Thursday, November 14, 2013

Eleven (11) islands and 1 great trip in Zamboanga City


Forget Sta Cruz Island, forget the news on terrorism, there is 1 great destination awaiting visitors in Zamboanga City.

I'm bound for tawi tawi but connecting flight from Zamboanga will have to be the next day.

I've attempted to go to 11 islands on the second trip, 3 days  right after the recent MNLF war, but i had to listen to reports that it is very risky. Rumor has it that it is through here that some MNlF rebels have taken entry.

7am was my arrival in zamboanga, and as usual, I went straight tothe market to get breakfast. To my surprise, the lady in the muslim carinderia greeted me with "antagal mo nang di pumasyal". I was at "WOW! They remember me." I returned her warm greeting with "penge nman ng masarap na wadjit" (though they did not have it available then an offered me putlimundi instead).

I took the chance to ask them too how to go to 11 islands. They've given me the directions along with some caution.

On my way to the bus station, i asked a bystander (whom I thought as an officer)  In the police compound next to the market if there is an alternative transpo to brgy libugan; i was told there's none but only te Rural bus; And, again, I was told this place used to be the camp for Rebels.

Having been to the most daring destinations in ARMM, i thought it was normal. So, I left acting as if I will not push thru but truth is, I went to the bus station.

Upon reaching brgy panubigan, luckily, there were these kids who got off a van and are bound to the community. We walked the long 3.5kms uphill and downhill for 45mins.

The kids house is halfway through and aske one of them to escort me to any barangay official.

Konsehal wasn't around at that time as a relative have died; I was received by his wife, and since they have a store, I asked for coffee.

Talking among the locals while having my coffee, I was told that there is a army detachment in the community. Just a little while later, i bid thanks and left for the detachment. 

As an SOP, i was asked to identify myself, and my purpose. Gladly, unlike that experience in Vitali/Merloquet, I was well received by these officers. In fact, since it was almost noontime, they said to rest for a while, have lunch, and sail after. More than that, i even took a 2 hour nap from their hammocks after feeling drowsy from filling my stomach.

I woke up about 2pm, and inasmuch as I'd like to sleep further, I had to get up or miss the island hop.

I walked on each of the houses til I was pointed to chief tanod Abdal. He was so accomodating, that he cut his nap just to take me to where I'd like to go.

The 11 islands park will give you the 100 islands/caramoan feel. Rock formations, lush forest, and white sand beaches.

We also got to this island that is but a shallow black block of rock where waves are eating up our "katig"-less boat.

After going round this table like island, sir abdel saw a fishin boat on the farther side. He said we'll ask for some fish catch and made te approach ;-)

We docked by 'bisaya' island. Rumor has it that there used to be a bisaya settler in this island. Being the only bisaya in this dominantly muslim community, his settlement has been referred to his. I went snorkling too on its thick coral reef (and water was even shallow at this part).

We were supposed to be on our way back to the community but Sir abdel insisted that we visit the fish cage. I was well received by the owner and his staff (his brethren) and were very excited to show me to the cages of fishes and lobsters. Lobsters of probably a kilo a piece or more, and there's more than hundreds of them of this size in just a cage.. What a dream dinner.

It was getting late and I asked that we get back. I washed up fromthe freeflowing hose around, and after, asked that I leave for I want to pass by konsehal again to say thanks. Sir abdel escorted me to Konsehal. After meeting konsehal, he flagged a motorcycle who'd drop me to where I can catch the bus ( and the motorcycle didn't leave until I got a van). 

Now who said it's not safe?

How to go to 11 islands?

From Zamboanga City, take the Pagadian/Dipolog bound buses and asked to be dropped in Brgy Panubigan. Fare is 65 pesos (aircon). 

From brgy Panubigan, either walk the 3.5kms or wait for motor habals that will get you to the community. Fare is P10 pax.

Upon reaching community, ask fr chief tanod Abdel. As courtesy, ask to be brought too to Konsehal and the detachment.

For other destinations you can include in this trip to zamboanga, see how I found a new home in Merloquet Falls

Looking to travelling to this destination? Talk to me and we'll let's talk about your accomodation, transpo, and tour options

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