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Tawi-Tawi
—  Province  —

Seal
Map of the Philippines with Tawi-Tawi highlighted
Coordinates: 5°10′N 120°15′E / 5.167°N 120.25°E / 5.167; 120.25Coordinates: 5°10′N 120°15′E / 5.167°N 120.25°E / 5.167; 120.25
Country  Philippines
Region Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)
Founded September 11, 1973
Capital Panglima Sugala
de facto seat of government: Bongao
Government
 - Governor Sadikul Sahali
Area
 - Total 3,426.6 km2 (1,323 sq mi)
Area rank 42nd out of 80
Population (2007)
 - Total 450,346
 Density 131.4/km2 (340.4/sq mi)
Population rank 57th out of 80
Population density rank 55th out of 80
Divisions
 - Independent cities 0
 - Component cities 0
 - Municipalities 11
 - Barangays 203
 - Districts Lone district of Tawi-Tawi
Time zone PHT (UTC+8)
ZIP Code
Spoken languages Вajau-Sinama,Тausug/Ѕulus.
‡ Both Panglima Sugala and Bongao are recognized as capitals by the NSCB, but the provincial capitol is located in the latter.

Tawi-Tawi is an island province of the Philippines located in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The capital of Tawi-Tawi is Bongao. The province is the southernmost of the country sharing sea borders with the Malaysian State of Sabah and the Indonesian Kalimantan province. To the northeast lies the province of Sulu and to the west is Sabah in Malaysia. Tawi-Tawi also covers some islands in the Sulu Sea to the northwest, the Cagayan de Tawi-Tawi Island and the Turtle Islands, just 20 kilometers away from Sabah.

Contents

Demographics

Most of the people in Tawi-Tawi belong to the Sama cultural group. Within this group are subgroups and named based on the location of the speaker. Sama Sibutu are those from the Sibutu-Sitangkai Island Group, Sama Simunul are those from Simunul-Manuk Mangkaw Island Group, and so on.

The Jama Mapun are largely found in the Cagayan Mapun and Turtle Island Group. Many of the people from the Turtle Islands and Cagayan Mapun maintain daily commerce with Sabah, since it is only 14 kilometers away.

The Badjao (also called "Sama Dilaut") are widely dispersed across the province. Though their population is diminishing due to diseases and migration to other areas in the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.

The Tausog or Tau Sug, Orang Suluk or Aa Suk are migrants from the Sulu Province and came to Tawi-Tawi in search of better livelihood opportunities or run away from the seemingly undending conflict and violence in Sulu.

Language

The prevailing language is the indigenous Bahasa Sama which is widely used in varied tones and accents. This variety led to the development of Sinama dialects. The major ones are Sinama Sibutu (spoken mainly in the Sibutu-Sitangkai Region), Sinama Simunul (concentrated in Simunul-Manuk-Mangkaw Islands), Sinama Kapoan (spoken in the South Ubian-Tandubas and Sapa-Sapa Regions) and Sinama Banguingui (concentrated in Buan Island and spoken by Banguingui people).

The Βajau-Ѕama language is also spoken, as are English and Filipino (Tagalog). Many local locals and barter traders can speak Malay and Indonesian.

Economy

Agriculture, fishing, and agar-agar farming are the leading source of livelihood of the people of Tawi-Tawi, with quite a number engaged in the barter trade business. Copra is the top agricultural produce, followed by root crops, fruits, and vegetables.

Transportation

Sanga-Sanga Airport, the main airport of the province, is located in the municipality of Bongao.

Geography

Political

Tawi-Tawi is subdivided into 11 municipalities:

  • Bongao - Is the microcosm of religious and cultural diversity.
  • Languyan - was created by then President Marcos for rebel leader Hadjiril Matba who decided to join the government fold in the 70s.
  • Mapun (Cagayan De Tawi-Tawi)
  • Panglima Sugala used to be known as Balimbing. However, after the EDSA Revolution, the word "balimbing" got a rather derogatory definition as a turncoat.
  • Sapa-Sapa
  • Sibutu - is home to descendants of Malay royalty in Borneo and not necessarily associated with the Sulu royalty.
  • Simunul - Site of Oldest Mosque in the Philippines and home of the revered Sheikh Makdum one of the early pioneers in the spread of the Islamic religion in the country.
  • Sitangkai - "Venice of the South"
  • South Ubian
  • Tandubas
  • Turtle Islands

* Provincial capital.

Most of the municipalities are located on the islands in the Sulu Archipelago. Two of them, Mapun, and Turtle Islands lie in the Sulu Sea. The municipalities are further subdivided into 203 barangays.

Physical

Tawi-Tawi lies at the southwestern tip of the country. Irregular in shape, with splashes of white sandy beaches and rock-bound coasts, the province has 107 islands and islets with a combined land area of 1197 km² (462 square miles).

The province has two seasons: dry and wet The climate is generally moderate. The wettest months are from August to November. The other months of the year are generally dry with occasional rain showers.

History

Tawi-Tawi was previously part of the province of Sulu. On September 11, 1973, pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 302, the new province of Tawi-Tawi was officially created, separate from Sulu. The seat of the provincial government was established in Bongao.

The name of Tawi-Tawi is a projection of the Malay word "jaui" meaning "far." Prehistoric travelers from the Asian mainland would repeat the word as "jaui-jaui" to mean "far away" because of the distance of the islands from the continent of Asia. The word "Tawi-Tawi" was picked up to later become the official name of the province.

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