Thursday, April 28, 2022

​7 Days Budget Solo Trip in Southernmost Philippines

Last Two Provinces to Complete the 27 Mindanao Provinces (I traveled alone WITH NO LOCAL/POLICE ESCORT)
April 20 to 26, 2022

My 101st solo backpacking trip and of course, usual budget do-it-yourself (DIY) itinerary from arrival to departure. Also, Tawi-tawi and Sulu served as my 78th and 79th province respectively on my quest to conquer the 81 provinces of the Philippines.

The new normal of traveling is inevitable. Pandemic doesn't stop me of my dream and excitement to visit places I've never been. Coming from a 7 months solo trip in American Continent from Nov. 2020 to Jun. 2021, this itchy feet strikes again. This trip is also considered as my Pandemic Adventure Series following the (1) Earth Circumnavigation Jan. 2020, (2) Abu Dhabi Folding Bike Cycling Apr. 2020, (3) Caribbean and Europe Oct. 2020, (4) American Continent Jan. 2021, (5) Mindanao Nov. 2021, (6) Visayas to Luzon RORO Trips Feb. 2022 and (7) Mindoro Island Mar. 2022.

Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), is an autonomous region located in the southern Philippines which composed of 5 provinces; Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-tawi.

7 Days. 2 Additional Provinces. THANK YOU VERY MUCH TAWI-TAWI AND SULU. 
Visited all 27 Mindanao Provinces and 79 of 81 total Philippine Provinces.
#philippines #pinasnaman #mindanao #solotravel #solobackpacker #pandemictravelling #pilipinas #lakbayPinas #livealifeyouwillremember 

​7 Days Budget Solo Trip in Southernmost Philippines (Tawi-tawi)

​7 Days Budget Solo Trip in Southernmost Philippines (Tawi-tawi)

​7 Days Budget Solo Trip in Southernmost Philippines (Tawi-tawi)

​7 Days Budget Solo Trip in Southernmost Philippines (Tawi-tawi)


CebuPacific SuperPass MNL - ZAM 1,000 / CebuPacific SuperPass ZAM - TWT 800
CebuPacific SuperPass ZAM - MNL 1,000 (Rebooking ZAM - MNL flight 1,600_
Total: PHP 4,400

Day 01: April 20, 2022 Wednesday
1200H ETD Home; Grab Car to Airport 850
0100H ETA NAIA Terminal 3; check-in; snacks 160
0400H ETD Manila; flight 5J 861
0550H ETA Zamboanga; 4 hrs transit; breakfast 60
1000H ETD Zamboanga; flight 5J 839
1100H ETA Tawi-tawi; tricycle to hotel 70
Rachel's Place Hotel 2N 2,700 (deposit 500) / Tricycle to Bud Bongao; snacks 65
1245H ETA Bud Bongao; registration fee 20
1330H Bud Bongao 342masl; drone shots
1500H ETD Bud Bongao; tricycle 50; dinner 130
Total: PHP 4,105

Day 02: April 21, 2022 Thursday 
0800H Breakfast 50; tricycle to Bihing Tahik 50 / Bihing Tahik entrance 100
1400H ETD Bihing Tahik; tricycle 40; lunch 220
Total: PHP 460

Day 03: April 22, 2022 Friday
0700H Hotel check-out (deposit 500); breakfast 60
0830H ETD Bongao; boat 1,500
1730H ETA Jolo; tricycle to hotel 20 / Sulu Peacekeepers Inn 1N 950; dinner 85
Total: PHP 2,615

Day 04: April 23, 2022 Saturday 
Breakfast 95; walk to Maubu beach; tricycle 50
1030H ETD Jolo; van to Parang 150
1115H ETA Mang Sali white beach
1200H ETD Mang Sali; hitchhike
1300H ETA Jolo; hotel checkout; lunch/snacks 260
2000H ETD Jolo port; economy bunk bed 610
Total: PHP 1,165

Day 05: April 24, 2022 Sunday
0700H ETA Zamboanga City; walk to hostel
KimFai Backpacker Hostel 2N 1,200 / Jollibee lunch 180; jeep to Pasonanca 9
1400H Pasonanca park; jeep to Abong-abong 20 / Abong-abong Hill; snacks 28
1600H ETD Abong-abong; walk back to main road
1645H ETD Pasonanca; jeep 10; dinner 140
Total: PHP 1,587

Day 06: April 25, 2022 Monday  
Breakfast 40; jeep to Recodo 40
1130H Caragasan Beach; lunch 92; jeep back 25
1630H Bird sanctuary; dinner 225
Total: PHP 422

