Basilan
Overview
 
The Province of Basilan (Lalawigan ng Basilan in Filipino
Filipino language
This move has drawn much criticism from other regional groups.In 1987, a new constitution introduced many provisions for the language.Article XIV, Section 6, omits any mention of Tagalog as the basis for Filipino, and states that:...

/Tagalog
Tagalog language
Tagalog is an Austronesian language spoken as a first language by a third of the population of the Philippines and as a second language by most of the rest. It is the first language of the Philippine region IV and of Metro Manila...

; Provincia de Basilan in Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

/Chavacano) is an island province
Provinces of the Philippines
The Provinces of the Philippines are the primary political and administrative divisions of the Philippines. There are 80 provinces at present, further subdivided into component cities and municipalities. The National Capital Region, as well as independent cities, are autonomous from any provincial...

 of the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 within the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is the region, located in the Mindanao island group of the Philippines, that is composed of predominantly Muslim provinces, namely: Basilan , Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. It is the only region that has its own government...

 (ARMM). Basilan is the largest and northernmost of the major islands of the Sulu Archipelago
Sulu Archipelago
The Sulu Archipelago is a chain of islands in the southwestern Philippines. This archipelago is considered to be part of the Moroland by the local rebel independence movement. This island group forms the northern limit of the Celebes Sea....

 and is located just off the southern coast of Zamboanga Peninsula
Zamboanga Peninsula
Zamboanga Peninsula / Western Mindanao is a peninsula and an administrative region in the Philippines. Designated as Region IX, the region consists of three provinces, namely, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga Sibugay, its component cities of Dipolog, Dapitan, Pagadian, and...

. Its capital, Isabela City
Isabela City
Isabela City is a 5th class city and the capital of the province of Basilan, Philippines. The city is located on the northern shore of Basilan. Across the Basilan Strait to the north is Zamboanga City...

, is administered as part of the Zamboanga Peninsula Region.

Basilan is home to three main ethnic groups, the indigenous Yakan
Yakan
The Yakan people are among the major indigenous tribes in Mindanao. Having a significant number of followers of Islam, it is considered as one of the 13 Moro groups in the Philippines. There are also a good number of Christians in this tribe as a result of the conversion of the line of Datu Kalun -...

s, and the later-arriving Tausugs and Chavacanos.
Encyclopedia
The Province of Basilan (Lalawigan ng Basilan in Filipino
Filipino language
This move has drawn much criticism from other regional groups.In 1987, a new constitution introduced many provisions for the language.Article XIV, Section 6, omits any mention of Tagalog as the basis for Filipino, and states that:...

/Tagalog
Tagalog language
Tagalog is an Austronesian language spoken as a first language by a third of the population of the Philippines and as a second language by most of the rest. It is the first language of the Philippine region IV and of Metro Manila...

; Provincia de Basilan in Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

/Chavacano) is an island province
Provinces of the Philippines
The Provinces of the Philippines are the primary political and administrative divisions of the Philippines. There are 80 provinces at present, further subdivided into component cities and municipalities. The National Capital Region, as well as independent cities, are autonomous from any provincial...

 of the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 within the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is the region, located in the Mindanao island group of the Philippines, that is composed of predominantly Muslim provinces, namely: Basilan , Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. It is the only region that has its own government...

 (ARMM). Basilan is the largest and northernmost of the major islands of the Sulu Archipelago
Sulu Archipelago
The Sulu Archipelago is a chain of islands in the southwestern Philippines. This archipelago is considered to be part of the Moroland by the local rebel independence movement. This island group forms the northern limit of the Celebes Sea....

 and is located just off the southern coast of Zamboanga Peninsula
Zamboanga Peninsula
Zamboanga Peninsula / Western Mindanao is a peninsula and an administrative region in the Philippines. Designated as Region IX, the region consists of three provinces, namely, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga Sibugay, its component cities of Dipolog, Dapitan, Pagadian, and...

. Its capital, Isabela City
Isabela City
Isabela City is a 5th class city and the capital of the province of Basilan, Philippines. The city is located on the northern shore of Basilan. Across the Basilan Strait to the north is Zamboanga City...

, is administered as part of the Zamboanga Peninsula Region.

Basilan is home to three main ethnic groups, the indigenous Yakan
Yakan
The Yakan people are among the major indigenous tribes in Mindanao. Having a significant number of followers of Islam, it is considered as one of the 13 Moro groups in the Philippines. There are also a good number of Christians in this tribe as a result of the conversion of the line of Datu Kalun -...

s, and the later-arriving Tausugs and Chavacanos. The Yakans and Tausugs are predominantly Muslim, while the Chavacanos are mainly Christian. There are also a number of smaller groups. Although the official language is Filipino and English, the major language is Yakan, but other languages are well represented, including Tausug, Samal, and Chavacano.

Basilan, although classified as a 4th-Class Province in terms of gross provincial income, has one of the lowest incidence of poverty in the Philippines (26.19% of the general population), ranked 20 among the Philippines' 80 Provinces (in comparison, Maguindanao which is ranked last at no. 80 has a poverty incidence of 44.24%). More importantly, the gap between Basilan's rich and poor residents are among the narrowest in the country (ranked 3rd nationwide), pointing to one of the most equitable distributions of wealth anywhere in the country (GINI Coefficient 0.2826, which is slightly better than the Provinces of Pampanga, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Cavite, Batanes and Batangas).

Land

The province of Basilan has an aggregate historical jurisdiction of 135892 hectares (335,796.1 acre), with mainland Basilan encompassing an area of 124892 hectares (308,614.6 acre). The province encompasses all of Basilan Island (including Isabela City
Isabela City
Isabela City is a 5th class city and the capital of the province of Basilan, Philippines. The city is located on the northern shore of Basilan. Across the Basilan Strait to the north is Zamboanga City...

, which forms part of the province, although it is excluded from the Autonomous Region) and offshore islands, together with the Pilas island group (now Hadji Muhtamad Municipality
Hadji Muhtamad, Basilan
Hadji Muhtamad is a municipality in the province of Basilan, Philippines. According to the 2007 census, it has a population of 20,292 people.It was created out of the 10 barangays of Lantawan that were not on Basilan Island, by virtue of Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act No...

) west of the island, and the Bubuan and Tapiantana island group (now Tabuan-Lasa Municipality
Tabuan-Lasa, Basilan
Tabuan-Lasa is a municipality in the province of Basilan, Philippines. According to the 2007 census, it has a population of 13,384 people.It was created out of the 12 barangays of Sumisip that were not on Basilan Island, by virtue of Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act No...

) in the south. These are listed among the Philippine islands with a moderate risk of getting hit by tsunami
Tsunami
A tsunami is a series of water waves caused by the displacement of a large volume of a body of water, typically an ocean or a large lake...

s.

Geography

Basilan is located between latitudes 6°15' and 7°00', and longitudes 121°15' and 122°30'. The island is bordered by the Basilan Strait to the north, the Sulu Sea
Sulu Sea
The Sulu Sea is a body of water in the southwestern area of the Philippines, separated from the South China Sea in the northwest by Palawan and from the Celebes Sea in the southeast by the Sulu Archipelago. Borneo is found to the southwest and Visayas to the northeast.Sulu Sea contains a number of...

 to the northwest and west, the Moro Gulf
Moro Gulf
The Moro Gulf is a sea in Mindanao in the Philippines. It is part of Celebes Sea and is surrounded by the Zamboanga Peninsula and the central part of Mindanao. Sibuguey Bay and Illana Bay are its major branches. Zamboanga City is the most important port city on its coast...

 to the northeast, and the Celebes Sea
Celebes Sea
The Celebes Sea of the western Pacific Ocean is bordered on the north by the Sulu Archipelago and Sulu Sea and Mindanao Island of the Philippines, on the east by the Sangihe Islands chain, on the south by Sulawesi, and on the west by Kalimantan in Indonesia...

 to the south, southeast and east. It is one of the 7,107 islands that make up the Philippine archipelago.
Basilan Island is the largest and northernmost island of the Sulu Archipelago
Sulu Archipelago
The Sulu Archipelago is a chain of islands in the southwestern Philippines. This archipelago is considered to be part of the Moroland by the local rebel independence movement. This island group forms the northern limit of the Celebes Sea....

 between the Philippine islands of Mindanao
Mindanao
Mindanao is the second largest and easternmost island in the Philippines. It is also the name of one of the three island groups in the country, which consists of the island of Mindanao and smaller surrounding islands. The other two are Luzon and the Visayas. The island of Mindanao is called The...

 and Borneo
Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

 which includes about 400 islands. Basilan Strait, about 17 nautical miles (31.5 km) at its narrowest point, separates Basilan Island from the mainland of Mindanao and the port city of Zamboanga. The terrain of the island is simple, with several undulating slopes concentrated around Isabela City along the coastal areas and hilly towards the interior. Urban areas are usually 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) above sea level and gently sloping to 300 metres (984.3 ft) toward the hinterlands. The stand of timber and forest vegetation is more or less evenly distributed throughout.

Basilan National Park is located at the eastern portion of the remaining public forest between the city of Isabela and the municipalities of Lamitan, Tipo-Tipo and Sumisip. The park has an elevation of 971 metres (3,185.7 ft) above sea level, and the tallest peak, Puno Mahaji or Basilan Peak, dominates the park's landscape.

Climate



The climate is similar to other areas in the Zamboanga Peninsula. The annual average rainfall is 1100 millimetres (43.3 in) and the mean annual temperature is 26.6 °C (79.9 °F). The source of the rainfall is the southwest monsoon
Monsoon
Monsoon is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation, but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea...

 and the island's location in the Intertropical Convergence Zone
Intertropical Convergence Zone
The Intertropical Convergence Zone , known by sailors as The Doldrums, is the area encircling the earth near the equator where winds originating in the northern and southern hemispheres come together....

. The climate is classified as a tropical wet and dry climate or Aw using the Köppen climate classification
Köppen climate classification
The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

 system.

Basilan is outside the typhoon belt. Prevailing winds are from the southwest with a speed of 4 knots (7.8 km/h).

March to May is hot and dry, with temperature averaging 22 °C (71.6 °F). June to October is rainy. November to February is cool, with temperatures ranging from 22 °C (71.6 °F) to 28 °C (82.4 °F). Average humidity year-round is 77%.

History

Several waves of Negrito
Negrito
The Negrito are a class of several ethnic groups who inhabit isolated parts of Southeast Asia.Their current populations include 12 Andamanese peoples of the Andaman Islands, six Semang peoples of Malaysia, the Mani of Thailand, and the Aeta, Agta, Ati, and 30 other peoples of the Philippines....

 and ancient Chinese migration populated the Philippines. The Yakan people
Yakan people
The Yakan people are among the major indigenous tribes in Mindanao. Having a significant number of followers of Islam, it is considered as one of the 13 Moro groups in the Philippines. There are also a good number of Christians in this tribe as a result of the conversion of the line of Datu Kalun -...

 arrived in the area of the Sulu Archipelago
Sulu Archipelago
The Sulu Archipelago is a chain of islands in the southwestern Philippines. This archipelago is considered to be part of the Moroland by the local rebel independence movement. This island group forms the northern limit of the Celebes Sea....

, of which Basilan is a part, around 300 BCE to 200 BCE. Little is known of them before the era of Spanish colonization, but they still make up the largest ethnic group on the main island of Basilan.

As the Tausug Sultanate of Sulu grew in power, the Yakans withdrew inland, until most of the coastal communities along the island's southern, western and northwestern shores were primarily inhabited by Tausugs and their vassal tribes, the Samals and Bajaus (Tau-Laut). The only exception was the relatively prosperous Yakan communities of Lamitan.

Basilan first came to European attention when it was documented by the remnant of the Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese explorer. He was born in Sabrosa, in northern Portugal, and served King Charles I of Spain in search of a westward route to the "Spice Islands" ....

 expedition in 1521. It was eventually colonized by the Spanish as early as 1636 and was formally ceded by the Sulu Sultanate to Spain in 1726. The withdrawal of the Yakans inland was hastened by Spanish establishment of advance bases on the island's northwestern coast, bringing in Christianized 'indios' from Zamboanga, the Visayas and Luzon. By then, even the Yakan communities of Lamitan were completely overrun. Jesuit
Society of Jesus
The Society of Jesus is a Catholic male religious order that follows the teachings of the Catholic Church. The members are called Jesuits, and are also known colloquially as "God's Army" and as "The Company," these being references to founder Ignatius of Loyola's military background and a...

 missionaries brought Catholicism
Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

 to the region. Fighting with the Sultanate, the Dutch East India Company
Dutch East India Company
The Dutch East India Company was a chartered company established in 1602, when the States-General of the Netherlands granted it a 21-year monopoly to carry out colonial activities in Asia...

, Moro Pirates
Moro Pirates
The Moro Pirates, also known as the Sulu Pirates, were Muslim outlaws of the southern Philippines who engaged in frequent acts of piracy, primarily against the Spanish, beginning in the late 16th century...

, and the French has a place in Basilan's history over the years.

With its victory in the 1898 Spanish–American War, the United States gained possession of the Philippines. Americans cleared large expanses of land and established plantations in Basilan, mainly to produce rubber and copra.

Following the Japanese occupation of the country during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, in 1946, the Philippines gained its independence. Beginning around 1970, heavy fighting broke out between the Philippine government and the Moro National Liberation Front
Moro National Liberation Front
The Moro National Liberation Front is a political organization that was founded by Nur Misuari in 1969. The MNLF struggles against the Philippine Government to achieve independence of the Bangsamoro Land...

, which was determined to secede and form a new country.

Then President Marcos made Basilan a province in 1973. It joined the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is the region, located in the Mindanao island group of the Philippines, that is composed of predominantly Muslim provinces, namely: Basilan , Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. It is the only region that has its own government...

 in 1989, the last province to do so. Its capital, Isabela City, however, opted out and remains a part of the Zamboanga Peninsula Region (formerly Western Mindanao, Region 9).

