilan straight. Unfortunately, as we go nearer the island of Basilan, the weather turned bad. It was raining hard. Haizt!


Huge dark clouds...

from the side of the ferry...

enjoying the fresh air...

dark clouds hovering Basilan Island...

After about an hour, I finally reached Basilan.

before going down the fast craft...

a peek of Basilan

Lamitan City's Mayor (in blue) is with us...


The busy Isabela City port...

FB Status: Just arrived in Basilan..
July 2 at 10:44am via Mobile Web

Welcome to Basilan!

Many thanks to Dom, Ludwig and to the whole family for accommodating and taking good care of me. Gracias!

This is my entry to the Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival for December 2011 with the theme "Travel is the destination" hosted by Kara Santos of Travel Up.

How about you? What's the most memorable journey have you taken as a traveler?

My Basilan trip is one of the most "nerve-wracking" journeys I've had so far. Known as one of the most dangerous provinces in the Philippines, I bravely set foot on this island province last July 2, 2011. This series narrates the experiences I had in pursuing with my goal of setting foot in Basilan, definitely a one hell of an adventure! To date, this is my 5th solo trip and the 29th province on my list.
Maps By: Wikipedia

This post was updated last 12/04/2011 as an entry to the Pinoy Travel Bloggers' Blog Carnival for December 2011.


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  1. Grabe! One brave soul. Hey. Nice shirt by the way. :)

  2. @Mark Joseph Delgado 吴占鳌 - thanks a lot Mark... I also love your shirt design... :)

  3. i'm going here one day... i'll bookmark this :)

  4. One of my dream destinations! Kudos Mervs! Someday mapupuntahan ko din ito :)

  5. @byaheng barok - Thanks a lot po... hope to read your posts on Basilan soon! :)

  6. @Angel - Thank you Angel! you know who you'll contact when you plan to go there... i know Dom will also be glad to assist you...! :)

  7. @♥ joei - it was scary, yet very fulfilling one... thanks joei! :)

  8. kelangan talaga magupgrade ng mga barko haha

  9. Basilan mararating din kita... :)

    btw love your adventurista shirt... baka mag sample ks..hahaha

  10. @porknvince - ahahah! sanay ka dyan, lagi ka sumasakay sa ganyan eh... but this one is smaller that what you have there in Marinduque... hehehe!!! thanks Vince! :)

  11. @nathalie - hope to read your posts on Basilan pag nagpunta ka na...

    Thanks Nathalie, I'll send you one on your birthday... hehehe! :)

  12. what a brave soul. i always wanted to go to this region (especially tawi-tawi) but my friends and relatives back home do not recommend it.

  13. I don't think I will ever have the guts to do what you have just done, although Tawi-Tawi and Jolo is still in my bucket list. Thanks to you and others for sharing... at least I have already been there vicariously through you eyes.

  14. @mike - it's relatively safe place... isolated nalang naman ang mga bombings dun ngayun... hehehe! thanks po! :)

  15. @Jenn - based on what i've read, Basilan is much more peaceful than Sulu... Tawi tawi is safe and peaceful naman... hehehe! thanks Jenn! :)

  16. Anlakas ng loob mo sir. Idol! Maganda nga ang Basilan based sa mga post ni Dong Ho. Pass muna ako siguro dito.hehe

  17. Tama ka mervz. Isolated lang talaga ang bombings. Galing mo pre. Tapang mo.:-).

  18. scary! and wow you are so tapang! :D

  19. nagawi ka na ng Surigao? kung di pa... aabangan ko ang pagpunta mo doon. :)

  20. Astig ka pre! Two thumbs up. Dahil sa iyo nagkalakas loob na ako pumunta ng Basilan. :)

  21. Basilan is a beautiful place. I have been there for a number of times, pero work-related. No time to go out and be a turista, and our hosts does not like us to move around unaccompanied. try Jolo, too!

  22. gusto ko rin sana pumunta haha. I am from MIndanao and that is one of the three places I never had been to but wants to go there.

    Brave ka talaga! haha.

  23. @killrfillr - yan nga ang advice sa akin ng iba pang kakilala ko na nagpunta na ng Basilan, basta daw lakasan ko lang ang loob ko... and Dong Ho and his family were really a big help, if it wasn't because of them would not dare to go there... :)

  24. @Bonzenti [Con Tour] - it happens lang talaga sometimes, unlike before... so it's really the perfect time to go there... thanks po! :)

  25. @empi - not yet po... maybe soon! i wanna try surfing in Siargao! thanks Empi! :)

  26. @Jovial Wanderer - welcome po... hope it will help you when you go to Basilan soon! :)

  27. @Josiah - yeah, kaya yan! lakasan mo lang loob mo... Thanks Josiah! :)

  28. @Ding - i would love to visit Jolo Sulu as well if i have a host there... invite me if babalik ka... :)

  29. mas nkkatakot p punta sa manila kesa basilan

  30. basilan is in my list next year... crossing my fingers.

  31. Thanks for the useful tips you shared on how to get to Basilan. It sounds like an exciting trip! :) I hope to set foot there too one of these days.

  32. I really salute you Sir. Do you think it would be fine for a lady to have a trip in Basilan? I am afraid to do it. Please give my some advices. :-)

  33. im so touched that you featured my home town isabela city. Pero sayang, you shoud've gone to white beach resort in malamawi island. Though its not yet fully deveped, but, that's what i like about it

  34. Im so happy that you featured my home town isabela city. Pero, sayang. U shouldve gone to the breath- taking white beach resort in malamawi island. Though its not yet fully developed, thats what i like about it, it has a " virgin island" touched to it. Its one of my favorite place. Hope in the near future you will come back and add it as part of your adventure. Thanks..

  35. Sir pwede po ba kami mag pahelp ppunta po kami sa zambo and basilan kahit po malamawi lang po we are grp of 7. Can we contact po your contact in basilan? Thanks a lot.


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