Day 07: April 26, 2022 Tuesday
Breakfast 40; lunch 113
1200H Hostel check-out; jeep to airport 10 
1615H ETD Zamboanga; flight 5J 860
1755H ETA Manila; ​public transport to Home ​40​
Total: PHP ​203​


​7 Days Budget Solo Trip in Southernmost Philippines (Sulu)

​7 Days Budget Solo Trip in Southernmost Philippines (Sulu)

​7 Days Budget Solo Trip in Southernmost Philippines (Sulu)

Tawi-tawi - Sulu - Zamboanga City / April 20 to 26, 2022 (7 days)

Route Flow: Zamboanga (Transit) - Bongao, Tawi-tawi (IN) - Jolo, Sulu - Zamboanga City (OUT) 
Aim: My 78th to 79th Philippine Provinces (out of 81 complete)
Total Expenses: PHP 1​8​,000 (hotel, all public transportation, meals, presents included) 

Preparation: Bought CebuPacific super pass for only PHP 1,000 one way domestic flight (flexible date). Full Covid19 Vaccinated with ID

General Itinerary:
Day 01 (Apr. 20 Wed) - Bongao Arrival
Day 02 (Apr. 21 Thu) - Bongao, Tawi-tawi (78th)
Day 03 (Apr. 22 Fri) - Boat to Jolo 
Day 04 (Apr. 23 Sat) - Jolo, Sulu (79th)
Day 05 (Apr. 24 Sun) - Ferry to Zamboanga 
Day 06 (Apr. 25 Mon) - Zamboanga City
Day 07 (Apr. 26 Tue) - Zamboanga City departure 


Safety - Tawi-tawi is very safe, I strolled alone around Bongao Island only. Sulu is safe in Jolo and in Parang, as per local advised for solo travelers. Lots of military personnel in public places and checkpoints. I traveled alone WITH NO LOCAL/POLICE ESCORT (I felt secure just by asking locals the safe way). 

Transportation - Ship / boat departures are irregular in between Tawi-tawi, Sulu and Zamboanga. Ensure to visit the port first before you finalize your stay / itinerary. Boat from Tawi-tawi to Sulu has 9 hours travel for PHP 1,500. Ferry from Sulu to Zamboanga city has 11 hours travel for PHP 610 (economy bunk bed). In Tawi-tawi, public transport is boat and tricycle. In Sulu, PUVs, tricycles and "padyak". When I was In Tawi-tawi, Zamboanga-bound ship has engine failure since 2 days ago upon my arrival.

Hitchhike - surprisingly despite the numerous public transportation available and never expected this ramdom act of kindness from locals. In Tawi-tawi, a random tricycle driver allowed since there's no available tricycle passing by at noon time due to Ramadan. In Sulu, tourist Muslim family in Mang Sali's Beach allowed me in their van, they got excited when they saw my drone video and offered to ride with them going back to Jolo (I saved local fare PHP150). In Zamboanga City, a ramdom local jeep driver went to a short distance on my way to Abong-abong Hill. 

Tawi-tawi - stayed near the market / boat pier (Rachel's Place Hotel, no wifi, a/c room PHP 1,350). I stroll only around Bongao island due to I can't stay longer because of weak data signal. I hiked the Bud Bongao, 342masl (southernmost peak of the Philippines and Tawi-tawi's highest mountain) and visited the Bihing Tahik beach resort (fine white sand, walk-in entrance PHP100). Tricycle fare between PHP 40 to 80.

Sulu - stayed inside Military Camp (Sulu Peacekeepers Inn (no wifi, a/c room PHP 950). I stroll in Jolo and Parang. Again, I stayed short because of very weak data signal. I visited Maubu beach, Central Mosque and Provincial Capitol in Jolo and Mang Sali's beach resort in Parang (fine powdery white sand like in Boracay, walk-in entrance PHP10). Fare to Parang is PHP 100, terminal near the Central Mosque and market.

Zamboanga City - stayed in Kamfai Backpacker Hostel (with wifi, private toilet, a/c room PHP 600, I think the cheapest a/c room I had as backpacker). I initially visited this city almost 12 years ago, went back to Pasonanca park and Abong-abong Hill for drone videos. City stroll and food trip in Paseo del Mar. Sta. Cruz Island requires online booking, roundtrip boat fare PHP 1,000, walk-in / solo joiners not allowed. 

​7 Days Budget Solo Trip in Southernmost Philippines (Zamboanga City)

​7 Days Budget Solo Trip in Southernmost Philippines (Zamboanga City)


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