BONGAO, Tawi-Tawi, Philippines - The provincial government of Tawi-Tawi, through its Provincial Tourism Office, continues to showcase its various tourist destinations after noting the constant arrival of local and foreign tourists in this bustling capital town.
"What we need now is a serious and aggressive promotion of our tourism attractions, destinations, and potentials, and add more colors to get the much-needed boost in the tourism sector," Governor Sadikul Sahali said.
Sahali also downplayed the kidnapping of Lorenzo Vinciguerra, a Swiss national, 47, and Dutchman Ewold Horn, 52, on February 1 at the coast of Panglima Sugala, saying that the incident is just an "isolated case."
"There is no problem in accommodating tourists in this province because there are enough hotels and resorts in this capital town of Bongao," said.
For her part, Tawi-Tawi Vice Governor Ruby Sahali-Tan also said that the 11 municipalities of the province will also join in showcasing the many tourist destinations in their respective areas, even as they also guarantee the safety of visiting tourists in their respective municipalities.
Bongao, she said, is known as the microcosm of religious and cultural diversity.
She said the Bongao Peak on this island town showcases a breathtaking view of nearby Sabah in Malaysia, while the Bolobok Cave in Barangay Lakit-Lakit is one of the oldest caves - since 800 A.D.
It was in Tubig-Indangan, Simunul, where the first Muslim missionary Sheik Karimul Makdum set foot to build the first mosque in the country in 1380 A.D., the lady vice governor here said.
Sapa-Sapa in Sibutu is also known as the home of the descendants of Malay royalty of the Federal State of Borneo.
The towns of Sitangkai, South Ubian, Tandubas, and Turtle Islands are known as the "Venice of the South," she said.
As this developed, the governor also invited the tourists to experience the various underwater activities, like scuba diving, swimming, and snorkeling, at the same time enjoy the white sand beaches of Sangay Siapo Island, Panampangan Island, Tango Island, and Saluag Island.
He described Tawi-Tawi as irregular in shape, with splashes of fine white sand beaches, and has 307 islands and islets, 88 of which are characterized by extensive reefs.
Sahali maintained that Tawi-Tawi is a peaceful and safe province in this part of the country.
First-class and high-valued fish are abundant in this province, including crustaceans, like lobsters, the exotic kuratsa, and the coconut and mud crabs, attributing this to the province's fair tropical climate.
Sahali said the province has four ethnic groups - the Sama, Jama Mapun, Tausug, and Badjaos, while the rest are Christians and indigenous groups.
The prevailing dialect is Sinama, the vice governor added.