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Tungkalang Beach, Bongao, Tawi Tawi:Retreat under the Crimson Sky

I call it ' a leap of faith' in Tawi Tawi

One way to enjoy Tawi Tawi is to have a self reflection under its beautiful setting sun. Passing through the Sanga-Sanga Bridge that connects Bongao and Sanga-Sanga Islands, is one of the grandest location to spend your  late afternoon . With the Bud Bongao on the side of the crimson sky, the view is simply captivating.

The Sanga-Sanga Bridge is a favorite hangout among the local youth in the vicinity, executing their most daring acrobatic stunts over the bridge and fearlessly diving into the whirling waters that separate the two of the many islands of Tawi Tawi. 

Sanga-Sanga Bridge with the iconic Bud Bongao
Jumping over the bridge seems like a common act among the bystanders and they are not getting worried being drowned. I guess it has been a lifestyle among the children being born facing the great Celebes Sea. 

I was tempted to jump but upon seeing the height of the bridge, I suddenly  backed down when I saw the raging water beneath. I don't know what kind of courage these children have but I feel like I could borrow some. To do this,  I think there is a need for me to build and save  a lot of courage and confidence  before I  could execute an unforgettable leap on my return (goodluck).

Forgotten Paradise!

Down the bridge is the small beach community of Tungkalang. This particular site is where some of the great scenes of the movie “Thy Womb”, starred by Nora Aunor and was shot by the Cannes' award winning Director, Brillante Ma. Mendoza. 

I strolled down to the white coral sand of Tungkalang beach and I was simply amazed with my find. It was so ironic that most of us are longing to spend a wonderful vacation in places where we can bask under the sun while lying on a  white coral sand  and later experiencing  the  beautiful sunset in the west. But here in Bongao, such environment is just a common place where the general population have aggregated and built their humble  coastal community.

simplicity and contentment is all we need to live a happy life

Fear Me Not!

I was a little surprised that when I approached some of the elders in the area, most of them refused and a little off to talk to people like me, who obviously not from around. An old woman, who was cooking a native Tawi Tawi dish, almost cried her heart out when she saw me approaching with eyes locked looking strangely on my camera. She insisted to call for her relatives when I asked what she was preparing for dinner. I tried to be courteous but it seems that language barrier would not allow my friendly intention. 

A fearful old lady
That event pulled my feet backwards, giving respect to the ‘silent’ rejection of the old woman. But for the children, my presence was a little weird, curious on the contraption I had and all were wishing to be captured in every click I made on my camera.

One of the most breath taking sunset in the Philippines
It is sad to know that most non Mindanaons or people from the metro tagged Tawi Tawi as a dangerous place to be in. Where the fact is, the people of isolated places like this are more afraid of the strangers of the modern world. 

They are not aware of the violence that is proliferating in the cities brought about by the modern inventions of violence. Here all you can hear are the chatting people about their recent catch and the stories of the women about their children and harvest while wearing endless smiles.

And That is Life, a Beautiful Life!

The life in Tungkalang is the epitome of isolation from the modern living. This condition preserves the culture and low profile aspirations of the people of Tungkalang. It made me realized how life can be fulfilling without the convenience of modern living. Seeing these people in their most humble living brought me to my senses that everything I aspire for better future is nothing without the essence of contentment.


  1. Rochkirstin SantosJanuary 24, 2013 at 6:46 AM

    It's a good thing that the life in Tungkalang is being preserved, so we can have the next generations also learn humility through them. :)

  2. why crimson sky? it sounded like you're talking about a bloody event or place. the old woman looked so scared. i think we need to be careful when dealing with people who are wary of us, not for our safety, but more so, for their peace of mind

  3. thank you for sharing some pictures of the place. Gusto ko tuloy panuorin ang Thy Womb :)

  4. That swing photo is just brilliant. Curious, where did the 'crimson sky' reference come from? I'm guessing it's from how the skyline looks at sunset..?

  5. it has a dual meaning , literal referring to the sunset and a metaphor to the living condition of Tungkalang, beautiful tradition, culture and people ..yet fading ....

  6. the crimson sky refers to the beautiful people culture and tradition .... yet fading ...

  7. That's a little bit depressing, buddy :(

  8. I love the photo of the swing. :) Oh and the first one. Makes me want to escape the stress I have now and just have fun. Lol

  9. I like the way you captured the pictures especially the one with an old woman -- it's so dramatic. Great work you have here. Tawi-tawi is really preserved to its culture and customs.

  10. Simplicity at its best. That is Tawi-Tawi. My heart melts for that fearful old woman.