Zambo City to reopen Sta. Cruz Island amid pandemic

WELCOME. The “I Love Zamboanga” slogan of the city government greets visitors and tourists upon arrival at Sta. Cruz Island. Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar on Friday (Dec. 25, 2020) announced that the island would reopen to the public starting December 26. (Photo courtesy of City Hall Public Information Office)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – The city government has announced that the world-famous Sta. Cruz Island would be reopened to the public starting December 26.

Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar made the announcement on Friday after the Protected Area Management Board approved the protocols for the operation of Sta. Cruz Island amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Salazar said under the protocol, manifest, health declaration, and commitment forms would be immediately sent through e-mail and must be filled up and submitted or e-mailed back by the client for confirmation of the transaction.

Bookings without the duly completed forms will be considered null and void. Booking time is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Sunday.

She said the set of protocols also includes the guidelines during pre-boarding, actual boarding, as well as upon arrival at the destination.

Salazar noted that it is also a must for clients to wear face mask and shield while transacting and boarding the vessel, bring quarantine passes or identified cards, observe social distancing, and wear a life jacket while boarding a motorboat as well as, to be honest with the booking details and declaration, observe punctuality on designated assembly and boarding time, and ensure that food, refreshments, and condiments are placed in reusable or biodegradable containers.

The maximum number of guests to be allowed to enter would be 150 per day with the day tour scheduled from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., she said, adding that Mondays and Fridays are designated as general cleanup days, thus, no trip would be allowed on these days.

Salazar said the city government decided to reopen Sta. Cruz Island to visitors and tourists to spur the recovery of the local tourism industry, which has been severely affected by the pandemic.

Sta. Cruz Island, located 2.49 miles south of downtown, is famous for its pink coralline sand. It is one of the major tourist sites of this city.

Meanwhile, she said based on Section 4 of the Department of Tourism (DOT) Memorandum Circular 2020-005, prior booking is required for all visiting guests of Sta. Cruz Island.

Booking must be made 30 days or at least a day before the actual date of visit through various platforms – cellular phones (0905-601-8316 and 0951-939-0114 for inquiry and guidance on booking only with no SMS); Facebook page Las Islas de Sta. Cruz (@pinlsandbeachzcph); and email address: for the forwarding and submission of documents, such as manifests and fliers.

Salazar said that e-flyers, such as a list of do’s and don’ts and protocols, would also be sent or emailed to the client during booking.

She discouraged on-site or personal visit at the berthing area, saying all inquiries and submission of required documents would be entertained only through the identified platforms. (PNA)

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