Etymology

Oral traditions of the local Yakan people include several names for pre-historic Basilan: "Uleyan", which is derived from the present-named Basilan Peak (Puno Mahaji), and later changed to "Matangal" after a mountain farther to the east of the island. These names were presumably used by the Maguindanao traders from mainland Mindanao
Mindanao
Mindanao is the second largest and easternmost island in the Philippines. It is also the name of one of the three island groups in the country, which consists of the island of Mindanao and smaller surrounding islands. The other two are Luzon and the Visayas. The island of Mindanao is called The...

, utilizing these mountains as navigational landmarks when sailing the Celebes Sea
Celebes Sea
The Celebes Sea of the western Pacific Ocean is bordered on the north by the Sulu Archipelago and Sulu Sea and Mindanao Island of the Philippines, on the east by the Sangihe Islands chain, on the south by Sulawesi, and on the west by Kalimantan in Indonesia...

. Other names romantically given were "Puh Gulangan" or "island of forests", "Umus Tambun" or "fertile land", "Kumalarang" after the westward flowing river on the island's western half which is also otherwise called Baunuh Peggesan.

Taguima

Pre-Hispanic texts from the royal archives of the Sulu Sultanate referred to the northernmost island of the Sulu Archipelago as Taguima, from the Yakan who were called "Tagihamas" (people of the interior or hinterlands) by the Tausug and Samal
Samal
-Cultures:* The Sama languages of the Sulu Archipelago in island Southeast Asia* The ethnic groups that speak this language , see Samal people-In Turkey:* An ancient Hittite city, now the Zincirli archaeological site in southern Turkey...

 peoples who came and settled in numerous but scattered communities along Basilan's western and southwestern shores and outlying islets and island groups.

Later references mentioned "Bantilan", probably referring to Maluso, which was established as a major Tausug base by Sulu Sultan Muizz ud-Din (whose princely name was Datu Bantilan).

Imperial Chinese
History of China
Chinese civilization originated in various regional centers along both the Yellow River and the Yangtze River valleys in the Neolithic era, but the Yellow River is said to be the Cradle of Chinese Civilization. With thousands of years of continuous history, China is one of the world's oldest...

 texts mention a "Kingdom of Kumalarang" (from the Yakan "kumalang" or "to sing", owing to the location being a place for celebrations and gatherings) during the Ming Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

, believed to be the island which now has a barangay
Barangay
A barangay is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines and is the native Filipino term for a village, district or ward...

of the same name on its northwestern shores.

The earliest map of the Philippines which made reference to an island labeled "Taguima" was produced by Giacomo Gastaldi
Giacomo Gastaldi
Giacomo Gastaldi was an Italian cartographer of the 16th century. Gastaldi began his career as an engineer, serving the Venetian Republic in that capacity until the fourth decade of the sixteenth century...

, through woodblock prints
Woodblock printing
Woodblock printing is a technique for printing text, images or patterns used widely throughout East Asia and originating in China in antiquity as a method of printing on textiles and later paper....

 in 1548 and subsequently included in the influential travel book of Giovanni Battista Ramusio
Giovanni Battista Ramusio
Giovanni Battista Ramusio was an Italian geographer and travel writer.Born in Treviso, Italy, Ramusio was the son of Paolo Ramusio, a magistrate in the city-state of Venice...

, the Della Navigatione e Viaggi, which was published between 1556 and 1583 in three volumes. This was followed by Abraham Ortelius
Abraham Ortelius
thumb|250px|Abraham Ortelius by [[Peter Paul Rubens]]Abraham Ortelius thumb|250px|Abraham Ortelius by [[Peter Paul Rubens]]Abraham Ortelius (Abraham Ortels) thumb|250px|Abraham Ortelius by [[Peter Paul Rubens]]Abraham Ortelius (Abraham Ortels) (April 14, 1527 – June 28,exile in England to take...

's work Indiae Orientalis Insularumque Adiacientium Typus, published in 1573 in a German text edition of the atlas Theatrum Orbis Terrarum
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum is considered to be the first true modern atlas. Written by Abraham Ortelius and originally printed on May 20, 1570, in Antwerp, it consisted of a collection of uniform map sheets and sustaining text bound to form a book for which copper printing plates were specifically...

by Christophe Plantin
Christophe Plantin
Christophe Plantin was an influential Renaissance humanist and book printer and publisher.-Life:...

 in Antwerp. As late as 1719, a map titled "Die philippinische Inseln - Isle Brneo" by Allain Manesson Mallet of Frankfurt
Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 featured an island still labeled "Tagyma I."

Basilan

The process by which all these names became "Basilan" is almost certainly due to miscommunication between the natives and the Spanish, as well as the penchant to engage in editorial license by European map-makers of the era.

Basilan's name may also derive from its iron ore deposits. Tausug warriors and slave-traders from Sulu came to Taguima to purchase high-quality magnetic iron
Iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

 ores, which they used for swords, knives and other blades. This profitable trade, helped in large measure by the establishment of Maluso as a major military-naval base of the Sulu Sultanate, eventually gave the island the distinction of being the source of basih-balan, the Tausug word for magnetic iron. Roughly translated and abbreviated, however, basih-lan means "the iron (magnet
Magnet
A magnet is a material or object that produces a magnetic field. This magnetic field is invisible but is responsible for the most notable property of a magnet: a force that pulls on other ferromagnetic materials, such as iron, and attracts or repels other magnets.A permanent magnet is an object...

) trail" or "the iron way".

When several Tausug warriors were caught by the Spanish in one of their numerous raids on the Zamboanga settlement, Spanish officials supposedly admired the artistry and skill that went into making the warriors' elaborately decorated swords, knives and blades, and asked where these weapons could be bought. From atop the ramparts of the Spanish commandery at the Fuerza del Nuestra Senora del Pilar de Zaragoza (Fort Pilar
Fort Pilar
Fort Pilar is a 17th century military defense fortress built by the Spanish colonial government in Zamboanga City on Mindanao Island in the Republic of the Philippines...

), the warriors supposedly pointed to the island visible across today's Basilan Strait, and said, simply, "ha basih-lan".

Reports from the Jesuit reducciones
Indian Reductions
Reductions were settlements founded by the Spanish colonizers of the New World with the purpose of assimilating indigenous populations into European culture and religion.Already since the beginning of the Spanish presence in the Americas, the Crown had been concerned...

 in Zamboanga and Pasangen (Isabela) were relayed to Manila
Manila
Manila is the capital of the Philippines. It is one of the sixteen cities forming Metro Manila.Manila is located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay and is bordered by Navotas and Caloocan to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong to the east, Makati on the southeast,...

, where Spanish cartographer Pedro Murillo de Velarde published Historia de la Provincia de Philipinas de la Compañia de Jesvs. Segvnda parte using the Jesuit printing press at Manila in 1749. It featured a map of the Philippines with the as yet unofficial "I. Basilan". The map was re-published by Leipzig
Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

 map-maker Nicolaus Bellinn for general European circulation in 1752.

Finally, to represent a clear break from the Habsburg
Habsburg
The House of Habsburg , also found as Hapsburg, and also known as House of Austria is one of the most important royal houses of Europe and is best known for being an origin of all of the formally elected Holy Roman Emperors between 1438 and 1740, as well as rulers of the Austrian Empire and...

 Dynasty (which had ruled Spain for 184 years from 1516 to 1700), the first officially sanctioned Spanish maps of its colonies, including "Las Islas de Mindanao", were commissioned by the Bourbons (1700–present). This particular map of Mindanao, apparently copied from the Nicolaus Bellinn map of 1752, was published by Nicolas Norton Nicols in 1757, featuring "Basilan" and bearing the royal stamp of Spanish Bourbon King Ferdinand VI
Ferdinand VI of Spain
Ferdinand VI , called the Learnt, was King of Spain from 9 July 1746 until his death. He was the fourth son of the previous monarch Philip V and his first wife Maria Luisa of Savoy...

. It has been called "Isla de Basilan" (Basilan Island) ever since.

Treasure Islands of the Southern Seas

Basilan Island's reputation as a staging-ground for Moro raids on Zamboanga, the Visayas and even Luzon, and as a temporary repository of the plunder from these raids. gave the island a notoriety not unlike the "Treasure Islands" of the West Indies or the buccaneers' havens and pirate coves of the Caribbean.

Spanish and Tausug fleets engaged each other in sea battles and skirmishes not far from the western shores of the islands. Many of their ships were scuttled or sunk, sometimes with precious cargoes of traded goods and Mexican silver pieces meant for the fort in Zamboanga and the naval squadron at Isabela, as well as goods en route to Jolo
Jolo
Jolo may refer to:* Jolo Island* Jolo, Sulu* Jolo, West Virginia* Jolo is also the nickname of Swedish author Jan Olof Olsson....

 from the Mindanao mainland.

The Spanish Pigafetta expedition landed on a group of islets west of the main island of Basilan, where they found precious pearls; subsequent Spanish cartographers aptly named these the "Isletas de Perlas" (Pearl Islets). Native Samal and Bajao folk called this group of islets and reefs "Pilas" (Perlas), a name still used to this day. More recently, there have been local rumors about gold bars and other trinkets hidden among the many islets by retreating Japanese troops at the end of World War II. To date, treasure hunters of various nationalities, among them Japanese and Europeans, have scoured the area.

All these tales of treasures hidden in Basilan's many remote, unpopulated islets gave it the nickname "Treasure Islands of the Southern Seas", immortalized in the official anthem of the Province of Basilan, "Fair Basilan", composed by Basilan lyricist and composer Tranquilino Gregorio.

Culture

The biggest cultural influences on the island derive from Basilan's tri-ethnic community: the native Yakan
Yakan
The Yakan people are among the major indigenous tribes in Mindanao. Having a significant number of followers of Islam, it is considered as one of the 13 Moro groups in the Philippines. There are also a good number of Christians in this tribe as a result of the conversion of the line of Datu Kalun -...

, Tausug and Chavacano peoples. The Yakans and Tausugs are predominantly Muslim, while the Chavacanos are primarily Christian. Among the Tausugs and Samals, the phrase "mag-tausug na kaw" means "become a Muslim", instead of the more literal translation, "become a Tausug", as the Tausug tribe is regarded as the "original Muslims" of the area. Although the majority of the Yakans are Muslims, a significant number still conform to traditional local beliefs, traditions and rituals, while some have likewise opted to be baptized Christians. Along with a majority of the Chavacano, the Cebuano and the Ilonggo/Hiligaynon Bisaya are Christian.

Culturally, the Yakan and the Tausug are distinct groups; the Yakan represent the "Lumad" or indigenous peoples of Basilan, while the Tausugs, the Samal and the Bajao are regarded as the "Muslims", and the Chavacanos, Cebuanos and Ilonggos are the "Christians". The rest, a mixture of Tagalogs, Ilocanos, Waray, Bicolanos, Maranaos, Iranuns and Maguindanaos, are more recent migrants permanently residing in the region, itinerant merchants or government workers.

This mix of ethnicities, forged together first by the Spanish practice of establishing resettlements or reducciones, as well as the multinational plantations' importation of skilled Christian farm workers and laborers from the Visayas and Luzon, gives Basilan a distinct culture in the Philippines. It is the only majority-Muslim province that is governed by Lumads, and whose most commonly spoken language is Chavacano.

The Tausugs and Samals, for the most part having been denied ownership of land, and owing also to their primary livelihood of fishing, live along the coastlines, constructing their houses on stilts at the water's edge near population centers. Their houses are, for the most part, outside of the municipal water and sewerage systems of the urban centers. The Yakans, on the other hand, having been driven far inland, are scattered throughout the island's interior, in similar raised houses usually made of light materials, but separated from each other. The Christians are mostly found in the plains, the cities and in the plantations, squeezed between the Tausug-dominated coasts and the Yakan-dominated hinterlands. They make up the bulk of the island's professionals, entrepreneurs, and lowland farmers. The Christians own most of the arable land, as well as nearly all of the businesses and occupy most of the professions.

Tausug/Samal festivals are usually connected to the sea, celebrating the bounty of the seas, even staging dazzling fluvial wedding parades on colorfully bedecked vinta
Vinta
The vinta is a traditional boat found in the Philippine island of Mindanao. These boats are made by Bajau and Moros lining in the Sulu Archipelago. It has a sail with assorted vertical colors that represents the colorful culture and history of the Muslim community. These boats are used for...

s and paraw
Paraw
The Paraw is a double outrigger sail boat found in the Philippines. The paraw is similar to a proa, however, the paraw has two outrigger or katig.-Etymology:The word paraw also parao is related to proa and may be used to denote a boat...

s, a nod to the Tausugs' former naval prowess. Christian fiestas are almost always related to good harvests on the farms, as well as saintly miracles against natural calamities and victories against Moro attacks. Yakan festivals, meanwhile, are rooted in older, pre-Islamic rituals such as warrior dances, colorful wedding pageants, and harvest rituals.

Culturally, therefore, Christians and Muslims have a close relationship, both professionally as well as in trade and commerce, being regarded as the island's "lowlanders" by the Yakan, who are themselves regarded as "de arriba" by the Christians or "tagihamas" by the Tausugs, which roughly translates as "uplanders". Conversely, the Yakan are suspicious of the intents and motives of the tribe's lowland neighbors, having been at the receiving end of slave raids, invasions and punitive attacks from both groups for over 500 years.

With the island's strategic location right at the crossroads of the warring camps of Tausugs and the Spanish, Basilan was divided into three primary spheres of cultural dominance by one of the three groups. Basilan's northern and northwestern coasts, facing the heavily Hispanized Zamboanga City across the narrow Basilan Strait, is culturally Christian, or more precisely Filipino Catholic. Basilan's southern and southwestern coastal areas have a distinctly Tausug-oriented culture. The eastern and interior portions of Basilan, on the other hand, isolated for the most part from the Spanish in Zamboanga, and the Tausug from Jolo, are enclaves of the indigenous Yakan.

