Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Getting to Buluan Marine Sanctuary in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay

Perhaps the only (open) tourist destination of the 79th (by chronology of creation) province of Zamboanga Sibugay.

Currently, there is no airport service in the province though a runway is in place in Ipil, the provincial capitol; the nearest commercial airport being Zamboanga City (2-3 hours). From the city, you can take a bus (P210) or van (P200) from the Guiwan Terminal. If coming from Zamboanga, ask the driver to drop you off in Buluan/Surabay. From there, you can either wait and flag a tricycle to the jump off,or just do a 15 minute walk to the shore. If you are coming from Dipolog or Pagadian and want to head straight to the island, you may get a Zamboanga bound bus, ask the driver to do the same. Fare for Pagadian to Ipil is +/- P160 or Van, P150 or P200 for Express Services (New White Nissan Vans in the Integrated Terminal in Pagadian.)

From the jump off point, there is a boat that services the island for P50 per pax return, though the boat don’t move until filled with minimum 10 passengers. We were able to haggle a loop of the island inclusive for the P500 fare since there is only 2 of us.
There are masks and snorkel for rent in the island for P100 per set. There is no designated price for the snorkelling guide; we gave an additional P100 on top of the gear rentals for the 1 hour snorkelling.

During snorkelling, we were brought to a few giant clams and spotted a small turtle. The sanctuary is as abundant, though not as enormous as the coral gardens in Anilao, Batangas. Our guide said there is another area where they have about 100 giant clams.

Back when we were in town, when we were asking for instructions on how to get to the island, we were told to stay away from the place as it is a muslim area. Informant adds that they themselves who are locals don’t intend to go there. Don’t mind such reports... it’s but normal. Then again, remain courteous and humble so not to trigger any trouble.

There is 1 sari sari store in the island selling coffee and instants and coconuts. Nevertheless, rather bring your own water.

And we spotted a turtle too :-)

Trike Service Ipil/Buluan – Roberto Saison 0905 143 6341
Boat Service – Rosalie 0936 528 1923

For nearby destionations, check out Aliguay island in Dipolog, or Merloquet Falls in Vitali, Zamboanga City, or 11 Islands in Dita, Zamboanga City. 

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