I remember being envious of my then-girlfriend years ago, when she went on a solo backpacking to Tawi-Tawi and hiked the Bud Bongao. Not only is the mountain located in the southernmost province of the Philippines, it is also considered as a sacred peak.
Two preachers mentored by Karim ul-Makhdum—the Arab missionary who brought Islam to the Philippines in 1380—are said to be buried in Mount Bud Bongao in a location called the Tampat Rocks.
At the peak of Bud Bongao, the Tawi-Tawi airport is visible in the background.
Since I love a hike to the mountains, especially sacred and historic ones such as Mount Sinai in Egypt, imagine my delight upon learning that our party of travel writers who covered the Agal-Agal festival, will have a side-trip to Bud Bongao.
The name of the mountain was derived from the Tausug word Bud, meaning mountain and Bongao–the name of the island where it is located. A pilgrimage site for both Muslims and Christians, Bud Bongao towers 1,030 feet above sea level overlooking the 250-hectare tropical forest inside the Bongao Peak Eco-Tourism Park—a protected biodiversity site.
“This nature park was one of the chosen model sites of the New Conservation Areas in the Philippines Project or NEWCAPP—which was a 5-year project implemented by the Biodiversity Management Bureau in 2012,” says Ayesha Dilangalen, the former ARMM DOT secretary…