You know you are in Tawi-Tawi when you see this massive mountain all over the place. Bud Bongao is the highest peak in the province standing at the height of 314masl. This is a must-visit destination that you should include on your list!
They said you haven’t visited Tawi-Tawi if you don’t climb its iconic peak, Bud Bongao. Bud in Tausug term which means mountain, is a sacred place for the people of Tawi-Tawi. This is the place where they can offer prayers, meditate, and ask blessings to Allah. At present, Bud Bongao is a favorite place to gather and enjoy the sceneries, have a picnic, watch the sunrise/sunset and have yourself pictured on its summit.
Bud Bongao is an hour trek on average but still determined at an individual’s pace. It is open from 6 AM to 4:30 PM. To avoid the crowd, it is best to climb it during weekdays. Make it as early as 6 AM for you to watch the sunrise along the trail.
Check out our video showcasing the beauty of Tawi-Tawi including Bud Bungao.
Monkeys are a normal scene in Bud Bongao and they get used to people visiting the area. You may bring bananas with you so you can feed them.
The climb is easy with gradual ascend at times. The trail is well established with railings for support. The good thing about the hike is the abundant greens and trees surrounding the place keeping you closer to nature.
There are signs attached to the trees worthy of a quick stop. It could be tiring, but all the sweat and jaded legs will be erased when you witness the superb overlooking view at the summit.
Tips and Reminders
- Best time to hike Bud Bongao is before sunrise
- Hire a local guide
- Wear comfortable clothes and footwear (sandals or shoes)
- Bring enough water/drinks
- Bring some bananas for the monkeys
- Guide fee is at no fixed amount, but an acceptable amount should be considered as this is another source of income for them.
- Do not litter. Bring your trash with you.
- There is a mini store near the peak to buy snacks, drink, water, etc.
- Do not pick or damage the plants, trees, flowers, etc.
- Practice the Leave No Trace Principles
- Respect the people and their culture
- Enjoy the hike and keep safe
How to Get to Tawi-Tawi/Bud Bongao
Zamboanga City to Tawi-Tawi
Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines fly directly from Zamboanga City to Sangay-Sangay Airport in Bongao,
Tawi-Tawi. Check the flight and schedules thru their websites.
From Bongao to Zamboanga, Alesson Shipping Lines has ferry schedules on Mondays, Wednesdays, and
Fridays. Travel time is around 16 hours on average. There is also a fast craft that links the Philippines and Malaysia from Bongao to Semporna, Malaysia (schedule is once a week).
When you arrive in the airport, you may rent a motorcycle or hire someone to drive you to Bud Bongao for a fee. If you availed a package tour, Bud Bongao is usually part of the city tour so everything will be arranged by your tour provider.