Sulu is very rich in history but never been a destination of choice among tourists and travelers. It is the seat of one of the oldest Sultanates and is known for struggling peace and order due to socio- political unrest. If you are into exploring culture and at the same time enthusiastic to discover the wonders of nature, the island is a perfect place to be.
Before jumping into the adventure, make sure that you follow proper dress code and demeanour because inhabitants are predominantly Muslims. They are known to believe and follow traditions and as an outsider, we have to be respectful of that.
Sulu can be reached through an overnight eight to ten hours ferry ride. If you want a faster option, there are fast crafts leaving the Zamboanga City Port. Travel time is three to four hours. Ferry is the cheapest choice ranging from Php 400- Php 600 while fast craft fare starts at Php 800 per person. Fast craft service is via Weesam Express while ferries are via Montenegro Shipping Lines and Aleson Shipping Lines.
One of the best places to visit in Sulu is the Masjid Tulay. This mosque will greet you when you reach the port of Jolo, the capital of Sulu Province. You will never be mistaken because of its dominant green dome and it majestically stand near the coast line.
Second on the list is the Sulu Provincial Capitol. Architecture of this building is distinct among other capitol buildings with golden dome and towers. The garden is well manicured and meticulously maintained. You can also find here the National Museum Sulu that houses ethnographic collections of Sulu culture.
Another best place to visit in Sulu is the Maubo Beach in Patikul. It boasts yellow-white sand and water is so clear. You will find here local kids jumping into the water from the wooden harbor. For divers, the islands of Hadji Panglima Tahil, 20 minutes boat ride from Jolo, is perfect spot, though I was not able to visit and swim in its waters. You can also visit the Mayor Samier Tan Beach Resort in Maimbung that is surrounded by mangroves and you’ll find wooden bridge to the water cottage.
Your visit to the island is not complete without stopping at the Jolo Market where you can find souvenirs and products imported from Malaysia.