Tawi Tawi Travel Guide

Tawi Tawi is a group of islands between the Sulu archipelago and the Malaysian state of Sabah, Borneo, in the deep southwest of the Philippines, and is best known for its Muslim influence and natural zoos.

The city of Bongao is the gateway to the autonomous Tawi Tawi region, from where trips can be made out to the many delectable islands of the chain - Simunul and Sibutu being the most popular. The area is one of a surprising variety of flora and fauna in Tawi Tawi’s dense forests.

The so-called natural zoos are the biggest asset of Tawi Tawi and are accessible by boat (kumpit) from the Chinese pier near the market in downtown Bongao. Other highlights in Tawi Tawi include the Gusong Reef, Bongao Peak in Bongao, the curious Manuk-Mangkaw Island, and Tahing-Tahing Beach.

Getting There & Away

Due to its remoteness, the best way to Tawi Tawi is to fly to Bongao’s Sanga-Sanga Airport (Tawi-Tawi Airport). Flights come in from Manila in under 2 hours and from Zamboanga City in around 45 minutes. Ferries run to Bongao’s pier in Tawi Tawi from Zamboanga City and Jolo.

Things to Do

Tawi Tawi Attractions


The ‘venice of the philippines’ is one of houses on stilts and floating markets and can be found to the west of the larger sibutu island.

Simunul and Sibutu islands

These are two of the most popular islands to visit in tawi tawi.

Sangay Siapo

One of tawi tawi’s remoter islands, sangay siapo features white beaches and fantastic snorkeling and is uninhabited.