Exploring PANAMPANGAN ISLAND: Home of the Longest Sandbar in the Philippines

GIDDY
GIDDY while running along the longest sandbar in the Philippines!

One of the things that excites me when traveling in our tropical country is sandbars. What more when we were heading to the longest sandbar in the whole Philippines no less? Here in this blog post I present Panampangan Island where the longest sandbar in the Philippines is located!

This blog post is part of my blog series about Tawi-Tawi, which also covers Bongao and Simunul.

LUSH WITH GREEN AND FLOORED WITH WHITE.
LUSH WITH GREEN AND FLOORED WITH WHITE. Panampangan’s beauty is apparent even from afar! We were excited when we’re about to reach its shore!

HOW TO GO TO PANAMPANGAN:

There is no local transportation going here in Panampangan, which is why you should rent a boat when planning to travel here.  As mentioned in my blog about Simunul, we rented a private boat in Bongao that would take us to both Simunul and Panampangan. After exploring the island of Simunul, we then proceeded here in Panampangan.

Travel time would actually depend on which sea vessel you’d use, speedboat or pump boat. It would definitely be faster if speedboat is used. However, it’s the pump boats that are usually available. Going to Panampangan from Simunul via pump boat requires about three hours of travel. Meanwhile going back to Bongao from Panampangan would require about 2.5 to 3 hours.

WHAT A BEAUT!
WHAT A BEAUT! Here’s Panampangan from above! Who wouldn’t fall in love with this beauty?

THINGS TO REMEMBER BEFORE GOING TO PANAMPANGAN:

  1. Take not of the schedule of low tide as this is the best time to go to witness the long sandbar of Panampangan. Ask your tour guide for the best time (as well as date) to go here.
  2. While there are no hotels or inns in the island, there are available cottages and grilling areas here… for free!
  3. Arrange with your guide your lunch in the island. There are no stores here.
  4. Of course, just like in any other travel destination, when going here, you must leave no trace. Respect the area by taking nothing but pictures. Never throw your trash anywhere, and this means you have to carry this with you and dispose it off properly when you come back to Bongao.
  5. Swim all you want, stroll along the beach and just marvel at this place. Enjoy!
IN BETWEEN.
IN BETWEEN. Right after getting out of the boat, I went straight here on this spot of Panampangan’s beach area to have a pic! Haha.

WHAT TO EXPLORE:

The whole island itself! Look at these pictures and be awed by the island’s allure and beauty.

I FELL IN LOVE WITH YOU AGAIN.
I FELL IN LOVE WITH YOU AGAIN. I fell in love with Panampangan Island again after looking at these pictures. As in wow, you really are beautiful!

In the most perfect time, the sandbar here in Panampangan Island is said to stretch for about 3,128 meters. By the way, do you recognize the shape of the island’s sandbar? Make a guess!

CRESCENT.
CRESCENT. The sandbars of the island do form a crescent shape, don’t they?

As mentioned, cottages and grilling areas are available in the island. Our guide took care of our food back then: he cooked some of our food in Bongao and grilled the fish that we bought here!

HEARTY LUNCH.
HEARTY LUNCH. We shared grilled fish, fried chicken, rice and mangoes for lunch that day!

There is presence of the Marines in the island so you don’t have to worry about your security while being here.

IDYLLIC.
IDYLLIC. I’m so wanting to go back here and just chill out for hours!
ISN'T IT TEMPTING?
ISN’T IT TEMPTING? Ohh, I can still clearly remember how soft its white sands are while my feet were walking along its shores.
THIS BEACH.
THIS BEACH- I won’t get tired of looking at it.
HOW CLEAR IT IS.
HOW CLEAR IT IS. Ohh, I can just look at these small waves and white sands for a long, long time!
LAYING ON THE SAND.
LAYING ON THE SAND. Here’s the four of us while spending some time on the white, fine sand of Panampangan! From the top, clockwise: Billy, Carlo (IG: @carloenriquez), Denmark (IG: @denmarkisthename) and yours truly (IG: @karl_olivier)

EXPENSES IN PANAMPANGAN:

  1. BOAT. Traveling to Panampangan (and Simunul) wouldn’t be possible without renting a boat for the whole day. This would cost P8,000.
  2. GUIDE FEE. Each day of travel here in Tawi-tawi would cost a fee that you’d have to pay to your guide. The fee would actually depend on the number of tourists in the group. For a group of 5 to 10, it would cost P1,500. For a group of 1 to 4, it would cost P1,200.
  3. LUNCH. As mentioned earlier, arrangement of lunch with the tour guide is necessary when going here. In our case, we asked Sir Wadz on what we can do about our food during this trip. He took charge of buying and cooking some of the food that we carried on the island (rice, fried chicken, etc.). We grilled the fish that we bought in Bongao’s Public Market. There were also fruits. Our lunch costed us about P1,500.
  4. ADDITIONAL EXPENSES. Remember that you’d be traveling back to Bongao after touring Simunul and Panampangan. Expenses to be considered here include:
    1. Tricycle fare. Fare is about P500 for fetching at the hotel and going to the port in the morning AND fetching at the port and going back to the hotel in the evening.
    2. Accomodation. Beachside Inn has big rooms that can accommodate big groups, though this starts at P1,350 for a group of three. Additional bed costs P180.
    3. Breakfast. You wouldn’t want to be traveling without having your tummies full first, would you? Before heading to Simunul and eventually Panampangan, we ate first at the local eatery where our guide brought us during the first day. Our breakfast costed us about P800.
    4. Simunul trip. As our trip during day 2 includes both Panampangan and Simunul, it’s important that the expenses in Simunul would also be included here. As mentioned in my previous blog post, the expenses in Simunul include transportation in roaming the island (truck) that costs P700. We also had our snacks there that costed us about P140. Donation to the island is also encouraged (our group gave P300).
    5. Tips and donations that aren’t mentioned.

TOTAL EXPENSES FOR PANAMPANGAN ISLAND TOUR (INCLUDING SIMUNUL): P15,330 for a group of 6 or about P2,555 per pax

WHO TO CONTACT

If you haven’t visited my other blog posts about Tawi-Tawi where I have put the contact number of our tour guide, don’t worry. I’ll share it again on this blog post!

Sir Wadz, our tour guide- 0926-8752346

Miss Fatima, from tourism office of Bongao- 0977-2027107

***

ANOTHER LOOK.
ANOTHER LOOK. Here’s another shot detailing how clear the water is, how soft and white the sand is and how just beautiful everything is in Panampangan!

That’s it for our travel to Tawi-Tawi! I hope I was able to inspire you to go in this beautiful province despite its distance. Marvel at the incredible culture and astounding places Bongao has to offer, be awed by the must-see places at Simunul, the cradle of Islam in the Philippines; and enjoy the longest sandbar here in the Philippines, only found in the paradise called Panampangan!

It's that long and this wide.
IT’S THAT LONG AND THIS WIDE. Ohh, Panampangan!
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