At the extreme end of the Sulu Archipelago lies an island so simple and quiet it will deliver anyone into a state of instant tranquility. Get ready to be pampered by the sight of hovering sea eagles, soft waves, and the soaring coconut trees which all utterly complement the bright sunny sky.
Saluag, the southernmost island of the Philippines, is home to two indigenous tribes: Tausug and Sama Dilaut, who live together in perfect harmony with the sea. Their main livelihood includes fishing, boat making and seaweed farming.
In a place where time seems to stand still, a busy and stressful day is probably the last thing you’ll experience. And with the bluish green to emerald water adorning its shore, a visit to Saluag will surely be worth the long travel.
Cebu Pacific flies from Zamboanga City to Bongao, the capital town of Tawi-Tawi.
From the airport in Bongao, hire a tricycle to Chinese Pier and look for the ferry going to Barangay Tandubanak in Sibutu Island. The ferry ride takes about three hours. Alternatively, look for the ferry that goes to Sibutu town proper (this ferry ride takes four hours) and from there, hire a motorcycle to bring you to Barangay Tandubanak which is a 30-minute ride. Ferries going to Barangay Tandubanak and Sibutu proper don’t have definite schedules so it is important to confirm trips at Chinese Pier.
From Barangay Tandubanak, another 30-minute motorcycle ride brings you to Barangay Tandu-owak. From there, Saluag Island is just a short 40-minute boat ride away.
For further assistance please contact Ma’am Salve Pescadera of Tawi-Tawi Tourism Office at +63 910 671 6367 or +63 905 154 7865
Zamboanga Peninsula is an exotic melting pot of ethnic lore, culture and spectacular attractions. Zamboanga Peninsula is an administrative region in the Philippines, designated as Region IX. The region consists of three provinces, namely: Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga Sibugay, its component cities of Dipolog, Dapitan, Pagadian, and two independent cities of Isabela and the highly urbanized City of Zamboanga.
Dipolog City (Zamboanga del Norte) is known for its wild orchids and its sardine industry which stems from the rich fishing area off its shores. It is known as the “Gateway to Western Mindanao” through the Western Nautical Highway and has also been called the “Bottled Sardines Capital of the Philippines.”
Dapitan (Zamboanga del Norte) is also known as the “Shrine City in the Philippines” because the place where Jose Rizal, the National Hero, was exiled. It is also known for the old St. James Parish and the beach resort of Dakak. (c)Photo: Ric Canizares CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Pagadian City (Zamboanga del Sur) was the center of barter trading among the Malays, Chinese and the local Tausugs, Samals, Subanons and Badjaos in the 13th century. Pagadian City is also known as the “Little Hong Kong of the South” because of its topographical feature that is reminiscent of Hong Kong. It also has an affluent Chinese community that officially celebrates the Chinese Lunar New Year. The city of Pagadian is designated as the regional center of Zamboanga Peninsula. (c)Photo: jackoss0001 – Pagadian Project
Isabela (Basilan) was the southernmost outpost of the Spanish in the Philippines until the fall of Jolo in 1878. Having hosted Catholic residents since 1637, and a Spanish Fort (destroyed in World War II) since 1848, it was likewise the primary naval base of the Spanish in Mindanao until 1899. Named after Queen Isabella II, the city is the southernmost predominantly Christian enclave of the Philippines, and serves as an entry point for trade and commerce of Basilan island. Isabela City is a component city and capital of the province of Basilan. Isabela City continues be under the jurisdiction of Basilan for the administration of provincially-devolved services and functions. But for the administration of regional services, the city is part of the Zamboanga Peninsula Region despite the rest of Basilan being under the authority of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. (c)Photo: Boarding Gate 101 – Guide to Malamawi Island (a must read article)
The City of Zamboanga is the only highly-urbanized city in the region. The city is the lone member of BIMP-EAGA in the Zamboanga Peninsula. The City holds the title as the second richest city in Mindanao next to Davao City. Zamboanga City holds more than half of the economy of the region. Zamboanga city also has the largest airport and seaport and the only city in the region with most investors. (c)Photo: Wowzamboangacity – MGM, CC BY 3.0
Daily flights to most parts of Zamboanga Peninsula is available.
