Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Wanda Tulfo Teo is thrilled over the inclusion of the Great Sta. Cruz Island (also called Isla de Sta. Cruz) in Zamboanga City in the list of the 21 Best Beaches in the World by National Geographic.
“We are so proud about this citation and happy about its very timely announcement, which comes right after our visit in December when I had pushed for the island’s immediate improvement and development as an ecotourism destination,” the Secretary said.
The DOT chief has instructed DOT Region 9 Director Antonio Blanco to coordinate with the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority to assist the local government in undertaking facilities upgrade, provision of additional cottages and offering more nature-based recreational activities.
“The planned development will highlight its conservation and preservation, it being a protected area. Nonetheless, the outcome should enable locals and foreign visitors alike to enjoy the island’s beauty but still strictly maintaining it as a day destination. We would like to attract genuine eco tourists as they take ‘responsible, ethical and sustainable tourism’ to heart,” Teo said.
On its website, NatGeo described the Isla de Sta. Cruz, “Hardly lacking in gorgeous beaches, the Philippines claims a pink-sand variety, too. The blush color comes from billions of pieces of crushed red organ-pipe coral, seen in every handful of sand. The number of visitors to the island is regulated, and advance arrangements should be made through the tourist office in Zamboanga.”
Other beaches cited on the list are: Playa del Amor in Marietas Islands in Mexico; Cathedrals Beach in Ribadeo, Spain; Anse Source d’Argent in La Digue, Seychelles; One Foot Island in Aitutaki, Cook Islands; Sunset Beach in Brunswick Islands, North Carolina; Lazy Beach in Koh Rong Island, Cambodia; Bowman’s Beach in Sanibel Island, Florida; Shell Beach in Shark Bay, Western Australia; Lyme Regis in England; Cannon Beach in Oregon; Carmel City Beach in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California; Noordwjk Beach in The Netherlands; Papakolea Beach in Hawaii; Reynisfjara Beach in Iceland; Pelican Beach in South Water Caye, Belize; Blue Bay in Mauritius; Cas Abao Beach in Curacao; Sleeping Bear Point in Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan; Piscinas Beach in Arbus, Sardinia; and Corniche Beach in La Teste-De-Buch, France.