Once Islas Zamboanga Travel Guide

by Rizanoia

Zamboanga City has kept a secret for many years, but that secret about the Once Islas or 11 Islands has been discovered recently.  The 11 Islands include Bisaya-Bisaya, Kabugan, Baung-Baung, Buhbuh, Lampinigan, Sirommon, Simadang, Lambang-Lambang, Sibana, Bagias, and Salangan.

Once travelers began to learn about the beauty and unique features of these islands, they started arriving at them in groups.  While visiting the islands, guests are allowed to go island cruising with a guide, swim, paddleboard, snorkel, dive, kayak, and even go for a hike.

At the moment, only 4 of the 11 Islands can be seen by tourists, as the rest are closed for cultural reasons.  Those 4 islands are Bisaya-Bisaya, Buhbuh, Sirommon, and Baung-Baung. Visitors will not need to worry though, because they can still see the remaining islands during one of the island cruising tours.

It is possible for visitors to enjoy multiple islands within one day, although they might want to plan on venturing over on a couple of different days to ensure that they can completely appreciate the beauty and the activities that are available.

BISAYA-BISAYA ISLAND

The most popular of the four islands is Bisaya-Bisaya, as it has a breathtaking beach. Everyone will want to hike around this island to see the massive rock formations and the views from both the top and bottom of those cliffs.

Bisaya-Bisaya Island Zamboanga

Natural infinity pool on a smaller islet of Bisaya-Bisaya

Natural infinity pool on an islet of Bisaya-Bisaya

SIROMON ISLAND

Siromon Island has a fabulous sandbar that appears and disappears during the tides. When the sandbar is noticeable, visitors will be amazed to see the collection of starfish that lay on top of it.  It is imperative that people leave these starfish alone and do not move them, as they are part of the remarkable eco-system of the 11 islands.

A military personnel is necessary for trips to these islands, but not for the reasons that everyone thinks.  Instead, the military personnel are there to ensure that people are safe during their adventures and that no accidents occur.  Visitors will be given rules and guidelines for when they are on any of the islands, so that they know how they should act and what they can and cannot do.  The the military personnel will make sure that everyone follows those rules, especially the one about leaving no trace behind.

While many people are going to Once Islas or 11 Islands nowadays, they are still not as crowded as other islands around the world.  Since everyone needs the military personnel and guide, it is possible for a person or a group to be alone on the island that they are visiting.  The tranquility that they experience on the islands will only allow people to cherish the memories that they make there even more.

IMPORTANT NOTES

In the event that you are traveling as a large group, the most ideal to get around is by hiring a van. Just visit the Zamboanga City Tourism Office at Paseo del Mar so they can assist you.

There is no accommodation available in Once Islas, like Sta. Cruz Island it is just great a for a day trip. Bring your own food and drinks as there are no stores in the island. In the event that you are traveling solo have an advanced reservation on weekends for a greater chance to join a large group so the expenses for boat fee will not be that expensive.

HOW TO GET TO ONCE ISLAS?

Please keep in mind that walk-ins are not advisable. The City Tourism Office must be advised in advance so they could arrange the boat transfers. So please contact them first to reserve.

Email: [email protected]
Call: (6362) 992-3007

1. From Tomas Claudio Van Terminal (corner Saavedra near Gateway Mall), take a van bound to Curuan for PHP 60 to 70 and drop-off at Panubigan crossing.

*** Option 2, from Zamboanga City Integrated Bus Terminal you may take a northbound bus for PHP 50.

2. From Panubigan crossing, ride a habal-habal going to Panubigan Barangay Hall for PHP 20, the jump-off point to Once Islas.

WHERE TO STAY?

There are several accommodations around Zamboanga City. In fact, everywhere you look there will be a pension house or hotel available it’s just a matter of preference and budget where you want to stay. But don’t forget to consider the date of your stay because almost all of the accommodations are expected to be fully booked if there are special events.

AFFORDABLE HOTELS IN ZAMBOANGA CITY

CASA CANELAR PENSION (where we stayed)
Check Here for Rates and Availability

CITYINN HOTEL
Check Here for Rates and Availability

ZAMBOANGA TOWN HOME BED AND BREAKFAST
Check Here for Rates and Availability

GARDEN ORCHID HOTEL
Check Here for Rates and Availability

EVER O BUSINESS HOTEL
Check Here for Rates and Availability

WINZELLE SUITES
Check Here for Rates and Availability

GRAND ASTORIA HOTEL
Check Here for Rates and Availability

CHECK THIS FOR MORE BUDGET FRIENDLY HOTELS

WHERE TO EAT?

Alavar Seafood Restaurant

Serves a variety of different kinds of seafood, but they are best known for Curacha.

Bay Tal Mal Restaurant

Features a full range of Moro Cuisine. We ordered Latal, which is a platter made up of several different Tausug dishes.

Local Carenderias

If you’re in a tight budget, there are nearby carenderias around Casa Canelar that offers rice meal from 40 to 60 pesos.

KCC Mall

Just a few minutes tricycle you can reach this mall and eat on food court, fast food or other restaurants.

CONTACT INFO

Zamboanga City Tourism Office
Tel No.: (6362) 992-3007
Email: [email protected]
FB Page: facebook.com/TurismoLocaldeZamboanga

Buenas Travel and Tours Phils
Guiwan, MCLL Highway
Zamboanga City, Philippines
CP No.: 09062087106
Email: [email protected]

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