Wonderful Sta. Cruz Island experience PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 01 June 2013 00:00

I will always treasure how my summer of 2013 ended wonderfully. I was able to bring my parents to Sta. Cruz Island last Saturday May 25, 2013. A day before, they were looking at it from the blessing of a wharf in Baliwasan seaside which we attended, and asked me to bring them there. I said I will.  My parents went there decades ago and wanted to see it again. And I thank God their wish was granted.

Thanks to my good friend, Nancy Camlian, who aptly called me Friday afternoon and invited me to see the latest project of Ben in this island.  I immediately said “Yes!” and gracious Nancy also said it was okay to bring my parents along.  Muchas gracias gayot Ben and Nancy for being the answer of my parent’s wish that morning.

We enjoyed aboard the private twin boat of the Camlian going to the island. We can stand, walk around, and take pictures while cruising.   Paseo del Mar is the official boarding area, and for official registration and security reasons if one wants to go to Sta. Cruz Island. The entrance fee is Php 25 only and the regular boat fare is P1,000 good for ten persons back and forth. The cottage rental is P100 to P200 depending on the size of cottage.

It is advised for now to bring your own food and drinks as there is no canteen or food concessionaire there yet. But the locals of Sta. Cruz can cook hot piping rice and serve fresh seafood (crabs, fish, and squids) served in big leaves at very reasonable prices (haggle!). The crab variety they sell has a hard sell but taste good especially the “sipit” (crab’s arms/legs).  It’s an enjoyable boodle fight style of eating at Sta. Cruz. Eat together with your bare hands!

They also sell souvenir items but there is much to desire about its quality and where they really came from (ok, I think most are Made in China products, sighed). I hope they can create and sell items that are uniquely and environmentally friendly Sta. Cruz pink-colored products representing the pink sands of the island.

Government agencies concern and NGO/socio-civic organizations can them teach livelihood so they can be responsible entrepreneurs and earn decently.  I noticed they are also selling sea shells and corals openly which we all know are prohibited.   There are not many garbage cans around too. I think they should put one beside every cottage.

Plastics should be banned in Sta. Cruz. I don’t know how it can be done. But right at Paseo before boarding, it should not be allowed anymore to be brought to the island including junk food because of its foil packaging. Sta. Cruz should be protected from pollution and garbage right now before it becomes a boom tourist destination. For now, I learn there are around 200-300 people going there every weekend.

But I am glad, Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat is doing his best to bring development to the island with 15 million funds thru the City Tourism Office under Sarita Hernandez. The city ordinances are being finalized to make it a world class eco-tourism beach resort, owing to its pink-sand and pristine natural sanctuary.

Ongoing projects include  construction of 18 small picnic huts, 10 big picnic huts, 7 grilling and washing stations, a drinking station, a lifeguard structure, a gazebo and comfort rooms, all aesthetically-designed and spread at strategic locations on the island. Up next is the P8.3-million water supply system. It will include the construction of a water distribution system, a power house, a storage facility, a water tank, an atmospheric water machine, electrical works and other utilities.

The biggest challenge really is for our Zamboanga City Police Office, Navy, Maritime Police, and Task Force Zamboanga to keep the island safe and far from kidnappers and bandits. Just one unfortunate incident will drag down the drain all efforts to promote this wonderful island. If our authorities can guarantee safety and invite Americans and other foreign tourists to enjoy and spend a day or two anytime in Sta. Cruz, this is it!

Our Sta. Cruz Island has been lately been wired lately in the internet as one of the best beaches in the world because of its pink sand, clear water, and enchanting natural environment.  One more reason why you should go to Sta. Cruz Island? See how a turtle nest looks like, and who knows the day you go there you might see little turtles crawling to the sea!

EXODUS 20:12 "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you."

By Dante Corteza