Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Panigayan (White) Beach, Malamawi Island, Basilan

Waking up late from my regretful night in that motel in Zamboanga City, i took the 12:45 Weesam Express fast craft to Isabela City, Basilan. In a short while, I will be on my most anticipated trip.. Lamitan, Basilan.

While they claimed it will only be 45mins, it took us an hour (and also the way back) to get to Isabela City; Considerably, it was still fast compared to the regular RoRo, and especially for little difference in price.

I was actually trying to catch the 4pm trip back to Zamboanga so I was hurrying to get to the beach. As soon as I reached the port, I walked towards the station for the smaller boat (P5.00) to transport to the nearby (just about 2 mins I think) Malamawi island. From the port in Malamawi island, there are habal services to the white beach;

From the port, you’ll pass by houses next to each other, until you loose sight of one, and onto coconut plantations. Then it opens up to blue waters, waves, and fine white sand.

The beach’ sand was stunning; flour fine like that of in siquijor port. And, as it is Eid celebatrion, I am lucky to see several groups of people in the beach; Else, I would say I would not be feeling as easy. There are also caretakers (armed but in civilian clothing) who looks after the security of the place.

I told my habal service that i’d take less than an hour in the beach, and that he can pick me up immediately later, which he did.

I could not waste any more time, so brought my camera phone and dipped onto the waters.

While the beach was great, I must say setting foot in Basilan alone was far bigger thing for me than seeing the beach. A lot of people fear this province for the ever notorious leftists, and it is such a differentiating feel when you get to some places that not so many people would opt to.

Honestly, at first, trying to avoid falling prey to any of the published terrorism incidents, I was kind of fearing attracting attention from people. I try not to ask locals if not necessary, and it kind of adds up that people are sort of quiet (not the kind of interaction and conversations you see from people, strangers to each other, in the more “peaceful” provinces). Yet, I realized later there is really nothing to fear about, so long as you know how to respect and relate with people. They will be especially amazed to find out you are a visitor, and they will be very curious about why, of so many places, you’d rather see a place like theirs. I was always asked if I ever been furious, or if I could probably be of any security agency, and the many other questions probably be asked when visiting the southern (especially extreme) places in Mindanao.

Thanks to Dong Ho (Eskapo) of http://www.escapeislands.com/ , a native of Basilan, for letting me bother him through sms for guidance.

This trip is part of my 13 day Southern Mindanao Trip. I posted a few details of my schedule and expenses here

as of 2015, the beach has improved their facility, and thus have increased prices as well. Entry is now P15, and regardless of visitors taking a cottage or not, they charge an extra, in our case, around P100 for our group, for even just laying on the sand.

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