Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ciudad de Zamboanga



Everytime I travel, I do a little research beforehand and put it in my handy dandy notebook. Either I print it out or write it down. On our Zamboanga trip, I listed some where-to's and what-to's but then I didn't plan out a detailed itinerary (I never did one - ever). So after looking for a pension house in Atilano compound, we went out for a late lunch/early dinner food trip

From our lodge, we took a pueblo-bound jeepney and paid 7 pesos each for the trip. I was eyeing to get into the city tourism office to get a free map. The pueblo is so much like a typical downtown area in Manila - it's so busy. 

In this very diversed city, it would be very typical to see and experience a healthy environment for everyone - no matter who you are and what you believe in. I would like my students to go there and experience how it is to be a minority so that they would feel how it is to be one and later on they would realize that having a classmate from another region of the country is a blessing rather than a liability or an object of mockery. 

Also, it is very normal to see policemen and military men roaming around the city with their unpretentious firearms. One would either feel safe because of them or alarmed because it connotes terror to some. But then they were just doing their jobs. A typical day for them. And whether you feel safe or alarmed the important thing is that they are there for everyone - it didn't make sense I know. End of digression.

So we were at the Zamboanga City Hall and noticed that all of the flags were at half-mast state and then we realized that it was because of Secretary Robredo's death (last week of August 2012). We asked for directions on where to find the city tourism office. Apparently, it was at the end of the road from the city hall - far end of the Pilar street. It was quite a long walk but it was nice to hear people speaking in their native Chavacano dialect and the view of old structures such as the oldest Bank of the Philippine Islands branch in the city which also houses the BPI museum installed just this year. Just so you know, I used to work in the said bank for 2 years as a bank teller.


Zamboanga city hall
half-mast


And then we reached the Zamboanga City Tourism Office just right outside the gate of the Paseo del Mar. We went in and asked for a free map of the city. We also asked about the Sta.Cruz island trip the next day. The tourism officers were so accommodating and even gave us a brief discourse about the Latin City of Asia - as stated at the map. 

We went out of the office and were flocked by some young vendors. They were selling candles that were the size of ballpoint pens and of different colors. It was for 1 peso each. The young lady explained to us the meaning of the certain colors. She was insisting me to buy the color white for "purity". I was asking for other colors but she was really pushing me to buy the white colored ones (so di ako pure?!). I ended up buying 20 pieces of different colors and she pointed us to the Our Lady of the Pilar Shrine

It was a Saturday and there was a mass held at that time. The shrine is not your typical wall-ceiling structure, it was adjacent to one of the walls of the Fort Pilar. We sat for a while and then went to where the candles should be burned. We went there, said a prayer and  lighted the candles. 

Zamboanga City Tourism Office
gotta love free maps
Our Lady of the Pilar shrine




Just beside the shrine is the National Museum - Zamboanga City branch. It is housed inside the Fort Pilar and an adult entrance fee is at 20 pesos per person and 10 pesos for students. There were a few exhibits at different galleries around the museum and what I loved the most was the city's art and culture exhibit. We also went on the second level to get a nice view of the sea. I learned so much from the exhibits and gave a thumbs up sign to the curator.










Next stop was the Paseo del Mar. The etymology of which is that the word Paseo - "a public walk or boulevard" and del mar - "from the sea" or "of the sea". So you do the math, oh I mean the translation. It houses the famous "Musically Gyrating Dancing Fountain". We were able to catch the first show at 6:30 p.m. and people flocked at the fountain to watch it "dance". We thought at first that the show will last for about 5 minutes tops. But it lasted for almost 15 minutes. 

The fountain "danced" with music from different genres (even classical music) and what I remembered was this certain upbeat local song of Zamboanga. The people sung along and even dancing in the few parts. Some of the people were at a boxing ring (set-up) in the middle of the park and some were at the breakwater to witness the majestic sunset. It was refreshing to see how people go to parks with their families and friends for leisure. I just wish that mall tycoons would spare the city from their plans. This would definitely ruin the laidback atmosphere of the city. 

no malls please!
sunset at the boulevard


Musically Gyrating Dancing Fountain

Going back to the lodge, we walked up to city hall again and looked for a Canelar/airport - bound jeepney. But then I realized that I needed to buy some things from the grocery and we passed by the Plaza Pershing and saw a mini version of the gyrating fountain there. 

Plaza Pershing
We've got nothing to do on our last day in the city so I checked my list and saw the Boy Scouts grounds. We looked for a Pasonanca-bound jeepney at the pueblo. We paid 10 pesos each for the 20 minutes ride. We asked the driver to drop us off the area. We went inside the grounds and paid no entrance fee. And then we asked the people there if we could walk up to the Pasonanca park - they said yes. 

