Sunday, October 12, 2008

Santa Cruz Islands: The only Pink Sand Beach in the Philippines

Have you ever heard of pink sand? There's white sand, and yes there are also pink sand beaches.

There is a reason why you most probably have not yet heard of a pink sand beach. That is because pink sand beaches are very rare the world over. In fact, if you google the keywords: Pink Sand Beaches, you'll come up with only a handful of search results. The more known ones can be found in Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Greece, and the Carribean. In the Philippines, we do have a pink sand beach and it can be found in the Santa Cruz Islands (located in Zamboanga city, Philippines).

The Santa Cruz Islands are actually composed of the Great Santa Cruz Island and the Little Santa Cruz Island. The former one being the pink sand beach and the latter one being a white sand beach.

You're probably wondering how the sands here became pink, right? Well, as with white sand beaches (which got into that state because of the crashed shells and coral), the pink sand beach in Zamboanga city came to be because of a coloration effect of pulverized rare red Organ-pipe Coral ( tubipora musica ) mixed with white sand. 

There are only a few tourists in the Santa Cruz Islands primarily because it is not well marketed by the local tourism office in the city. Also, there is a great misconception about security brought about by the media. The only good thing about this is that it means that the island is very virgin and unspoiled unlike the more popular Boracay.

The low tourist arrivals in the area also means that trash is almost unheard of in the island. Water visibility is quite good.

The bad thing about low tourist arrivals though is that it means there are only a few facilities in the island. In fact there are no accommodations for an overnight stay, only cottages (which can be rented at 100-200 php). There are no resorts or restaurants so food must be brought along when considering a trip here. One can also use the grilling facilities to cook food. Thankfully though, there are bathrooms in the area.

The island can be reached by boat in about 15-20 minutes from mainland Zamboanga city. It could cost you around 800 pesos (round trip, for 6-8 persons) *PNP escort included. Bookings can only be made via the Department of Tourism in Zamboanga city in Valderosa street. They can be reached at the following phone numbers: (63) 9910218 and (63) 9926242

I remember an incident during my account interview with Sykes Asia, Inc. It was a travel account and the interviewer was asking me to sell Zamboanga city. I remember telling him about the Santa Cruz Islands in Zamboanga city, about how it has pink sand and all and he was really shocked at the existence of a pink sand beach. I myself, did not know about the Santa Cruz Islands having pink sand beaches until a year ago when I came across that information on the Internet.

It is sad that such a treasure in Zamboanga city exists and it doesn't even benefit the locals. The local government should market Santa Cruz Island to the world, it being one of the only few pink sand beaches in existence. I am all in favor of turning Zamboanga into a Vigan in the south (although admittedly there is more to be done in this particular tourism campaigns such as building restorations) but the Santa Cruz Islands really has more potential and could be marketed globally.

According to one of the locals, the islands were frequented by German and Italian tourists in the 1970s and called it their hidden paradise in the little Spain of Asia. How marvelous would it be to bring back those times!

Majority of the information found in this article (as well as the photos) came from:


Anonymous said...

Yes i agreed on your comment, very well said regarding its natural beauty of the beach itself, indeed thats the problem of the local goverment in zamboanga. They do not have any advertising campaign. Maybe they dont want to put any funding for that matter, its because the local gov't have their own beach to promote within the city, thats the real reason. hahaha

mrwhitepatch said...

Check on Sorsogon's Subic Beach on Calintaan island. It also has pink sand. Apparently Sta. Cruz island's not the only one with pink beach. Amazing isn't it?

Anonymous said...

May I ask how much is the PNP Escort fee? I'm planning to travel alone to Zamboanga. :) Thanks!