Panampangan Island in Tawi-Tawi | Philippines’ Longest Sandbar

Panampangan Beach in Tawi-Tawi

Panampangan Island in Tawi-Tawi

Everything you need to know about Panampangan Island 

Located along the Basibuli Shoal on the Celebes Sea, Panampangan Island is a secluded island in Tawi-Tawi with the longest sandbar in the Philippines, stretching for 4 kilometers and visible during the low tide season. The mainland of Panampangan Island is filled with coconut trees, lush verdure, and powdery, white sand. There are cottages and huts on the mainland where visitors can stay to rest and relax.

Panampangan Beach
Panampangan Beach

This tourist destination is not as popular as the other beaches and islands in Mindanao, like the Bitaog Beach and Camiguin Island. It remains untouched and undeveloped, adding charm to its natural beauty.

Best time to Visit Panampangan Island

The summertime is a great season to visit the Panampangan Island. The beach and the turquoise waters of the sea are best enjoyed with the comfortable weather during the summer. Beach destinations around the Philippines are brimming with local and foreign tourists during the summertime and Panampangan Island’s relatively unknown reputation is ideal to avoid the crowded beaches.

Things to Do on Panampangan Island

Snorkeling and Swimming

Because the island is situated along the Basibuli Shoal on the Celebes Sea, the calm, shallow waters of the island are perfect for snorkeling and swimming. Without the crowd of other popular beach destinations in the Philippines, visitors can enjoy the quiet sounds of the beach without the noise of crowds. It will be like having an entire island to yourself.

Collecting seashells

Children and children at heart can enjoy collecting seashells scattered around the island. Some of these can either be empty or with fresh seafood that visitors can eat. Collecting seashells and playing on the shorelines of the island is a great way to incorporate younger children into the beach and give them a memorable experience. Please note that while everyone can collect seashells, no one is allowed to take them home.

Beach Walk

Whilst collecting seashells enjoy a serene walk along the island’s white sand beach lined with coconut trees. Further, towards the sandbar, visitors can enjoy some privacy while taking in the sounds and sights of the sea, and reconnecting themselves to the earth. This will be a great activity for those looking to explore the island without exerting much effort.

Relax in one of the Huts

Otherwise, visitors can simply enjoy a meal under one of the few cottages on the island. It can be too hot at high noon and the sandbar may not be as enjoyable. The sands of the beach can get hot as well. The serene and tranquil atmosphere of being surrounded by the calm seawater and stunning scenery can put anyone’s mind at ease.

Panampangan Island photo by Macoy.mejia via Wikimedia cc
Panampangan Island photo by Macoy.mejia via Wikimedia cc

How to Get to Panampangan Island

Right now, there are no direct flights from Manila to Tawi-Tawi. Visitors can get a connecting flight to Sanga-Sanga Airport in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi, or Zamboanga via Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines.

Philippine Airlines flies to Cotabato and Tawi-Tawi at the following schedules:

FLIGHT NO.FREQUENCYDEPART TIME/TERMINALARRIVAL TIME/TERMINALOPERATED BYSEE NOTES
PR 2487Monday and Thursday07:3008:40PAL ExpressEff Jun 09, 2022

Philippine Airlines Flights to Tawi-Tawi from Zamboanga

FLIGHT NO.FREQUENCYDEPART TIME/TERMINALARRIVAL TIME/TERMINALOPERATED BYSEE NOTES
PR 2485Monday, Wednesday, and Friday07:4508:45PAL Express

From the Sanga-Sanga Airport, visitors can get a tricycle and head to the Bongao Port in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi. From the local port, visitors can rent a pump boat or a speed boat to get to Panampangan Island. The ride from the port to the island can take 45-minutes to more than two hours depending on the type of boat you are renting.

Boat Rental

Boats can be rented at the port. Speedboat can cost from Php8,000 to Php10,000 per day while the regular pump boat can cost up to Php5,000 per day. Please note that rates may change anytime.

Panampangan Island in Tawi-Tawi
Panampangan Island in Tawi-Tawi

Guide Fee

To ensure everything is in order and to help the local community, we highly recommend hiring a local tour guide to accompany your group during island hopping and land tours. The cost per guide can range from Php1,200 to Php1,500 depending on the number of pax.

Panampangan Beach in Tawi-Tawi
Panampangan Beach in Tawi-Tawi

Where to Eat on Panampangan Island

There are no stores and food establishments on the island. Make sure to bring a bento lunch or bring something to grill on the island. You can always ask your guide for recommendations.

Read: PAL Now Offers Direct Flights from Cotabato to Tawi-Tawi

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