By Meryl Grace Agudelo When mother earth showered beauty, Philippines is in the super front row VIP pass level! With 7,107 islands spanning from Batanes to Jolo, our concept of comparison isn’t between an ugly and beautiful island; it has always been between a beautiful and a more beautiful island i.e Coron and El Nido, Bohol and Boracay, La Union and Siargao. We should not wonder by now why a long stretch of powdery white sand and pristine waters no longer surprise us; it is fast becoming more of a normal expectation in most part of the country.
But have you ever heard of an island that’s blushing?
Blushing like this:
South of the Philippines, there’s an island called Sta. Cruz, located at the periphery of Zamboanga City. It has a long stretch of powdery sand that resembles a pink hue—thanks to the red organ pipe corals all over the place that disintegrated through time. Indeed, there’s beauty in breakdown.
Imagine the many years of natural disintegration that took place to allow this exquisiteness to surface.
Most of the visitors are from mainland of Zamboanga, so expect an unspoiled, non-commercialized feel of the place. Bring water. Trust me on this, I’ve learned my lesson the hard way. There are no food stalls, no fancy restaurants, but you can enjoy their fresh catch of Kasag– a local term for crabs.
Manong showing his first catch of the day, we bought it for 250 pesos.
Of course, you don’t want to see the after of the after. Served fresh and hot with native suka and sili= bliss!
Despite the simplicity and laid back feel of the island, there are many things you can do while you are here. Swim like a mermaid in the pristine waters of Sta Cruz, take a walk alone, with your lover or friends on the long stretch of its pinkish white sand, buy pearls from the Badjaos at a very reasonable price, enjoy the sun, the salt and the vibes of the sea!
How to get here:
- Fly to Zamboanga City. All major airline companies have daily flights to and from the city.
- Important: Visit the Regional Department of Tourism office located at Lantaka Hoteal atleast two days before your plan visit to the island. For your safety and security, they require all visitors to register so that they can include you in the manifest and request police escorts that will accompany you during your visit.
- Tricycle is the most convenient mode of transportation when you’re in Zamboanga, so on the day of your visit, hire a tricycle and tell the driver to take you to Paseo del Mar.
- Insiders tip: Negotiate your fare before you take a tricy, the fares vary a lot depending on your and driver’s attitude. :p
- For landmark, Paseo del Mar is located next to Fort Pilar and National Museum.
- From Paseo del Mar, it will take you about 20 minutes to reach the island onboard a motor boat which can accommodate approximately 10 people. For non mermaids, each boat is equipped with life savers in case you need it. They will collect 120 pesos each, inclusive of round trip fare, terminal fee and entrance fee to the island.
For a country blessed with so much natural resources, the 7,107 islands will never run out of beautiful places and interesting insights that will knock you or sweep you off your feet. Wander, wander some more, wander far off your comfort zone. There are far, far better things than any we leave behind- C. S. Lewis.
Afterall, we are seated in the front row; there are so many premiums that go along with VIP pass, it won’t lose its magic too soon. Chase it!