Great Santa Cruz Island is a small inhabited island in Zamboanga City in the southern region of the Philippines that is famous for its pink coralline sand.The island, located 4 km (2.49 mi) south of downtown at the Santa Cruz Bank in the Basilan Strait, boasts the only pink sand beach in the Philippines. The color of the sand comes from the pulverized red organ pipe coral from eons of surf erosion mixed with the white sand.
The island has lost is popularity since the 1970s and early 1980s when is was frequented by German and Italian tourists. The degradation in the peace and order situation in the area has swayed potential visitors dwindling its popularity. The growing articles by bloggers who come to the island has renewed interests to the island.
The Great Santa Cruz Island together with Little Santa Cruz Island are protected areas in Region 9 of the Philippines. Jointly called the Great and Little Sta. Cruz Islands Protected Landscape & Seascape, it was declared as such on April 23, 2000 with the signing of Proclamation No. 271. The park has a total area of 1,877 hectares (4,640 acres).
Recent illegal coral reef mining has destroyed most of Great Santa Cruz Island's vast coral reef population leaving the former colorful corals into dead skeletal reefs.
The city government of Zamboanga is planning to improve the island for the preservation, protection, conservation and rehabilitation of the island's ecosystem. The plan also involves developing the island for ecotourism. The improvement would include rehabilitating the present structures on the island. New infrastructures that need to be constructed would be low in profile using materials indigenous to the area, in hope of lessening its impact to the environment. The development plan is expected to be completed in 3 to 5 years time.
Welcome to Great Santa Cruz Island!
Here is the list of accommodations located around the city of Zamboanga.
- Lantaka Hotel By the Sea - Mayor Valderos St. , Zamboanga City
- Garden Orchid Hotel - Gov. Camis Avenue , Zamboanga City
- Grand Astoria Hotel - Mayor Jaldon St., Zamboanga City
- Zamboanga Hermosa Hotel - Jaldon St., Zamboanga City
- Woodland Resort & Restaurant - Zambowood, Zamboanga City
- Vernell Farm & Mountain Park - Cacao, Zamboanga City
- New Inland Resort & Restaurant - Boalan, Zamboanga City
- Hotel Perlita - Mayor Jaldon Street, Zamboanga City
- Hotel Preciosa - Mayor Jaldon Street, Zamboanga City
- Azenith Royale Hotel - Gov. Camins Avenue, Zamboanga City
- Blue Shark Pension House - Mayor Jaldon Street, Zamboanga City
- GC Hotel - T. Claudio cor. Gov. Wood
- Jardin de la Via - Fidela Bldg., Gov. Alvarez Ave., Zamboanga City
- Hotel Salwa - Gov. Camins Avenue
- Yang Hotel Tourist Inn - T. Claudio Street, Zamboanga City
- Viva Pension House - Urdaneta Street, Zamboanga City
- La Casa Maria Pension House - Sta. Maria, Zamboanga City
- Platinum Tourist Inn - 4 Barcelona Street, Zamboanga City
- MagV Royal Hotel - San Jose Road , Zamboanga City
- Hotel Paradise Pension House - P. Reyes Street, Zamboanga City
- David Inn Pension House - La Purisima Street, Zamboanga City
There are daily flights to/from Manila by Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific, flights to/from Sandakan by Asian Spirit and South East Asian Airlines (SEAIR) Philippine Airlines, Air Philippines and Cebu Pacific have regular flights to Manila, Cebu, & Davao and vice versa.
Super Ferry boats are available 2 days a week for sailing from Cebu City, Davao, and Manila and vice versa. Ferries are also available to and from Sandakan.
The Port of Zamboanga is an international port of entry. It has a schedule passenger trip to Sandakan, Malaysia, a cruise ship destination and several shipping lines offer regular trips from and to Davao, Cotabato, Dipolog/Dapitan, General Santos, Pagadian, Jolo, Bongao, Isabela City, Cebu City, Dumaguete, Iloilo, Bacolod and Manila.
If you are from Luzon and Visayas, the Nautical Highways (RoRo) can bring you here. Buses from major cities in Mindanao are also available.
Getting to the island
A trip to the island is booked through the Department of Tourism office located inside the Lantaka Hotel by the Sea on Valderrosa St. The motorized boat that takes passengers to the island departs from the small Sta. Cruz Island Ferry Port located by the hotel.