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Basilan is an island province of the Philippines in Mindanao, just off the southern coast of the Zamboanga Peninsula. Basilan is the biggest and northernmost among the major islands of the Sulu Archipelago.

Alano Island Beach Resort, on Malamawi Is., Isabela City, Basilan


Basilan has a variety of natural tourist spots that dot the island's pristine beaches and cool inland resorts, it has a peninsula point called punta matangal in tuburan that offers a haven for surfurs very similar to that of the northshore of Hawaii. Basilan has gradually evolved into a charming, even surprisingly hospitable place were we could relax and enjoy a laid back, stress-free vacation.

There are three main ethnic groups; the Yakans and Tausugs are predominantly Muslim, while Chavacanos are primarily Christian. The lingua franca is Chavacano, a Spanish creole dialect, understood by more than 80% of the population. Tagalog/Filipino and English are also widely spoken and understood.


Get in[edit]

Access to the island province is usually through Zamboanga which lies 17 nautical miles (narrowest point of the Basilan Strait) due north. From there, a boat ride of 1 hour and 45 mins (for conventional passenger ferries), will take you to Isabela and Lamitan. The fare ranges from Php20 (student and senior citizen's discounted fare on some conventional ferries) to P70 (first-class w/ aircon).

Another fastest way to the location is by taking the "Fast Craft" which will only take about 45 minutes boat ride.

IMG 2468.JPG
  • Isabela-Zamboanga-Isabela Route (1 hr, 30 mins)
  • Lamitan-Zamboanga-Lamitan Route (1 hr, 30 mins)
  • Maluso-Jolo-Maluso Route (6 hours)
Ship Origin Destination Time
M/V Stephanie Marie Isabela Zamboanga 6:45am, 12:45pm
M/V Stephanie Marie Zamboanga Isabela 9:45am, 3:45pm
M/V Ever Sweet Isabela Zamboanga 9:30am, 3:30pm
M/V Ever Sweet Zamboanga Isabela 6:30am, 12:30pm
M/V Estrella del Mar Isabela Zamboanga 10:00am, 4:00pm
M/V Ever Sweet Zamboanga Isabela 7:00am, 1:00pm
M/V Princess Nicole Isabela Zamboanga 6:50am, 12:50pm
M/V Princess Nicole Isabela Zamboanga 9:50am / 3:50pm
M/V Neveen Zamboanga Lamitan 3:00 pm
M/V Neveen Zamboanga Lamitan 7:00am
M/V Trisha Kerstin Lamitan Zamboanga 7:00am
M/V Trisha Kerstin Zamboanga Lamitan 3:00 pm

Basilan joined the "Western Philippine Nautical Highway" through the construction of three (3) new Roll-On-Roll-Off ("Ro-ro") Ports located in the cities of Isabela and Lamitan, and in Port Holland, Maluso. A regular four door sedan is charged Php2,500.00 per trip, a Van/Light Truck Php3,500.00, while bigger trucks/heavy equipment may go up to Php5,000.00 per trip.

Basilan is served by several light plane landing fields located in Isabela (2), Lamitan (1), Maluso (1), Lantawan (1) and Sumisip (1), all of which were constructed and maintained by the multi-national plantations and have since been turned over to the Farmer Beneficiary Cooperatives.


The lingua franca is Chavacano, a Spanish-based creole language, understood by more than 80% of the population. Tausug is widely understood and spoken by the island's Muslim denizens, along with Yakan. Cebuano is also understood to a smaller extent, as is English.

Basic Chavacano

Yes - Si! No - No! Good morning! - Buenos Dias! Good Afternoon! - Buenas Tardes! How are you? - Quetal 'tu? Here - Aqui There - Alla I'm hungry! - Con hambre yo! I'm sick! - Infermo yo! Help! - Ayuda! Where can I eat? - Donde yo puede come? Where is the Hotel? - Donde el Hotel? Where's the toilet? - Donde el CR? Where can I have fun? - Donde yo puede man gimik? How much is this? - Cuanto 'ste? How much is that? - Cuanto 'se? Its too expensive, can you give me a discount? - Bien caro, tiene pa rebaje? When does it (do we) leave? - Cuando 'quel (kita) larga? Thank you! - Gracias!

