Manalipa (quite misspelled on Philippine maps as Malanipa) is the island that carries a barangay of the same name. Located some 30 minutes from Zamboanga City, it is one of the bigger islands that are found off the city’s west coast.
This is actually the first time that I set foot on the island, despite the fact that I’ve been living in Zamboanga City for the past 24 years. Needless to say, Manalipa is a living gem.
How to reach there?
Since my family knows the boatman, we simply talked to him. Easy.
However, the usual way is to take any of the various pumpboats that are docked in the Arena Blanco docks in Zamboanga City. To reach there, one should take a jeepney from downtown with the sign “Arena Blanco via Mampang.” After paying the fare, one proceeds to the wharf and pay the driver between 1500-2000 pesos (30-40 USD) for a round trip on a boat that can fit up to 10 people.
The trip to Manalipa itself varies from 30 minutes to 1 hour. Once you reach the island, just put your things on the cottage, keep it clean and start exploring!
What does it have?
With soft white sand, unbelievably clear waters and greenery that would stun one’s eye, Manalipa is a beautiful place to visit. It also has a couple of stores along the beachfront from which one can buy canned foods and other daily necessities. There are a couple of cottages where one can sit down.
Finally, if one takes a 10-minute ride by boat, one can reach the Panganak Island, which boasts a beautiful sandbar.
Indeed, certain things are accessible if you know how to find them.
What does one need to have?
While you can buy things from the island at reasonable rates, it is still absolutely recommended to bring all your gear and food to the island, especially if you want to have a proper picnic!
Ask permission if you want to have a barbecue – they’ll want to make sure that the island retains its relatively pristine state.
I can’t believe what I saw. After all, my father and mother just kept on saying that the island looked great, that it had a lot of trees and the water is clear.
The flowers were in full bloom and the plants were in different hues of green. Besides, the air was fresh, the winds were making us comfortable…and there was just so much to enjoy in terms of the natural sights in the island!
To make it short, Manalipa is a mini-paradise on Earth.
There are other good things that I’ve experienced, but since they are rather personal, I didn’t want to state them here.
Overall, I really enjoyed my stay there – the place was way more beautiful than what I’ve expected!
Manalipa has the potential to become a center for local tourism in Zamboanga Peninsula, if developed properly.
With that being said, there are plans by certain local landowners to develop the island through a mixed-used resort setup. It remains to be seen whether it would materialize or not.
Things to Note
Just as Manalipa is a place worth seeing, it is also a responsibility to note the hiccups that the island experiences.
Electricity only works during the evening, thanks to a generator powered by the local electric company. Also, water is still mostly taken from deep wells – as a result, the comfort rooms don’t have flushes and you have to take your baths the traditional way.
Finally, there are many restricted areas in the island, simply due to the fact that both the military and local government have declared them off-limits to outsiders.
Also, it’s not recommended to go away from the main portion of the island (the part which contains the barangay (read: village hall) without knowing anyone from the area. (Luckily, the wild dogs don’t exist anymore – they have been culled after years of hunting by the local populace!)
I really hope that one day, more people would get to visit the island while keeping it clean for everyone to be able to enjoy, even after a long time.
Well-planned tourism would definitely help raise the profile of the island, as well as help improve the island’s economy…and raise the life standard of the local populace!!!
I really loved Manalipa. That’s all I could say!!!