Malamawi Island Basilan: A Trip To Remember

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"Is it really safe there? What if we'll get kidnapped? Should we really go?" These were some of the things that were troubling my thoughts before our planned trip to Malamawi Island, Basilan. The ignorance, misconception, and dismissive attitude towards Basilan is the direct result of traditional media sensationalism. Still, we couldn't really deny the fact that the series of uprisings and terrorism weakened Basilan's tourism further. 

Malamawi Island Basilan: A Trip To Remember

Getting There

There are a lot of boats from Zamboanga City Port that may take you to Isabela City, Basilan. There are fast crafts and ferries/RORO that are available daily from 6:00 AM to 4:45 PM.

Malamawi Island Basilan: A Trip To Remember

Weesam Express 
Fare: Php 170
Travel Time: 45 minutes

Zamboanga to Isabela Daily Schedule (as of May 2018)
  • 6:00 AM (only for Monday & Saturday)
  • 6:45 AM
  • 9:30 AM
  • 12:45 PM
  • 3:30 PM
Isabela to Zamboanga Daily Schedule (as of May 2018)
  • 7:00 AM
  • 8:15 AM
  • 10:45 AM
  • 2:00 PM
  • 4:45 PM
Aleson Shipping Lines Daily Schedule (as of May 2018)
Fare: starts at Php 145
Travel Time: depends on the vessel but definitely slower than most fast crafts
Contact number: 0917 821 8823

Zamboanga to Isabela Daily Schedule (as of May 2018)
  • 6:30 AM 
  • 6:45
  • 9:45 AM
  • 12:00 PM
  • 12:30 PM
  • 3:45 PM
Isabela to Zamboanga Daily Schedule (as of May 2018)
  • 6:45 AM
  • 9:00 AM
  • 9:30 AM
  • 12:00 PM
  • 12:45 PM
  • 3:30 PM
Basilan is home to diverse ethnic groups including the Badjaos, who live by the coastal areas in the province. Upon reaching Isabela Port, you'll be greeted by communities on stilts. 

Malamawi Island Basilan: A Trip To Remember

We only went to Isabela City where Malamawi Island is near. Upon reaching Isabela Port, we went to the other side of the port where motorised outriggers will willingly take you to Malamawi Island. It's just a short 5-minute ride for only Php 10 each.

The residents of Malamawi Island are accustomed to tourists. In fact, transportation from the port to Malamawi White Beach is not an issue. There are a lot of motorcycle drivers who'll take you to the beach for only Php 30 per way, per person.

Malamawi Beach

The beach is secured since there are several military personnel assigned to guard the area. We were shocked when we arrived at the beach. We were expecting a beautiful barren beach. Instead, the beach was full of excited beach-goers, families, and friends! It didn't feel like we were in Basilan. All our doubts and apprehension were erased in an instant. We couldn't even find an empty cottage! 

Malamawi Island Basilan: A Trip To Remember

Malamawi Island Basilan: A Trip To Remember


Entrance Fee: Php 35
Regular Cottage: Php 350
Big Cottage: Php 1,200
Bali Hall (upper): Php 3,000
Bali Hall (lower): Php 3,000

For reservations, please contact them directly at 0945 062 8568


We highly advise bringing your own food since their store has limited supplies.

Overall, the island is generally safe. Just always remember to respect their local culture and you'll be fine.

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