This group of around 870 islands is situated southwest of Mindanao, running down to the northeastern segment of Malaysian Borneo. The capital, Jolo is on the island of the same name. Other main islands include Basilan and Pangutaran. The whole area was an autonomous sultanate until 1940.
The mainstays of life here are fishing, pearls, sea cucumbers, marine turtles and shells.
There will undoubtedly be good diving here, but the archipelago is still considered an extremely high risk region to visit due to political turmoil (July 2006).