Demographics

By the eve of the Commonwealth era in the Philippines, local census estimates showed that a majority of the people of Basilan were Christian migrants, mostly plantation workers recruited from over Mindanao and the Visayas, and Tausug traders, as well as Samal and Bajau fisherfolk. Only around 5,000 Yakans were counted in the census. Until then, most Yakans preferred not to interact directly with their lowland neighbors.

Statistics from the 2000 Census report the following breakdown:
  • Yakan: 137,545 (41.36%)
  • Tausug: 76,366 (22.96%)
  • Zamboangueño Chavacano / Bisaya / Cebuano
    Cebuano people
    The Cebuano people , are a Visayan ethnic group in Cebu and form the second largest cultural-linguistic group in the Philippines.-History:...

     / Hiligaynon
    Hiligaynon people
    The Hiligaynon are the indigenous inhabitants of the large coastal plain of East Panay island. Over the years, intermigrations and intramigrations have contributed to the diaspora of the Hiligaynon to different parts of the country. Now, the Hiligaynon form the majority in Iloilo province, Capiz...

     / Ilonggo / Ilocano
    Ilocano people
    The Ilocano or Ilokano people are the third largest Filipino ethnolinguistic group. Aside from being referred to as Ilocanos, from "i"-from, and "looc"-bay, they also refer to themselves as Samtoy, from the Ilocano phrase "sao mi ditoy", meaning 'our language here.' The word "Ilocano" came from...

     / Ibanag: 71,344 (21.45%)
  • Others (Samal
    Samal people
    Samal are an indigenous ethnic group in the Philippines. They are a subgroup of the Bajau peoples. They mostly live in Sulu Archipelago, Zamboanga Peninsula, and Davao del Sur, especially Island Garden City of Samal which was named after them, in Mindanao island....

     / Bajao / Tagalog
    Tagalog people
    The Tagalog people are an ethnic group in the Philippines. The name Tagalog comes from either the native term tagá-ilog, meaning 'people living along the river', or another native term, tagá-alog, meaning 'people living along the ford', a ford being a shallow part of a river or stream where people,...

     / Maranao / Maguindanao
    Maguindanao people
    The Maguindanao are part of the wider Moro ethnic group, who constitute the sixth largest Filipino ethnic group. Their name means “people of the plains”.-Pre-Spanish:...

     / Bikolano
    Bicolano people
    The Bicolanos are the fifth-largest Filipino ethnolinguistic group.-Area:Bicolanos live in the southeastern peninsula of Luzon, now containing the provinces of Albay, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Catanduanes, Masbate, and Sorsogon. Many Bicolanos also live near in the province of...

    ): 46,174 (14.23%)


The following figures in this subsection are from the National Statistical Coordination Board - NSCB Philippine Database, Census of 2000, unless otherwise noted.

Basilan' median age was 19 years, lower than the 1995 figure of 25 years.

The sex ratio is almost even. There were 166,413 males and 166,415 females in the 2000 CPH. However, there were more females in the 15-to-39 age group and more males in all other age groups.

The economically active population, aged 15 to 64, comprises 55.2% of the population. About 42.3% are young dependents (0 to 14 years old) while less than 3% are old dependents (64 years old and older). The overall dependency ratio is 81.2: for every 100 persons aged 15 to 64, there were about 77 young dependents and 4 old dependents.
Married persons accounted for 47.76% of the total persons 10 years old and over, lower than the 1995 figure (49.11%). Single persons comprised 43.80% in 2000, a decrease from 45.71% in 1995. The widowed (4.49%) increased less than one percentage point from the figure registered in 1995 (3.89%). Those with other arrangements increased from 3.87% in 1995 to 4.49% in 2000.

Out of 60,710 housing units in Basilan, 60,699 (99.98%) were occupied by 61,546 households. This rate of occupancy was higher than that of 1990 (95.6%). There was a ratio of 1.01 households for every occupied housing unit or 5.48 persons per occupied housing unit.

A large proportion (94.3%) of the occupied housing units in Basilan in 2000 were single houses. 75.9% of the occupied housing units did not need repair or with minor repair, while 17.8% needed major repair. One out of nine occupied housing units was built between 1996 to 2000.

The proportion of occupied housing units with roofs made of galvanized iron/aluminum rose from 23.1% in 1990 to 42.5% in 2000. On the other hand, roofs made of cogon/nipa/anahaw declined from 69.6% in 1990 to 50.3% in 2000. As for the construction material of the outer walls, the use of wood rose from 42.2% in 1990 to 52.4% in 2000.

Out of Basilan's estimated 60,582 families, 19,740 lived in urban areas and 40,842 were rural. Average poverty thresholds province-wide were pegged at Php9,271.00 monthly family income, of which Php10,997.00 was considered the urban threshold and Php8,080.00 the threshold for rural families. 26.20% of the total population was below the poverty threshold: 36.50% of the urban population and 21.20% of the rural.

Poverty incidence is defined as the proportion of families whose income cannot provide for the basic food and non-food requirements called the poverty threshold to the total number of families. According to the ARMM government website, in 2006, Basilan ranked 46th among all provinces, with a poverty incidence of 31.7.

Population growth

Basilan is experiencing a rapid increase in population; between 2000 and 2007, the population increased by 163,675, from 332,828 to 496,503, whereas it only rose by 37,263 between 1995 and 2000. A corresponding increase in the number of households was also registered, from 55,137 in 1995 to 61,546 in 2000. This resulted to an average household size of 5.4 persons, higher than the national average of five.

Of the seven original municipalities in Basilan as of May 1, 2000, Isabela, the capital of the province, was the largest in terms of population with 73,032 persons or 21.94% of the provincial total. It was followed by Lamitan (17.64%), Sumisip (15.23%), Tipo-Tipo (14.50%), and Tuburan (12.78%). Lantawan and Maluso, on the other hand, had less than 10% each.

By 2007, the three biggest local government units (LGUs) saw their shares of the population fall relative to neighboring communities; Isabela City fell to 17.72% of Basilan's total population despite remaining the most densely populated area on the island. Lamitan is now only at 16.53% (-1.11%). Old Sumisip (two municipalities with a population of 71,807), with the biggest aggregate land area, fell to 14.46% (-0.77%). Meanwhile, Old Tipo-Tipo (three municipalities: 83,249 pop.) rose to 16.75% (+2.25%) and is now bigger than Lamitan, while Old Tuburan (three municipalities: 73,942 pop.) is 14.89% (+2.11%) and is now bigger than Old Sumisip. Old Lantawan (two municipalities: 49,270 pop.) is at 9.92%, while Maluso (48,175 pop.) comprises 9.7% of the total.

The seven-year increases are widely disparate, which explains the 2000-2007 percentage figures stated above. In Isabela City, the population growth was 20.47% (+2.92% per annum; 73,032 in 2000, to 87,985 in 2007), slower when compared to the newly created Akbar Municipality, scene of many of the latest gun-battles between government troops and Moro separatist groups. The municipality's seven-year population growth was 101.42% (+14.48% per annum; 10,581 in 2000 to 21,312 in 2007). The average aggregate annual population increase in the seven-year period for the ten municipalities and one city that comprise Basilan was 9.12%. By comparison, that of the rest of the Philippines was only 2.3%.

These figures are derived from the National Statistics and Coordination Board and National Statistics Office of the Philippines.

These rapid growth rates have been attributed mainly to the practice of local governments of padding their real population numbers in order to: (1) obtain a bigger slice of the Internal Revenue Allotment fund given to Philippine LGUs, (2) to fulfill minimum requirements set by the Philippine Local Government Code (for the newly created municipalities and Lamitan city), (3) as well as a reserve of votes for local political clans from constituencies that "usually" record 100% turn-outs during election periods.

Religion

Basilan's population is 27% Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

, 90% of them Roman Catholic, and 71% Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

. Non-Catholic Christians include Evangelicals, Episcopalian
Anglicanism
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

 (Anglican Catholics), and Iglesia ni Cristo
Iglesia ni Cristo
Iglesia ni Cristo also known as INC, is the largest entirely indigenous Christian religious organization that originated from the Philippines and the largest independent church in Asia. Due to a number of similarities, some Protestant writers describe the INC's doctrines as restorationist in...

 (INC), Mormons
Mormons
The Mormons are a religious and cultural group related to Mormonism, a religion started by Joseph Smith during the American Second Great Awakening. A vast majority of Mormons are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while a minority are members of other independent churches....

, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

, and a number of other Protestant denominations. Only the most recent Chinese immigrants adhere to Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 or Taoism
Taoism
Taoism refers to a philosophical or religious tradition in which the basic concept is to establish harmony with the Tao , which is the mechanism of everything that exists...

, while most of the older Chinese families have acculturated and have either converted to Christianity or Islam while retaining most of their Chinese beliefs.

A majority of Basilan's Muslims are concentrated on the island's southern slopes. Christians reside mostly in the urban centers of Isabela and Lamitan on the island's northern coast, where they constitute a majority. Sizable Christian settlements are also found in the former multi-national plantations, for example Tairan, Lantawan; Tumahubong, Sumisip; Maluso Townsite, Maluso. The rest have a mixture of both traditional and autochthonal beliefs.

The Jesuit mission was replaced by a parish when Basilan was reassigned to the Order of Augustinian Recollects in 1850. The Jesuits regained Isabela Parish from 1860 to 1880, and then lost it again to the Recollects, who administered the parish until 1920, at which time Isabela de Basilan was turned over to diocesan priests until 1930. From 1930 through 1950, the Jesuits returned to Isabela, finally relinquishing their long-held outpost to the Claretian
Claretians
The Claretians, a community of Roman Catholic priests and brothers, were founded by Saint Anthony Claret in 1849. They strive to follow their founder's “on fire” example and help wherever they are needed. Their ministries are highly diverse and vary depending on the needs of the area. They focus...

 Fathers, who took over from 1951 to 1974.

The Isabela Parish burned to the ground in 1962, and was rebuilt in 1964 under the aegis of Basilan's first bishop, the Most Rev. Jose Ma. Querexeta, a Spaniard. The cathedral was consecrated to Sta. Isabel in 1970, and diocesan priests have since administered the same from 1974 to the present. The cathedral figured prominently in recent news, suffering one destructive explosion in a triple bomb blast on April 13, 2010.

The Prelature of Isabela de Basilan
Territorial Prelature of Isabela
The Territorial Prelature of Isabela is a Roman Catholic territorial prelature located in the city of Isabela City in the Ecclesiastical province of Zamboanga in the Philippines.-History:...

 was created on October 12, 1963, and comprises all territories constituting the civil jurisdiction of Basilan Province, including Isabela City. Its titular patron is Sta. Isabel de Portugal.

Bishop Querexeta was succeeded by Bishop Romulo T. Dela Cruz, Basilan's first Filipino bishop, on February 16, 1989, who served until January 10, 2002, when the present bishop, the Most Rev. Martin S. Jumoad took over.

A majority of Basilan's Muslim population (41%) practice Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

 of the Shafi'i
Shafi'i
The Shafi'i madhhab is one of the schools of fiqh, or religious law, within the Sunni branch of Islam. The Shafi'i school of fiqh is named after Imām ash-Shafi'i.-Principles:...

 tradition, as taught by Arab and Malaccan missionaries from the 14th century onwards. A substantial number follow a syncretist mix of Islam and Yakan folk customs and traditions exclusively among the native Yakan populations farther inland, and a different version of the same folk Islamic tradition which is practiced by the Bajao in Basilan's outlying islands and surrounding seas.

Relatively newer Islamic sects, mostly brought by returning veterans of the Afghan wars and missionaries from Pakistan's stricter Sufi traditions, referred to as the Tableegh
Tablighi Jamaat
Tablighi Jamaat is a religious movement which was founded in 1926 by Muhammad Ilyas al-Kandhlawi in India. The movement primarily aims at Tablighi spiritual reformation by working at the grass roots level, reaching out to Muslims across all social and economic spectra to bring them closer to...

, have been active in propagating what they believe to be a "purer" Islamic way of life and worship. A very small number who have since married into Iranian or Iraqi families have converted to Shiite Islam.

Language

Zamboangueño Chavacano is the lingua franca of Basilan, understood and spoken by nearly 80% of the residents, both Christian and Muslim. Basilan has the biggest concentration of Zamboangueño Chavacano speakers in the Philippines outside of Zamboanga City. Tausug
Tausug language
Tausūg is a language spoken in the province of Sulu in the Philippines, in Malaysia, and in Indonesia by the Tausūg people....

 is also widely spoken, especially among the Muslim tribes, and is spoken and understood by approximately 70% of Basilan's population. Most residents also use Filipino
Filipino language
This move has drawn much criticism from other regional groups.In 1987, a new constitution introduced many provisions for the language.Article XIV, Section 6, omits any mention of Tagalog as the basis for Filipino, and states that:...

/Tagalog
Tagalog language
Tagalog is an Austronesian language spoken as a first language by a third of the population of the Philippines and as a second language by most of the rest. It is the first language of the Philippine region IV and of Metro Manila...

 as a third language. Cebuano
Cebuano language
Cebuano, referred to by most of its speakers as Bisaya , is an Austronesian language spoken in the Philippines by about 20 million people mostly in the Central Visayas. It is the most widely spoken of the languages within the so-named Bisayan subgroup and is closely related to other Filipino...

/Bisaya
Bisaya
The Visayans are a Filipino ethnic group whose members are speakers of one or more Visayan languages, the most widely spoken being Cebuano, Hiligaynon, and Waray-Waray. They live in the Visayan island group and in many parts of Mindanao. Some have migrated to other parts of the Philippines,...

 is a preferred third tongue among the Christian tribes and is spoken and understood by approximately 60% of residents. Yakan, the acknowledged native dialect of Basilan, is used primarily by Yakans, although it is also spoken and understood by about 15%-20% of the non-Yakan residents. A lesser percentage can speak or understand Samal
Samal
-Cultures:* The Sama languages of the Sulu Archipelago in island Southeast Asia* The ethnic groups that speak this language , see Samal people-In Turkey:* An ancient Hittite city, now the Zincirli archaeological site in southern Turkey...