See[edit][add listing]

Houses on stilts
Bulingan Falls
300px'Basilan Provincial Capitol, former site of Fort Isabela Segunda

Nature Spots

  • Kumalarang River
  • Tabiawan and Busay Waterfalls
  • Balagtasan Waterfalls
  • Sumagdang Beach
  • Malamawi Island
  • Alano White Beach Resort
  • Sunrise/Lanote Resort Row
  • Bulingan Falls
  • Matagan beach paradise
  • Calugusan Beach
  • Palm Beach

Churches and Religious Shrines

  • St. Peter's Parish Chruch
  • Monte Santo
  • Chapel of Peace
  • Santa Isabel Cathedral
  • Monte Santo Shrine
  • Kaum Purnah Mosque

Historical Sites

  • Datu Kalun Shrine
  • Museo ng Lamitan
  • Basilan Provincial Capitol
  • Isabela City Plaza (formerly Plaza Misericordia)/Plaza Rizal

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Araw ng Basilan
  • Lami-Lamihan Festival
  • Cocowayan Festival
  • Fiesta Santa Isabel
  • Semana Santa (Holy Week) - March/April (movable)
  • Flores de Mayo
  • Fonda de Barangay or Fiestas del Barangay
  • Pascua (Christmas)
  • Isra Wal Miraj
  • Eid al-Fitr/Hari Raya Puasa - (movable)
  • Maulidin-Nabi
  • Chinese New Year

Buy[edit][add listing]

Isabela City Pasalubong Center

A definite recommended "buy" would be the intricate Yakan weaves, trinkets and souvenir items usually made of woven material and hammered brass/bronze pieces, with colorful beads and hand-painted wooden bangles, rings, and handcrafted Yakan bags, table-runners, wall-decor, etc. Be sure to visit the Isabela City Pasalubong Center for authentic Yakan craft (1/F, J. S. Alano Zenith Bldg., J. S. Alano St.). Since you're already in Basilan, don't miss out on the "Basilan Brew" coffee available in nearby Lamitan town (only 45 minutes from Isabela City). A number of retail establishments may likewise be visited before 6:00PM (traditional closing time).

Eat[edit][add listing]

Sumptuous local delicacies may likewise be sampled. Not to be missed are hearty Muslim dishes such as "tyula itum", "pianggang manok", "baulo", "kulma", etc. Certain Yakan festivities likewise prepare a pyramidal "dullang" with the delectable mountain rice "sappul"

Isabela City

  • Jollibee
  • Lolo Jose Grille and Restaurant
  • Font's Restaurant
  • JJ Twin's Pavillion
  • Mon's Kitchen
  • Emerald Cafe
  • Eathel's Burger Joint
  • Trisha's

Lamitan City

  • Chi-Chia Grille and Restaurant
  • Nalamar Family Entertainment Complex
  • Lamitan Plaza Restaurant
  • Trisha's Burger House

Sleep[edit][add listing]

The Farmland Resort
ISAWAD Pool Resort

A number of Hotels, Resorts and hostels likewise dot the City of Isabela.

The Farmland Resort (Lanote), Anson's Hotel (Sumagdang), Hotel Royal Issra (Marketsite), Casa Rosario (Port Area), Basilan Hostel (Eastside), Buwalan Beach Resort (Sumagdang), ISAWAD Pool Resort (Cabunbata), Basilan Hotel (Isabela Proper), Grino House (Menzi). And Sofia Hotel (Port Area).

Tourist Assistance[edit]

  • Hja. Gigi Carama-Junudi, Basilan Provincial Tourism Officer, Provincial Capitol Building, Isabela City, Basilan.
  • Jayson Tubil, Isabela City Tourism Officer, Isabela City Hall Complex, Isabela City, Basilan.
  • Pilar Raga, Guest Liaison Officer, "Isabela City Pasalubong Center", Basilan Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Inc., J. S. Alano Bldg., J. S. Alano St., Isabela City, Basilan.
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