Tuesday, October 23, 2012

That Pink Sand in Sta.Cruz Island



One of the reasons why I booked a flight to Zamboanga city was because of the much coveted pink beach at Sta.Cruz island. I've seen a couple of posts about it and took note on how to get to that island. I planned to allot practically a day on the island. On our first day, after looking for a lodging house and good old eateries and restaurants, we went to the Zamboanga city tourism office right outside the gate of the Paseo del Mar along Pilar street. 

The tourism officers were very accommodating and responded to all of our queries. We particularly asked if we could possibly reserve a slot for the next day's trip to Sta.Cruz island. They said that there are no lists at that time and we just need to go to the jump-off point inside the Paseo del Mar the next day. They said that we need to be early so as to join other guests in the boat rather than renting the whole boat for the two of us. We were also told that there are no food stalls or stores in the island so we might wanna bring our own food in the island. We thought of buying some stuff from the grocery and having a heavy brekkie the next day - which was a big fail because all of the fastfoods were still closed when we went to the pueblo.

The next day we were at the Paseo del Mar at around 6:45 a.m. We went straight to the berthing point to the island. We filled out some forms for profiling and paid 20 pesos each for the terminal fee. They asked us if we would like to join other groups in a boat because they allow up to 10 persons max in a boat and each boat would cost 1,000 pesos/two-way. We agreed and they advised us to personally ask the groups if they would allow us to join them in their respective boats. We asked a group of 5 persons if we could join their boat and they agreed. Apparently, they were from Zamboanga city and were also first-timers just like us. 



a good 20-minute ride
We left the berthing point at around 7:20 a.m. We were 10 inside the boat; 7 guests, 2 boatmen and a tourist police (which was the S.O.P. in all the boats to and fro the island). After 20 minutes we arrived at the Sta.Cruz island and once again, we registered at the tourism center at the island and saw some stalls for souvenir shopping on the area. We were also told that we could opt to use a cottage for a fee. The malong I have would suffice but J suggested that we should get a cottage for our things for his siesta bench - he loves to sleep anywhere and everywhere.


alas siyete y medya
Red + White + Pink
tired but happy feet
mini vinta

We immediately checked out the sand to see its pink shade. Apparently, and as I read on some blog posts, a certain red coral is abundant on the island and its crushed particles would mix with the sand thus getting that pinkish tone from afar. Nice eh? We hurriedly went into the water and noticed that the water is clear and what struck us the most was the sudden depth of the seabed. At first it was thigh deep and then I was surprised that I cannot touch the sand anymore. Quite scary at first but you'll get the hang of it afterwards. 

We then looked for a cottage and got the smallest one for 100 pesos. There's also toilet and shower area on the island. But we noticed that there were no structures for overnight stay, later on we learned that there are talks about developing it into an island resort. There's also a military detachment at one end of the island for protection because of what had happened in the 80's where there were some guests who were abducted by some armed groups. Oh well, that was in the past and the important thing is that there are efforts to prevent those kind of things. 

ankita kuya?
Moving on, we met a tourism officer (formerly from the environment and natural resources department) and he chitchatted with us. He's Elpidio or Pidyong (Pinoys really love nicknames). We asked him about the cemetery on the island and then voila! He hurriedly asked us to follow him making us leave our cottage right away. 

We walked a few meters from the shore and then went into the thick bushes and trees. It then revealed the cemetery of the Badjaos, Yakans and other groups from Mindanao. He told us that you would know what group, gender and the social status of the person buried depending on the design they put on the graves/grave markers. Also, they are usually wrapped with cloth and are placed on an L-shaped hole in the ground. The cemetery is extremely quiet and you would feel the serenity of the place. There were also some stuff like mugs, cups and saucers on the graves which were offered by their loved ones last July - their version of our All Soul's Day.







After that short but sweet time on the peaceful side of the island, we went back to the cottage and Pidyong asked us if we would like to see the mangroves at the back of the island. Apparently, his first love was Botany and even passed the board examinations for environmental planning - ang husay lang niya!

We went at the site where the mangroves were and we were so amazed on how vast it was. But wait. We followed Pidyong and went into the thick area of mangroves and he showed us the difference between a male and a female tree (there is such) and he also taught us how to know when it is mature enough to be planted. I'm so lame in explaining plants - I don't have any close relationship with plants, give me a cactus and it will die. But this one's interesting. He made Botany 101 really exciting. I learned so much from him than any of my Nat.Sci. profs - or maybe I cut class too often way back. 

He was even frustrated that we cannot go to the deeper parts of the mangroves (we were contented on what we saw by the way) because we don't have a boat to go to those areas. We went back to the cottage and continued the chat there. He told us his plan for the island if only they could allow him. We really felt his sincere love and concern for the environment and the island itself. 



pwede na itanim vs. hindi pa pwede
girl, boy, bakla, tomboy?


awat na Pidyong... awat na
We ran back to the water and played with my underwater camera (magamit lang). And then we had our afternoon siesta on the bench of our cottage. And then ate some bread. Some cornick. Played some cards. Laughed. Teased. Ran. Jumped. And laughed. It was just so stress-free (steady lang).