/Banguingui
Banguingui
Banguingui, also known as Sama Banguingui, Sama Bangingi’, Bangingi, and Samal Banguingui, is a distinct ethno-linguistic group dispersed throughout the Greater Sulu Archipelago and southern and western coastal regions of the Zamboanga Peninsula in Mindanao.-People:The Banguingui are not officially...

, Maranao
Maranao
Maranao is the term used for the people of Lanao, a predominantly Muslim region in the Philippines island of Mindanao. They are famous for their artwork, sophisticated weaving, wood and metal craft, and their epic literature...

, Ilocano
Ilokano language
Ilokano or Ilocano is the third most-spoken language of the Republic of the Philippines....

 and Ilonggo, which are mostly confined to members of their respective tribes.

The educated classes use English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 for most official business or government transactions. A dwindling group of native-Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 speakers live in Isabela City and Lamitan. Chinese
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

/Fookien is used by the immigrant/naturalized Chinese community.

Education

Basilan's literacy rate has risen over the past two decades, although it remains one of the Philippines' lowest; 72.23% are considered literate, as opposed to the national figure of 92.6%.

The province has one state college and five private colleges. Basilan State College
Basilan State College
Basilan State College is a state college in the island province of Basilan. Its main campus is located in Isabela City with two college extensions in Lamitan City and Maluso, Basilan, plus one agricultural and secondary campus in Sta. Clara....

 is located in Isabela City and has an extension college in Lamitan City and Maluso.

Basilan is served by two school divisions of the Department of Education, one for Basilan and one for Isabela City, though both are headquartered in Isabela City. A number of public and private high schools dot the province. The premier secondary educational institution on the island is Basilan National High School located in Isabela City, followed by Lamitan National High School in Lamitan City. The Claret High Schools of Isabela, Lamitan, Maluso and Tumahubong, and a number of Madaris provide private secondary instruction.

More than 42% of the population five years old and older attended or completed elementary education, 17.3% attended or completed high school, while 1.5% attended or finished post secondary education. Less than 3% possessed academic degrees, while 6.2 percent were college undergraduates. A very small number pursued post-baccalaureate studies. There were more males than females among those who attended or finished elementary (51.1%), high school (50.3%), among college undergraduates (52.0%) and those who took post baccalaureate courses (58.4%). On the other hand, there were more females who attended or completed post-secondary courses (52.9%) and were academic degree holders (52.34%).

Clubs and organizations

There are a number of clubs and social organizations in Basilan, ranging from the Junior Chamber International
Junior Chamber International
Junior Chamber International is the only worldwide non-political and non-sectarian youth service organization. It is an international community of citizens between the ages of to with the aim and purpose of creating positive changes in the world...

 Basilan Inc. (Basilan Jaycees
Basilan Jaycees
Junior Chamber International – Basilan Inc. , otherwise known as the Basilan Jaycees, extended on January 11, 1949 by JCI Manila and JCI Zamboanga, registered under the Laws of the Republic of the Philippines with the Securities and Exchange Commission as the Junior Chamber of Basilan City, Inc...

) to the Basilan Motor Club.

Economy

Agriculture is the main source of economic livelihood. Basilan's major products include coconut (primarily copra
Copra
Copra is the dried meat, or kernel, of the coconut. Coconut oil extracted from it has made copra an important agricultural commodity for many coconut-producing countries. It also yields coconut cake which is mainly used as feed for livestock.-Production:...

), rubber
Rubber
Natural rubber, also called India rubber or caoutchouc, is an elastomer that was originally derived from latex, a milky colloid produced by some plants. The plants would be ‘tapped’, that is, an incision made into the bark of the tree and the sticky, milk colored latex sap collected and refined...

, coffee
Coffee
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...

, black pepper
Black pepper
Black pepper is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. The fruit, known as a peppercorn when dried, is approximately in diameter, dark red when fully mature, and, like all drupes, contains a single seed...

, and African palm oil
Palm oil
Palm oil, coconut oil and palm kernel oil are edible plant oils derived from the fruits of palm trees. Palm oil is extracted from the pulp of the fruit of the oil palm Elaeis guineensis; palm kernel oil is derived from the kernel of the oil palm and coconut oil is derived from the kernel of the...

. Other crops are palay, corn
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

, cacao and cassava
Cassava
Cassava , also called yuca or manioc, a woody shrub of the Euphorbiaceae native to South America, is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root, a major source of carbohydrates...

.

The Sulu and Celebes Seas provide fish such as tuna
Tuna
Tuna is a salt water fish from the family Scombridae, mostly in the genus Thunnus. Tuna are fast swimmers, and some species are capable of speeds of . Unlike most fish, which have white flesh, the muscle tissue of tuna ranges from pink to dark red. The red coloration derives from myoglobin, an...

, mackerel
Mackerel
Mackerel is a common name applied to a number of different species of fish, mostly, but not exclusively, from the family Scombridae. They may be found in all tropical and temperate seas. Most live offshore in the oceanic environment but a few, like the Spanish mackerel , enter bays and can be...

, and sardines. Most of these are processed in canning factories in nearby Zamboanga City
Zamboanga City
The City of Zamboanga : is a highly urbanized, independent and a chartered city located in Mindanao, Philippines....

, General Santos City
General Santos City
The City of General Santos is the southernmost port city of the Philippines. Being a highly urbanized first class city, GenSan is one of the most populous urban centers in the country with a population of 679,588 as per census data of 2010...

 (the Philippines' tuna capital), and Navotas. The island’s waters also produce grouper
Grouper
Groupers are fish of any of a number of genera in the subfamily Epinephelinae of the family Serranidae, in the order Perciformes.Not all serranids are called groupers; the family also includes the sea basses. The common name grouper is usually given to fish in one of two large genera: Epinephelus...

, squid
Squid
Squid are cephalopods of the order Teuthida, which comprises around 300 species. Like all other cephalopods, squid have a distinct head, bilateral symmetry, a mantle, and arms. Squid, like cuttlefish, have eight arms arranged in pairs and two, usually longer, tentacles...

, octopus
Octopus
The octopus is a cephalopod mollusc of the order Octopoda. Octopuses have two eyes and four pairs of arms, and like other cephalopods they are bilaterally symmetric. An octopus has a hard beak, with its mouth at the center point of the arms...

, and marlin
Marlin
Marlin, family Istiophoridae, are fish with an elongated body, a spear-like snout or bill, and a long rigid dorsal fin, which extends forward to form a crest. Its common name is thought to derive from its resemblance to a sailor's marlinspike...

, while fishponds supply milkfish
Milkfish
The milkfish is the sole living species in the family Chanidae. - Description and biology :...

, prawn
Prawn
Prawns are decapod crustaceans of the sub-order Dendrobranchiata. There are 540 extant species, in seven families, and a fossil record extending back to the Devonian...

 and shrimp
Shrimp
Shrimp are swimming, decapod crustaceans classified in the infraorder Caridea, found widely around the world in both fresh and salt water. Adult shrimp are filter feeding benthic animals living close to the bottom. They can live in schools and can swim rapidly backwards. Shrimp are an important...

. In addition, seaweed
Seaweed
Seaweed is a loose, colloquial term encompassing macroscopic, multicellular, benthic marine algae. The term includes some members of the red, brown and green algae...

 is cultivated along some coastal areas.

The island of Omosmarata in Tuburan (now Mohammad Ajul) is listed among only 15 sites in the Philippines with commercially viable ocean thermal energy
Ocean thermal energy conversion
Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion uses the difference between cooler deep and warmer shallow or surface ocean waters to run a heat engine and produce useful work, usually in the form of electricity....

 potential. The Philippines' ocean thermal resource area is 1000 square kilometers, based on the archipelagic nature of the country. Based on a study conducted by the Philippines Department of Energy, the potential capacity for this resource is estimated to be 265 million megawatts.

Likewise, the Basilan Strait is listed among only eight sites in the Philippines with commercially viable ocean tidal energy
Tidal power
Tidal power, also called tidal energy, is a form of hydropower that converts the energy of tides into useful forms of power - mainly electricity....

 potential (along with Bohol/Talibon Strait, Basiao Channel, Surigao Strait, Gaboc Channel, Hinatuan Passage, San Bernardino Strait and San Juanico Strait).

Only the provinces of Basilan, Samar
Samar
Samar, formerly and also known as Western Samar, is a province in the Philippines located in the Eastern Visayas region. Its capital is Catbalogan City and covers the western portion of Samar as well as several islands in the Samar Sea located to the west of the mainland...

 and Surigao have both high ocean thermal
Ocean thermal energy conversion
Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion uses the difference between cooler deep and warmer shallow or surface ocean waters to run a heat engine and produce useful work, usually in the form of electricity....

 and ocean tidal energy potential. Basilan likewise has significant as yet underdeveloped mineral deposits, specifically, iron ore, gold, manganese, copper, and coal.

Alienable and disposable lands cover 862.249 sqkm, forest lands occupy 406.526 sqkm, 294.194 sqkm are underused, 574.85 sqkm are under forest cultivation, while 689.479 sqkm are under agricultural cultivation.

Local products also include woven cloth and trinkets made by the Yakan tribe. Yakans use fibers from plants such as pineapple
Pineapple
Pineapple is the common name for a tropical plant and its edible fruit, which is actually a multiple fruit consisting of coalesced berries. It was given the name pineapple due to its resemblance to a pine cone. The pineapple is by far the most economically important plant in the Bromeliaceae...

 for their crafts. The weavers traditionally used extracts from leaves, roots and barks to dye their fibers. However, contact with U.S. Peace Corps
Peace Corps
The Peace Corps is an American volunteer program run by the United States Government, as well as a government agency of the same name. The mission of the Peace Corps includes three goals: providing technical assistance, helping people outside the United States to understand US culture, and helping...

 workers and Christian Filipinos has influenced Yakan textile art. One influence is the introduction of chemical dyes. The museum of Lamitan displays the colorful and intricate traditional Yakan textiles and highlights of the traditional Yakan festival, Lami-lamihan.

Early history

Basilan's economy has seen wild upswings and downturns over the course of several centuries. Pre-Hispanic Taguima had an economy based on basic subsistence agriculture, mostly root crops. Ancient Chinese texts point to the existence of a "Kingdom of Kumalarang", which presumably was located on the island's northwestern shore, and which traded occasionally with Chinese merchants plying the route to the Spice Islands of the Moluccas and Borneo farther south.

When the Spanish arrived, other crops such as rice and corn were introduced and cultivated, primarily for consumption by the growing Christian settlements of Isabela and Lamitan. Trade with Zamboanga grew tremendously, as most of the settlers' needs were supplied by regular shipments from the busy Zamboanga port.

Multinational plantations

When the United States assumed control of the Philippines after its victory in the Spanish-American War
Spanish-American War
The Spanish–American War was a conflict in 1898 between Spain and the United States, effectively the result of American intervention in the ongoing Cuban War of Independence...

, it brought about the single biggest change in the local economy. By around 1914, Dr. James W. Strong, a pioneering American plantation owner, cleared vast tracts of land on the island's northern plains (Isabela/Lamitan), and established what became the Philippines' first commercial rubber plantation—the American Rubber Co. Upon consulting with Fr. Zamora, a noted botanist of the University of Santo Tomas
University of Santo Tomas
The Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, The Catholic University of the Philippines , is a private Roman Catholic university run by the Order of Preachers in Manila. Founded on April 28, 1611 by archbishop of Manila Miguel de Benavides, it has the oldest extant university charter in the...

 in Manila, he decided to start experimenting with rubber plants and in 1910, forming the Basilan Rubber Plantation in partnership with J.M. Menzi Corporation as principal stock holders. Seven years later, he sold out his interest to J.M. Menzi Corporation and started American Rubber Co. backed by San Francisco capital. He started building roads in Basilan with the help of his children. Those roads are now part of the National Highway system in Basilan.

The family and plantation prospered and was visited by such notables as Manuel L. Quezon
Manuel L. Quezon
Manuel Luis Quezón y Molina served as president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines from 1935 to 1944. He was the first Filipino to head a government of the Philippines...

, President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, his vice-president Sergio Osmena
Sergio Osmeña
Sergio Osmeña y Suico was a Filipino politician who served as the 4th President of the Philippines from 1944 to 1946. He was Vice President under Manuel L. Quezon, and rose to the presidency upon Quezon's death in 1944, being the oldest Philippine president to hold office at age 65...

, General Douglas MacArthur and assorted Governor Generals and High Commissioners for the Philippines.

The plantation was eventually sold to American multi-national B.F.Goodrich
Goodrich Corporation
The Goodrich Corporation , formerly the B.F. Goodrich Company, is an American aerospace manufacturing company based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Founded in Akron, Ohio in 1870 as Goodrich, Tew & Co. by Dr. Benjamin Franklin Goodrich. The company name was changed to the "B.F...

. This was followed by investments from British-Malayan firm Sime Darby
Sime Darby
Sime Darby is Malaysia's leading multinational conglomerate involved in five core sectors: plantations, property, industrial, motors and energy & utilities, with a growing presence in healthcare...

 Corp., which opened their 4000 hectares (9,884.2 acre) rubber plantation on the island's southern slopes (Sumisip/Tipo-Tipo).

