Zamboanga Trip: Picnic at Sta. Cruz Island aka Pink Island

Aside from the Merloquet Waterfalls adventure, I was also excited to visit the famous Pink Island of Zamboanga. Aside from wanting to spend a day on the beach, I was curious how “pink” the sand was.

Zamboanga Trip: Sta. Cruz also known as “Pink Island”
December 7, 2012

pink island
I was told that the corals before were bigger compared to these corals now.

Prior to the trip, we went to the Department of Tourism (DOT) to inquire about the day tour to the island. I’ve heard that tourists need security escorts to avoid unfortunate incidents like kidnapping. To be honest, I was a little hesitant because of this; but we were assured that it’s safe so long as we had these military men with us.

We registered our names at the DOT for reservation. Alternately, you can directly go to the port in Paseo del Mar as walk-in clients.

sta. cruz island
security escort with his rifle to Sta. Cruz Island

pink island sta cruz
nice day to be at the beach!

I read about the Sta. Cruz Island (also known as Pink Island of Zamboanga) from Chyng’s blog. The island is called such because of crushed red corals that have sort of “mixed” with the white sand.

A few boats with tourists also arrived with each boat having an escort with them. There was plenty of room in the island for everyone. Despite this being near the city, I realized that not enough people visit this destination.

zamboanga pink island
Sta. Cruz Island of Zamboanga!

pink island sta cruz island
Pink Island

We ate lunch with food prepared by Jana’s family. I suddenly miss picnics by the beach.

I remember back when I was still a kid; we would always go to Paradise Island Beach Resort in Davao City every weekend (really, every weekend!) and have the whole day to spend on the beach. We’d be there as early as 7am and go home about 4pm.

santa cruz pink island
not many people around

picnic zamboanga island
picnic by the beach

After lunch, we explored the other side of the island. I didn’t see much except for a small portion that looked like an abandoned camping site. It looked beautiful with dried leaves on the ground. I was already preparing my camera to take a few more photos when I found tombstones in the area. After realizing that this was a cemetery, I immediately stepped out as it gave me the creeps. No wonder it was so peaceful there.

Watching Too Many Movies

I was reminded of Samurai X and how Kenshin Himura (lead character) buried all the people he killed when he was still known as Battōsai the Slasher. In my mind, I was also thinking that somebody was watching from a distance, waiting to pounce, attack and kill; and I’d end up becoming one of the victims of a B-rated movie. By the way, pardon my imagination.

cemetery pink island
only took one shot of this place

zamboanga security
security with his rifle

We spent the remaining hour taking our last dip in the water before heading back. Time was too short and I’d surely visit Sta. Cruz island again!

The thing is, it’s a bit pricey considering there’s no regular public transportation. You need to pay at least 1000 Php for a boat ride back and forth so it’s expensive to travel solo.

The Pink sand wasn’t really a highlight for me but overall, Sta. Cruz Island is a great beach-fix knowing that it’s only about a 15-20-minute boat ride from the city.

santa cruz zamboanga
a few more photos

zamboanga pink sand
beautiful beach

Sta. Cruz Island Rates and Fees

Entrance Fee: 20 Php per person,
Terminal Fee: 5 Php per person

Cottage Fees:
100 Php (small – 6 persons)
200 Php (large – 10 persons)
500 Php (pavilion – 15-30 persons)

Transportation Rate:
1000 Php – 1 to 10 passengers


*Bring your own packed lunch/snacks as there’s no store selling food in the island.
*There’s no fresh water available for washing yourselves off. One of the caretakers said they’re still working on it.
*Payment for the escorts is not required but it’s up to you how much tip you’re going to give.

pink island zamboanga
Pink Island


This trip was made possible by Airphil Express. Airphil Express flies from Cebu to Zamboanga every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Airphil Express also flies to Zamboanga from Manila, Davao, Jolo, and Tawi-Tawi.

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11 thoughts on “Zamboanga Trip: Picnic at Sta. Cruz Island aka Pink Island”

  1. I guess we have the security issues and prohibitive cost to thank for keeping this island relatively pristine. The color pink and military escorts – hmmmm exciting combo. 😀

  2. we say this island on our way to basilan but it was out of our way. medyo di nga sya pink no pero baka pag maraming babae and nagswim jan during their period eh maging pink na rin :-p
    anyways, happiest of holidays ed 🙂

  3. @AJ: hahaha. di ko napansin yung combo na yan AJ!

    @Missy: Yep, I had the same expectations at the beginning. But it’s a beautiful place even if the sand isn’t pink! Thanks for dropping by! 🙂

    @Oman: lol! galeng oman! mas malala pala sa joke ni AJ. di ko naisip yun. hahahahaha! merry christmas oman! 🙂

  4. One of the reasons why some visitors  like me are hesitant to visit this island in Zamboanga but it is really a must-visit when visiting the place…  Oh, I just wish safety concerns won't disheartened other people visiting the island because I really want to see the pink sand and enjoy it. The escort military is kinda hassle.

  5. @Nomadic Pinoy: haha, that's really a great way of looking at things! Merry Christmas and a Happy New year Dennis! 🙂

    @ian: Zamboanga was safe when I was there Ian. I also wish that the safety concern may be solved. But it's better to have these escorts than none. 🙂

  6. Ganda! Eto yong sinasabi ko sayo sa Zamboanga na gusto ko puntahan kaso natatakot ako makidnap. Hehe :p
    haaay… Zamboanga is indeed a must-visit 🙂


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