SULU, an autonomous province in southwest Philippines, garners extremely opposite impressions. While a few view the province as paradise, most see it as an Armageddon--- a battlefield.
According to www.bbc.co.uk:
"The islands of Sulu, in the south-west Philippines look like the type of tropical paradise you would see on the front cover of a tourist brochure."
"But appearances can be deceptive. This is a violent and unstable region - a breeding ground for international terrorism."
Well, both statements are true. But I wanted to believe more on the former. Much have been told about the terrorism in the fearsome Sulu. Luckily, my one day trek in the province made me experience Sulu more of a heaven than a hell.
BOUND TO SULU...
I was embraced by an unusual fear when I boarded a boat bound for Jolo. Everyone was a stranger. After choosing my deck, I rested my weary body. I wanted to sleep my fear away but the banging of doors and noise from the vendors hindered me. "DVD, DVD, DVD! Relo, relo, relo! Belt, mura lang! Itlog, itlog, itlog, mineral!
The boat departed Zamboanga by 9pm. Mixed emotions grated on my nerves. The only contact I had was a tricycle driver referred by Ian Limbonis who's on his way back to Zamboanga. Except for the capitol building, the only spot I knew was Quezon Beach in Patikul recommended by Ian. Though I am not a beachy person, I counted it as one.
I never had a restful night due to the noise from videoke and doorbanging of the passengers going in and out of the canteen.
THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES...
ARRIVING IN SULU
QUEZON BEACH: A Jewel of Patikul, Sulu
MEETING THE SULTAN OF SULU
SULU PROVINCIAL CAPITOL
MASJID TULAY: The First and Biggest Mosque in Jolo
HOW TO GET THERE: (if you really want to get there...)
Airlines fly to/from Jolo to/from Zamboanga on MWF schedules.
Boat departs Zamboanga by 9pm every night and arrives to Jolo by 6am the next day. From Jolo, the boat departs by 8pm and arrives Zamboanga by 5am the next day.