The success of these large-scale cash crop plantations was emulated by a number of enterprising Filipinos and Spanish-mestizo
Mestizo
Mestizo is a term traditionally used in Latin America, Philippines and Spain for people of mixed European and Native American heritage or descent...

 families from Zamboanga, Negros and Luzon. Among these were Don Juan S. Alano, a Hispano-Chinese mestizo
Mestizo
Mestizo is a term traditionally used in Latin America, Philippines and Spain for people of mixed European and Native American heritage or descent...

 and native of Malolos, Bulacan, who opened the Philippine National Sugar Co. on Malamawi Island in 1921. This eventually became the Basilan Estates, Inc., the only wholly owned Filipino plantation competing with American and British multi-nationals. It operated the Malamawi Island plantation, which was converted to coconut/copra production, and opened a 3,800-hectare copra plantation on the island's western plains (Lantawan). American logging firms Weyerhaeuser
Weyerhaeuser
Weyerhaeuser is one of the largest pulp and paper companies in the world. It is the world's largest private sector owner of softwood timberland; and the second largest owner of United States timberland, behind Plum Creek Timber...

 Timber Co. and the American Lumber Co. opened large-scale logging concessions which operated in Basilan's extensive upland virgin forests. Menzi Corp., owned by Hispano-German J. M. Menzi, also opened an extensive rubber plantation in the southern part of Isabela which eventually expanded to black pepper and palm oil.
The University of the Philippines
University of the Philippines
The ' is the national university of the Philippines. Founded in 1908 through Act No...

 was awarded a 4,000 hectare land grant by the Philippine government located in Sta. Clara, Lamitan.

When J. M. Menzi died, he was succeeded at the helm of his substantial business interests by his son and Marcos crony, Hans Menzi. When the younger Menzi replaced the plantation's Swiss-expatriate managers with locals, these managers in turn opened up their own plantations elsewhere on the island. Arnold Winniger, Menzi's Swiss manager, together with the Cuevas-Pamaran-Antonio-Flores clan of Lamitan, cleared the Tumahubong, Sumisip area for a rubber plantation. Walter Boelsterli, another one of Menzi's Swiss recruits, established yet another rubber plantation around Mangal, Sumisip. An American corporation opened the Yakan Plantation in Lamitan, and finally, Dutch-American Donald Wieselski opened another coconut plantation in the Canas, Maluso area. The Wihara Plantation, a Japanese company, opened in the Atong-Atong, Lantawan region. This became the source of many of the coconut varieties planted throughout the island.

By the 1950s and throughout the 1960s, the Chartered City of Basilan was classified as a first-class city. It exported copra, coconut oil, rubber and lumber to California by way of Guam and Hawaii.

A substantial number of expatriate plantation managers, mostly Americans but also Swiss, Germans, Dutch, Russian and even Japanese, Irish, and Swedes lived among and intermarried into the native populace.

The Weyerhaeuser Compound (now Tabuk Barangay) was an exclusive gated community for American expatriates living in Basilan. It had its own airstrip and wharf, and two-storey plantation-style villas set apart by expansive yards. The same sort of exclusive gated communities were put up at the Menzi Compound (Menzi Barangay) for Swiss and German managers, and at the Alano Compound (Dna. Ramona T. Alano Barangay) as well, precursors of modern-day subdivisions.

The Moro uprising

The Moro uprising of 1971 affected Basilan's economy. It was led by the Maoist Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) originating from Sulu, headed by leftist University of the Philippines lecturer Nur Misuari
Nur Misuari
Nur Misuari is a moro politician and former leader of the Moro National Liberation Front. He completed his education through academic scholarships at the University of the Philippines and became a student activist...

, and infiltrated the plantations, burned entire Christian villages and terrorized the bigger coastal settlements with raids and bombing runs. This was compounded by the declaration of martial law by President Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos, Sr. was a Filipino leader and an authoritarian President of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. He was a lawyer, member of the Philippine House of Representatives and a member of the Philippine Senate...

 in 1972, and the decree that created Basilan Province, with its initial complement of ten municipalities (eventually reduced to seven).

Politics took center stage, and the resurgent Yakan uplanders found themselves battling the Tausug lowlanders and their allies. The incessant Yakan-Tausug pocket battles throughout the 1980s culminated in the burning of Isabela City's downtown market in 1987. After several revenge killings, Basilan gained notoriety as the Philippines' "Wild, Wild West". By then, Basilan's economy, along with that of the rest of the nation, was limping along, barely surviving the aftermath of these struggles.

Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program and the rise of Abu Sayyaf

At the onset of the post-Marcos administration of Corazon Aquino
Corazon Aquino
Maria Corazon Sumulong Cojuangco-Aquino was the 11th President of the Philippines and the first woman to hold that office in Philippine history. She is best remembered for leading the 1986 People Power Revolution, which toppled Ferdinand Marcos and restored democracy in the Philippines...

, another blow was dealt to Basilan's economy. In 1988, Congress passed a law establishing the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program of 1988, also known as CARP, is a Philippine state policy that ensures and promotes welfare of landless farmers and farm workers, as well as elevation of social justice and equity among rural areas...

 (CARP), which inaugurated a land distribution program, effectively dissolving nearly all of the corporate plantations on the island. CARP applied to Basilan's large multi-national plantations despite the plantation workers' misgivings and the landowners' objections. Almost immediately, the large multi-national corporations withdrew their investments from Basilan, leaving their plantations to ill-equipped farmer beneficiaries, who managed operations in a farmers cooperative format.

The J. S. Alano coconut plantation was converted into the Tairan Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association and Multi-Purpose Cooperative (TARBAMC), the University of the Philippines Basilan Land Grant into the Sta. Clara Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Integrated Development Cooperative (SCARBIDC), and the B.F. Goodrich and Sime Darby rubber plantations were merged and converted into the Latuan Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association Inc. (LARBAI). The vast tracts of the American-owned Yakan Plantation in Lamitan was first sold to then Defense Minister (and now Senator) Juan Ponce Enrile
Juan Ponce Enrile
Juan Ponce Enrile is a Filipino politician. As a protege of President Ferdinand Marcos, he served as Justice Secretary and then Defense Secretary under the Marcos regime. He later became one of the leaders of the 1986 People Power Movement that drove Marcos from power...

, who established his Cocoland Plantation, but was redistributed as the Lamitan Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative (LARBECO). A number of other Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperatives have likewise taken over most of the small to mid-sized plantations on the island.

By the early 1990s, disgruntled Yakan youth, influenced by returning mujahideen warriors from Afghanistan and schooled in Syria, Egypt and Pakistan, banded together to form the Al-Harakatul Al-Islamiyah, better known worldwide as Abu Sayyaf
Abu Sayyaf
Abu Sayyaf also known as al-Harakat al-Islamiyya is one of several military Islamist separatist groups based in and around the southern Philippines, in Bangsamoro where for almost 30 years various Muslim groups have been engaged in an insurgency for an independent province in the country...

, a Muslim extremist group advocating strict Islamic governance of Basilan similar to Afghanistan's Taliban regime. This group initiated test raids, kidnappings, ambushes and assassinations in some of the more vulnerable Christian communities inland, causing the dispersal of these communities and the total breakdown of the inland economy.

Inclusion in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao

The Organic Act for the creation of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) was passed into law in 1989. A plebiscite held in 14 Mindanao provinces was held in the same year. Basilan initially opted out of the autonomous region. Only Maguindanao (without Cotabato City), Lanao del Sur (without Marawi City), Sulu and Tawi-Tawi joined the ARMM.

More than a decade later, in 2001, a new law expanding the ARMM was passed, and a plebiscite was subsequently held. While Basilan's five Muslim municipalities (Maluso, Sumisip, Lantawan, Tipo-Tipo, Tuburan) opted to join the expanded ARMM, residents of the Christian areas of Isabela City and Lamitan Municipality, chose not to. Even then, only Isabela was not included in the expanded ARMM, having been granted cityhood earlier in the same year. Lamitan joined the five other municipalities, as Basilan was officially incorporated into the expanded ARMM.

Widespread corruption in the ARMM, compounded by corruption at the municipal and provincial levels, further eroded business confidence in the island. This, plus the surge of terrorist activities carried out by Abu Sayyaf and their Jemaah Islamiyah cohorts in the international terrorist network of Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda is a global broad-based militant Islamist terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden sometime between August 1988 and late 1989. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad...

, weakened Basilan's economy further.

The hostage crisis of 2001 further raised questions about Basilan's economic future. Operations by Abu Sayyaf damaged prospects for investment and tourism. However, an increased presence by the Philippine and U.S. militaries through the Balikatan 02-1 Joint Military Exercises and the subsequent death of Abu Sayyaf leaders Khadafi Abubakar Janjalani and Aldam Tilao (aka Abu Sabaya), were followed by investments by the United States through USAID. Projects include the Basilan Tuburan Road Improvement Project and improvements to Lamitan and Maluso Ports. Smaller barangay
Barangay
A barangay is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines and is the native Filipino term for a village, district or ward...

 infrastructure projects, intended to help boost economic growth, are also under development. For instance, authorities are building farm-to-market roads, community and trade centers, water projects, and pedestrian bridges, according to USAID information.

A number of other ODA-funded Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and People's Organizations (POs) flooded Basilan starting in 2002. These NGOs and POs provided much-needed capital infusion for local entrepreneurs to restart defunct or dying business enterprises. Likewise, improved training and government-funded support were extended to decade-old Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperatives, effectively improving productivity levels and crop yields. Extensive farm management training in these "Coop" areas have likewise improved business efficiency in the cooperatives.

Currently, Basilan's minimum wage is US$3.20/day for non-agriculture related jobs, and US$2.80/day for agriculture related jobs. There are only 1,203 registered Overseas Contract Workers from Basilan.

Return of rubber

By 2003, Basilan embarked on large-scale replanting programs covering some 50000 hectares (123,552.6 acre) of privately owned and/or cooperative-controlled lands, mainly for rubber and cassava. As of 2006, the province had 15503 hectares (38,308.7 acre) planted, of which 7148 hectares (17,663.1 acre) were owned by individual farmers and the rest by cooperatives. The exact land area devoted to rubber could reach over 20000 hectares (49,421 acre), as there are hundreds of unrecorded small rubber growers and farmers. The provincial government reports that almost half or 7029.47 hectares (17,370.2 acre) are immature, about a fifth or 3143.36 hectares (7,767.4 acre) is classed as "less-productive", and a little under a third or 4880.21 hectares (12,059.3 acre) is described as "productive."

A consortium of agrarian reform beneficiaries has been formed to improve quality and increase production. The Isla Corridor Consortium Agrarian Reform Communities not only sees itself as reviving the rubber industry, it also wants to help in the transformation of the battle-scarred province. The consortium, composed of the United Workers Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multipurpose Cooperative, Lamitan Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative, Sta. Clara, and the Latuan Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association, Inc., accounts for a total area of about 6000 hectares (14,826.3 acre), some 80% of which is planted with rubber trees.

Coconut

Although it is still the biggest single crop produced in the province, coconut/copra production annually was only 193,848 metric tons in 2003, down from its peak production of 189,297,937 metric tons just two years before. Coconut plantations and small coconut farms cover more than 12000 hectares (29,652.6 acre), all of which are classified as "productive" to "mature" areas. However, province-wide coconut production, which still accounts for 50%-60% of the province's total economic activity, has dropped precipitously to only 174,939 metric tons in 2002 due to the lingering effects of CARP, combined with a severe onset of the El Niño
El Niño-Southern Oscillation
El Niño/La Niña-Southern Oscillation, or ENSO, is a quasiperiodic climate pattern that occurs across the tropical Pacific Ocean roughly every five years...

 weather pattern, the worsening threat to peace and order resulting from the resurgent Abu Sayyaf terrorist group and their MILF allies, and the policy of the Akbar administration to replace coconut with rubber trees.

Coconut plantations began to revive in 2006, owing to the steep rise in copra prices. A comprehensive replanting and rehabilitation program is currently being implemented by the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) and the Department of Agriculture for the resuscitation of the island's copra production industry, once the Philippine's second-largest copra exporter after Quezon Province in Luzon. To date, however, coconut production in the province, rapidly being replaced by rubber plantations, has remained in the doldrums despite the government's best efforts to revive the ailing sector, such as PCA incentives to coconut farmers.

Other products

Basilan's extensive coastline hosts seafarers and fishers, almost all of them Tausugs, Samals and Bajaus, who have been engaged in fishing for several centuries. Annual Basilan fish production is limited to 28,073 metric tons due to resistance to the modernizing of their fishing fleets.

Only 2,945 metric tons of palay (rice
Rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

) are produced in Basilan's mostly rolling terrain. Corn production is 1,333 metric tons, bananas 20,458 metric tons, and mangos 211 metric tons.

There are 155,541 chickens, 5,085 ducks, 7,803 carabaos (water buffalo), 2,724 cattle, 14,470 goats, and 14,700 hogs.

Banking and finance

Banks based in Basilan have a total deposit base of more than Php764,500,000. The city hosts at least 27 pawnshop operations, each of whom has an average of three branches, mostly located in Isabela City, Lamitan, and Maluso Townsite.

The province is also serviced by satellite offices of government financing institutions such as the Social Security System and the Government Service Insurance System
Government Service Insurance System (Philippines)
The Government Service Insurance System is a government-owned and -controlled corporation in the Republic of the Philippines. Created by Commonwealth Act No...

.

The Basilan business sector is represented by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Inc.-Basilan Chamber (PCCI-Basilan), organized in 1975, the only business support organization duly affiliated with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Inc. (PCCI), with 95% of its members being composed of small and medium enterprises, and offices mostly in Isabela City and Lamitan, but with business assets and operations throughout the island. A number of smaller business groups have since been established catering to the needs of businessmen from specific ethnic or religious affiliations.

Utilities, infrastructure and health

Basilan's electricity needs are served by the Basilan Electric Cooperative, powered by three diesel-powered electricity generating plants located at Brgy. Binuangan, Isabela City, one National Power Corporation
National Power Corporation
The National Power Corporation , also known as the NPC or Napocor, is a state-owned company that serves as the largest provider and generator of electricity in the Philippines...

 diesel-powered barge located at Brgy. Tabuk, Isabela City, and a mini-hydroelectric plant located in Kumalarang, Isabela City. Although 225 barangays have access to electricity, only about 38% of them are sufficiently powered for modern needs, and most of these are located in the cities of Isabela and Lamitan, and Maluso Municipality. Rates are currently pegged at US$0.824/kwH, one of the highest in the country.