We did a walkathon. It's a steep road so you need extra effort to get into the park. We passed by the Jardin Maria Clara Lobregat and decided to get inside their butterfly garden - we paid 5 pesos each for the entrance fee. And then we hopped on a pueblo-bound jeepney and paid 10 pesos each to go back to the downtown. And then we saw the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Concepcion in one of the streets so I shouted Para and then realized that I need to knock the ceiling to make the driver stop the jeepney. And so we did, but we didn't get to go inside the church though.





Maria Clara Lobregat


Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Concepcion
Our Zamboanga stint was more than a well-spent long weekend. It's more of cultural awareness and realizing your identity as a Filipino whether you're from Luzon, Visayas or Mindanao. 

Check out Zamboanga City accommodations here




28 comments:

  1. natawa ako sa "para" hehehe hunga, you'll definitely get stares when you do that here and the driver will not stop... the tuktuk sa ceiling ng jeep works...nice post of our city!!! super thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i love how you call it "tuktuk". hehe.

      Delete
  2. Two thumbs up to the photos Carla. Love the sunset, fountain and the butterflies.

    We wish to visit Zambo as well, and exercise our basic Lengua Espanola :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks guys! dami nyo na utang sa pinas talaga noh? :)

      Delete
  3. pag nag babaksyon tlga what I like is the laid back vibe ng province can we have it here in makati...lol,..

    thank you for sharing your wonderful photos; espcly yong mga bata sa bangka:) winner! you captured it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hi sunny! i love that photo too. lalo na yung scooper boy. :)

      Delete
  4. I'll definitely go to Zamboanga not just because of the pink beach.

    ReplyDelete
  5. ang gnda ng mga pictures :) kakainggit

    ReplyDelete
  6. I agree with you, I can't help but think whenever I'm in Mindanao that people from Luzon and Visayas really don't have much to fear about the place. Pilipino rin ang mga tao sa Mindanao, they're really just like you and me.

    Great travelogue by the way, parang sumama ako sa libot nyo hehe

    ReplyDelete
  7. it's really nice to read posts of spots that ive seen for many years. though i did not grew up in zamboanga, at least three times in a month we go to zamboanga from basilan.

    the bird house in fort pilar has been there for quite a long time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. and it's really nice to hear you guys speak in your Chavacano/Visayan/Tagalog ensemble - or maybe it's just Fatima who does that :)

      Delete
  8. Bakit ba di ko makita photos dito sa office ko?> :-(

    ReplyDelete
  9. mas lalo akong naeexcite pumunta ng Zamboanga this December! salamat po sa mga posts niyo tungkol dito at sa mga cheap accomodations na narecommend niyo dito!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. no problem albin. ang dami talaga choices sa atilano compound :)

      Delete
  10. Hi! Your zamboanga posts really amuse me. Im here for a 14 day work but i was planning to inject some "turista" mode in between. Im on my 7th day now and naexcite ako puntahan lahat ng nasulat mo. Keep it up :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. wow! food trip ang magandang gawin diyan. and also a daytrip to sta.cruz island:) enjoy zambo!

      Delete
  11. I am from Zamboanga and I enjoyed reading your blog. I went home last Sept. 2010 and I miss Zamboanga even more. Zamboanga is truly Preciosa Perlita Orgullo de Mindanao.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. masaya talaga sa zamboanga. i just wished na kids were speaking chavacano more :(

      Delete
  12. Hello! I am from Zamboanga City and I wished you've tried our famous Satti and knickerbucker. Its worth the try. 😊👍

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there Emily, I've tried the satti but I'm not sure about the knickerbucker (ano yun? hihi)

      Delete
  13. May knickerbucker po dun sa paseo 60p ata parang halo2x din po siya malapit lang po dun san naga benta mga isaw. Pag mag para po kayo ng jeepney mam ang sabihin nyo po ay "AQUI LANG" (sabay tuktuk) in means dito lang.hehe naenjoy ko po basahin mga post mo tungkol sa zamboanga mam. Marami po kasi ang natatakot na pumunta dito sa zamboanga lalo na after nung siege sana mabasa to nila mga post mo mam.������

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ang ginawa ko na lang Reymar kumatok talaga ako. Hahaha

      Delete
  14. Thankyou mam sa pag visit na mi ciudad de zamboanga.hehe era pwede tu ulit bira aki visita na mi ciudad de zamboanga muchas gracias mam!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gusto ko talagang bumalik Reymar! Muchas Gracias! :)

      Delete