You read it right. It’s pink!
Welcome to Sta. Cruz Island of Zamboanga City. It’s really one of the country’s most beautiful stretch of beach! and we do have a lot of them. It’s the most famous of the 11 islands that is under the jurisdiction of Zamboanga City. Its popularity mainly due to its unique pinkish sand, a color that is a result of the mixture of the beach’s natural white sand and the pulverized (by years of erosion) of the rare red Organ-pipe coral. And so it’s called Pink Sand Beach.
It used to have a colorful reef a few feet from the shore and under the Presidential Decree No. 654, President Ferdinand Marcos declared that the Santa Cruz Islands as National Park and Tourism Development in the City of Zamboanga. Sadly though, due to illegal mining of coral reef, it had been completely stripped bare. :( But still, above water, its beauty is hard to surpass.
The boat ride takes about 20 minutes from Fort Pilar. The view is poetic with the aquamarine water and the scattered islands and mountains. And one of our backdrop, is the radical province of Basilan. This is the reason, and we were told not to be alarmed, that we needed a police/military escort with BIG guns to go to this little expedition. It’s a little bit exciting.
Some of the more conservative families we’ve met in Zamboanga city have never been here. I don’t know if it’s a shame that such beautiful island will never be fully developed for ecotourism. It would have given the locals alternate source of livelihood than excessive and dynamite fishing and coral reef mining. Hopefully in the near future, the conflict will be resolved and the people in the southern part can live more peacefully. Looking back at photos in the photo album is almost eerie because they seem so peaceful. The way that the colours contrast almost looks as if they have been edited on some type of photo retouch program. The aqua blue with the pink sand seems like a masterpiece that Guadi might have just designed himself. Basilan’s radically violent history somehow creates a dark shadow over this dream island. Heres just one example of the injustice. Perhaps more and more travelers like myself will soon stumble across this hidden pink diamond of the Philippines.