Marawi is a small city on the shore of Lake Lanao, on the island of Mindanao. It is at the heart of the Muslim population of the Philippines and is considered a no-go zone for foreigners. But that’s not going to stop you, right?
The area is under martial law and soldiers are everywhere on the road from the coast but the road is in good condition and it’s not too hard to get there. Everyone you meet will warn you about the dangers of the Abu Sayyaf terrorists who are active in the jungle and have carried out some recent kidnappings.
There is no accommodation in the city so you’ll need to go to the local University to get a room. There is a ‘hostel’ there with over 70 beds but odds are you’ll be the only guest. The people at Mindanao State University are very hospitable and will treat you as an honored guest. Expect to be followed everywhere you go by someone, though. They are very concerned about security. Everyone is extremely hospitable and wants to show the world that Marawi is safe.
The University will be happy to arrange a tour of the city under armed guard. It’s really quite surreal. The city is lost in time and actually quite beautiful. A visit to Marawi is a must for any Road Junky traveling to the Philipines.