Inside the van going to Pitogo

It was supposed to be a taxing hour and a half ride to the municipality, but my excitement and curiosity seemed to have overwhelmed and have put back the exhaustion. In fact, never in a certain moment within the trip going to the island did I get sleep or nap although I was not able to sleep well the night before. Added to that is the fun exchange of conversations with friends who went with me which was also an indication of their excitement for the island.

Mountain Ranges of Zamboanga Del Sur

Panikian Island, or “Pulo” as what locals would call it, is a place where two different, and opposite creatures of the nature converge. The Paniki (English counterpart of Bats) according to the locals is where it got its name, and the Pawikan (Turtles), are the creatures that have found shelter in the island. Although you cannot really see any of the previous, such creature is what would enter initially into your mind because of the island’s name. However, if you are lucky enough just like us, you can find the latter swimming along the deep blue waters of the island.

Bancas that would bring you to the “pulo”.

Panikian Island is located in the southernmost tip of the province of Zamboanga del Sur and if you would look into the Asian map, it directly faces the country Indonesia. Before you would be able to reach the shores of the island, you would still have go through a 45-minute banca ride from the municipality of Pitogo, which has the jurisdiction over the island.  Pitogo is just an hour and a half ride from the center of retail and industry of the province, Pagadian City.

We surely had enjoyed the ride going to the “pulo” transferring from one banca to another.
Panikian Island, or the “Pulo” from a distance.

With the different discussions and photos that I have found over the internet, I was already aware of the things especially on what to expect from the island. However, what I least expected was, what I will see in the island would surpass my preconceived expectations.

Panikian Experience

White Sand of Panikian Island.

While we were still few meters away from the shore, I was already adrenalized to step into the white sand blanketing the entire island. For me, it was as bright and as fine as Boracay’s, but what differs the island from that popular tourist destination is the presence of many detritus, usually comprised of dried leaves, branches and twigs of the trees, proving that indeed, the island is still undefiled, unspoiled and untainted.

The island is not as big as Boracay, but not as small as the Pandanon, however, in less than 15 minutes, with more or less 1500 steps or more, you can already saunter around the island.

Splashing ourselves into its crystal clear waters.

We decided to wander around the island and what amazed me is the view of the luscious and verdant flora and the unique rock formations that have not changed throughout time. An islet can be found just a few meters away from the rock formations, and is believed by locals to have some mysterious appeal.

The islet from afar, said to have a mysterious appeal.

Pawikan moments

We were nearing to the island that time, when unexpectedly, a familiar form swam its way away from the banca that we were riding. Yes, it was indeed a large pawikan. Because everything happened in a heartbeat, I was not able to grab my camera, or at least after I had my camera turned on, it was nowhere to be found.

Pawikan, when can I ever see you again?

I was so ecstatic since it was my first time to see a turtle in its normal habitat; I had a pet turtle once, however, when a heavy rain poured, it was so unfortunate that it got washed away because its container overflowed.

I felt a bit saddened after not being able to take a picture of the turtle but I think I was just lucky that day because while I was snorkeling, I saw from afar another turtle swimming. I did not dare go near to it fearing that it might get frightened. I just watched him swim away till it’s nowhere to be found. After seeing them twice, swimming to where they should be actually swimming, I can say, I am fully satisfied with the trip, and it was all worth it.

Fish encounter

Up until now, I am still wondering why the fishes in there are not that afraid of foreign bodies, in this case, people-the tourists.  While I was snorkeling, a school of fish swam past me. When we were walking around the island, a school of fish went a bit near to the shore. During the banca ride, I noticed several schools of fish swiftly swimming away from the banca. It is really nice to know that the fishes here have not yet been conditioned to fear people and the visitors, hopefully the local government of Pitogo would be able to regulate the visitors so that the fishes would not be disturbed and would not get conditioned to fear people.

Cool rock formation in the island

Other activities you can do

We went to the island totally unprepared, good thing that one friend has an uncle living in the Poblacion (center) of the municipality and arranged everything for us. But if you are planning to go there, you can bring along with you scuba diving materials because it is really a nice place for diving, you can also go for snorkeling just like what we did, or go on water sports. Because of the fact that it has not yet been developed, no establishments in Pitogo offer these water activities so you need to bring your own, however, in Pagadian City, you can rent swimming gears, and maybe you can arrange to have them go with you in the island.

Really satisFRIED.. oops, I meant satisfied from the trip.

It was one of trips that I will always remember. Not only is it memorable, the trip to the Panikian Island was also a proof that my very own province has a lot to offer. It has the potential to be the country’s next big thing. On the other side, it also raised my concern about the preservation of the pawikan, after hearing from the locals itself that egg poaching is rampant, I urge the local government to fully protect the original inhabitants there.

The magnificent Panikian Island.

Panikian indeed can flourish and blossom into a great tourist destination of the south, but I hope that while the local government is concerned about the tourism, they would be equally concerned with the pawikan creatures and other animals that have chosen to find refuge in the island.

