Author’s Note: This article uses virtual reality technology to provide an immersive experience. Click the images to view the 360-degree VRs. Adobe Flash 10 or higher is required. Average VR size is 1.8Mb each. This article is part of the Pinoy Travel Blogger’s Blog Carnival. Sitangkai is the southernmost municipality of the Philippines. With a distance of 1,100 kilometers from Manila, it is the last main island of the country (the southernmost island is Siluag near the southern tip of Sibutu). Geographically nearer to North Borneo, majority of the island’s basic needs are Malaysian in origin. Called as the “Venice of the Philippines,” houses are connected by stilt footbridges and boats as the primary mode of transportation; the Sama (Badjao) people lead an idyllic life with fishing and dried marine products as sources of livelihood. With an average elevation of 1 meter above sea level, getting to the “water world” of Sitangkai is an adventure in itself. Upon docking in the main seaport, one has to take a ‘temper,’ long flat-bottom boat suitable for shallow water, into Sitangkai. The 30 minute ride cut across extremely shallow sand bars that you often have to get out of the boat and assist […]
Author’s Note: This article uses virtual reality technology to provide an immersive experience. Click the images to view the 360-degree VRs. Adobe Flash 10 or higher is required. Average VR size is 1.8Mb each. After being stranded for several days in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi due to unfavorable sea conditions with the balangay boats; the weather finally improved and allowed us to sail to the island of Simunul. Simunul is a 4th class municipality of Tawi-Tawi. Situated at some 1,000 kilometers south of Manila, it is home to a predominantly Muslim population belonging to the Sama tribe. The first Muslims in the Philippines are said to have arrived in Simunul and introduced Islam to the country 629 years ago. The first mosque in the Philippines was built in 1380 by an Arab trader Makhdum Karim. It is now known as the Sheik Karimal Makdum Mosque. The original four wood columns of the mosque still stand inside and are repainted every year. Sheik Makdum’s tomb is located beside the mosque. The principal livelihood of the people apart from fishing is “agar-agar” or seaweed farming.