Great Santa Cruz Island

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Grand Santa Cruz Island
Isla Great Santa Cruz49.JPG
The pink sands of Great Santa Cruz Island
Location Santa Cruz Bank, Basilan Strait
Coordinates 6°52′3″N 122°3′42″E / 6.86750°N 122.06167°E / 6.86750; 122.06167Coordinates: 6°52′3″N 122°3′42″E / 6.86750°N 122.06167°E / 6.86750; 122.06167
Archipelago Santa Cruz Islands
Length 2.6 km (1.62 mi)
Width 1.5 km (0.93 mi)
Coastline 6.6 km (4.1 mi)
Region Zamboanga Peninsula
City Zamboanga City
Population Unknown
Ethnic groups Bajau people[1]

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.[2] 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.[1]

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.[3][4] The growing articles by bloggers who come to the island has renewed interests to the island.[3][5][6]


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).[7]

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.[1][4] 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.[8]

Getting to the island[edit]

View of Santa Cruz Island

A trip to the island is booked inside Paseo del Mar.


Sadly though, recent activities of illegal coral reef mining has wiped out most of the Great Santa Cruz Island's vast and beautiful coral reef population. All that's left are the dead skeletons of what once were glorious shells and coral reefs. The numerous colorful fish and rich marine life is no longer there, but some adventurous fish life still comes to visit along with the well-guarded human visitors. No matter, the beach and water is still a thing of beauty, and well worth your endeavor. Thankfully, the thieves of nature cannot cause the same damage to nearby Little Santa Cruz Island because it is a guarded military installation, and the coral reef there is still healthy, and a possible source for restoration of the big island. Please help us restore the stolen beauty of the once spectacular coral reef of the Great Santa Cruz Island.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Pink Sand Beach". Retrieved on 2012-04-12.
  2. ^ "Islands of Zamboanga City - Philippines".
  3. ^ a b Rojae (2012-03-30). "Get Wet in Pink: Sta Cruz Island (aka The Pink Island), Zamboanga City". The Adventures of AdventuRoj!. Retrieved on 2012-04-12.
  4. ^ a b "Zamboanga City: the Great and Little Santa Cruz Islands". En Route by Ironwolf. Retrieved on 2012-04-12.
  5. ^ Herrera, Jerome C. (2008-12-08). "Santa Cruz Islands: The only Pink Sand Beach in the Philippines". Smorgasboard.
  6. ^ Pinay Travel Junkie (2009-09-21). "Great Santa Cruz 'Pink Beach' Island". Confessions of a Pinay Travel Junkie.
  7. ^ "Protected Areas of Region 9". Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau. Retrieved on 2012-04-08.
  8. ^ Covarrubias, Sheila. "City envisions Sta. Cruz"les as ‘island-ecosystem’". Zamboanga, Asia's Latin City. Retrieved on 2012-04-09.

External links[edit]