Pink Islands. Dreams do come true.

July 05, 2014 Travel

During my tenure at the Philippine Department of Tourism, I had the privilege of sharing a meal with the pilot and crew of a private plane that was generously lent to us for a project. 

Intrigued by the perspective of someone who has seen countless islands from above, I posed a question to the pilot: "Which island stands out as the most beautiful when viewed from the sky?" Without hesitation, he responded, "Sta. Cruz Islands." 

Naturally, I inquired about the reason behind his choice, and he explained that it's because the sands on these islands are pink.

Ever since that dinner, the dream of visiting the pink islands has lingered in my thoughts.

I have never been to Zamboanga City before and the desire to explore its wonders always captivated me. Perhaps it was the absence of invitations or the perception that it wasn't a destination suited for solo travel that held me back. When presented with the opportunity to choose provinces for a current project, I promptly selected Zamboanga.

The Pink Islands

The Great and Little Santa Cruz Islands, both small islets in Zamboanga City, are renowned for their distinctive pink coralline sand. However, only the Great Santa Cruz Island is accessible to visitors, as Little Santa Cruz Island is a secure military installation.

Great Santa Cruz Island is a mere 4 kilometers from the port and it is only a brief 20-30 minute boat ride.

Getting There

Originally, I planned to visit the island on my second day in Zamboanga City. Unfortunately, a looming low-pressure area forced the cancellation of all trips. Fortunately, I received clearance to sail the following day, coinciding with my scheduled departure from Zamboanga City. With a flight at 11 AM, I had a narrow window for this excursion.

I coordinated my trip through the tourism office in Paseo del Mar. The boat rental cost P 1,000.00, with an additional P 20.00 for the entrance fee and P 5.00 for the terminal fee. These fees covered the mandatory police escorts as well.

Ladies and Gentlemen, behold the Pink Island!

After a serene 20-minute boat ride, we arrived at the island that has been a longstanding dream destination for someone who holds a deep affection for the color pink. 

It's a satisfying checkmark for this jubilant girl with a penchant for all things rosy.

As I stepped onto the rosy-hued shores of the Great Santa Cruz Island, I couldn't help but feel like I had entered a paradise where the gentle lapping of crystal-clear waters met the captivating pink sands. It is a scene that transcended imagination—a paradise in every sense.

So, what accounts for the pink hue of the sands?

The distinctive color of the sand arises from the finely crushed red organ pipe corals. The pinkish tint is more pronounced under the brilliant light of broad daylight. 

There were a few chairs and tables scattered across the beach, along with some stalls offering souvenirs. I was told that they are in the process of constructing additional facilities to cater to an increasing number of tourists.

Given my afternoon flight schedule, I opted to capture some photos, engage in conversations with a few locals, and then bid farewell to the island. Although I didn't indulge in swimming, I genuinely enjoyed the brief yet memorable moments at my dream destination.

Upon my next visit, I look forward to allocating more time, enjoying a refreshing swim, and savoring a cold bottle of beer in this picturesque setting.

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