“I’m glad I introduced my snorkel.” I whispered to myself as our wood boat slowed close to the white sandy shore of As soon as Isla’s Bisaya-Bisaya Island in Zamboanga Metropolis. The water, deep inexperienced with hints of cerulean, was clear as crystal. I can see all the best way to its coral-ridden backside—I wished to leap proper there after which. I attempted to get my digicam from my bag to take a photograph, however was simply too darn clumsy, our boat’s bow was already crunching down on the sand as I freed it from my bag.
|ZAMBOANGA HERMOSA FESTIVAL|
Island hopping in Zamboanga Metropolis was the very last thing on my thoughts when our aircraft landed on the town’s airport tarmac. We have been right here to witness the Zamboanga Hermosa Pageant and eat—spell curacha and lechon. Yum! However sure, the town, certainly, has its share of white sandy paradise—effectively, pink to be extra exact—with the close by Zamboanga Santa Cruz Island. However actually, that’s about it. Or so I believed.
UNDERSTAND ONCE ISLAS ZAMBOANGA
|ONCE ISLAS IN ZAMBOANGA CITY|
As soon as Islas is definitely nonetheless a part of Zamboanga Metropolis. It’s location is shared by Barangay Panubigan and Dita, and is located forty kilometers northeast of the town correct alongside the Moro Gulf. It took us about an hour by rented van to succeed in its soar off level in Panubigan.
As soon as Islas, translated from Chavacano, actually means eleven islands. These are Bisaya-Bisaya, Sirommon, Bauang-Bauang, Buh-Buh, Sallangan, Simaddang, Lambang-Lambang, Baguias, Kabugan, Panganak, and Lampinigan.
Most, if not all, of those islands have white sandy seashores. Some are small uninhabited islets, however a couple of have residents—I even noticed a mosque on Buh-Buh Island.
NOW OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
|ONCE ISLAS REOPENS TO TOURISTS|
2018 noticed the opening of Zamboanga As soon as Islas to the general public. It was off-limits the 12 months earlier than, after intrepid backpackers in search of new locations to see in Zamboanga began to pour in. Caught unprepared from the inflow of holiday makers, the native authorities determined to shut down the islands till correct tips and preparation has been set for each the locals dwelling there and visiting vacationers.
As soon as Islas, was once more closed off to tourism through the Covid19 Pandemic, however has since reopened its doorways as soon as the pandemic restrictions has been lifted.
Nonetheless, as of this writing, solely two of the eleven islands are open as island hopping locations, Bisaya-Bisaya and Baung-Baung. Beforehand, Sirommon and Buh-Buh are additionally open for vacationers. Plans on reopening them are at present within the works.
►EAT MORE: ZAMBOANGA STREET FOOD
GETTING THERE & BOOKING A TOUR
|HOW TO GET TO ONCE ISLAS FROM ZAMBOANGA CITY|
It’s doable to go to Zamboanga Metropolis’s As soon as Islas DIY. Pre-register not less than a day upfront on the Zamboanga Metropolis Tourism Workplace alongside Paseo del Mar earlier than heading to Barangay Panubigan.
• Examine for an As soon as Islas tour slot, since they solely permit 200 guests a day, by way of firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the Metropolis Tourism Workplace +63 (62) 975-6341. Ask assist out of your resort in the event you’re gonna name, since all they’ve is a landline.
• When you get an accessible slot, the town tourism workplace will ship you a reserving acknowledgement by way of textual content or e mail to pay for entrance and environmental charges.
• You’ll then obtain a affirmation slip as soon as cost has been made, which you’d have to current on the As soon as Islas registration space in Barangay Panubigan in your tour day.
To commute to Barangay Panubigan, board a Pagadian or Ipil-bound bus on the Zamboanga Metropolis bus terminal. Ask to be introduced down on the Panubigan Crossing (₱50.00), then trip a van or habal-habal to the barangay corridor [GPS MAP 7.1326561,122.2472173] (₱20.00). Journey time is about an hour.