Basilan is served by three local water utilities: Isabela City Water District, Lamitan City Water District, and Maluso Water District. Only 17,693 households, however, have full access to safe and potable water. Current rates are pegged at an average US$3.20/month (+US$0.0826/10 cu.m.)

The island is served by the Provincial Telephone System, which has 600 land-line connections and connected with National Direct Dial via the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company
Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company
The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company commonly known as PLDT, is the largest telecommunications company in the Philippines. PLDT is also the largest company in the Philippines, ranked 1138th in the April 2009 update, and 1080th in the April 2010 update, of Forbes' Global 2000 list...

. It is also served by major mobile telecommunications carriers Globe Telecommunications and Smart Communications
Smart Communications
Smart Communications is a wholly owned mobile phone and Internet service subsidiary of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company .On June 30, 2010 the company reported that it had over 45 million cellular subscribers.-Brands:...

. It has two Wi-Fi internet service providers, and numerous internet cafes.

National roads (concrete, asphalt, gravel) total 131.92 kilometres (82 mi), while there are 795.8 kilometres (494.5 mi) of local roads. There are 13 municipal and local ports, three of which have roll-on/roll-off capability, and at least ten private airstrips servicing small aircraft. Among the major bridges are the Marcos Bridge of Isabela City and the recently inaugurated Matarling Bridge (built through USAID funding) between Isabela City and Lantawan.

There are 394 Barangay Health Workers and four private hospitals: the Juan S. Alano Memorial Hospital, Inc.
Juan S. Alano Memorial Hospital, Inc.
The Juan S. Alano Memorial Hospital, Inc., a non-stock, non profit organization, duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, is an accredited healthcare institution by the Department of Health and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation. This institution caters to the...

 (formerly Basilan Hospital), Infante Hospital, Basilan Community Hospital, all in Isabela City, and the Dr. Jose Ma. Torres Hospital in Lamitan City. There are also three government-run hospitals: Basilan General Hospital and Isabela City Infirmary, both located in Isabela City, and Lamitan District Hospital in Lamitan City.

Tourism

There are various attractions. Architectural landmarks include the Santa Isabel Cathedral, the Calvario Peak, on which the Chapel of Peace stands, and the Kaum Purnah Mosque. Natural attractions include the lake in the Panigayan fishing village, Sumagdang Beach and the waterfalls of the Kumalarang River. Various cultures can be visited, such as the Badjao, the Yakan, and the Muslim communities.

Churches and religious shrines

  • Chapel of Peace, Calvario Peak, Isabela City, perched 400 metres (1,312.3 ft) above sea level and 15 minutes from the town proper.

  • Santa Isabel Cathedral, Isabela City, an art deco cathedral with a mosaic altar reminiscent of Roman-Byzantine cathedrals, named in honor of the patron saint of Isabela.

  • Monte Santo Shrine, atop Mt. Ubit in Lamitan City, is a pilgrimage site for devout Catholics who visit the shrine for the traditional "13 Stations" during Holy Week.

  • Kaum Purnah Mosque, Isabela City, an old and imposing mosque, the sight of which greets visitors on ferries as they sail the channel into Isabela.

Historical sites

  • Datu Kalun Shrine, Lamitan. Built as a tribute to a famous Yakan leader, it is a triangular park located in the heart of Lamitan City's bustling downtown.

  • Museo ng Lamitan, which showcases the Lami-lamihan festival. It also serves as the information center for Lamitan City.


  • Basilan Provincial Capitol, site of Fort Isabela II. The original fort was bombed and destroyed towards the end of World War II, having been used by the occupying Japanese forces as a munitions dump. A newer Capitol Building was built on the spot where the old Basilan City Hall stood after it was burned in the early 1990s. The new building is a celebration of Muslim and Christian influences which shaped modern-day Basilan, and still occupies the highest point of the city proper.

  • Isabela City Plaza (formerly Plaza Misericordia) /Plaza Rizal. The twin plazas of the city have remained at the very center of Basilan's socio-political scene to this very day.

Fiestas and festivals

  • Pakaradjaan Basilan, celebrated annually from March 1 to March 7 to commemorate the anniversary of the Province of Basilan.
  • Lami-Lamihan Festival, the island's premier festival, is celebrated during the Feast of St. Peter (Fiesta San Pedro) on June 29 in Lamitan City. The festival is highlighted by the Yakans, who attend the festivities in full regalia, selling wares and produce brought in from their farms in the interior.


  • Cocowayan Festival, Isabela City's annual commemoration of its cityhood, is a week-long series of activities culminating in the annual Street Dancing parade on April 25.

  • Fiesta
    Festival
    A festival or gala is an event, usually and ordinarily staged by a local community, which centers on and celebrates some unique aspect of that community and the Festival....

     Santa Isabel, celebrated every July 8 by the residents of Isabela City, in honor of its Patroness Saint, Elizabeth of Portugal (Span. Sta. Isabel de Portugal). The focal point of the celebrations is the Sta. Isabel Cathedral, located at the center of Isabela City. This is highlighted by a procession and novena masses, the traditional Bella Isabela Beauty Pageant, a marathon, a regatta and other activities organized primarily by the Diocese of Basilan and the Prelature of Isabela and its lay organizations, the Catholic Women's League and the Knights of Columbus.

  • Semana Santa (Holy Week
    Holy Week
    Holy Week in Christianity is the last week of Lent and the week before Easter...

    ), celebrated in March/April (movable). A city procession known as the Santo Entierro (Holy Funeral) on Good Friday highlights the observance of Lent. Celebrated in most parish churches in the city and in the Sta. Isabel Cathedral, the Santo Entierro is a procession of Christ's images, many of the Stations of the Cross along the city's main streets, depicting his last hours before, during, and after the Crucifixion.

  • Flores de Mayo
    Flores de Mayo
    Flores de Mayo is a Catholic festival held in the Philippines in the month of May. Lasting for a month, it is held in honor of the Virgin Mary...

     (May 1–31). A religious feast celebrated in all Catholic churches in honor of the Virgin Mary. Little children in white gala dresses walk up the altar to offer flowers to the image of the Virgin Mary.


  • Fonda de Barangay or Fiestas del Barangay, a week-long celebration in the barangays/barrios honoring their patron saints. The celebration usually starts with novena masses held every day for nine straight days prior to the feast day of the patron saint. Every night, the barrio is lit up for celebration and merry-making that includes pageants, trade fair, parade, cock-fighting, carnival, musical competition and "baile."

  • Budbud Festival, a barangay fiesta in honor of Nuestra Senora dela Regla of Begang Barangay, otherwise known as Isabela City's "Little Cebu", a majority of whose residents originated from Carmen, Cebu Province. The festival consists of several days of beauty pageants, street dancing, "budbud" (rice cake) eating and much merrymaking.

  • Pascua (Christmas
    Christmas
    Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

    ), the December 25 celebration of Jesus Christ's birth. City hall, churches, schools, streetlight post, houses, streets, commercial places, parks and most of the other places in the city are covered with lights, filled with joyous sounds and other Christmas decorations.

  • Isra Wal Miraj (May 9), an Islamic event celebrating the nocturnal journey and ascension of Muhammad.

  • Eid al-Fitr/Hari Raya Puasa (movable), an Islamic event commemorating the end of the Muslim fasting season.

  • Maulidin-Nabi (December 27), an Islamic celebration honoring the birthday of Muhammad.

  • Chinese New Year
    Chinese New Year
    Chinese New Year – often called Chinese Lunar New Year although it actually is lunisolar – is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. It is an all East and South-East-Asia celebration...

    , celebrated every February (movable) mostly for the raucous noise-making, tikoy-eating marathons, and the much-anticipated distribution of "ampaw" by rich Chinese godparents.

Politics

Basilan's politics has been dictated by its economics. Whereas only 25% of the island's residents originate from Christian tribes in the Visayas
Visayas
The Visayas or Visayan Islands and locally known as Kabisay-an gid, is one of the three principal geographical divisions of the Philippines, along with Mindanao and Luzon. It consists of several islands, primarily surrounding the Visayan Sea, although the Visayas are considered the northeast...

 and Luzon
Luzon
Luzon is the largest island in the Philippines. It is located in the northernmost region of the archipelago, and is also the name for one of the three primary island groups in the country centered on the Island of Luzon...

, this group owns 70% of the island's arable agricultural land (private ownership or cooperatives as farmer beneficiaries). The Yakan tribe, comprising 45% of the island's population, has full control of local governments outside of Isabela and Lamitan cities. The Tausugs, Samals and Bajaus, forming 30% of the population, control nearly 90% of the island's aquatic harvest, while the minuscule Chinese segment of the population controls nearly 100% of all commodity trading and commerce activities, especially in the bigger cities.

This volatile mix of ethnic and religious groups have defined political realignments in the island for most of its history. The Christian tribes, traditionally allied with the Tausugs, controlled Basilan politics until the 1980s, when the Yakans, aided by their almost absolute control of the hinterlands and the disappearance of the multi-national plantations, scored upset victories in electoral contests starting in 1988.

Of late, a strengthening Yakan-Tausug alliance, brought about by the arrival of the Tableegh, fundamentalist Islamic preachers schooled by extremist Middle-Eastern clerics in Syria, Afghanistan and Egypt, has forged a solid Muslim front which has thwarted Christian economic and political interests on the island.

This political combine has since seen some in-fighting from two of the most formidable power blocks to have formed since the 2004 general elections. Both blocks went head-to-head in the 2007 local elections.

The Akbar block (Liberal Party
Liberal Party (Philippines)
The Liberal Party of the Philippines is a liberal party in the Philippines, founded by then senators Senate President Manuel Roxas, Senate President Pro-Tempore Elpidio Quirino, and former 9th Senatorial District Senator Jose Avelino, on November 24, 1945 by a breakaway Liberal group from the...

 - Atienza Wing) was led by the late Wahab Akbar, three-term governor and alleged Abu Sayyaf co-founder, together with his wives, and his nephews and nieces, all of whom were rewarded with mayoral posts in all the municipalities as well as the biggest electoral prize, Isabela City, which is under his second wife Cherrylyn Santos-Akbar. Jum Jainuddin-Akbar, his first wife, is currently the Governor of Basilan. Wahab Akbar himself was elected congressman.

The Salapuddin block (Lakas-CMD/Kampi
Kampi
Kampi is a small village located in the Nicosia District of Cyprus, east of the town of Palaichori....

) was led by Abdulgani "Gerry" Salapuddin, three-term governor, three-term congressman and two-term Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, with his allies Hajiman Salliman Hataman of Sumisip and his brother, Anak Mindanao
Anak Mindanao
Anak Mindanao is a party-list in the Philippines, based in Mindanao.In the 2004 elections for the House of Representatives the party-list got 269,750 votes and one seat...

 Party-list Representative Mujiv Hataman, along with a mix of Tausug and Christian leaders. To them, the 2007 elections proved to be a debacle, as they lost on nearly all fronts save Lamitan City.

Both political coalitions are allied with the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is a Filipino politician who served as the 14th President of the Philippines from 2001 to 2010, as the 12th Vice President of the Philippines from 1998 to 2001, and is currently a member of the House of Representatives representing the 2nd District of Pampanga...

.

On November 13, 2007, a few months after being elected congressman, Wahab Akbar was killed by a bomb blast as he was about to leave the Philippines Congress Building in Quezon City. Allegations of being behind the apparent assassination were leveled at Salapuddin and Hataman.

Current officeholders

Governor: Jum Jainuddin-Akbar (second term, elected May 2010)

Vice Governor: Al-Rasheed Sakkalahul

Provincial board members:
1st District board members
1. Yusop Alano
2. Candu Muarip
3. Placido Jilhani
4. Otoh Fernandez

2nd District board members
5. Marwan Hataman
6. Ronnie Hantian
7. Latip Tahajid
8. Munap Pacio

9. Moner Manisan, Association of Barangay Chairmen Basilan Federation President
10. Edwin Iklaman, Philippine Councilors’ League Basilan Chapter President
11. Ahmad Rugasan Daud, Sangguniang Kabataan Basilan Federation President

Philippine 2010 general elections

As a result of the 2010 Synchronized National and Local Elections, three major factions emerged: the Akbar block, still formidable, albeit splintered and severely weakened from within after the assassination of clan patriarch, Rep. Wahab Akbar
Wahab Akbar
Ustadz Wahab M. Akbar was a Filipino politician who served three terms as governor of Basilan, during which time he was known for his "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" policy for dealing with kidnappers and terrorists in the province...

, of the Administration Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Lakas Kampi CMD is a center-right political party in the Philippines and the current minority party in the country. Its ideology is heavily influenced by Christian and Islamic democracy...

; the Hataman block, still a force to be reckoned with province-wide, under the Liberal Party; and a third force headed by former Akbar ally and Ungkaya Pukan Mayor Joel T. Maturan, of the Nacionalista Party
Nacionalista Party
The Nacionalista Party is the oldest political party in the Philippines today and was responsible for leading the country throughout the majority of the 20th century since its founding in 1907...

.

Incumbent Governor Hja. Jum Jainuddin-Akbar won the gubernatorial race, defeating Mujiv Hataman, with Ungkaya Pukan
Ungkaya Pukan, Basilan
Ungkaya Pukan is a municipality in the province of Basilan, Philippines. It was created by Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act No. 193, ratified by plebiscite on May 22, 2006...

 Mayor and former Akbar ally Joel T.Maturan trailing far behind. The lone congressional district of Basilan, on the other hand, was won by Hajiman Salliman Hataman (LP), who had been defeated by Wahab Akbar in 2007, followed closely by former Deputy Speaker Abdulghani Salapuddin (NP), Lantawan Mayor and Wahab Akbar's niece, Tahira Ismael-Sansawi (PMP), and Maluso Mayor Sakib Salajin (Lakas-Kampi-CMD), nephew of Wahab Akbar.

