Zamboanga DIY Travel Guide

2022 ZAMBOANGA DIY TRAVEL GUIDE: Sample Budget & Itinerary

A province complete with waterfalls adventure, pink beach island and other fun and exciting adventures are some of the things to expect when in Zamboanga. Aside from these, the province is also popular for exchanged goods like mie goreng and maggi kari. Zamboanga del Sur is one of the places in the Philippines where the earliest barter trade system was observed. Prior to the formal use of currency, trading is the system used to obtain products from one another. In this Zamboanga DIY travel guide, I’ll tackle more of this to get you more excited about this beautiful province.

Zamboanga del Sur in Mindanao is the first province during our ZAMBASULTA trip. The airport in Zamboanga is actually the entry point for anyone who wish to do the ZAMBASULTA trip. Before anything else, let’s learn about the province and the best places to go!

Pre-Travel Guide to Zamboanga del Sur

About Zamboanga del Sur

Zamboanga Del Sur is a province located in Mindanao and is part of the Zamboanga Peninsula Region. It’s capital city is Pagadian. As of today, there are 2 airports in the province that is open to the public. Those are (1) Zamboanga Interational Airport/ZAM and (2) Pagadian Airport/PAG.

Majority of the people’s religion based in Zamboanga are Muslims which is why the culture and traditions that are mostly observed here is Islam. This is exactly the reason why you have to respect their culture by wearing proper attire for females and bringing a humble attitude.

Where to Stay

There are lots of accommodation available around the city of Zamboanga especially around the airport. Below are suggested places to stay when in Zamboanga City.

Cityinn Hotel – Governor Alvarez Street, Zamboanga City

Casa Canelar Pension – Mayor Jaldon St. Canelar, Zamboanga City

Hamilton Business Inn – Gov. Camins Avenue, Zamboanga City

Where to Eat

Given that Zamboanga City is the 3rd largest city in the Philippines, it’s not surprising that they have a lot of exciting delicacies to offer to their visitors aside from stunning islands and beautiful waterfalls. Because of this, tourists will have more reasons to visit this city. So to give you more ideas about the famous local delicacies, check out the related link below!

Click here: Must Eats in Zamboanga City (Local Delicacies)

Must try: Oko-Oko in Sta. Cruz Island (first photo), Satti in Morning Sun Satti House (2nd photo) and Chupa Culo in Sta. Cruz Island (3rd photo)

Important Reminders/Contacts

  • Contact the tourism office ahead of time especially if you are visiting Once Islas and Sta Cruz pink beach. Check their official Facebook page here or email them at 
  • NO NUDITY – wear less skin-revealing clothes
  • For island hopping in Once Islas and Sta Cruz Island, advance booking is recommended due to limited slots. Furthermore, walk-ins are allowed as long as there are still available slots.
  • Respect our Muslim brothers and sisters – please bring humble attitude all the time. (I always make it to a point to remind my readers to do observe this)
  • I also noticed that there’s a really crazy traffic in Zamboanga City especially the highways around the airport and KCC mall. Better to avoid the rush hours.

Things to do in Zamboanga del Sur

Below are the most recommended things to do in Zamboanga City. Most of the activities require basking in the sun and beachin’. So better be prepared with your rash guards and sun screens!

Visit the Famous Pink Sand Beach AKA Sta Cruz Island

When you go to Zamboanga, eitther you’ll keep hearing about Sta. CruszIsland or the Once Islas. For me, the best part of my Zamboanga trip is the Sta. Cruz Island – a beautiful and unique pink sand beach that will make you effortlessly fall in love with it. So just like anyone else, you’re probably wondering how it became a pink sand beach? It can be associated with the Puka beach in Boracay where crashed puka shells became the island’s sand. In Sta. Cruz Island, the grain of pink sand came from the crashed pink shells. Read more about the pink beach and how to go there DIY way through the link below!


