Malamawi Island | The happy side of Basilan

Basilan - a home of almost 113, 000 populations located across the north side of Zamboanga City and the Malamawi Island offshore. It is a promising Island Province with two booming cities, Lamitan and Isabela City. It is also a diverse community where the sizable presence of Chavacanos, Tausug and Yakans. The Sama tribe, Maranaos, Ilocanos, Cebuanos and Chinese are the minorities. Numerous dialects also spoken, but primarily used by most inhabitants is Chavacano, Tausug, Cebuano, and Yakan.  English is also mostly used by locals. 


Basilan province is frequently mentioned in several network headlines when it comes to the peace and order situation, putting the province in a negative reputation. Armed conflicts and numerous crimes cast the Region in poor image specifically in the line of touring, but the potential is very optimistic when it comes to local destinations. In fact, the longest white Sandbar in the Philippines is located in the same Region, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. 


By experience, it is not as tough as the news informs the viewer or listeners; people are amicable and hospitable as well. For me, it is just a certain incident in the entire Mindanao or even in Basilan, which could not be allowed to explore by outsiders, the same happening anywhere in the World. However, when visiting uncharted places, especially for foreigners, be sure to have a local guide, keeping you comfortable and to ensure your safety. 


Not everything in Basilan and the nearby provinces in Mindanao is in bad shape; it is generally safe and worth to visit. The local government has improved security measures to attract more visitors outside the province. Basilan is truly pushing their way for considerable change, hoping that the province will recognize as one of the places that should not miss visiting. 


The Malamawi  Island very accessible by boat ride from the city’s coast, featuring the idyllic and stunning views of the shoreline with a long stretch of fine white sand. This beach will definitely give you an exotic and unforgettable vacation experience. Gaining its popularity from outsiders, the local government has developed several facilities, other activities and transformed the island in a safe place to visit. Basilan may have negative thoughts or even talk about Mindanao but Malamawi makes its way to showcase the positive side of it.


HOW TO GET THERE
Zamboanga International the closest airport (ZAM) to reach Isabela City with flight connected from a major airport in the country in schedule basis. (Luzon: Clark, NAIA 3), (Visayas: Ilo-Ilo, Bacolod, Cebu City) (Visayas: Davao City, Laguindingan (CDO). From Zamboanga City Airport, a short tricycle ride to reach Zamboanga City Port. From there, Get a fast craft or ferry ticket bound for Isabela City. 

From Isabela Port to Malamawi Island
Getting in at Malamawi Island is not difficult. Upon reaching Isabela City Port, look for the small boat that regularly passing along the bay. Boat fare per passenger is just P5 pesos for 10 or more minutes of an exciting journey. Then, hire a single motorcycle (habal-habal) or tricycle for P50 ($1) one-way fare to reach the prestigious Malamawi Beach Resort. 

Fast craft and Ferry Schedule
  • The daily schedule of fast craft start from 6:30 in the morning from the Zamboanga Port while the last ferry trip at Isabela city would be 4:45 in the afternoon with six departures daily.  One way Fare ticket for the fast craft is P150 pesos while.
  • For a cheaper seat, then the ferry (Aleson Shipping) is the right for you. The ferry has two daily routine departures from - to -  Basilan, morning and in the afternoon. Ferry ticket is available at the ticketing station inside both Zamboanga and Isabela City Port. One way fare is P60 pesos ($1.10) up to P100 pesos ($2) depending on the selected seat you will choose (economy, air-condition and cabin). It takes a two-hour ferry ride to bump at the port.    
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