The Giant Clam Sanctuary in Guinsiliban, Camiguin is located in a bay near Cantaan. In there lies a beautiful white sand beach named Kaliba Beach where a sanctuary of giant clams awaits the visitors. Kabila Giant Clam Conservation and Ocean Nursery homes more than 2,600 clams including the giant clams in which one can find the seven (out of nine) species of giant clams in the world.
Upon going to the sanctuary one can found a notice from the management which indicates that the Kabila Giant Clam Conservation and Ocean Nursery is a non-government project and all proceeds are used in the maintenance and conservation of giant clams as well as the marine sanctuary.
Visitors can roam around the Giant Clam Sanctuary facility and see the different sizes and colors of the clams. On the round pools, baby clams are placed for breeding purpose while the giant clams are placed in a giant pool in which they are expected to reproduce. The facility also houses clams that can create pearls.
[READ] Information about giant clams:
The giant clam, Tridacna gigas (known as pā’ua in Cook Islands Māori), is a clam that is the largest living bivalve mollusk. T. gigas is one of the most endangered clam species. Antonio Pigafetta documented these in his journal as early as 1521. One of a number of large clam species native to the shallow coral reefs of the South Pacific and Indian oceans, they can weigh more than 200 kilograms (440 lb), measure as much as 120 cm (47 in) across, and have an average lifespan in the wild of 100 years or more. They are also found off the shores of the Philippines, where they are called taklobo, and in the South China Sea in the coral reefs of Sabah (Malaysian Borneo). T. gigas lives in flat coral sand or broken coral and can be found at depth of as much as 20 m (66 ft). Its range covers the Indo-Pacific, but populations are diminishing quickly and the giant clam has become extinct in many areas where it was once common. T. maxima has the largest geographical distribution among giant clam species; it can be found in high- or low-islands, lagoons, or fringing reefs. Its rapid growth rate is likely due to its ability to cultivate algae in its body tissue.
Although larval clams are planktonic, they become sessile in adulthood. The creature’s mantle tissues act as a habitat for the symbiotic single-celled dinoflagellate algae (zooxanthellae) from which it gets nutrition. By day, the clam opens its shell and extends its mantle tissue so that the algae receive the sunlight they need to photosynthesize.
“Why are the giant clams becoming endangered?”
The main reason that giant clams are becoming endangered is likely to be intensive exploitation by bivalve fishing vessels. Mainly large adults are killed since they are the most profitable.
The giant clam is considered a delicacy in Japan (known as Himejako), France, South East Asia and many Pacific Islands. Some Asian foods include the meat from the muscles of clam. On the black market, giant clam shells are sold as decorative accoutrements. At times large amounts of money were paid for the adductor muscle, which Chinese people believed have aphrodisiac powers. A team of American and Italian researchers analyzed bivalves and found they were rich in amino acids that trigger increased levels of sex hormones. Their high zinc content aids the production of testosterone.
“The legend of killer clam or man-eating clam”
As is often the case with uncharacteristically large species, the giant clam has been historically misunderstood. It was known in times past as the killer clam or man-eating clam, and reputable scientific and technical manuals once claimed that the great mollusc had caused deaths; versions of the U.S. Navy Diving Manual even gave detailed instructions for releasing oneself from its grasp by severing the adductor muscles used to close its shell.
In an account of the discovery of the Pearl of Lao Tzu, Wilburn Cobb said he was told that a Dyak diver was drowned when the Tridacna closed its shell on his arm.
Today the giant clam is considered neither aggressive nor particularly dangerous. While it is certainly capable of gripping a person, the shell’s closing action is defensive, not aggressive and the shell valves close too slowly to pose a serious threat. Furthermore, many large individuals are unable to completely close their shells.