Zamboanga City: La Ciudad Latina de Asia

After an early morning arrival from Taiwan, I immediately went back to my boarding house in Taguig City to change bags and went back to same airport NAIA3. This time, domestic adventure started to unfold: ZamBaSulTa (Zamboanga-Basilan-Sulu-Tawi-Tawi), a region on the southwestern part of Mindanao. I was actually nervous and at the same time excited to explore this part of our country. Thanks to promo fares for making this trip possible. (n_n)

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Zamboanga Peninsula (Tagalog: Tangway ng Zamboanga; Chavacano: Peninsula de Zamboanga; Cebuano: Lawis sa Zamboanga) is an administrative region in the Philippines, designated as Region IX. The region consists of three provinces (Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga del Sur) and two cities (Isabela City and Zamboanga City; the former being part of Basilan province and the latter a highly urbanized city). The region was previously known as Western Mindanao.
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The city used to be known as Samboangan in historical records. Samboangan is a Sinama term for “mooring place” (also spelled sambuangan; and in Subanen, sembwangan), from the root word samboang (“mooring pole”). The name was later Hispanicized as Zamboanga.

Zamboanga City (Ciudad de Zamboanga) is Asia’s “Latin City” and a modern city that is situated on the island of Mindanao. It is the commercial and industrial center of the Zamboanga Peninsula Region. With abundant natural resources such as rich fishing grounds, it is often called the “Sardines Capital of the Philippines” because the majority of the country’s canning companies are located there.

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Aeropuerto Internacional de Zamboanga (IATA: ZAM, ICAO: RPMZ)
The main airport serving Zamboanga City in the Philippines. The airport is Mindanao’s third-busiest airport after Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City and Laguindingan Airport in Cagayan de Oro City.

What makes this city standout is the strong presence of Hispanic culture. You can see colonial architecture on its main park as well as hear the Spanish-based creole language called “Chavacano” sometimes “Zamboangueño”, a mix of Spanish and native vocabulary but follows a Philippine grammar. The city prides itself as one of the oldest city in the country that progressively transitioned from the 16th century to the present age of modernity.

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As much I wanted to do all tours, I can do three of them. (n_n)

You can see a glimpse of the glory and spectrum of the proud history that can be well reminisced thru the landmarks and historical sites that defines the unique and treasured heritage of the city. I visited some of them and you can spend your whole day sightseeing within the city center to have your own heritage trip. Vamonos!

 

Rizal Park

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The statue of our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, stands proudly in front of the city hall.

Ayuntamiento de Zamboanga

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The City Hall of Zamboanga was built in 1905 by the American colonizers and it served as the provincial capitol of the military-ruled Moro Province from 1909 to 1914.The entire Moro Province of Mindanao was administered directly from the city, effectively making Zamboanga Mindanao’s first and only capital city. Then in 1914, it became the seat of government for the Department of Mindanao and Sulu when the civilian government was restored in the colony. For me, this is the most beautiful city hall in the Philippines. (n_n)

Plaza Pershing

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Located a mere two minutes walk from City Hall, the Plaza was originally known as “Plaza de Don Juan de Salcedo” in honor of one of Spain’s great Conquistadores of the 16th century. It was renamed Plaza Pershing in 1915 in memory the American genera, John “Blackjack” Pershing. General Pershing fought in the Philippine-American War. He also served in the U.S. Army in World War I. General Pershing is the man behind the establishing of the Golf and Country club and the Pasonanca Park.
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Adaptive reuse of colonial-style building by a famous fastfood chain.

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Another adaptive reuse nearby city hall

Bank of the Philippine Islands’ Second Oldest Branch 

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Real Fuerza de Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Zaragoza

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The Royal Fort of Our Virgin Lady of the Pillar of Zaragoza (commonly known as Fort Pilar) is a 17th-century military defense fortress built by the Spanish colonial government in Zamboanga City, Philippines. The fort is a leisurely fifteen-minute walk from the City Hall and is now a regional museum of the National Museum of the Philippines, a major landmark of the city and symbol of the its cultural heritage. Make sure to visit before 5pm.

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Nuestra Señora La Virgen del Pilar

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Outside the eastern wall is a Marian shrine dedicated to Our Lady of the Pilar, the patroness of the city.

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The relief of Our Lady of the Pillar. You can see the Spanish coat of arms below. It reminds me of Birhen sa Cotta in Ozamiz City.

Paseo del Mar

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This 2.3-hectare attraction is formerly known as the CDCP Complex reclaimed in the 1970’s.With a majestic view of the Sulu Sea, Paseo del Mar is currently the second most visited tourist destination, next to Fort Pilar. It has a spacious board walk for strolling, jogging, brisk-walking, skate-boarding and scenic viewing for the young. It likewise gives a different experience of dining and nightlife with its resto bars and food stalls serving mostly the specialties and delicacies of the Zamboangueños. The park also serves as the jump-off point to the world’s famous Sta. Cruz Islands with the construction of the sea craft terminal departure and arrival structures at the eastern portion of the site.

Catedral Metropolitana de la Inmaculada Concepción de Zamboanga

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The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, commonly known as simply the Zamboanga Cathedral, is the seat of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga.
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Main altar of the cathedral

Pasonanca Park

The park was created by Gen. Pershing who fell in love with the natural terrain of the place. His objective was to have a park where people can spend their day for relaxation. Situated on an elevated area of some 500 feet above sea level, and lorded over by verdant mountains and rolling hills. 

Below are the points of interest within the park:

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Butterfly Park in La Jardin Maria Clara Lobregat
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Maria Clara Lobregat Statue
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El Museo de Zamboanga
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Parque de Ciencia de Zamboanga
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Pasonanca Tree House

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Camp Scout Limbaga

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If you like nature tripping, you’ll definitely enjoy here. Aside from cultural and nature attractions, there are public pools where you can swim and have picnic with family and friends.

How to get to Pasonanca Park

Take the Public Utility Jeepney (PUJs) with the signboard “Pasonanca”, tell the driver that you are getting off the Butterfly Garden (Jardin MCLL) once in the area you may walk to the other pints of interest in the Park such as the Museo de Zamboanga,Parque de Ciencia, the swimming pools, the Aviary. You may also choose to walk to the Pasonanca Tree house or you may opt to take another PUJ ask the driver if he is passing by the tree house and to drop you there. Reference : http://www.zamboangacity.gov.ph/

Before leaving the city, make sure to drop by at the barter for native products, imported goods and other food items at bargain prices.

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See below posts for detailed guide on my beach daytour and foodtrip:

Zamboanga City: Day tour at Santa Cruz Island’s Pink Beach

Zamboanga City: Food trip at Asia’s Latin City

Hoping this blog would help you explore the Spanish creole city. Enjoy your trip soon! As the Chavacanos say: “Vaya con Dios!” (n_n)

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#CareForEnvironment #ResponsibleTourism #SustainableTourism
#DestinoZamboanga #EcoTour #EcoCulturalTour #TourZamboanga #SouthernHolidayDestination #iloveZamboanga

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