Reaching Panikian

Panikian Island is a 40 minute banca ride from Pitogo, Zamboanga del Sur. Pitogo is a fifth class municipality and is an hour and a half away via a van ride from Pagadian. You can reach Pagadian City via Cebu Pacific and Airphil Express that offers a direct Manila and Cebu routes.

Summary of Expenses

*Note: This is good for a group of 5

  • Pagadian-Pitogo (Van Ride) Php100.00 (USD2.00)
  • Pitogo-Panikian Island Ride (Roundtrip, Pump Boat good for 5) P200.00 (USD4.00)
  • Food Contribution Php100.00 (USD2.00)
  • Pitogo-Pagadian (Van Ride) Php100.00 (USD2.00)

Total Expenses for the trip including food share: Php500.00 (USD10.00)

Total Expenses for the trip excluding food share: Php400.00 (USD8.00)


62 thoughts on “Panikian Island- Another Pride of ZamboSur!

  1. This is my third Zamboanga blog post I’ve encountered. Thank you for sharing the experience and the nice shots! Zamboanga is on my bucket list.

    1. Thanks, hope you can visit Zamboanga del Sur. Zamboanga and Zamboanga del Sur are two different places, but are equally beautiful in their own ways. 🙂 Experience the Zambosurnian hospitality soon!

  2. The place really looks cool. Added to that is the fact that the place is yet untouched with so much commercialism. I hope it remains that way until I’ll get to this place in the coming years.

    1. Truly, no form of commercialism. Not even a cottage can be found in the island! Hahahah. Yes enzo, hope you can visit the island in your future trips, it would not disappoint you.

  3. I have heard of Pagadian before but never really looked into it, until this post. I actually felt ecstatic for you after you’ve encountered two actual pawikans! Also, the last time that I was able to see one was back in Zambales (sad that these humble creatures were confined). Anyway, will surely look into your lovely province, and maybe book a trip there real soon. =)

    1. True, it is really a nice feeling na makita mo sila in their natural habitat. 🙂 Hopefully, you can visit our province in your future travels, it has a lot to offer po. 🙂

  4. I never realized Zambo Sur has nice white sand beaches. I was surprised to know about this Panikian Island. It reminds of Guyam island in Siargao. I hope the local government would be able to ecologically and economically manage it well.

    1. Me too, I have never realized it too. It really pays to explore your very own first than appreciating others. I’ve actually never heard of Guyam Island, but yes, I’ll try to research about the place, and who knows, I might be able to go there too.

  5. I never realized Zambo Sur has white sand beaches or islands with white sand beaches! I hope the local government would be able to capitalize on its potential as a tourist destination.

  6. who owns this island? sooner or later someone will buy it and develop it into another amanpulo…and then it becomes exclusive and expensive and unaffordable for common folks like me…or it becomes another Boracay, noisy, crowded, polluted, amoral…sigh!

    1. Truly, they can develop it something like amanpulo, and that’s what I am fearing too that it would become expensive. Hopefully it doesn’t. And hopefully they can maintain this to be unspoiled and untouched throughout time.

  7. The initial approach to the island looks promising..
    I always like white sand powdery beaches, I’ve seen a lot in my travels..
    Its all over our beautiful country!!!
    Its a nice feeling to see Pawikan’s in the wild..
    I had this kind of experience twice on different locations..
    as always, the is awe!

  8. this is a post that i am wanting to read coz i am planning a trip to Zamboanga del Sur to complete my 80 provinces! the photos, the list of expense is awesome. i have bookmarked this so i can check back easily when my trip gets near!

    1. Truly po, that’s what I have realized also. While many people have been going out of the country, some may have forgotten na meron parin tayong mga magagandang pasyalan here in our country. 🙂

  9. great narratives and useful expenses tracking. I love the photos you have here. I was in here years ago and wanted to go back and take some snapshots too. Thanks for sharing this one Anjo. I am happy to share travel blogging to a new blogger from the same city. 🙂

  10. hi there James, been to Pagadian but i only slept there and ate. haha will go back to get my stuff and i plan to go here. question po, is the Php200 boat fare per person,so meaning 1k yung boat fare? or is it Php200 for 1 boat? parang ang mura kase ng 200 so i think its 1k ayt? thanks! 🙂

    P.S. if you’re still in Pagadian maybe we can meet you up if you’re free, i’ll be meeting up w/ doc wends again and anothr blogger frnd. 🙂

    1. Hello po! Wow, so nice to hear that you were able to visit Pagadian pala. 😀 Php200 is per person po, we were 5 all in all kasi. The boat’s prices range between 800-1200 po.

      I will be back in Pagadian po this Monday, when will you be in Pagadian ulet po?

  11. hi! I am a citizen of the municipality of Pitogo. I am expressing my gratitude for making this blog. I am an HRM student of MSU-IIT. Right now, I am making a case study for this beautiful island on how to improve it and make it a popular tourist destination without touching its unstained beauty.

    1. That’s great to hear! It is truly a pride of ZamboSur, hopefully it’s going to be developed by our local officials so that it could be a income generating tourist spot.

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