Zamboanga City: A fusion of cultures

Well-preserved heritage buildings, unforgettable seafood cuisines, unique shopping experience and an unbelievable ethnic explosion of cultures welcome eager visitors in this city. 

For over 400 years, Chavacano, the only Spanish creole in Asia is widely spoken in Zamboanga City, one of the reasons why this lively metropolis is marketed as “Asia’s Latin City”.
 
Here are some suggested activities in Zamboanga City:

Vinta Ride

The kaleidoscopic vintas used to be visible only in Zamboanga city during the La Hermosa Festival.  But June last year, the Department of Tourism Region IX launched the vinta sailing at Paseo del Mar.  Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 4 PM to 6 PM for a minimal fee of Php 50 (Adult), Php 20 (Student), Php and Php 15 (Child), visitors can now ride the vinta.

Picnic at Sta. Cruz Island

Charter a boat to take you to the nearby Sta.Cruz Island. Bask in its powdery pink sand and azure waters that is perfect for swimming and picnics.

Sightseeing at the City Center

Although the bustling city center is beaming with soaring buildings, well-preserved heritage structures are still visible in some areas.  Visit the Rizal Park and marvel at the splendid chocolate-colored City Hall built in 1905 -1907 and its neighboring old colonial buildings.  One of the most photographed spots is the 1635 Spanish garrison known as Fort Pilar Shrine which houses the city’s patroness and an impressive museum.

Visit the candle-shaped Metropolitan Cathedral and look for the Immaculate Conception statue created by the National Artist for sculpture - Napoleon Abueva. You can also take a leisurely walk and hang out with the locals while watching the scenic Zamboanga sunset at the R.T Lim Boulevard.

Get wet at Merloquet Falls

If you think Zamboanga city lacks natural attractions, then you may not have been to the stunning Merloquet waterfall yet. This pristine beauty is hidden in Brgy. Sibulao east of the city.

Buy Yakan products

Do not go home without buying pasalubong at the Yakan Weaving Village.  These rainbow-colored textiles are hand-woven by the Yakan tribes of Basilan.  You can also find other souvenirs here like Maranao brassware, gong, and wooden boats.

Visit the Taluksangay Mosque and village 

Another popular tourist spot in the city is the Taluksangay Mosque. It was built in 1885 and is the oldest mosque in Zamboanga Peninsula.  You can also find stilt houses of the descendants of the Sama tribe living in this community.

See the dancing fountain

The old Plaza Pershing that was named after the late governor John “Black” Pershing boasts of a colorful dancing fountain at night.

Explore the Pasonanca Park

At Pasonanca Park, there are several spots to see such as El Jardin de Maria, an aviary, a swimming pool, a baseball field and restaurants. Must-see is the serene Boy Scout Ground dotted by the iconic green teepees and trees, and a charming tree house.

Feast on local cuisines

It’s a sin not to try the delicious seafood dishes in Zamboanga; from the famous deep-sea crab called curacha to tasty shrimps, oysters and clams. Also try the inexpensive satti which is similar to the Malaysian satay, the tempting Knickerbocker, Savannah Cow’s Fresh Milk and the signature drink of Asia’s Latin City – The Zamboanga White.

Shop at the Barter Markets

For unforgettable shopping experience visit any of the barter markets in Zamboanga city: Canelar, Sta.Cruz Market, BCC Shopping Center in Baliwasan and the Port Area.  Although the concept of barter system no longer exists here, you can still find tax free products from Malaysian and Indonesia, inexpensive malongs, batik, textiles pearls, and imported chocolates and coffees among others.
 
See the stilt houses of Rio Hondo

This misunderstood Muslim community is home to a long stretch of stilt houses.  Tourists can drop by the Bgry. Hall to inform the Brgy.Captain that you are in the area and get assistance to see the stilt houses.

Explore Abong-Abong


Visit Brgy.Abong-abong, where you can find several attractions like the famous Climaco Park, Freedom Park, Heroes Hill, Mt.Pulong Bato, and the Girl Scout Camp. Hike up Mt.Pulong Bato lined up with the 14 Stations of the Cross and at the summit where a giant cross is standing, you will be rewarded with a scenic view of the city and its surroundings.

Gael Hilotin is the author of The Pinay Solo Backpacker.

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Philippines accuses China of turning water cannon on its fishing boats

    Filipino activists denounced China's coast guard on Tuesday for turning water cannon on Philippine fishing boats in disputed waters, near where hundreds of Filipino and American Marines landed on a beach in a mock assault. The presidential palace in Manila said China's coast guard used water cannon on Monday to drive away a group of Filipino fishermen at Scarborough Shoal, damaging some of their wooden boats. …

  • U.S. says if China used water cannons on Philippine boats, would be provocative'

    The U.S. State Department said on Tuesday that if reports that China used water cannon son Philippine fishing boats in disputed waters are accurate, it would be a provocative step. Filipino activists have accused China's coast guard of turning water cannons on civilian boats in the disputed area on Monday. …

  • Pacmania sweeps Philippines ahead of Mayweather clash
    Pacmania sweeps Philippines ahead of Mayweather clash

    Manny Pacquiao's face is on shirts, dolls and postage stamps, his life story is playing in movie houses and millions are getting ready to party as the Philippine boxing hero's "fight of the century" nears. Pacmania is sweeping the Southeast Asian nation of 100 million people ahead of the May 2 Las Vegas bout against unbeaten Floyd Mayweather to decide who is the best boxer of their generation. Of course, it's the fight of the century," Manila film producer Lucky Blanco told AFP. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options