Ultimate Roadtrip Part 2 ft. Zamboanga & Basilan

After Dumaguete & Siquijor, me & my friend, Cha decided to bring our adventure to the next level, exploring the City of Zamboanga and Isabela, Basilan.

Quick fact:

Zamboanga City is a highly urbanized city in Zamboanga Peninsula. It is also known as the “Asia’s Latin City” for its Hispanic inspired culture and language. It is safe to travel in Zamboanga. There are a lot of roaming police and soldiers all over the city. If you’re lost, you can ask them and they’re glad to assist you.

How to go to Zamboanga?

Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific have daily flights to Zamboanga from Manila, Cebu & Davao.

If you are coming from Bacolod or Dumaguete, you can take a bus from Bacolod bus terminal or Dumaguete bus terminal.

Things to do in Zamboanga City:

  • Learn a little Chavacano
  • Visit Sta. Cruz beach
  • Eat the famous Curacha with Alavar sauce
  • Shop at Canelar Trading Center
  • Try the best seller Knickerbocker in Paseo del Mar.
  • Try their Satti- a Malaysian inspired dish.
  • Visit Fort Pilar – Zamboanga’s version of Intramuros
  • Offer Prayers in Fort del Pilar shrine.
  • Visit Pasonanca park for the Baguio experience.
  • Visit Merloquet falls (I haven’t done this yet because of lack of time. But this is a must-visit falls!)

Day 6: Arrival from Dumaguete City

Since it’s a looooong journey from Dumaguete, like 18hrs of travel, yep 18 freaking hours, we’ve decided to have a 3hrs rest before doing the city tour.

We stayed at Chang V pension house in Canelar district for 3 nights. It costs only 620 pesos, which is way affordable. There’s also a fan room for 450 pesos at Atilano pension house that is good for 2 as well.

3hr break is over. We decided to go to the downtown and roam around the city.

Tip: Riding a jeepney/multicab is way better than riding a tricycle and costs 8 pesos. Tryke costs 50 pesos, 1 way. Expensive, right?

Time Destination Solo XP Duo XP
10:00 AM Arrival at Zamboanga. Brunch at KCC Zamboanga Mall 100 200
11:00 AM Check in at Chang V pension house 930 1,860
4:00 PM Wake up, start city tour in downtown 8 16
5:00 PM Fort Pilar shrine, Fort Pilar tour
6:00 PM Paseo del Mar strolling
6:30 PM Tried their Knickerbocker dessert 60 120
7:20 PM Dinner at Alavar’s Seafood 600 1,200
9:00 PM Back at hostel, Lights off
The famous “Knickerbocker” in Paseo del Mar.


With the kids at Paseo del Mar

Hala! Tuwang -tuwa ang bata!
The great Curacha!!!!

Day 7: The Great Sta. Cruz Island tour

Quick Fact: The great Sta. Cruz island can be found on the southern part of the city. It’s just a 15-20 minutes boat ride from Paseo del Mar.

Tip: It is advisable to be at Paseo early in the morning if you’re a chance passenger. The boat rental costs around 1,000 pesos which is good for 10. We also tour in the naked island sandbar near the naval base.

Time Destination Solo XP Duo XP
6:00 AM Wake up call, prep up things for island adventure
6:30 AM Departure from hostel to Plaza del Mar 8 16
7:20 AM Arrival in Paseo del Mar; advised tourism staff as chance passenger
8:30 AM Finally, ride to Pink beach 100 200
8:45 AM Arrival at Pink Beach, Stroll, Take a dip, picture-taking.
11:00 AM Requested tour gide if we can go to Naked Island 20 40
12:30 PM Back in main island. Prep up for 1pm departure back to the city.
1:00 PM Departure back to Paseo
1:17 PM Back in Paseo.
2:00 PM Lunch in Plaza Pershing (own pax) 100
3:00 PM Back at hostel, quick rest
5:00 AM KKG (Kanya-Kanyang gala) – I went to KCC mall and stroll
7:00 PM Jog at Pasonanca park
9:00 PM Back at Hostel, Lights off
Looks like a typical white beach, but when you see it. 🙂
Naked Island Quick tour
The sand became pink because of the red corals mixed in it.
Ooops! The Bilbil 😀

Day 8: Once upon a time in Basilan

Quick fact: Basilan is located in the southern coast of Zamboanga and northernmost part of Sulu archipelago and the largest island as well.

Having a tour in Basilan was a mix of fear and excitement. Fear in a sense that we might get lost there and be kidnapped (lol!) and excitement in a sense to see and experience what does Basilan will made me remember.

Isabela City plaza

I was really nervous at first because of what media portrays about Basilan. But no, its way better than Manila. You would see no pickpockets, holdups and any person would interest on your belongings.


The community area in Isabela City



Downtown Isabela, with Sta Isabel Cathedral on the background



Basilan Provincial Capitol



There’s even a Jollibee in Basilan!


Since we only have a limited time, we decided to go only to Malamawi Island and a quick city tour of Isabela.

How to get there?

From Zamboanga City port, you can ride a RORO or fastcraft boat going to Isabela City. Travel time is about 1hr and 30 minutes, depends on the boat type you ride.

Here’s our itinerary going there:

Time Destination Solo XP Duo XP
6:00 AM Pack up, prepare for Basilan Adventure
6:30 AM Purchased tickets going to Isabela City 150 300
Purchased terminal fee. 11 22
6:45 AM Departure to Isabela City
8:00 AM Arrival in Isabela City, tour, breakfast, etc. (own account breakfast at Jollibee) 100
9:00 AM Travel to Malamawi Island (Includes habal habal and tawid o kabing isla) 55 110
9:30 AM Arrival in Malamawi Island beach resort, Paid envi fee. 30 60
9:35 AM Stroll Time!!!! ❤
2:40 PM Prep up, need to get back to Isabela City by 3pm 65 130
3:10 PM Back in Isabela City, quick stroll while waiting for 4pm boat ride
4:00 PM Departure to Zamboanga City (fee includes of terminal fee of 4 pesos) 154 308
5:15 PM Back in Zamboanga City
6:00 PM Stroll time in Pasonanca Park. Jog. Dinner, Etc.
9:00 PM Lights off and sleep


The Island of Malamawi



Maldives? Nope. Its Malamawi 🙂



Team #sunog


I’ll definitely go back in Basilan. There’s so much to explore. 🙂

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