As travellers go further from the bright city lights, one might begin to wonder where it all ends. The further you go from the city centers, the more unique the experience is. Would you like to travel to the southern-most part of the Philippines? Come, let’s explore Sitangkai!
The comparison may seem a little odd from the outside looking in, seeing as the land masses are oceans apart.
However, the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Venice has to be the canals, and how the most popular mode of transport is by boat on the canals, right? This is exactly how the people of Sitangkai live, as most of their houses open up to a waterway.
Much of the business and travel in the municipality occur via boat, hence the nickname “Venice of the South!”
People of Sitankai
‘Southern Mindanao’ might not conjure up the most pleasant images or news stories, but this could not be further from the truth.
The majority in the province of Tawi-tawi are of Muslim faith, which is not surprising, considering its proximity to Malaysia and Indonesia. Upon arrival, you are greeted with the typical warm, Filipino hospitality. As Sitangkai is quite far from the rest of the mainland (and, indeed, major cities), the locals are a humble people, making a simple living on the water.
How they live
Because of its unique geography, the people of Sitangkai work and live above reefs. The land mass is small, which explains the use of boats as the main mode of transportation. Indeed, the markets and vendors within this little municipality occur on boats, not unlike Vietnam’s floating markets, albeit on a much, much smaller scale.
Once again in atypical Filipino fashion, the land (or lack thereof) is put to the best possible use – seaweed farming. In fact, Sitangkai is the largest seaweed producer in the Philippines!
Much of the island live in houses on stilts above water and, as you would imagine, rely vastly on the ocean for their daily meals.