Up The Sacred Bud Bongao

Thursday, December 07, 2017

what to do in tawi-tawi

We were the first ones to wake. Marky, Christine, Ferdz, and I sat in the dining hall of the hotel, wondering where the others were. It was almost 6AM – our call time – but there were no signs of our other companions. We sent a message to our group chat on Messenger but no one was answering. We decided to go ahead and have our breakfast.

We were itching to go, the four of us. We thought time was a-wasting. We were a little dismayed when we left and it was almost 8AM. Nevertheless, we shook it off and looked forward to our destination. We were going to hike up Bud Bongao.

Bud Bongao (or Bongao Peak) is considered a sacred place by locals. Looming over Tawi-tawi's capital town, it is also one of the few remaining "moist forests" in the Sulu Archipelago.

To have as little disturbance to its natural landscape as possible, a cemented path was created. It cut through the forest where monkeys are plenty. These primates are said to be the guardians of Bud Bongao, and they move freely with visiting humans.
tourist attractions in tawi-tawi

bongao peak trail

The trek was easy. Anyone could do it because of the established path. There are several viewdecks along the trail that all afford equally great vistas. The path itself is quite a sight, with ancient trees and lush foliage.

As we near the top, I spotted a man hurling something towards the cliff. He did this thrice. I didn't think much of it. Later, I'd find out that this was done as a way to get a wish granted. The "hurler" would make a wish then would throw pebbles towards a jagged peak all the way to the other side. If he hits the rock, then the wish would come true.
bongao peak trail tawi-tawi

At any rate, I proceeded to the viewdeck at the summit where the rest of my companions were. You could see most of Bongao from here, then it was all just sea and ocean. The islands that make up the rest of Tawi-tawi all but a hazy silhouette.
tawi-tawi tourist destinations

what to do in bongao

I didn't take a lot of photos here. The sun was up high and blaring mightily, and with skin still sore from my stint at Panampangan, I preferred to stay in the shade and in the moment.

Bud Bongao is just a tricycle away from the town proper. The park is open everyday from 6AM to 3PM.

Entrance fees are as follows:
Php10 for locals
- Php5 7 yrs old to 18 yrs old
- Php20 for visitors from outside of Bongao

Please also get in touch with the tourism office to ensure your safety. For a more detailed guide, head over to this post by Christine the Jovial Wanderer.

Tawi-tawi Provincial Tourism Office
Mr. Mobin Gampal - Provincial Tourism Officer
+63 977 230 9061

Have you been to Bud Bongao? Have you tried making a wish?

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