Beyond the hustle and bustle of the Asian’s Latin City, the Island of Sta. Cruz stands strong despite the strong urbanization activities happening at its doorsteps. With the sheer enforcement of government intervention, the island interior and pristine beach are protected from tourist exploitation. Thanks to the daily persistence of the PAMU, each and every tourist setting foot to the island are required to follow suit the regulations within the protected landscape, otherwise, enjoy hefty fines and community service.
Aside from beach bumming and enjoying its welcoming waters, a boat tour within the center of the island is a must. Two boat transfers would bring you to the healthy mangrove ecosystem that houses one of Philippine’s massive biodiversity. Its shifting sandy to muddy soil supports different species of vital mangrove trees. Stingless jellyfish and different small fish species thrive within the winding labyrinths of this amazing sea ecosystem.
The pink beach is a well-known feature of the island. At daytime before noon, I experienced its natural glow, thank you to the perfect sunlight, and its clear waters blazed from ranging from turquoise to cerulean. The waves that time are not rough. Seems to waters calling for a swim.
Cost of visiting the Sta. Cruz Island includes the Php1,000.00 boat ride round trip fare which you can share with or join with other groups, just be aware of each other’s option time of return to Zamboanga City. There are cottages you can opt to rent while at the island. Cost of going to the lagoon is Php200 for the boat transfer to the Yellow Boat area. Then you need to transfer to these yellow boats, paddled by locals at Php200.00 per boat. You can also opt to rent a vinta sail boat at Php200.00 each that is the iconic fleet of Zamboanga.
How to go to Sta. Cruz Island:
Flights bound to Zamboanga: There are directs flights from Manila, Cotabato City, Cebu and Davao to ZAMBOANGA CITY by Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific. From the Airport, take jeepney bound to Seaport.
My heartfelt thanks to a close friend, Dave Tumindig @asa_na_pud_si_cocoy, for being such an amazing host during our Zamboanga-Sulu-Basilan-Ipil stint.
Thank you also to Ms. Sarita Hernandez, Tourism Officer of Zamboanga City.