“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous”. ~Aristotle
I had no idea what kind of paradise I was getting into when I ventured into the southernmost tip of my country. This island chain province of peace loving citizens are always affected by media portrayal of turmoil and violence in these parts of the archipelago.
So much so that when I announced to my friends and family that I was traveling to Tawi-Tawi, the question was WHY and WHAT FOR? And my only reply was BECAUSE.
Because it is there. I have seen the tiny specks on a map and wondered what life is like in those parts. I have seen few images of its seascape and I wanted to confirm if it was truly that stunning. A few times, I thought I was lucky to go, then news reports of peace and order in neighboring provinces would surface, and the trip was shelved. I’ve read blogs of a few brave journalists who went there on their own and wrote good things of Tawi-Tawi.
Finally, my turn came. On a flight over hundreds of islands scattered in the Sulu sea, my heart was pounding with excitement. My 3-day stay blessed me with sunny weather, great sunrises and breathtaking sunsets. The governor and his wife gave their blessings to use the speedboat for an island hopping spree that would have otherwise took several hours to reach. And here was one unknown island paradise worth mentioning.
I did not bring my DSLRs or tripod, only smaller cameras and my trusty cellphone (an obsolete Nokia N8). As you can see from my photos, no crude camera gear can hide or cover a beautiful landscape. This island jewel called Panam Pangan is an hour away from the mainland (if on speedboat, that is), surrounded by clear, emerald waters, and white sand so pulverized your feet sinks in as you step on the shore. It has few inland inhabitants and Badjaos living in settlements offshore.
I share with you a few seascapes I’ve captured from my cellphone before I joined the other guests who immediately dove in the clear waters. (I also took photos from my cameras, but that will be for my newspaper and magazine articles). :-)
The dots at the far end of this snakelike sandbar are actually a lot of birds standing at the tip, flying off together in circles, then coming back again.
The island on Googlemap…
And look here… this is one of the world class Maldives’ atoll. Almost identical in shape.
Which means the virgin island has tourism potential, right???? :-)
In all honesty, though, if I were the island owner, I’ll probably keep it to myself. LOL
What do you think? Was my trip worth it? :-)