Travel Guide to Lamitan City (Basilan) + Day Trip Itinerary

Bulingan Falls in Lamitan City
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A visit to Basilan province wouldn’t be complete without dropping by its capital: Lamitan City. Lamitan City is the home base of the Yakan tribe. The Tausugs and Chavacanos also live here.

There are a few city attractions you can explore in Lamitan City. It also has fine-sand beaches and an interesting waterfall called Bulingan Falls, which features natural geometric rock formation. A half day is enough to explore Lamitan City.

My one-day tour in Lamitan City

I visited Lamitan City alone as part of my ZamBaSulTa trip. The rest of my group spent the day in Once Islas in Zamboanga City and since I’d already been there the year prior, I decided to go to Lamitan City instead. I coordinated with the tourism office prior to my trip.

I took the first ferry from Zamboanga City to Lamitan City at 6:45AM. Once I arrived in Lamitan port, my assigned tour guide Kuya Yazer was waiting for me in a habal-habal.

We went to the tourism office first to register. I left my backpack there so it would be easy for me to move around.

Our first stop is the Lamitan City Library and Museum. This is a small place where you can see historical and cultural artifacts in the city. There’s also a library section open to the public.

Lamitan City Museum and Library
Inside the museum.

Our next stop is the public market. Lamitan City’s public market features local products and imported products such as clothes from neighboring countries such as Malaysia.

There is also an area where you can see local delicacies being prepared and cooked. Lokot-lokot is a type of “fried noodles”. It’s made of rice flour which is fried until golden and crunchy. It’s shaped like a roll or triangle. Meanwhile, panyalam is fried rice pancake. I notice these aren’t the healthiest, but both are very tasty. These are common food in Lamitan City and is also served on special occasions, such as Muslim feast of Eid-al Fitr.

Local making lokot-lokot
A local making lokot-lokot.
Native delicacies in Lamitan
Lokot-lokot and panyalam.

On our way to our next destination, we passed by rubber tree plantations. Rubber is one of the local products in Lamitan City. If you want, you can see how the actual rubber is collected from the trees.

Our next stop is the Yakan Village. This is a small community of Yakan weavers who still uphold the traditional art of weaving clothes. I was able to witness actual weaving by young women. Unlike that in Zamboanga City, there are limited finished products kept here such as wallets and bags as the weavers opt to supply them back to Zamboanga City where they are easily bought.

Yakan Village in Lamitan City
Traditional weaving.

From there, we went to Lamitan City Tulips Garden. This is a newly opened attraction featuring 30,000 recycled tulips, not unlike that in Cebu or Abra. This is a nice spot to take photos.

Lamitan City Tulips Garden
Tulips Garden with about 30,000 tulips.

Next is Bulingan Falls. Bulingan Falls is one of the most interesting waterfalls in the country. It features a short raging water cascade, about 30 feet tall and 40 meter wide. What’s striking about Bulingan Falls is its natural cubic-shaped rock formation. It almost looks man-made. I wonder how many years it took to form the wall.

Bulingan Falls in Lamitan City

Bulingan Falls in Lamitan City
Bulingan Falls with cubic rock formations.

There are cottages in Bulingan Falls. There’s also a restroom, but there is no water for washing up. You can still use the restroom to change clothes.

Aside from these places, we also dropped by Calusugan Beach. This isn’t normally included in a guided tour in Lamitan City unless requested, as are other private beach resorts in Lamitan City. It was low-tide when we visited so I just took pictures of the shore. Other islands are also visible from Calusugan Beach, but as per my tour guide these aren’t open to tourism yet.

It was a short tour. Overall, what I liked best in Lamitan City is Bulingan Falls. I feel that it’s worth visiting Lamitan City for this alone.

Travel Guide to Lamitan City (Basilan)

How to get here

Zamboanga City to Lamitan City

Lamitan City is easily accessible from Zamboanga City. There are ferries with daily schedule in Zamboanga sea port.

Travel time is 1-1.5 hour. Fare is P100 per person.

  • Zamboanga to Lamitan: 6:45 AM | 9:30 AM | 12:30 PM | 3:00 PM | 3:30 PM
  • Lamitan to Zamboanga: 6:30 AM | 7:00 AM | 9:30 AM | 12:30 PM | 3:30 PM

Isabela City to Lamitan City

There are buses plying Isabela-Lamitan route every hour or as soon as bus is filled. Fare is P44 per person. Travel time is 1 hour.

How to get around

Tricycles are one of the main public transportation in the city.

Places to see

Here are the places you can see in Lamitan City:

  • Public Market
  • Lamitan City Library and Museum
  • Yakan Village
  • Lamitan City Tulips Garden
  • Bulingan Falls
  • (Optional) Beaches: Palm Beach, Luksumbang, Calugusan Beach

Palm Beach is also known as People’s Paradise Beach. It’s a popular beach among locals, as it boasts fine sand and is easily accessible via a 5-minute ride from the city center.

There are no entrance fees to the attractions included in the itinerary, except for the private beach resorts.

The tour can be done in a half-day. If you take the first ferry from Zamboanga City, you can start the tour at 8AM to 12 noon or 1PM, depending on your pace.

Tours

It’s best to coordinate with Lamitan Tourism Office for your tour. They will provide you with a guide who will take you to the best attractions in the city.

  • Lamitan Tourism Office: Facebook | (Ms Jarma, tourism officer) 09264275797

Rate are as follows (updated as of November 2019):

  • P1000 via habal-habal, good for 1 person
  • P2400 via private car, good up to 5-6 people / P3000 via van, good up to 15 people

The tourism office also offers a packaged tour, which includes lunch. This is a good option if you’re coming in a big group. Rate is P940 per pax (min 6 pax, max 15).

Where to stay

There are limited places to stay in Lamitan City.

  • Lamitan Hostel. This hostel is located near the public market. Rate starts at P700 per night.

There are also private resorts in Lamitan City, such as Maarena, Luksumbang, Calugusan and Dangkalan beach resorts.

Things to know before you go

  • It’s safe to travel here solo. I was alone during my visit before I met up with friends in Isabela City.
  • As per my tour guide Kuya Yazer, foreign travelers are also welcome to visit Lamitan and the rest of Basilan.
  • If you plan to swim in Bulingan Falls, make sure to bring a change of clothes. There are no place to wash-up but you can still change to dry clothes.

 

Has this guide to Lamitan City been helpful to you? If you have questions or suggestions, let me know in the comment section below!

 

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