Basilan is one province in a setting that reflects the true description of an island paradise.
Blessed with natural bounties since its early years of existence, Basilan
has been called by merchants and travelers as an island of hope. The province, bestowed with different cultures and traditions and rich in aquatic resources, was once considered the trading center of Mindanao in the early days.
The kilometer-wide channel that opens to the port of Isabela, provincial capital, is lined on both sides by mangroves and Samal houses on stilts. Across is Malamawi Island, the gateway to Basilan, where can be found the Badjao, Samal-Luaans-Banguingui, and Muslim cemeteries. The island boasts of the only lake in the province with wild ducks and is home to the Panigayan fishing village, an ideal spearfishing destination.
In the heart of Isabela is the Santa Isabel Cathedral with its modern architectural design. Beside the cathedral is a display center of native handicrafts like mats, bags, and other products made of buri.
Not far from Isabela proper is the Kaum Purnah Mosque and Muslim Village, which shows Muslim culture through at least three tribes. The 400-meter-high Calvario Peak and its Chapel of Peace are a delight to photographers. Sumagdang Beach is a natural swimming resort amidst coconut plantations, mini rice fields, and fishponds while Kumalarang River boasts of a 14-meter-high waterfalls.
The next town of Lamitan is the best place to see the Yakan, a peace-loving people known for colorful clothes handwoven with intricate geometric designs as well as for elaborate weddings and festivals.
The province of Basilan has an aggregate historical jurisdiction of 135,892 hectares, with mainland Basilan encompassing an area of 124,892 hectares. It is separated from the mainland of Mindanao by a strait of about 17 miles wide at its narrowest point. Basilan is geographically located between latitude 6Â°15' and 7Â°00' longitude 121Â°15' and 122Â°30'.
Basilan has eight municipalities, namely; Isabela, Lamitan, Tuburan, Tipo-Tipo, Sumisip, Maluso, Malamawi, Lantawan.
Basilan, as part of Mindanao, is outside the typhoon belt. The annual average rainfall is 1,100 millimeters and mean annual temperature is 26.6Â° C. Source of rainfall is the southwest monsoon and intertropical convergence zone (mc). Prevailing winds are from the southwest with a speed of 4 knots.
Language / Dialect
Approximately 55% of the people speak Chavacano; 20% Samal; Joloano, Yakan, and Maranao; 10% Visayan; 10% Tagalog, 5% llocano and other dialects.
Agriculture is the main source of livelihood of the people of lsabela, in particular. There are a few industries operating here and all are agro-based. Copra trading is the leading commercial activity while coconuts are planted almost throughout the year. Rubber-sapping and logging complement the people's major occupations.
Mineral deposits of gold, manganese, iron, ore, copper, and coal are also found in Basilan.