You haven’t been to Tawi-tawi if you didn’t go climb its highest peak (422 masl) – Bud Bongao. This is what most travelers would say when advising someone who plans to go on a sojourn down the Philippines’ southernmost province.
And so during our last day in Tawi-tawi, we decided to trek our way to the majestic and sacred Bud Bongao or simply Bud. Actually, upon arrival at the Sang-Sanga airport, this imposing landmark would already catch one’s attention for it dominates the landscape of Tawi-tawi’s capital – Bongao. The mountain looks like a miniature version of Table Mountain in South Africa from afar (especially if you’re coming from the Celebes Sea area), although some people would say it looks like a turtle too.
The mountain is forested and is home to different exotic flora and fauna like wild cattle and pig, and the ever famous white and brown monkeys. (Do not forget to bring some food to feed the friendly and cute primates you’ll meet along the way). Being a sacred ground and a burial place, there are hallowed sites along the way. Having an accessible jump-off point, and an established trail, the climb to the peak is pretty easy and can be done in half a day.
Upon reaching the peak, you will have a stunning view of the sea that stretches up to Borneo, a bird’s eye-view of Sanga-Sanga island/airport, the islands of Sibutu and Simunul, and of course the quaint Bongao town. Truly, a climb to Bud Bongao is an amazing experience.
How to Reach Bud Bongao:
There is no direct flight from Manila to Tawi-tawi, so you need to first take a plane ride to Zamboanga, and from Zamboanga, there are flights to Tawi-tawi. Once at the airport, ride a tricycle that will take you to Bongao town proper. From the center, take either a tricycle or habal-habal to the jump-off point.
Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’…