At around 3 p.m. we were advised that our boat was ready and the group was already there waiting for us. We chitchatted awhile and enjoyed the boat ride back to Paseo del Mar. 


7 hours. We spent 7 hours in Sta.Cruz island. It felt like a week. That feeling that you don't care about what time it is. Sometimes we need to have that kind of feeling just to put us back on where we should be. Ok. I'm being overly dramatic again. That pink sand was worth remembering - everything and everyone on it.





26 comments:

  1. Who pays the tourist police? Does he accept tip from the tourists whose safety he is responsible for?

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    1. hi bert! they are national paid or city paid i guess. we gave them some bread for snack. i dunno if they accept tips from guests :)

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  2. It's true!! It's really pink!! Although light pink hehe, but very fascinating. I wonder what kind of corals is that, kung nasira ba or bigla na lang napupunta sa pangpang ng beach. Interesting!!!

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    1. hi ada! i dunno kung anong coral yun. di ko rin natanong. hehe. tinamad lang. pero ancute lang di ba?

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  3. sikat daw to tlga sa zamboanga .. medyo malapit kami dyan pero di pa ako nakapunta dyan ...

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    1. hi there! marami nga kami nakasabay taga dun lang pero first time rin lang nila. go na! :)

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  4. astig yung security hahaha at yung beach pink :) ano kaya reason naging pink yan buhangin

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  5. eeeekkk!!! kinikilig ako sa mga zambo posts mo girl!!! :-) tenk u sooooo much!!! :D mmmmwuah! :D 4 na beses na akong pabalik balik jan pero di ko pa napupuntahan yung cemetery ng mga badjaos... we're planning another trip jan soon, will make sure maikot ko rin yung ibang parts....

    sayang lang at di na inaallow pumunta sa dulo... nung first time namin nakarating pa kami dun dahil di pa strict hehehe... may sandbar kasi between the 2 sta cruz islands... pag lowtide supposedly pwede mo icross---pero naku anlayo nya! haha at nakakatakot kasi malakas ang current.... pero naalala ko nung highschool pa ako tanaw na tanaw ang sandbar sa gitna from zamboanga.... ngayon di na sya lumalabas... masyado ng maraming tubig ang dagat natin, hello global warming! hehe ay sorry para na akong ngblogpost dito! nyaha! tenchu ulit! at sana sa susunod na mapadpad kayo dito or sa basilan e kitakits naman tayo!!! at isama nyo ko kung basilan or sulu or tawitawi kayo! haha :D

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    1. hi there! you should go there (sa cemetery) ang kalma lang ng area na yun. sayang talaga. first time meet-up sana for me if ever. at least alam ko na kokonyakin ko in case napadpad ulit ako ng zambo :)thanks again!

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  6. Carla!Inggit much na naman kami. Ang Fenk ng Buhangin at linaw ng tubig. another reason to visit Zambo.

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    1. oh yes! at humaba na naman ang listahan ng utang ninyo sa pinas. hehe

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  7. Another zambo post! damn! I really have to visit this place next year! Feeling ko mas maganda tong pink beach na to compare sa Lombok!:)

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    1. at ginoogle ko talaga ang lombok. haha :)

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  8. Ang nice naman ng sand! At terno ng red coral yung slippers mo!

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    1. oh yes. that slippers na sadly eh mukhang magreretire na. dami rin naming memories niyan. haha. senti lang

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  9. Worth it ang mga fees may kasamang Botany101!

    惄
    Fat Voyage

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  10. Oh wow... Pink sand! Me and my girls will go crazy here! We. Must. Plan. A. Trip. Here. Soon :)

    Thanks for dropping by my site, btw. Cheers to our travels and life's lessons!

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    1. hi kat! yes you should. mas bongga pag marami :)

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  11. i felt we had this trip together. hehe

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    1. hi chyng! binasa ko bigla ang sta.cruz post mo. hihi

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  12. Pwede rin kaya mag-overnight kahit walang mga tulugan? Like pitching a tent na lang siguro?

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    1. i asked that pero hindi daw eh. bale daytrip pa lang as of august 2012. maybe next year pag na "develop" na yung place for overnight eh pwede na christian :)

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  13. maiba naman ang buhangin, pink!

    i love those vintas -the real ones and your minis :)

    those photos of graveyard with wooden markers are so unique from muslim cemeteries here where they have those in marbles.

    gusto ko din ma-experience ang walang-pakialam-sa-oras-moments! luxury iyon sa akin.kahit 7 hours din lang. #stressed

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  14. love love love those vintas too! i failed to buy one kasi ang mahal - 200 pesos. well mahal na sakin yun. hehe. and ang sarap lang talaga ng walang pakialam sa oras, araw at panahon - carefree lang :)

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