Many tourists are apprehensive about exploring Jolo due to violent encounters between the government forces and rebels in the past, but Jolo and the whole Sulu province have been generally peaceful in recent years. The local government has even started promoting the province to showcase its natural beauty and attract tourists to come visit this part of the country.
Jolo may not be as accessible as other popular tourist destinations in the Philippines but there are a few options a traveler can take to get there.
There is no direct flight to Jolo from Manila, Clark, Cebu, or even Davao and Zamboanga via commercial airlines.
Airplane via Zamboanga
The best option is to fly to Zamboanga via Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, and AirAsia. These commercial airlines have multiple flights to Zamboanga International Airport from Manila everyday, one flight a day from Cebu, and two or three flights per week from Davao City. Travel time is approximately one hour and 40 minutes.
From Zamboanga Airport, the fastest and most comfortable way to get to Jolo is to book a flight via Platinum Skies. The plane departs Zamboanga at 8:00 AM and departs Jolo at 9:30 AM every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Travel time is one hour.
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A 2Go Travel ferry departs Manila every Monday at 8:00 PM and arrives Zamboanga Wednesday at 8:30 PM, making the journey 48 hours. Fare ranges from P1,560 to P8,059 depending on the type of seat/accommodation.
There are two options to get to Jolo from Zamboanga – via regular overnight ferry and a fastcraft. For overnight trips, there are three shipping lines plying the route – Montenegro Shipping, Aleson Shipping, and Ibnerizam Shipping.
Montenegro Shipping has a ferry departing Zamboanga City at 9:00 PM everyday except Monday. The same schedule applies to ferries departing Jolo for Zamboanga. The travel time is between seven to eight hours and the fare for adults ranges from P510 to P765 depending on the seat/accommodation.
Meanwhile, Aleson Shipping sails to Jolo and Zamboanga daily at 8:00 PM. Travel time is approximately eight hours and the fare is around P700 per person.
Ibnerizam Shipping, on the other hand, has a ferry departing Zamboanga at 7:30 PM every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and at 8:00 PM every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Please note that conditions and circumstances may change, so it is always best to check for the most up-to-date information regarding travel to Jolo Island. Additionally, it is advisable to exercise caution and follow any travel advisories issued by the LGU (Local Government Unit) or local authorities.
READ MORE: Jolo Island Visitors Guide