now that you already know that i spent my first seventeen years in the island province of Basilan. there's more to being photographed in front of the capitol and going to White Beach of Malamawi island. so here are seventeen of not-so-important but could be interesting things that you might want to know about my island province.
 Tilapia is rarely seen and eaten in the island province. some locals might not even recognize it as the bountiful kinds of sea fishes are available everyday in the pier. go to the pier as early as 4am to see the fishing boats unload.
 Lamitan used to be a town with calesas as main mode of transportation. we would even travel on a weekend just to be able to ride one around the town. so when you go there, you will be fortunate enough if you can spot one.
 the church of Sta Isabel in the island could be too ordinary from outside but did you know that its backdrop is a large Italian brick mural similar to those seen in St. Cyril church in Ukraine? when you're there, ask permission from the church office for you to be able to see it up close and check the details. you will be impressed.
 along the Isabela channel, there's a military camp and navy dock site that transforms to a resort during the weekend. it is called Fuego-Fuego which when translated to the local dialect, Chabacano, means "Fire-Fire".
 though Isabela City is in Basilan island, did you know that it is not under the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). it belongs to Zamboanga Peninsula (Region IX) apart from the rest of the municipalities of the island. so when you travel from Isabela City to the municipality of Lamitan, you are actually crossing to another region.
 often missed out by tourists when they are in Isabela City it would be the Aguada River. its outlet is just in the city center and a cruise to this river will include a view of fish ponds, coconut trees and a mosque by the river. this is not a usual activity. the locals will even be surprised if a traveler would want to do this.
 the island of Malamawi does not have energy source to support its small communities. so if you have keen eyes, when the ferry from Zamboanga enters the Isabela channel, you will actually pass under this electric high-pole wire that connects from the main island of Basilan and Malamawi island.
 when i was in high school, we did boating on mangrove areas in Eslita and it was a surprise when we met sea dwelling Badjaos who wanted to trade our fruits with their fishes. the local term of the Badjao for this is "sambi" which means "exchange" or "trade". not sure if they are still doing this. you might want to find out.
 Basilan is the second largest island in Mindanao and the largest island in the Sulu archipelago but it is generally mountainous and hilly. so on top of a mountain range is an abandoned airstrip. now a site for motor racing. this is about 30mins away the city center only accessible by a private vehicle.
 natural golden pearls including blackish pearls are often sold on mini-kiosk like shops in Isabela. too bad that on my return, these shops were already out of sight. could they have found better buyers somewhere? if you see one, let me know.
 the house where i grew up is just behind the Grandstand which is a large open track and field area. most of the helicopters coming from Zamboanga would land on this site. from our house i would run out carrying a camera to take a shot of the helicopters landing. this site also has a great view of Malamawi island and the Isabela channel.
 during Holy Week, people would trek Monte Santo in Ubit in Lamitan. it has the station of the cross. the hike up includes passing under a natural tunnel-like bamboo trail.
 back when i was 10years old i was fortunate enough to be a junior member that won the national level of the Magnolia Youth Achievement Awards. the project was to expand the thin and slim footpaths of the Badjaos that connects houses in their community. coordinate with the city tourism to bring you to the site.
 being apart from the greater Mindanao island, Basilan highly depends on the floating power barge. it can be seen from the main sea port but to see it uplcose, you can either take a small power boat from the dock site to Malamawi.
 apart from huge rubber and coconut plantations in Basilan, on the outskirt of the city there's a huge area of oil palm trees. we would go there to get fallen seeds and used it for playing as an alternative to shell fight. you can find this area in between Isabela and Lantawan.
 on most province in the Philippines, the market day is on a weekend. not in Lamitan when the Yakan farmers coming from nearby municipalities would converge every Thursday bringing their crops. during our time, they would even come in their traditional clothes. i heard, they still do this.
on your next trip to Basilan. you might want to find out more.
for tourist assistance, you can directly coordinate with
Mr. Gerald Louise Tubil - Isabela City Tourism 0917-6344989