as early as 1914, Basilan was already exporting rubber to the United States as led by American businessman James Strong, who established American Rubber Corporation in the island. President Manuel L. Quezon and General Douglas McArthur visited the island when the exportation boomed.today, more than 50,000hectares of the island produce latex saps, rubber's raw material but are now handled by several local cooperatives. a road trip to the municipality of Lamitan, East of Isabela City would bring you to the great expanse of these rubber trees. the rubber produced in Basilan contributes a small portion to the 94% of Asia's source to the global requirement. among the island's main agricultural industry, coconut, coffee and black pepper are also distributed to the archipelago.Kumalarang, the West side of Isabela also holds large areas of coconut palm oil fields and rubber trees. a usual weekend of the residents of Isabela City would be doing road trips to this part. popular spots includes the water district swimming pools, some fine waterfalls and the old airport.
it is odd that one of the country's National Park is actually part of the war thorn areas of the island of Basilan. established as a National Park since 1939, the Basilan National Park covers 3,100hectares of dense flora and fauna.on our trip to Lamitan, we visited the site of the unforgettable 2001 Lamitan siege. just one of the events that has captured the country's attention. an island so rich with natural resources yet because of the tensions it has kept the island isolated giving the island a weak image.
photo below shows travel buddies Tzed, Erick and Oman during the road trip. you can check out their posts on this trip. this ends the Basilan series and up next a short visit to some of Zamboanga City's tourist spots.
how to get there:
there are regular flight from Manila to Zamboanga with the major airlines - 1hour 20minutes
from Zamboanga, take a taxi to the pier of the ferry that goes to Basilan. better if you ask the taxi to bring you directly inside the pier.
option 1: cheaper way is by ferry to the pier of Isabela. 1hour and 40minutes.
option 2: taking the fast craft which is less than an hour to the pier of Isabela.
for this road trip: one has to rent a van to make stops to the rubber plantations or take the bus to Lamitan going East and Lantawan going West which can partly show some of the rubber tree plantations.
it is advisable to check first the situation in the island before setting a visit. i also recommend that you know of someone from the island who can guide you around.
6^ 42" 22' N
121^ 58" 20' E