Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tickled Pink at the Great Santa Cruz Island

For the second part of our Zamboanga-Basilan adventure series, we went to Sta. Cruz Island and my dream of going to a pink beach just came true that weekend! You could imagine my joy when I saw it in person! 


I first learned about the famed pink beach when it was featured on Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho last year. Being in love with the color itself, I thought that someday I'm gonna visit this place...and here I am! Spending an entire day on the beach of my dreams! :) Okay so it happened on the 2nd day of our Zamboanga tour, my friends and I woke up early to get to the boat we arranged for a schedule that day. We went out as early as 6AM so we could still have time to go the market and buy our food because we're going to cook there. We also bought drinking water as there is no water source on the island.

From Chang-V we rode a jeepney again going to the market and after shopping, we walked for a short distance from the market to Paseo del Mar, where our reserved boat was waiting for us. BTW, a little trivia here, there are two islands--Great Sta. Cruz Island and Little Sta. Cruz Island. Travelers are off limits to the little island because that's where the navy guards are stationed so don't bother bugging your guide to take you there.

To go to the Great Sta.Cruz Island, you need to rent a boat for 1,000 pesos and it can hold a maximum of 10 people. If you're on a budget, you can ask the tourism office for scheduled trips with a different group so you can hitch a ride going there. We also paid a small terminal fee and we had an armed escort with us; when I say armed, a soldier with a rifle. The tourism office will never allow you to go to the island without one, it's for safety and security purposes. :)

See what I mean? 

The short ride just took us 10-15 minutes before reaching the island and we were the only ones there, aside from the souvenir vendors who I think lives there, we pretty much enjoyed the island all by ourselves.

Ohhh I'm super happy! The sand really is pink, especially on the shoreline, where sand meets the sea.

If you look closer you'll see the tiny bits of red Organ Pipe corals washed ashore, giving the sand its pinkish color.

We also got a chance to have a quick tour at the now restricted area of the Badjao Cemetery, where burials have been prohibited since 1975. I didn't take pictures in respect of the departed. 

For some reason, the sand at this part is finer than the shore where we took off from our boat. Almost like Boracay sand according to my friends. (I can't tell coz I haven't been there :D) You may also shop for souvenirs here in the island, they sell a variety of products from jewelries to ref magnets to key chains. 

This black coral branch looks interesting. Too bad I can't take it home.

We prepared our lunch on the island, they have grilling stations provided. If you need to change into dry clothes after swimming, there are changing rooms are available, but you can't take a bath though because there's no water. We had a scrumptious feast of seafood for lunch which we cooked there (except for the rice) using the available grilling stations. We found someone selling crabs for about 300 pesos and he even steamed it for us!

Beach food! :)

Aside from pigging ourselves out, my travel buddies posed gamely for a beach photoshoot. I am a photographer and I told them to trust me when I tell them pose for a "pa-hot" shot so I could picture them in good angles. From portraits to jumpshots, we took pictures till we got tired of it. Anyway, meet Team Zamboanga LOL.

Anne (traveladik on Instagram)

Je (ezzydangerous on Instagram)

Jay (gladjaytor on Instagram)

Jep (jepepips on Instagram)

Jumpshot! (That's Little Sta. Cruz island behind us)

Oh and I shouldn't forget my personal bodyguard, the Clone Trooper. LOL.

We left the island around 3pm as no one is allowed to stay before it gets dark and we were escorted by our armed guide until we reached the mainland. 

That boat full of guides and armed escorts makes you feel really safe in Sta. Cruz Island. Zamboanga really cares for the safety of their tourists. :)

Brat face. 
I don't wanna leave yet. -_-

I find my stay at the Pink Beach too short to enjoy my time there. I love beach camping and this was one of the beaches I'd love to pitch a tent on. However, I could only relish the  feeling of that pinkish sand rubbing between my toes, and that is something I'll never forget; I am so overwhelmed that I was able to go to my dream destination that day! :)

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