Basilan - The Houses on Stilts

The island of Basilan is surrounded by the Moro Gulf on the northeast, Basilan Strait on the north, the Sulu Sea on the northwest and west, and the Celebes Sea on the south, southeast and east.

Basilan Strait separating Basilan Island from the port of Zamboanga City and the mainland of Mindanao is about 17 nautical miles. It would take about an hour to reach the island province via a fast craft or about 2 hours with a Roll-on Roll-off (RORO) ferry boat.

Approaching the port of Isabela City, you'll have to pass by the Isabela Channel where an awesome sight of hills welcomes you on your left, while on the right side is Malamawi Island. This kilometer-wide channel to the port of Isabela is dotted on both sides by mangroves and Badjao houses on stilts.

The Badjaos or "sea gypsies" are indigenous ethnic group of Maritime Southeast Asia and inhabit the shores and waters of Sulu archipelago. They are found in many coastal settlements lining up the archipelago, particularly in Jolo, Tawi-Tawi and Basilan.

It is assumed that the Badjaos were originally boat dwellers who eventually built stilt houses near rich fishing grounds.

These houses are among the usual sights upon entering the capital city of Basilan.

I wonder how it feels to stay in one of these, even for just one night?

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


Thank You For Sharing!

SHARE this on Facebook SHARE this on Twitter


  1. Ang tapang! Buma-Basilan. I love looking at those stilts. Same here, I wish I can spend a night there too. Experience an ethnic group lifestyle would be awesome.

    Yung last pic, parang mag kakalayo no? Eeffort ang chismosang mangapitbahay. hahaha! Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Ang ganda ng basilan, sana wala ng mga Abusayyaf dyan, hehehe! Tnx for sharing! =)

  3. nasimulan mo na pala to. yihaa!

  4. @Malditang "Kura"cha - ahaha! mag boat pa if gusto mong maki-pagchismisan... hahaha!!! thanks po! :)

  5. @isp101 - di ko sure kung meron pa, but when i was there it's relatively peaceful... :)

  6. Ikaw na ang adventurista, nakapag-Basilan na talaga :)

  7. @lakwatsera de primera - it's one of those trips na sobrang proud ako... kinaya ko cya... hehehe!!! thanks Claire! :)

  8. I just got back form a trip with two friends. Ang biggest hurdle ko eh yung pagcocompute ng expenses nung tapos na ang trip. How do you do it?

  9. @glentot - do it every end of the day before going to bed... spend about 5 minutes to recall the expenses.... or during transit time, i-log mo na yung mga expenses mo so far... Thanks Glen! :)

  10. sayang... you weren't able to go nearer? bawal ba?

  11. @Gladys/ByahengBarok - i took these photos from the fast craft as we approch Basilan island... di naman sa bawal, but since i don't know anyone there, di nako pumunta for safety purposes... :)

  12. this reminds me of my trip there 5 years ago. ganun parin yung mga stilts pag malapit na sa basilan.
    di ka nakakita ng vintas?

  13. @journeyingjames - sadly, wala akong nakita... di ko alam kung san na napunta... thanks james! :)


Looking for Budget Travel Guide Blogs, Hotel Reviews, and Sample DIY Itineraries?
Welcome to Pinoy Adventurista, "Your Next Ultimate Adventure Starts Here!"

Pinoy Adventurista is one of the Top Travel Blogs in the Philippines and the World. In 2013, he visited all the 81 provinces in the Philippines.