Zamboanga Tourism Workplace: Paseo del Mar | +63 (62) 975-6341 | email@example.com | firstname.lastname@example.org
|A MOSQUE AT BUH BUH ISLAND IN ONCE ISLAS|
Us, we took the better route and booked by way of one of many accredited tour businesses for Zamboanga As soon as Islas. They took care of our permits, entrance and environmental charges, boat leases, native guides, mountaineering charges, and kayak and cottage leases. Simple. That is additionally good if you need a shared tour.
I Journey Vacationer Lane: +63 (995) 699-3274 | +63 (917) 722-6410 | +63 (917) 392-9474 | email@example.com
ONCE ISLAS FEES
|ONCE ISLAS FEES|
There are quite a few charges to pay when visiting As soon as Islas. These are, in fact, utilized in sustaining the islands and giving locals livelihood from tourism—in flip, making the whole lot sustainable.
Entrance Price: ₱100.00 per individual
Environmental Price: ₱100.00 per individual
Cottage Price: ₱150.00
Boat Rental Price: ₱1,200.00 to ₱2,000.00 most of 9 individual
Information Price: ₱300.00 per group
Cottage Price: ₱150.00 per day
Mountain climbing Price in Sirommon: ₱50.00 per individual
Kayak Rental in Bisaya-Bisaya: ₱300.00 per hour, good for 2 individuals
ONCE ISLAS RULES & GUIDELINES
|TOURIST BOATS TO ONCE ISLAS|
Earlier than truly using a ship, we have been briefed on the Panubigan Barangay Corridor in regards to the islands. What we will do—swim, kayak, snorkel, trek; and what we shouldn’t do—litter, smoke, and grill pork. Sure, pork. You’ll be able to truly convey ready-to-eat pork meals, however you may’t and shouldn’t grill any pork, not to mention roast a whole lechon, on the islands as respect to the Muslim Sama Banguingui neighborhood that lives there. Since As soon as Islas tourism remains to be on its early phases, paddle boarding and scuba diving are nonetheless prohibited, however they’re planning to incorporate these sooner or later.
As of now, solely day excursions are allowed from 7:00AM to three:00PM, on a regular basis besides Fridays—which is a holy day for our Muslim brethren. Evidently, in a single day excursions and tenting are nonetheless not allowed in As soon as Islas. Guests are restricted as much as 200 individuals per day solely.
ONCE ISLAS TRAVEL TIPS
|TRAVEL TIPS FOR THOSE GOING TO ONCE ISLAS|
• The perfect time to go to As soon as Islas is through the summer time months of March to Could, to completely recognize its magnificence.
• For those who’re planning to go to Buh-Buh Island, ensure you’ve gotten one thing to cowl your pores and skin, or costume conservatively, as there’s a Muslim neighborhood that resides there.
• Convey sufficient money with you, there aren’t any ATMs alongside the world of As soon as Islas.
• Convey a snorkel with you, As soon as Islas have good snorkeling areas.
• You could convey a change of garments in the event you’re gonna swim, there are altering rooms accessible close to the Barangay Panubigan soar off level.
WHERE TO EAT IN ONCE ISLAS
|SEAFOOD BOODLE FIGHT LUNCH AT ONCE ISLAS ZAMBOANGA|
There are literally no meals locations, eating places, and even eateries in As soon as Islas.
For those who’re doing all of your tour DIY, you may convey your personal meals. Pork is allowed so long as you’ll not cook dinner it onsite. Another choice is by together with meals in your tour by way of the Zamboanga Tourism Workplace if you schedule your tour. You can too purchase recent seafood from native residents simply earlier than you trip the boat, you simply have so as to add a ₱50.00 cooking price.
For those who’re taking a tour by way of accredited tour businesses like iTravel Vacationer Lane, there is no have to convey meals. They’ll present greater than sufficient meals and drinks for lunch. In addition to lunch, snacks are additionally offered for, like steamed corn and recent buko juice.
