The Great Sta Cruz Island

This trip is really one for the books for me, as this is one of those that I have been looking forward to since childhood.

Marking as my second time to visit the Mindanao region, this trip has been close to my heart, because we went here to personally visit one of our Ninangs so we can hand her our wedding invitation.

Since this was just a short trip, we just made sure that we will be able to accomplish 3 things:

  1. Bond with my husband’s folks who were based there, and pay respects to those who passed away
  2. Experience the buzz about Sta Cruz island’s pink beach
  3. Cross one item in the bucket list and ride the Vinta!

One day in between while accomplishing mission 1, we spent a day to see that famed Sta Cruz Island because of its ‘Pink Sand Beach’. The island is open to the public, but tours has to be arranged with the Department of Tourism.

Now I bet you are going to ask me, “Was the sand really pink”? Well just read through this blog so you will find out.

How to get there

  1. From Zamboanga City, head to Paseo Del Mar. This is the jump off to Sta Cruz Island. We joined a group tour operated by Zamboanga Itravel Tourist Lane, accredited by DOT Zamboanga for us to have a cost-efficient trip. I suggest you do the same so that the confidence is also there. Haha!
Paseo Del Mar
Do’s and and Dont’s In the Island

2. Before we left for the daytrip, we signed the manifesto and then we were given an orientation by our tour leader, Kuya Errol.

Off we board!

Spending a Day in the Island

This was one of the literally bumming beach trip that we love. We had no choice because we had nothing else to do,

But to take photos, eat our packed food and be one with the island.




Moreover in my case, I really had to just chill by the cottage since I can’t be sunburned in preparation for our wedding in few months.

Now, to answer the mystery question, is the sand really pink? The answer is NO.


The pigment which makes the sand look like its pinkish is the red particles that come from corals that spreads throughout the shorelines, thus, makes the sand look pinkish especially when it is wet. But to set the records straight, the color of the sand in the island is WHITE.

Heading back to the port, we went for a stopover in the little Sta Cruz Island. This is such a view to behold.

But unlike the Great Sta Cruz Island, no one is allowed to swim in the smaller island. This is to preserve the marine sanctuary and not to disturb our dear friends from the sea.

The last part of our amazing daytrip was the Sta Cruz Island lagoon, where we used little yellow pumpboats to explore the mangroves and to say hello to the non-venomous jellyfishes.

And the ultimate finale? The vinta experience.

Ready to Vinta!

I used to just wonder and see them through textbooks, but here I am now, surrounded by lots of vinta’s! What a sight!

And the chance to try it? Is something I will never forget for the rest of my life.


Important reminders:

  1. Round trip boat transfers will cost you PHP 1000. This is good for 10pax, but if you are less than half of that, I suggest you to join a group tour.
  2. Additional PHP 100 is charged in excess of the boat transfers.
  3. There is also an entrance fee of PHP 25, and the terminal fee for each person costs PHP 5.
  4. Cottages can be rented in the island. Small (6pax) PHP 100, Large (10pax), Pavilion (15-30pax) PHP 500
  5. You cannot stay in the island after 2pm. You don’t want to break this rule. 🙂
  6. Don’t be scared if you will see armed military men with you on the boat, and a military chopper from time to time. They are there for the guests’ safety.

Who to contact: Kuya Errol Bayona of iTravel Tourist Lane

Contact Details: +639177226410

Joiner Fee: PHP 379.00 per person. (2018 rate)

Package Inclusions:

  • Roundtrip Motorboat Transfer with water safety equipment and lifevest
  • Entrance, Terminal and Cottage Fee
  • Lagoon Tour
  • Visit to Stingless Jellyfish Sanctuary
  • Vinta Ride Experience
  • SideTrip to SandBar (tide dependent)
  • Complimentary Bottled Water (2bottles per Pax)
  • Services of a DOT Accredited Tour Guide

Sample Itinerary:

6:30AM: Breakfast

6:45AM: Trike to Paseo Del Mar

7:00AM: Meetup with the Group

8:00AM: Start with the Amazing Experience

2:00PM: ETA Back at Paseo Del Mar

I can say that we are definitely coming back to Zamboanga to enjoy the rest of its beauty and culture. I am also writing this blog to appeal to my fellow Filipinos not to be scared on going to Mindanao. The place is beautiful and safe. Stereotyping Mindanao as a “scary place” is so yesterday. One way to support our local tourism is to start promoting these beautiful gems in the south. With caution, of course.

Got more questions about this guide? Just feel free to post your comments here and I will gladly reply as soon as I can. Muchas Gracias!