Sunday, July 10, 2011

An Abstruse Peregrination in Isabela City

Pardon the title but my recent travel to Isabela City in Basilan has left me a little baffled. It seemed like a typical rustic City but its not. There are lots of photo-ops but for safety reasons, you cannot just flaunt your gears and shoot. The place seem quiet and peaceful enough to just wander and shoot but still, at the back of your mind, you know that this City has the highest crime rate in the country and shooting here is not usually done using a camera.


Sta. Isabel Church just at the city proper, for example, had its share of violence. This church which houses a mosaic altar was recently damaged by a bomb planted on its left side, just fronting the park.

Luckily, the mosaic altar survived the blast but the side walls including the church's office was heavily damaged. Now, that side of the church with street on it is off-limits to motorists and you can see police and military guarding its vicinity.

On the outside, Sta. Isabel Cathedral might pass as uninteresting visually but the interior of this Church specially the mosaic altar is something you really have to see. One thing also that amazed me in this Church are the pancake candles that church goers light when they pray. If Quiapo has color-coded candles and Cebu has their Sto. Nino-imaged ones, then Santiago City has their trademark of Pancake candles.

By the way, here is a little trivia. Basilan, as a whole, is part of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao but Isabela City is not part of this region. So, although Isabela City is the capital of Basilan, this City is not under administration of ARMM but is placed under the Zamboanga Peninsula region. Interesting, isn't it?

The City Plaza, the Church and the Provincial Capital are just walking distance within each other in the city proper where Jollibee and Chooks to go also sits. And because of recent acts of disturbance, the entire City is heavily manned by military.

Now, to continue... the last two photos are that of the Basilan Provincial Capitol which was constructed along elegant middle-eastern architectural lines reflecting the majority Muslim population of the Island Province. This is the former site of Fort Isabella Segunda.

Other worthy sites to check out in Isabela City include the Kaumpurnah Mosque that you will see once you cross the Isabela Channel, the Cabunbata Falls and also the handicrafts of the Yakan Tribe. There is also the annual Cocowayan Festival celebrated on April. These and more when you travel Isabela City.

Again, a word of caution thou, it is best to travel with someone who knows Basilan by heart and we were lucky that time that we have been accommodated by Dong Ho and his family. So if you want to travel to Isabela City, better look for Dong Ho :). Haha.

Peace Buddy!

17 comments:

  1. I went to Isabela a week after the bombing... Pinakita pa nga sa kin ni Ludwig yung Bombing site... I was not allowed to take photos inside the church...higpit ng security...di ko tuloy na-picturan yung altar... sayang! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Are you sure Santiago City is in Basilan province? Diba one city lng meron dun at yun ang Isabela City. Ang Santiago City ay nasa Cagayan Valley Region sa probinsya ng Isabela. Kaya tinatawag ding Isabela city ang Santiago dahil sa probinsya ito ng Isabela located po. Santiago City is one of the most progressive cities up north and is an investment hub.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Haaa? May Santiago City ba sa Basilan province????

    ReplyDelete
  4. relax lang po. my mistake, i always associate isabela kasi with the province up north kaya napaghalo ko yung city in isabela with the capital city of basilan. (plus, one of my exes surname was santiago, kaya nagkahalo0halo na.)[err, i hope i made sense there]

    Thanks for reading, the entry was corrected.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks.....
    Ganda ng blog. One way of promoting Basilan particularly Isabela City! Around 450,000+ n pla population ng city n to?

    ReplyDelete
  6. ang lalim naman ng title! hahaha.

    nice photos. yung unang part ng post serious tapos nagiging bastos na. just kidding. :D

    ReplyDelete
  7. @ Reena - Haha pansin ko nga din eh, parang di bagay kaya delete ko na muna second part for future interpix posting na lang :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Nosebleed akop sa title pero ang gaganda naman ng photos kaya pwede na. Teka. What did I miss?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow, Basilan in a new light. Thanks to bloggers like you and Dong because you made us see places we could never travel.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Speechless... this is one hell of an adventure!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Last month when we were in Cotabato City, we passed through Maguindanao, and asked if we could take pictures of the flood victims and refugees in the evacuation area. We were declined with our request with the guide saying: Ma'am, wag na lang dito, kung kayo may dalang Point and Shoot camera, ibang Point and shoot po ang dala nila.

    ReplyDelete
  12. mukhang may commission ka sa tours of basilan ni dong ho ah!

    thanks for sharing these photos. i'm sure you would have wanted to shoot more.

    ReplyDelete
  13. woot. nabanggit ako dito ah. hahaha... natanggal na pala yung flower blogger post.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Looks like a great place to visit.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Now i learn more about this place than ever before.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Ang ganda ng mga flowers sa unang pics.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Who and where to order this summer on festival, share your information.

    ReplyDelete

Island Hopping

Check these out.