Without further ado, here’s a guide to Manalipa Island in 2022. Let’s get started!
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 east coast.
This is actually the third time that I set foot on the island, despite the fact that I’ve been alive for 28 years now. Needless to say, Manalipa is still a living gem.
How do you reach Manalipa?
Since my family knew a good number of the boatmen, we simply talked to them back in the day. Nowadays, one of my cousins takes care of our family motorboat, which could easily carry up to 20 people, along with their respective belongings.
However, the usual way is to take any of the various motorboats 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 pays the driver between 1500-2000 PHP (~30-40 USD) for a round trip on a boat that can fit up to 10 people.
NOTE: It’s pretty easy to go downtown from the airport. From the airport, one can get on the “Canelar Airport” or the “IBT-Divisoria” jeepney line and pay a fare of 10-15 pesos. Ince you’re in downtown, charter a traditional tricycle, a Piaggio-style tricycle, or simply look for the Arena Blanco-Mampang jeepney stop (the locals would be more than happy to help you).
The trip to Manalipa itself varies from 30 minutes to 1 hour (though the latter is the exception to the rule; most boats would bring you there in less than 45 minutes). Once you reach the island, just put your things on the cottage, keep it clean and start exploring!
What does the island have?
With soft white sand, unbelievably clear waters and greenery that would stun one’s eye, Manalipa Island in 2022 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, eat something, and protect one’s head from the sun. You can consider yourself a visitor of the much-hyped Once (11) Islas of Zamboanga once you visit this place (Manalipa is one of the islands that belong to this group).
In addition, it has been recently discovered that Manalipa (spelled in antiquity as “Ma-Ra-Ni-Pa”) was one of Elcano’s stops on the way back to Spain (after Magellan died in Cebu). As a result, a commemorative marker was placed by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines in recent times – you can take a picture there and relive a piece of Philippine and world history!
Furthermore, Manalipa is a paradise for casual fishing, diving, and snorkeling. There’s huge and fresh varieties of fish not far from the shore, and the coral reefs start just 10-15 meters away from the coastline!
Finally, if one takes a 10-minute ride by boat, one can reach Panganak Island, which boasts a beautiful sandbar. The sand is so fine that you’ll mistake it for talc powder at first glance – don’t mind the pebbles, as they’re pretty smooth!
What does one need to have in Manalipa?
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 (or catch some fish off the coast) – they’ll want to make sure that the island retains its relatively pristine state. Ecological balance is a priority in this day and age!
You can have some great bespoke activities on the island. Bring a couple of sports equipment/toy blasters and you’re good to go!
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 was always clear like a mirror.
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 on the island!
To make it short, Manalipa is a mini-paradise on Earth – and a place with great historical significance at that.
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 – it was always a great sight to see!
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 (they have started to place more cottages though).
Things to Note
Just as Manalipa Island in 2022 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 village government have declared them off-limits to outsiders for cultural and safety reasons (there are times when thugs visit the area, though this is usually deterred by constant patrols of the barangay tanod and the local CAFGU/military composite teams in the area).
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 will 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 still love Manalipa – besides, it carries a huge personal significance for me. That’s all I could say.
If you want to rent a boat to Manalipa, call Totoh at 09531482312. He’s a local and he knows everything about the island – and he can take you pretty quickly to Manalipa (the boat can fit up to 15 people!)
Hoping that you enjoyed this guide on Manalipa Island in 2022!!!