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ARMM to develop Bud Bongao

TOURISM • 14:28 PM Tue Sep 22, 2015
Ed General
The most photographed rock at the summit of Bud Bongao. (Photo by Ed General)

COTABATO CITY --A visit to Tawi-Tawi archipelago will not be complete without trekking the province iconic peak- Bud Bongao! Surely it won't be hard to miss this towering sight that has a resemblance to the flat-topped Table Mountain of Cape Town in South Africa and whether you arrive by plane or boat, you will certainly be captivated by its beauty and splendor.
The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao government with Don Mustapha A. Loong being the secretary of public works showed his sensitivity for tourism, spots like this he said should be enhanced so that the people of the world can see.
ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman led the signing of Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on September 21, at the Bajau Hall, Office of the Regional Governor in Cotabato City.
Together with Gov. Hataman were DPWH-ARMM Secretary Don Mustapha Loong, Mayor Jasper Que of Bongao, and Tawi-Tawi District Engineer Bensoud Ajihil.
The historic project will be undergone by the Local Government Unit as it has the capabilities to make this dream a reality.
Tawi-Tawi District Engineer Bensoud Ajihil said the total amount of P54.320M will be use for concreting of the road going up to the Administrative Building, where tourist can register and prepare before trekking to the peak and a Parking Area for four wheeled vehicles.
The trek all the way up will also be concreted to about one-and-a-half meter wide and 750 steps will be rehabilitated and railings constructed that will serve as protection and support for the aged old climbers.
Engr. Ajihil also said that about 14 waiting sheds will also be constructed along the way including the installation of led lights powered by solar system, so that even at night the adventure can continue.
At the summit of the mountain, view decks will be stalled and another club house cum restaurant will be built in the area, water system as well as the beautification of its landscape.
Climbing the highest peak in Tawi-Tawi is a great adventure for many mountaineers. The very breathtaking view of the sea compliments the magnificent mountain.
Near the top of the mountain are two Muslim shrines that will be develop, this is a place where one can pay respects and ask for forgiveness. Passing a few more meters from these shrines will take you all the way up the summit where you can have a magnificent view of Bongao, Sanga-Sanga and several outlying islands of Tawi-Tawi. Local folks often say, You've never really been to Tawi-Tawi if you haven’t seen and conquered Bongao Peak”. Because of its extraordinary shape and fascinating view, Bongao Peak became the best tourist spot in the province of Tawi-Tawi. The province of Bongao is a place of tolerance and peace. Muslims and Christians live side by side in peace and harmony. They are not bothered by their differences and respect their neighbors.
Another thing, the Bongao Peak is also an enchanting mystique”. The Bud is deemed sacred as it is the abode of the spirits or jinns”. People go up the peak to appease the spirits and the jinns” that disturb the lives of the people in the valley. Muslims and Christians alike believe that the jinns” that inhabit the Bud are intimately connected to the people who live below, as well as to the land and sea. It is this mystique or magic that makes the Bud a holy mountain”.
Be sure to bring bananas because there are lots of monkeys in the area. They are most friendly if you give them food, right?
Reaching the peak and appreciate the beautiful view of the place is the highlight of the climb. The Bongao Island itself and the Sulu Sea, plus the vast expanse of waters that stretched all the way to Borneo, are really a fabulous sight to behold.
Bongao is really a hard place to find, like a treasure tucked somewhere faraway. But the experience of going there will leave a remarkable mark on your life. It is really one of the most memorable journeys that you will have – a reminder that hiking, traveling, and learning about the country can go hand in hand.

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