Suggested things to do in the island:

  • Swimming, snorkeling
  • Volleyball
  • Try the grilled squid, Oko-Oko and Chupa Culo
Zamboanga DIY Travel Guide
sta cruz island zamboanga

Island Hopping in Once Islas

Another destination that just opened to the public last July 2018 is the Once Islas. To give you a bit of information, Once Islas is a combination of 11 mixed private and public islands. As of today, there are only 3 islands available and open to the public. These islands are the (1) Sirommon Island, (2) Baung-Baung Island and (3) Bisaya-Bisaya Island. Once Islas is only open for a day trip and is closed every Friday in honor of the Muslims’ prayer day. Some of the features of the islands are a wide sandbar, powdered sand, rock formations and a crystal clear beach.


Zamboanga DIY Travel Guide

Try Maggi Kari and Mie Goreng

Tell you honestly, I didn’t know about Maggi Kari and Mie Goreng until I came there to see it for myself. It’s actually an imported Malaysian instant noodle and it was my first time tasting it when I was in Zamboanga. My friends already knew about it and I can still remember the genuine excitement in their faces when they saw Maggi Kari and Mie Goreng noodles in a local store. As a result, I became really curious about this food and eventually tasted it to see for myself. And poof! Turned out I fell in love with htis instant noodle too!

Zamboanga DIY Travel Guide

Trek to the Curtain-like falls in Merloquette

Merloquet Falls is also one of the must-see destinations in Zamboanga whenever you search for it on Google. Well, you’ll be really pleased to see it in person once you see the stunning photos of this curtain-like waterfalls. It’s actually a 2-tiered falls and the water effortlessly flows down like a beautiful curtain.

A word of advise, be sure to come here during rainy season when there’s abundant water. We came here last February where the day is too hot and dry which is why the waterfalls didn’t look as expected..

For more information about this stunning falls, read here: Merloquette Waterfalls in Zamboanga

Zamboanga DIY Travel Guide
Kapampangan Traveller‘s shot of the majestic waterfalls

Zamboanga City Tour

Just around the city or Zamboanga, you can already roam around and know about the city a bit more. Below are some of the places you can go to:

  • Zamboanga City Hall & Rizal Park
  • Pasonanca Park
  • Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
  • Yakan Weaving Village
  • Fort Pilar Shrine and Museum
zamboanga city tour

Shop Authentic Shawls in Mindinao at Canelar Barter Trade

A Zamboanga City Tour is incomplete without going to barter markets like the famous Canelar Barter Trade. You can shop for authentic Mindanao-made shawls in Canelar. Aside from shawls, you can shop for other imported goods and items from Malaysia and Indonesia. You can also buy Maggi Kari and Mie Goreng here, just make sure to negotiate with the price since some of them are being sold in a higher price than usual.

Zamboanga DIY Travel Guide

Sample Itinerary (Zamboanga DIY Travel Guide)

The ideal days to stay in Zamboanga is 3 days. Follow the provided itinerary below if you’ll be traveling to this huge city soon.

3 Days & 2 Nights Sample Itinerary (Zamboanga DIY Travel Guide)

Early flight from Manila to Zamboanga
8:00 AM Check in at Casa Canelar Pension, rest
10:00 AM City tour and lunch at KCC Mall
1:00 PM Proceed to Merloquet Falls
3:30 PM Arrive in Merloquet Falls, swimming, photo-ops
5:00 PM Travel back to Zamboanag City
8:00 PM Dinner, back to hotel, lightso ut

DAY 2: Once Islas Tour
6:00 AM Wake up time, breakfast
8:00 AM Proceed to Brgy. Panubigan Barangay Hall
9:30 AM – 3:00 PM Once Islas island hopping
5:00 PM Back at Zamboanga City, rest, early dinner

Day 3: Sta. Cruz Island and Canelar Barter Trade
7:00 AM Wake up time, breakfast
8:00 AM Proceed to Paseo del Mar
9:00 AM – 2:00 PM Sta. Cruz Island hopping
3:00 PM Shop for souvenire in Canelar Barter Trade
7:00 PM Flight back to MNL

Travel Vlog on Youtube: Zamboanga DIY Travel Guide

If you’re interested to do the ZAMBASULTA trip, here is our full travel vlog complete with details. Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE! 🙂

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