In the cities, incumbents Cherrylyn Santos-Akbar (Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Lakas-Kampi-CMD
Lakas Kampi CMD is a center-right political party in the Philippines and the current minority party in the country. Its ideology is heavily influenced by Christian and Islamic democracy...

)of Isabela City and Roderick Furigay (LDP
Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino
The Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino is a political party in the Philippines founded in 1988.There are no results available of the last elections for the House of Representatives, but according to the website of the House, the party holds 7 out of 235 seats . The party is divided into two factions...

)of Lamitan City both won their respective contests. Isabela City's vice mayoral race proved to be hotly contested, with Tabuk Barangay Chairman Abdulbaki Ajibon winning over the incumbent in a close fight. Lamitan City's incumbent Vice Mayor Arleigh Eisma ran unopposed.

The election season once again witnessed a spike in crime, most noticeably a rise in kidnappings, assassinations and ambuscades. On January 29, 2009, at 5:00pm, Al Barka Mayor Karam Jakilan was felled in an ambush, together with two of his personal bodyguards. Earlier, a slew of assassinations in both the Akbar and Hataman camps, most prominently an Akbar henchman and two Hataman cousins, commenced early in 2008. Also, a spate of kidnaps for ransom have been widely observed to peak as election season nears.

On April 13, 2010, two bomb blasts rocked Isabela City, the first at the Basilan National High School Grandstand Oval, the second right beside Sta. Isabel Cathedral. A third controlled explosion was detonated by elements of the Philippine National Police
Philippine National Police
The Philippine National Police is the national police force of the Republic of the Philippines. It is both a national and a local police force in that it does provides all law enforcement services throughout the Philippines...

 Bomb Squad a few meters from the Isabela City Hall. This was followed by the massacre of twelve residents of Theresa Heights Subdivision, Brgy. Eastside, as the bombers, purportedly members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Abu Sayyaf, escaped from a porous Philippine military cordon.

Local elections have been widely fraught with massive cheating, vote buying and fraud as well. Blame could not be assigned to one particular group or political block alone, as this has been a "common practice" across the political spectrum. The May 2010 automated elections turned out to be no different, with Basilan being designated an "Election Hotspot" by the Philippines' Election Commission. Violent confrontations between political supporters of rival parties, and the failure of Board of Election Inspectors in two villages in Maluso and Al-Barka Municipalities forced authorities to declare a "Failure of Elections" in these parts. Special elections were conducted in these villages on June 3, 2010, where incidents of fraud and minor scuffles were again observed.

In the last five presidential elections, Basilan voted for Ferdinand Edralin Marcos (1965, 1969), Corazon Cojuangco Aquino (1986), Fidel Valdez Ramos (1992), Joseph Ejercito Estrada (1998), and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2004), all of whom won in their respective bids. Similarly, Basilan's vice presidential choices, namely Fernando Lopez (1969), Salvador Laurel (1986), Joseph Ejercito Estrada (1992), Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (1998) and Noli De Castro (2004), also won, making it one of the most accurate bellwether
Bellwether
A bellwether is any entity in a given arena that serves to create or influence trends or to presage future happenings.The term is derived from the Middle English bellewether and refers to the practice of placing a bell around the neck of a castrated ram leading his flock of sheep.The movements of...

 provinces in Philippine politics today. Sen. Manuel Roxas III was Basilan's Senate top-notcher in 2004, while Sen. Loren Legarda was number one in 2007. The recently conducted May 2010 national/local polls manifested once again Basilan's uncanny record of picking the winners, Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III (Liberal Party) and Jejomar C. Binay (PDP-Laban) in the presidential and vice presidential contests respectively.

However, Basilan has figured prominently in a number of election-related issues in the past, the foremost being its inclusion among the provinces (together with Cebu and the rest of the ARMM provinces) where, allegedly, current Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo committed wholesale election fraud to win the 2004 presidential elections. The ensuing imboglio, dubbed the "Hello Garci" Scandal, included several mentions of Basilan and its late governor, Wahab Akbar, in taped conversations purportedly between President Arroyo and COMELEC Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano
Virgilio Garcillano
Virgilio Olivar Garcillano also known as Garci, is a former official of the Philippine Commission on Elections who allegedly was involved in Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's alleged electoral fraud in the Hello Garci scandal....

.

Local government units

Basilan is subdivided into twelve municipalities and two cities
Cities of the Philippines
A city is a tier of local government in the Philippines. All Philippine cities are chartered cities, whose existence as corporate and administrative entities is governed by their own specific charters in addition to the Local Government Code of 1991, which specifies the administrative structure...

.

Isabela City
Isabela City
Isabela City is a 5th class city and the capital of the province of Basilan, Philippines. The city is located on the northern shore of Basilan. Across the Basilan Strait to the north is Zamboanga City...

 (pop. 87,985), located on the northern shore of Basilan Island facing Zamboanga City
Zamboanga City
The City of Zamboanga : is a highly urbanized, independent and a chartered city located in Mindanao, Philippines....

, is a component city
Cities of the Philippines
A city is a tier of local government in the Philippines. All Philippine cities are chartered cities, whose existence as corporate and administrative entities is governed by their own specific charters in addition to the Local Government Code of 1991, which specifies the administrative structure...

 and capital of the province. Isabela City votes for provincial officials, shares its tax revenues with the province, and continues to be under the jurisdiction of Basilan for the administration of provincially-devolved services and functions. However, for the administration of regional services, the city is part of the Zamboanga Peninsula
Zamboanga Peninsula
Zamboanga Peninsula / Western Mindanao is a peninsula and an administrative region in the Philippines. Designated as Region IX, the region consists of three provinces, namely, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga Sibugay, its component cities of Dipolog, Dapitan, Pagadian, and...

 Region, while the rest of Basilan in in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is the region, located in the Mindanao island group of the Philippines, that is composed of predominantly Muslim provinces, namely: Basilan , Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. It is the only region that has its own government...

. Basilan used to be part of Western Mindanao (the former name of Zamboanga Peninsula), but in a recent plebiscite, the residents of some parts of Basilan opted to join ARMM, with the exception of Isabela City (and Lamitan). Called Pasangen (the rough English translation of which is "town") by natives, it hosts the Basilan Provincial Capitol, the provincial offices of the executive departments and line agencies as well as most of the municipal offices of its neighboring municipalities.

Lamitan
Lamitan
Lamitan is a 5th Class city in the province of Basilan, Mindanao, Philippines. According to the 2008 census, it has a population of 82,074....

 (pop. 82,075) became a city in July 2007, although it remains within the ARMM. It is on the northeastern coast of Basilan, where most of Basilan's plains are located. Lamitan is experiencing a renewed economic vigor that continues to power the rest of the province's otherwise lackluster growth. A November 18, 2008 decision of the Supreme Court, however, effectively voided the law converting Lamitan to a city after the League of Cities of the Philippines filed a petition earlier in the year. Together with 16 other local government units, Lamitan's cityhood was again voided in a Supreme Court decision handed down on August 26, 2010, returning it to the status of municipality. On February 17, 2011, the supreme court upheld for the 3rd time the cityhood of Lamitan and 15 other towns in the Philippines.

The other five original municipalities are:
  • Maluso (pop. 48,175) is located on the island's southwest, facing the bigger island of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi further south. Its busiest trading port is located at Port Holland and Maluso Townsite
  • Lantawan (pop. 28,978) is in the island's westernmost area. It is mostly an agricultural area for copra and rubber production. Its biggest population concentration is Tairan. It has no major port.
  • Sumisip (pop. 58,423) is the biggest municipality in terms of land area, and hosts what used to be the biggest rubber plantation (Sime Darby) in the Philippines
  • Tuburan
    Tuburan, Basilan
    Tuburan is a 3rd class municipality in the province of Basilan, Philippines. According to the 2007 census, it has a population of 26,498 people....

     (pop. 26,498) is located on a peninsula on the extreme eastern part of the island, one of the least developed municipalities and severely devastated by the decades-old armed conflicts plaguing the island
  • Tipo-Tipo (pop. 26,548), the last of the original municipalities created by the presidential decree of Ferdinand Marcos
    Ferdinand Marcos
    Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos, Sr. was a Filipino leader and an authoritarian President of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. He was a lawyer, member of the Philippine House of Representatives and a member of the Philippine Senate...

    , is located on the island's southeast coast. It is also mostly undeveloped and witness to much of the running gun battles on the island.


The latest six municipalities are creations of the regional legislature of the ARMM:
  • Tabuan-Lasa (pop. 13,384, created by virtue of MMA Act No. 187), is separated from Sumisip and is named after the main islands of Tapiantana, Bubuan, Lanawan and Saluping
  • Ungkaya Pukan (pop. 30,472, MMA Act No. 190), named after Orang Kaya Pukan, ancestor of the Akbar family and nemesis of Datu Kalun
  • Al-Barka (pop. 26,229, MMA Act No. 191)
  • Hadji Mohammad Ajul (pop. 26,132, MMA Act No. 192), also from Tuburan, named after the first mayor of Tuburan
  • Akbar (pop. 21,312, MMA Act No. 193), separated from Tuburan municipality, named after a political strongman, the late Congressman Wahab Akbar
  • Hadji Muhtamad (pop. 20,292, MMA Act No. 200), named after the father of late Wahab Akbar and separated from Lantawan


The new municipalities were created without the consent of the Philippine Congress, and according to some accounts, said municipalities do not reach the basic requirements for the creation of a separate municipality (50 sqkm area, P2.5 million income, and 25,000 population) under the Philippines' Local Government Code. (Recent Supreme Court rulings nullified the creation of Shariff Kabunsuan
Shariff Kabunsuan
Shariff Kabunsuan was a province of the Philippines within the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao that existed from 2006 to 2008. The law establishing the province was nullified by the Philippine Supreme Court in 2008.-History:...

 Province, created by the same ARMM Regional Assembly, reverting it to the 1st District of Maguindanao Province; Lamitan City has likewise since been reverted to municipality status.)
City
Cities of the Philippines
A city is a tier of local government in the Philippines. All Philippine cities are chartered cities, whose existence as corporate and administrative entities is governed by their own specific charters in addition to the Local Government Code of 1991, which specifies the administrative structure...

/Municipality
Municipalities of the Philippines
A municipality is a local government unit in the Philippines. Municipalities are also called towns . They are distinct from cities, which are a different category of local government unit...

 
Mayors (2010) No. of
Barangays 
Population
(2007)
Isabela City Cherrylyn Santos-Akbar
45
87,985
Lamitan City Roderick H. Furigay
45
82,074
Sumisip
Sumisip, Basilan
Sumisip is a 3rd class municipality in the province of Basilan, Philippines. According to the 2007 census, it has a population of 58,423 people.-Barangays:Sumisip is politically subdivided into 41 barangays.* Bacung* Benembengan Lower* Buli-buli...

Haber A. Asarul
30
58,423
Maluso
Maluso, Basilan
Maluso is a 4th class municipality in the province of Basilan, Philippines. According to the 2007 census, it has a population of 48,175 people....

Indanan K. Daud
20
48,175
Ungkaya Pukan
Ungkaya Pukan, Basilan
Ungkaya Pukan is a municipality in the province of Basilan, Philippines. It was created by Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act No. 193, ratified by plebiscite on May 22, 2006...

Jomar M. Maturan
12
30,472
Lantawan
Lantawan, Basilan
Lantawan is a 4th class municipality in the province of Basilan, Philippines. According to the 2007 census, it has a population of 28,978 people.On August 25, 2007, 10 of its barangays were constituted into the separate municipality of Hadji Muhtamad...

Rustam M. Ismael
25
28,978
Tipo-Tipo
Tipo-Tipo, Basilan
Tipo-tipo is a 3rd class municipality in the province of Basilan, Philippines. According to the 2007 census, it has a population of 26,548 people....

Ingatun Lukman G. Istarul, Al Hadj
11
26,548
Tuburan
Tuburan, Basilan
Tuburan is a 3rd class municipality in the province of Basilan, Philippines. According to the 2007 census, it has a population of 26,498 people....

Jhaber S. Kallahal
10
26,498
Al-Barka
Al-Barka, Basilan
Al-Barka is a 6th class municipality in the province of Basilan, Philippines. It was created by Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act No. 191, ratified by plebiscite on May 22, 2006...

Mohammad Kabukisan
16
26,229
Hadji Mohammad Ajul
Hadji Mohammad Ajul, Basilan
Hadji Mohammad Ajul is a municipality in the province of Basilan, Philippines. It was created by Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act No. 192, ratified by plebiscite on May 22, 2006...

Talib G. Pawaki
11
26,132
Akbar
Akbar, Basilan
Akbar is a municipality in the province of Basilan, Philippines. It was created by Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act No. 193, ratified by plebiscite on May 22, 2006...

Alih A. Salih
9
21,312
Hadji Muhtamad
Hadji Muhtamad, Basilan
Hadji Muhtamad is a municipality in the province of Basilan, Philippines. According to the 2007 census, it has a population of 20,292 people.It was created out of the 10 barangays of Lantawan that were not on Basilan Island, by virtue of Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act No...

Anwar M. Abdulmajid
10
20,292
Tabuan-Lasa
Tabuan-Lasa, Basilan
Tabuan-Lasa is a municipality in the province of Basilan, Philippines. According to the 2007 census, it has a population of 13,384 people.It was created out of the 12 barangays of Sumisip that were not on Basilan Island, by virtue of Muslim Mindanao Autonomy Act No...

Muctar Y. Junaid, Al Hadj
12
13,384
Administratively part of Zamboanga Peninsula
Zamboanga Peninsula
Zamboanga Peninsula / Western Mindanao is a peninsula and an administrative region in the Philippines. Designated as Region IX, the region consists of three provinces, namely, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga Sibugay, its component cities of Dipolog, Dapitan, Pagadian, and...

 region.