ONCE ISLAS, THE ISLANDS
Right here’s what to anticipate on the islands which might be open for vacationers to probe for the As soon as Islas island hopping tour. Upon first look, the islands appear to be comparable to one another, however upon spending time on each, I quickly found that every island has distinctive traits—some has mountaineering actions, one has a pure tidal pool, one other has rock formations, viewing decks, snorkeling areas, sandbars, and so forth.
|BISAYA BISAYA ISLAND’S MAIN BEACH|
From the Panubigan Barangay Corridor, we walked for a couple of minutes to the Panubigan Ferry Terminal, the soar off for As soon as Islas island hopping journey in Zamboanga Metropolis. And we didn’t have to attend lengthy earlier than the primary and southernmost island on our itinerary appeared on the horizon.
|BISAYA-BISAYA IS ACTUALLY THE NAME OF A BEACH IN VISA ISLAND|
Passing 4 different islets, Bisaya-Bisaya Island’s white seaside shone shiny in opposition to the emerald waters that encompass it. A colourful vinta sail, thrust proper on the seaside, flapped in opposition to the ocean breeze as we jumped from our boat. Coconut bushes swayed, bordering the seaside, with a few open huts sheltered proper beneath. On foot, we circled elements of the island, leaping over sharp rocks to marvel on the wind-carved rock formations on the jap a part of Bisaya-Bisaya. Formally named Visa Island, it obtained its moniker after Visayan fishermen who used to frequent its waters.
|A QUICK HIKE AROUND BISAYA-BISAYA ISLAND TO SEE ITS ROCK FORMATIONS|
|SNORKELING AND KAYAKING AT BISAYA-BISAYA ISLAND|
Again on the seaside, a serving of recent coconuts and steamed corn cobs awaited us. I took a sip and one fast chew earlier than operating in direction of the ocean, my snorkel in tow. Heat waters quickly enveloped me, the mattress reworking from white sand to a profusion of corals. Colourful fishes gawked at me earlier than swimming away till I reached a sea wall that dropped to nothingness.
BISAYA BISAYA ISLET TIDAL POOL
|A NATURAL TIDAL POOL ON ONE OF THE THREE ISLETS OF BISAYA-BISAYA|
Earlier than going, we crossed a tidal flats to entry one of many two satellite tv for pc islets of Bisaya-Bisaya. We’re testing its pure tidal pool. A dip and a flatlay drone shot was undoubtedly so as.
The tidal pool sits proper to a rocky drop on the islet and has a depth of about two to a few ft. We spent about fifteen minutes right here earlier than transferring to our subsequent vacation spot.
SIROMMON ISLAND (SIRUMON)
|SIRUMON ISLAND OR SIROMMON ISLAND, DEPENDS ON WHO YOU ASK|
Crusing northwards, our boats traversed the waters of Buh-Buh Island (the place we noticed a mosque proper on Buh-Buh Seashore), Bugias Island, and Kablingan Island. We then landed on one of many northernmost island within the group, Panganaban Island, extra popularly often known as Sirommon Island.
|WILL HIKE FOR FOOD|
I used to be readying to don my snorkel once we have been informed we have to hike throughout the island for lunch. In my equation, lunch is larger than snorkeling, so hike it was. The path was pretty straightforward and took about ten minutes. A selection of seafood boodle fest awaited us on the jap seaside of Sirumon Island, the Playa de Isabelle.
|LUNCH PROVIDED BY KAMRIYA’S CUISINE AND PREPARED BY THE SAMA BANGUINGI COMMUNITY|
I used to be informed that the underwater life at this facet of the island is even higher than at Bisaya-Bisaya however the tide was too low for us to board a raft that may take us proper on its candy spot. Too dangerous, however probably not, now we have a seafood feast ready for us!
|THE SANDBAR AT SIROMMON ISLAND|
|LOADS OF STARFISHES ALONG THE BEACH|
With blackened palms from all of the squid we ate, we trekked again to the Sirumon’s foremost seaside to take a look at its starfish-littered sandbar, which kind of jogged my memory of Kalanggaman Island in Leyte. We have been all fairly stunned at how heat—like nearly uncomfortably heat—the water was! The world can also be good for snorkeling, however the tide was simply too low that swimming would us have tangling with corals.
