Born on December 27, 1951 the fifth child of late Hadja Jatol Ladjamatli and Hadji Ahaja Canon. Married to a native of Sitangkai Hja WILMA K AHAJA, they were Blessed with 6 successful Children. Mayor Hadji Tiblan C Ahaja a successful businessman turned into politician. began his political career as an undefeated Barangay Kagawad of Datu Putih, a two termer senior municipal Councilor, and later became Mayor in 1998 for three consecutive terms. Became Vice Mayor in 2007 for two terms, and became mayor again in 2019 to present.


Sitangkai is like other municipalities of Tawi-Tawi were under the Province of Sulu before its creation.


Historically, the island of Sitangkai was known as “Saluru”, a borrowed term from Malay which means “entire” because of its strategic location where in during high tide, current from all corners runs toward the island.


 Sitangkai has its legendary origin named after the beautiful Sama teenager, the only and lovely daughter of a certain Panglima who died untimely and was buried in the land of Saluru. The girl is popularly known by her penname “Tangkai” from Sinama word “atangkai-tangkai” because of her good looking neck which was proportional to her vital statistics. A visit to her graveyard is a belief and tradition among Sama people as a token in showing their love. It was said that every time Panglima passes by, relatives and friends usually greet him and asks, “Where are you going?” Panglima would answer, to visit the grave of “Tangkai”. In 1900, “Tangkai became the word “Saluru”.


During the early years of 1903, the island became popularly known as “Sitankan” and later in 1918 named “Sitangki”. It was named after a Chinese National by the name “Tang Kay” who owned a water tank, which in native dialect is called “tangkih”. In 1939, this peaceful island became known as “SiTangkai”. This was corrected by a Chinese Businessman into “SyTangkai” in 1948. Today it is known as “Sitangkai.


Before, Sibutu was the seat of the municipal government with Lt Ambutong Sapal as the Local Administrator. He was replaced by the appointment of Datu Amilhamja as the new Local Administrator by the Japanese Imperial Navy Command in 1941-1945.  After the war in 1946, Hadji Mocthar Sulayman became the Municipal Mayor for few months only in 1946. In 1954, Datu Amilhamja Jaafar was appointed to Office. Datu Jaafar served as Mayor till the early year of 1960.


From 1960 to 1971, Hadji Mansul Harun, a native son of Sitangkai became the first Elected Mayor of Sibutu Municipality followed by Atty. Celso J. Palma. He was succeeded by Oyong B. Ismael. In 1980, Datu Young Baguinda was elected as the new mayor of the municipality. After the EDSA Revolution in 1986, municipal leadership changed hands, and it was handed over to former Mayor Hadji Mansul Harun who served as OIC-Mayor. From January to December of 1987, the municipality was under the leadership of his brother, Hadji Gaffor Harun; and in 1987 Datu Allong Mahmon became OIC-Mayor till early 1988. In 1988, Filipino-Chinese Businessman, Paquito A. Tan convincingly won the mandate  as  the  10th  Mayor  of  the  municipality  and  it  was  during his incumbency that Sitangkai became the seat of municipal government. Mayor Tan was succeeded by his popular councilor, Tiblan C. Ahaja who obtained the constituents mandate for 9 years.


In the May 14, 2007 elections, Hadji Serbin “Silent” C. Ahaja won the mandate of the constituents and was sworn in as the 12th Municipal Mayor of Sitangkai. He was re-elected into the same position last May 2013 election.


In the recent Election Mayor Hadji Tiblan C. Ahaja again won the popular vote and sworn into as the 13th Mayor of the Municipality.





Location and Geophysical Features



The municipality of Sitankai is a 1st class Municipality lies at the southernmost tip of the Philippines. It is located approximately between geographical coordinates, latitude North at 4’29 to 4’59 and 119’00 to 119’25 Longitude East. It is few hours away by motorized kumpits or pumpboats from Sabah, East of Malaysia or about 17 nautical miles and about 37 nautical miles from Capital town of Bongao. It is bounded by Sibutu Island to the East, to the South by Celebes Sea and South-West bounded by Sabah, Malaysia.


Sitangkai is composed of 13 islands occupying 9 barangays distributed in the island of Tumindao, Sipangkot and and Sitangkai Dikih. It is characterized by extensive reefs and endowed with rich marine resources. Of the 13 islands, Sitangkai Sitangkai has a total Municipal land area of 72, 430 hectares where 5,970 are landmass suitable for agricultural development while 66,460 hectares are foreshore Suitable for seaweeds farming and other marine products gatherers and culturist as certified by DAF, National Census, and DTI.


Sitangkai is recognized as “seaweeds Capital of the Philippines” as well as the “Cottoni Seaweeds Capital of the World”. Sitangkai is composed of 13 islands and islets Tumindao is the largest with the total area  3,430 hectares or equivalent to 57.45% of the total Sitangkai land mass area. It is followed by Umapoy with 9.2%, then Sipangkot as the third largest with 5.1%. The last islands to the South (Maldanas, Malmanok and Saluag) are the lowest islands having only an area of 0.1% respective


It is reached by commercial sea vessel from Bongao daily in more or less 4 hours. Motor launches leave from the different barangays of Sitangkai at 9:00 o’clock in the morning and go back home the following day except for Barangay Polacion, Panlima Alari, Imam Sapii and Datu Baguinda Puti. The said trip can be reached in 50 minutes by fast craft like speed boats.


The municipality has (9) barangays:


Panglima Alari

Datu Baguinda Puti

Imam Sapii



South Larap

North Larap


Filipino-Chinese Businessman, Paquito A. Tan convincingly won the mandate  as  the  10th  Mayor  of  the  municipality  and  it  was  during his incumbency that Sitangkai became the seat of municipal government.