Basilan is an island province of the Philippines mostly located within the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), except its capital, Isabela City, which is administered as part of the Zamboanga Peninsula Region. Basilan is located just off the southern coast of Zamboanga Peninsula. Basilan is the biggest and northernmost among the major islands of the Sulu Archipelago.
Basilan Provincial Capitol
Basilan is one province in a setting that reflects the true description of an island paradise. Blessed with natural bounties since its early years of existence, it has been called by merchants and travelers as an island of hope. The province, bestowed with different cultures and traditions and rich in aquatic resources, was once considered the trading center of Mindanao in the early days.
The kilometer-wide channel that opens to the port of Isabela, provincial capital, is lined on both sides by mangroves and Samal houses on stilts. Across is Malamawi Island, the gateway to Basilan, where can be found the Badjao, Samal-Luaans-Banguingui, and Muslim cemeteries. The island boasts of the only lake in the province with wild ducks and is home to the Panigayan fishing village, an ideal spearfishing destination.
In the heart of Isabela is the Santa Isabel Cathedral with its modern architectural design. Beside the cathedral is a display center of native handicrafts like mats, bags, and other products made of buri.
Not far from Isabela proper is the Kaum Purnah Mosque and Muslim Village, which shows Muslim culture through at least three tribes. The 400-meter-high Calvario Peak and its Chapel of Peace are a delight to photographers. Sumagdang Beach is a natural swimming resort amidst coconut plantations, mini rice fields, and fishponds while Kumalarang River boasts of a 14-meter-high waterfalls.
The next town of Lamitan is the best place to see the Yakan, a peace-loving people known for colorful clothes handwoven with intricate geometric designs as well as for elaborate weddings and festivals.