Flora and fauna

The island chain is one of two partial land bridges to Borneo and is an important migration route for birds. Among the species of flora and fauna found in Basilan are:

Mammals
  • The Basilan Flying Squirrel
    Basilan Flying Squirrel
    The Basilan Flying Squirrel is a species of rodent in the Sciuridae family. It is endemic to the Philippines. it is often confused with mindanao flying squirrel -References:*Thorington, R. W. Jr. and R. S. Hoffman. 2005. Family Sciuridae. Pp...

     (Petinomys crinitus), a species of rodent in the Sciuridae family. It is endemic to the Philippines, but found extensively in Basilan.


  • The Philippine tarsier
    Philippine Tarsier
    The Philippine Tarsier , known locally as the Kupal in Cebuano/Visayan and Mamag in Luzon, is an endangered species of tarsier endemic to the Philippines. It is found in the southeastern part of the archipelago, particularly in the islands of Bohol, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao...

     (Tarsius syrichta), an endangered tarsier species endemic to the Philippines.


Amphibians
  • The Basilan Island Caecilian (Ichthyophis glandulosus), a species of amphibian in the Ichthyophiidae family. It is endemic to the Philippines.


Birds
  • The Yellow-wattled Bulbul
    Yellow-wattled Bulbul
    The Yellow-wattled Bulbul is a species of songbird in the Pycnonotidae family.It is endemic to the Philippines.Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.-References:...

     (Pycnonotus urostictus), found and documented in the Philippines, specifically Isabela, Basilan, on November 15, 1887, by Moseley, E. L. Published by Steere, J. B. in a list of the birds and mammals collected by the Steere expedition to the Philippines.

  • The Basilan Tarictic Hornbill
    Mindanao Tarictic Hornbill
    The Mindanao Hornbill , sometimes called Mindanao Tarictic Hornbill, is a medium-small species of hornbill found in the canopy of rainforests on Mindanao, Dinagat, Siargao and Basilan in the southern Philippines. As is the case with all Philippine tarictic hornbills, it has been considered a...

     (Penelopides panini basilanicus), a variant of Penelopides affinis basilanicus (Tweeddale, 1877). Also published by Steere, J. B., in a list of the birds and mammals collected by the Steere expedition to the Philippines.

  • The Everett's White-eye basilanicus (Zosterops everetti basilanicus), with distribution throughout the Philippines, but more extensively in Basilan, Dinagat, Mindanao, Siargao, and Camiguin. (Everett's White-eye, Tweeddale, 1878)


Plants
  • The Dipterocarpus
    Dipterocarpus
    Dipterocarpus is a genus of flowering plants and the type genus of family Dipterocarpaceae. The genus has about 70 species, occurring in Southeast Asia. It is an important component of dipterocarp forests...

     basilanicus
    tree, lofty, emergent, with grayish brown to orange, flaky, prominently lenticellate bark and aromatic oily white resin, with stout buttresses.

Ancient Taguima

  • Lakan Ipentun - first recorded Yakan chieftain of Kumalarang, visited Chinese Emperor Yung Lo, and proclaimed a vassal king ("wang") of the Chinese Empire.

Spanish colonial period

  • Datu Kindingan - first baptized native of Pasangen (Isabela), Basilan (baptized Luis Quindingan, along with Datu Ondol and Datu Boto). Appointed Camp Marshal and Chief of the Spanish reduccione at Basilan in 1663.
  • Datu Bantilan (Sultan Muizz ud' Din) — Tausug chieftain, former Sultan of Sulu, established a Tausug kingdom (Maluso) on the island.
  • Datu Kalun (Pedro Cuevas) — Cavite native who married a Yakan princess and subjugated Lamitan. The prolific Cuevas-Pamaran-Antonio-Flores-Furigay clan are direct descendants.
  • Urang Kaya ("Rich Man") Pukan & Tindik - Yakan and Samal chieftains who resisted the offensives of Datu Kalun into Tipo-Tipo, Urang Kaya Pukan eventually moved his clan to the vicinity of Canibungan, Lantawan, where he defeated and then allied with a Samal chieftain, Urang Kaya Tindik. The Muhtamads of Lantawan are descendants of these chieftains.
  • Don Baldomero Lazaro - Spanish encomendero
    Encomienda
    The encomienda was a system that was employed mainly by the Spanish crown during the colonization of the Americas to regulate Native American labor....

    , awarded the northern plains of Basilan island as a hacienda
    Hacienda
    Hacienda is a Spanish word for an estate. Some haciendas were plantations, mines, or even business factories. Many haciendas combined these productive activities...

    , including all the lands east of Aguada river in modern-day Isabela City.

American era

  • Don Juan S. Alano — Bulacan native, Commonwealth Assemblyman of the Moro Province of Mindanao (1936–1946), first Congressman of the Province of Zamboanga (1946–1949), authored the charters of the cities of Zamboanga and Basilan, became the Grand Master of the Freemasons in the Philippines in 1961.
  • Nicasio S. Valderroza — Bulacan native, first Mayor of Basilan City (1948–53), also among the first Mayors of Zamboanga (1937–1939), Baguio (1939–1944), and Davao (1944–48) cities.
  • Lenora Alano-Rivera - daughter of Juan S. Alano, co-founder of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines
    Girl Scouts of the Philippines
    The Girl Scouts of the Philippines is the national Guiding association for girls and young women of the Philippines. Its mission is "to help girls and young women realize the ideals of womanhood and prepare themselves for their responsibilities in the home, and to the nation, and the world...

    , established the first Girl Scout chapter in Mindanao.

Post-war republic

  • Leroy S. Brown — The longest-serving Mayor of Basilan City (1954–1975), presided over the rise of Basilan City into first-class status during his term, and was a member of the seven-man junta which governed the Philippines' Nacionalista Party
    Nacionalista Party
    The Nacionalista Party is the oldest political party in the Philippines today and was responsible for leading the country throughout the majority of the 20th century since its founding in 1907...

    .
  • Ulbert Ulama Tugung — Tausug leader, eventually became the first Regional Governor of the defunct Lupong Tagapagpaganap ng Pook, special administrative arm for the Muslim provinces.
  • Asan Camlian — The first Muslim Governor of Basilan, appointed by President Ferdinand Marcos, and subsequently won his seat under Marcos's KBL.
  • Jean Yahsin - first female Mayor of a Basilan municipality (Maluso).

Post-EDSA

  • Louis Walton Alano — OIC Governor of Basilan during the Revolutionary Government of President Corazon C. Aquino (1986–1988), currently the Deputy Governor for Christian Affairs of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
  • Wahab M. Akbar
    Wahab Akbar
    Ustadz Wahab M. Akbar was a Filipino politician who served three terms as governor of Basilan, during which time he was known for his "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" policy for dealing with kidnappers and terrorists in the province...

     — Former political kingpin and dynast, three-term governor, elected congressman in 2007, killed by a bomb blast at the House of Representatives in November 2007.
  • Luis R. Biel II - first Mayor of Isabela City, nursed the new city through its first few years, established the Cocowayan Festival in 2002, assassinated by a lone gunman at city hall on March 3, 2006.
  • Jum Jainuddin-Akbar - first female Governor of Basilan, widow and first wife of the late Congressman Wahab M. Akbar.

National and international figures

  • Regino C. Hermosisima, Jr.
    Regino C. Hermosisima, Jr.
    Regino Campos Hermosisima, Jr. of Banilad and Sibonga, Cebu, Philippines is the incumbent 3-termer regular member of the Judicial and Bar Council. Appointed on December 17, 1997 by Fidel Ramos, he was reappointed on September 12, 2001 and on October 4, 2005, by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo....

     — Supreme Court
    Supreme Court of the Philippines
    The Supreme Court of the Philippines is the Philippines' highest judicial court, as well as the court of last resort. The court consists of 14 Associate Justices and 1 Chief Justice...

     justice, presided over the Aquino-Galman double murder case as a judge at the Manila RTC. Chairman Emeritus of the Philippine Young Men's Christian Association.
  • Alvin G. Dans — variously a provincial governor, congressman, Undersecretary of the DILG, and Philippine Postmaster General.
  • Candu I. Muarip — first Yakan politician to be elected to high office, he was appointed Cabinet Secretary
    Cabinet Secretary
    A Cabinet Secretary is almost always a senior official who provides services and advice to a Cabinet of Ministers. In many countries, the position can have considerably wider functions and powers, including general responsibility for the entire civil service...

     for a month during the short-lived Revolutionary Government of Corazon Aquino; he has since been elected congressman twice, and is a provincial board member
  • Gerry A. Salapuddin — former MNLF commander, schooled at the Sorbonne University
    University of Paris
    The University of Paris was a university located in Paris, France and one of the earliest to be established in Europe. It was founded in the mid 12th century, and officially recognized as a university probably between 1160 and 1250...

     in Paris, France, became three-term governor, then three-term congressman, the last two times as the elected Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.
  • Antonio Francisco Cartagena - first Filipino-American Mayor of Walnut City
    Walnut, California
    Walnut is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. The population was 29,172 at the 2010 census and its current mayor is Tom King, a former Detective from the Los Angeles Police Department....

    , Los Angeles
    Los Ángeles
    Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

    , California
    California
    California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

    .http://images.google.com.ph/imgres?imgurl=http://www.lazamboangatimes.com/POWHOF_orig2.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.lazamboangatimes.com/main_page_feb16_23_2003.html&usg=__g8j_q8XF1Yl93Y0XXfG5xA8zM94=&h=265&w=450&sz=56&hl=en&start=80&um=1&tbnid=mEjJX1XQDSwI6M:&tbnh=75&tbnw=127&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dlamitan%26start%3D60%26ndsp%3D20%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN
  • Roseller Barinaga - long-term Mayor of Dipolog City
    Dipolog City
    The City of Dipolog is a 1st class city and the capital of the province of Zamboanga del Norte on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao...

     and three-term Congressman of the Second District of Zamboanga del Norte, of Cebuano parentage.
  • Romeo Jalosjos - three-term Congressman of the First District of Zamboanga del Norte, born in Latuan, Isabela.
  • Dominador Jalosjos — Mayor of Dapitan City
    Dapitan City
    The City of Dapitan is a 4th class city in the province of Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 68,178 people in 13,560 households...

    , Zamboanga del Norte, born in Baluno (Latuan), Isabela City.
  • Cynthia Jalosjos-Carreon — former Congresswoman of the First District of Zamboanga del Norte, born in Baluno (Latuan), Isabela City.
  • Cesar Jalosjos — Congressman of the Third District of Zamboanga del Norte, born in Baluno (Latuan), Isabela City.

Entertainment

  • Josephine Brown Estrada - Miss Philippines 1962, movie actress
  • Leni Alano-Cabili - movie actress and singer, 1965 FAMAS Best Supporting Actress for her role in Daigdig ng mga Api, also sung the original recording of the popular Visayan song "Usahay".
  • Cecile Licad
    Cecile Licad
    Cecile Licad is a renowned Filipina virtuoso classical pianist dubbed as a "a pianist's pianist" by The New Yorker, "her artistry, a blend of daring musical instinct and superb training." -Biography:...

     — world-renowned concert pianist, lived in Basilan for some time with her father Dr. Jesus Licad, who helped establish Basilan Hospital (now J. S. Alano Memorial Hospital).
  • Jennifer Violet Alano-Colet — 1989 Miss Globe International
    Miss Globe International
    Miss Globe Organisation is an international beauty pageant group founded in 1925, which owns the rights to various titles, including "Miss Globe", "Miss Globe International", "Miss Globe Beauty Pageant", and "Miss Globe Beauty"...

     first runner up.
  • John Estrada
    John Estrada
    John Estrada is a Filipino movie and TV actor, starred in a number of roles as a leading man, comedian and villain.He is currently part of ABS-CBN contract actors.-Life and career:...

     — movie and TV actor, starred in a number of roles both as leading man and villain, currently on contract with ABSCBN TV2 Manila and TV5
    Associated Broadcasting Company
    The Associated Broadcasting Company, Inc is a television network in the Philippines, with main broadcast facilities and transmitter located at 762 Quirino Highway, San Bartolome, Novaliches, Quezon City. The network was previously known as the , Associated Broadcasting Company remains the legal...

    .
  • Sammy Lagmay — movie and TV actor, comedic talent featured in a number of TV sitcoms.
  • Mark Alain Echem — former lead vocalist of the band Frio
    Frio (band)
    -About:FRIO is an alternative rock band from Quezon City, Philippines. The band is currently composed of five members: Christopher Sison , Archie Lim , Christian Quiambao , Raz Itum , and Marwin Salazar...

    .
  • Myra Ursula Bucoy - TV variety show host, ABSCBN Regional Network Group "Zambo Jambo" (1996–2001).
  • Jamju A. Rivera - TV variety show host, ABSCBN Regional Network Group "Zambo Jambo" (1998–2000), radio talk show host of The Friday Late Nite Show on DXUE FM 103.5 MHz (1996–1998), columnist for culture and arts, Daily Zamboanga Times (1995–1997).
  • Lesley Jean Rosebel Sanson - 2003 Miss Philippines-Earth Fire
  • Shamcey Gurrea Supsup
    Shamcey Supsup
    Shamcey Gurrea Supsup is a Filipino beauty titleholder who represented the Philippines in the Miss Universe 2011 pageant, in which she was declared third runner-up...

     - 2011 Binibining Pilipinas
    Binibining Pilipinas
    Binibining Pilipinas is the organization responsible for sponsoring the annual national beauty pageant which selects representatives of the Philippines to Miss Universe and Miss International, among others.-History:...

    , Universe
    Miss Universe
    Miss Universe is an annual international beauty contest that is run by the Miss Universe Organization. The pageant is the most publicized beauty contest in the world with 600 million viewers....

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