|BAUANG-BAUANG ISLAND OR BAONG ISLAND|
|BISAYA-BISAYA ISLANDS AS SEEN FROM THE SHORE OF BAUANG-BAUANG ISLAND|
Time flies if you alternate between swimming and consuming. Now we have lower than an hour left once we reached Bauang-Bauang Island, our final cease for the day. Formally named Baong Island, its declare to fame is its viewing deck which may be reached by mountaineering 248 steps up. I did attain my quota for mountaineering that day, so whereas my compadres went up the hill, I went and dove down its water—which was a pleasure to swim on. Simply the suitable temperature with nada a present.
2023 ISLAND HOPPING UPDATE
|BAUANG-BAUANG ISLAND WAS OUR FIRST STOP FOR THE TOUR|
On our newest As soon as Islas island hopping tour, Bauang-Bauang Island turned our first cease for the tour. Staying there for about an hour—having fun with the seaside whereas having recent buko juice and corn cobs offered by the tour. For hikers, the path main as much as the viewing deck remains to be accessible to vacationers.
|THEN IT WAS OFF TO THE NATURAL TIDAL POOL AT BISAYA-BISAYA ISLET|
The second cease was Bisaya-Bisaya Islet’s Tidal Pool. In contrast to the earlier tour we had, we have been unable to stroll throughout from the primary island to this islet, for the reason that tide is on the excessive facet. If it was low tide, we might’ve simply walked right here.
|OUR FINAL STOP WAS THE MAIN BISAYA-BISAYA ISLAND|
Bisaya-Bisaya Island, the primary one, was the ultimate cease for the tour. A luxurious seafood lunch, offered by iTravel Vacationer Lane, was held right here as a substitute at Sirommon Island because it was nonetheless closed for excursions as a result of Pandemic. I truly favor this since there was no have to hike a small hill to entry the lunch place like we did earlier than. As a substitute, lunch was in a hut proper by the seaside. And after filling ourselves full with seafood, the ocean was only a hop away for a calming dip.
Our group stayed right here till two within the afternoon—since excursions are solely allowed till three.
|OUR TODDLER ON ONE OF THE SMALLER TIDAL POOL IN ONCE ISLAS|
We introduced our three-year previous toddler with us on this As soon as Islas island hopping tour, and I can say that this tour could be very kid-friendly. The trip from Zamboanga Metropolis middle to Barangay Panubigan was very easy, and so have been the inter-island boat rides. There have been hardly any present or waves alongside the seashores we visited, and the seabed incline was fairly gradual.
|HIKING ALONG THE ROCK FORMATIONS OF ONCE ISLAS|
The one areas that you must watch out along with your children are on the pure tidal pool in Bisaya-Bisaya Islet, as a result of steep drop alongside the perimeters of the islet and some sharp rocks and shells alongside the tidal pool; and the rock formation space hike on the primary Bisaya-Bisaya Island, once more as a result of steep drop alongside its edge. Aside from these, your child can roam freely.
ONCE ISLAS MAP
ZAMBOANGA ONCE ISLAS TRIP ITINERARY
|SAMPLE ITINERARY FOR ONCE ISLAS ZAMBOANGA|
07:00AM • Depart Zamboanga Metropolis
08:00AM • Arrive at Barangay Panubigan, begin orientation
08:15AM • Begin As soon as Islas island hopping tour
08:30AM • Arrive Bauang-Bauang Island
• Hike to viewing deck
• Lounge on the seaside
10:00AM • Arrive Bisaya-Bisaya Islet Tidal Pool
• Dip on the tidal pool
10:30AM • Arrive Bisaya-Bisaya Island
• Hike across the rock formations
12:00PM • Lunch
02:00PM • Depart to Barangay Panubigan
03:00PM • Change garments, depart to Zamboanga Metropolis
iTravel Vacationer Lane Zamboanga Excursions
Tackle: Mayor Jaldon St., Canelar, Zamboanga Metropolis
Contact Quantity: (0917) 724-3199
Electronic mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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