Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Great Sta. Cruz Island (Zamboanga City) Updated 2015

The Philippines is endowed with white sand beaches and pristine waters. 
But there is one beach in the Philippines which has pink sand beach and that beach is the Sta. Cruz Island Beach in Zamboanga City.

December 27, 2012. I was staying in Lantaka Hotel in Zamboanga City. I was in Mindanao for my post Christmas tour for 2012. I arrived 9 pm in Zamboanga City from Pagadian City. There were only two places that I would like to visit in Zamboanga City, Sta. Cruz Island and Fort Pilar.

Lantaka Hotel by the Sea
Contact no. (062)-991-2033 to 35
Fax No.  (062)-991-1626

Single Occupancy (roadside) - P1,452.00
Single Occupancy (seaside) - P1,749.00
Double Occupancy (roadside) - P1,815.00
Double Occupancy (seaside) - P2,11.00

SUITE ROOMS / LOFT SUITE (also available)

Arriving at the hotel, I took the single occupancy (roadside), the cheapest and paid using my credit card. It is not often that you can use your credit card in Mindanao.

The following morning, I went to Paseo Del Mar.

From Lantaka Hotel, the walk to Paseo Del Mar is just five minutes and Paseo is just a stone's throw from my hotel. This was the primary reason why I took lodging in Lantaka Hotel (the only seaside hotel in the city).

Paseo del Mar is a 2.5-hectare leisure park located between the historical shrine of Our Lady of the Pillar and Lantaka Hotel by the Sea, the oldest hotel in this city.There are numerous things you can do in Paseo Del Mar like jogging, biking, street food eating, and nature tripping. But the number one attraction is available only Saturday and Sunday and that is riding the colorful vintas of Zamboanga City. 
Unfortunately, it was a Thursday that day and the vinta tour on a tarts 4 pm - 6pm at an affordable cost of P50 for a 20 to 30 minutes ride around the picturesque Paseo del Mar.

Paseo also offers nightlife attractions.
Anyway, I proceeded to my destination.

And that is the berthing point of the ferry boat to Sta. Cruz Island.

It was 6:45 am and there were already a handful of tourists at the registration area.

I immediately talked to the staff and I was told that the first trip leaves at 7:am.

Contact persons and nos.
Raymond - 0926-372-1457 (my guide)
Richard - 0906-932-6439 (the manager)
Office no. - (062) - 992-3007

Entrance fee - P20.00
Terminal fee - P5.00
Cottage fee - P100.00 (6 pax)
P200.00 (10 pax) / P500 (15-30 pax)

Transportation rate - P1,000 for 1-10 pax)

I chartered the entire boat and paid P1,000 and proceeded to Sta. Cruz Island.

The boat ride is 25-30 minutes depending on the tide.

It was a beautiful day and we arrived ahead of time.

I was told by my guide (Raymond) that there are actually two islands - The Great Sta. Cruz Island and the Small Sta. Cruz Island. We were headed to the Great Sta. Cruz Island. The Small Sta. Cruz Island is the destination of scuba divers.

And after 20 minutes, we reached the spot.

I strolled in the beach and took pictures of the beach.

What a lovely sight it is!!

The Great 
Sta. Cruz Island

My guide brought me to the Samal cemetery which is also located in the island.

I was told that according to Samal tradition, they had to bury the deceased within 24 hours and they had to bring the corpse to this spot. Nowadays, the Samal and Badjao are no longer allowed to do their  ritual/tradition on this island.

There were also these rolling grasses.

And during windy season, you can see these grasses rolling in the beach.

After thirty minutes, tourists began flocking in. There were plenty of tourists that day and some of them arrived at the beach using the navy's boat.

Some of the people were simply fishing at the beach.

I continued exploring the island.

There were souvenir items sold in the island. 

The island also has a mangrove (bawakan) plantation.

The plantation will be developed and they will be providing a bamboo bridge so that tourists could explore the mangroves.

After staying for more almost two hours at the island. I decided to leave and go to my next destination.

I enjoyed the tour!! =))

And I boarded the anew and went back to the berthing  point.

Another 25 minutes for the boat ride.

From the berthing point, I walked for another five minutes and reached my second destination.

Fort Pilar and National Museum

The fort was under renovation and initially, the security guard did not give access inside the fort.

I tried my best to persuade him to allow me since I was a tourist from Manila.

The guard told me to talk to the manager and after then minutes, I was inside the fort.

Fort Pilar is one fort rich in Philippine history.

I was told that the Queen of Spain took her lunch this year (2012) at this fort.

That afternoon, I went back to the hotel, got my bag and went back to Pagadian.

It was the second day of my tour and I still had to go to Lake Sebu in South Cotabato.

It's really more fun in Zamboanga City!!! =))

Pink Sand Escape
Sta. Cruz Island, Zamboanga City
Pick-up and drop-off at the airport
Motor boat transfer
Lagoon Tour
Service of a tour guide
Applicable entrance, Terminal and cottage fees

Tour Itinerary
Pick-up guests
Transfer to Island
Inland Tour (Samal village, Burial site, Lagoon, sandbar)
Free leisure time (swimming, diving or snorkeling)
   Bring your own equipment for diving and snorkelling
Back to mainland and transfer to hotel
Duration of Tour – 6-8 hours

No. of pax                           Rates per pax
2                                             P1,905
3-4                                          P1,440
5-6                                          P985
7-8                                          P795
9-10                                        P690
11 and up                               P645

Address: Mayor Jaldon St., Canelar, Zamboanga City 7000
Tel # +63(62) 991-1174
Cel # +63917-7006410
Facebook: Zamboanga Tourist Lane (Look for Ms. Leah)

Place to Stay in Zamboanga City

City Inn Hotel (Gov. Alvarez cornerr La Purisima St. Zamboanga City)
Tel No. (062)-955-4058 / Cell No. 0936-608-8777
email: cityinnzam@gmail.com
lowest rate - P895 (1 pax) / P995 (2 pax)

Medio Hotel (Buenavista Street corner San Jose road near Shell and Petron Station)
Tel No. (062)-955-1580
email: mediohotel@yahoo.com
Lowest rate - P550

Traveller's Inn
Good for short stay only, in between Medio Hotel and City Inn Hotel

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  1. Hi! I'm a native of Zamboanga and has always been proud of my Home. Thanks for posting this blog! This is really cool!

  2. Hi! I'm a native of Zamboanga and has always been proud of my Home. Thanks for posting this blog! This is really cool!

    1. I simply love your province. I want to go back again this year! =)

  3. I am coming back home this March 27 and hopefully I can make it to the Pink Beach, the Nancy Falls which is just right within the place where I used to live. The Serenity Falls which is somewhere near my place, the Caves in Curuan.... Oh, there's so much to do in my place! And I am just so excited!

  4. Your place is one of the best places in the Philippines! =)

  5. Been here last November for vacation. Love this place. Thanks for sharing:)

  6. Nice post! :) Zamboangeno here! I'm grabbing one of your pics; hope you don't mind..hehehe! (Credits due to you, of course :) Gotta post it in my blog.. :) Thanks! :)

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