Zamboanga City V.I.P.

Our Sulu "mission trip" didn't just end there. After 5 days of staying in this beautiful but terror-stricken place, we went to Zamboanga City on our last day to catch our flight back to Manila.

From the camp, we were brought to the Jolo port to catch the 9 p.m. commuter ferry boat to Zamboanga City. We were still escorted by the Marines on our way to the port. Ten uniformed and civilian ones were with us on the boat trip. Yes, they escorted us until we reached the Zamboanga City soil. Although we felt "safe" with the Marines on our side, I couldn't erase the fact that it was my first time to be with hundreds or a thousand locals of Sulu on the port and inside the ferry boat. We were 8 in the group and I was the only lady in the bunch - and as we always kinda joke about it, I've got more chances of winning than the guys do (if you know what I mean). 

Jolo, Sulu - Zamboanga City route
The 10-hour boat ride was rest for me. I slept throughout the trip with my iPod on shuffle mode (imagine altrock and acoustics on a mosh pit). We were at the airconditioned, bottom part of the ferry.  Toilet trips were hassle 'coz it's located on the topmost part and we needed to be accompanied by a Marine everytime. Nonetheless, we arrived safely and with an 8 full hours of sleep. Nice. 

10-hour trip
8 full hours of sleep
escorts... again
I was thinking of going solo on Zamboanga City to check out the places I really adored during my stay there last year. But then, we were again fetched by the Marines at the Zamboanga City port. They joined/escorted us on our whole day sojourn in the city. 

First stop was a place for breakfast. We were brought to the Amigos & Amigas Eatery along Mayor Jaldon street (near the major intersection going to downtown from the airport). We had some Bulalo (70 pesos, small bowl), Batchoy with Egg (38 pesos, big bowl), Assorted satti (which I failed to get the price) and some grilled stuff. Everything tasted ok but nothing was remarkable. Or maybe everything tasted ok 'coz I was really hungry and never took note on how they all tasted. Pfft.  

We then went to the Canelar barter, a few blocks away from the eatery . Barter is "to trade" in the English language so expect empty pockets after a visit in this place. Loads of Malaysian food stuff are easily spotted on each stall. But the group was lured on local fabrics and its byproducts. 

Shawls, scarves, batiks, and some Muslim garments were the top products bought that day. I even tried a hijab that was bought by Josh for his girlfriend. Geloy also bought a batik laptop bag for his girl. It was so fun to see guys who were shopping for their dear loved ones. These guys really knew how to shop for them. Ang sweet lang talaga nila. 

Next was the Our Lady of the Pilar Shrine. And they were still there, the kids who were selling candles of different colors (1 peso/candle) - each color representing a certain "special intention" as you light the prayer candle. And one of the reason I was delighted to come back here was the crispy crepe/barquillos-like snack right outside the shrine. I dunno why but I am really digging that snack. Eaten best on a hot summer day with a bottle of dark soda. They now sell it for 12 pesos for 10 pcs. (1 peso each last year).

1-peso each
this plus dark soda - yum!
Another place I want to visit again was the National Museum - Zamboanga City branch. I just loved the collection they have inside and the structure itself. Too bad they were doing some major renovations when we were there so they just allowed us to enter the old fortress and got a nice view of the Paseo del Mar park.

too bad they were closed

Next stop was Camp Navarro, the Headquarters of the Western Mindanao Command. We had a nice lunch (buffet style again) there and had a quick rest right before our scheduled flight in the afternoon. I just love how these people really know how to treat their guests. Ang lakas maka-V.I.P.

The Marines still escorted us on the way to the airport. They assisted us all the way to the boarding gate. I never lifted my bag nor asked them too, they were there for us even when we didn't ask them to. We went outside the terminal for a drink and saw that the Marines were still there. I asked them why and they told us that they won't leave until our plane takes off. I felt so honored for their dedication to their service. And it's not as if they were doing it because they were told so. I felt their sincere desire to assist us all throughout the trip. Serbisyong totoo na walang kapalit. Isang saludo para sa inyo.'


  1. ..i love the hijab. how much does it cost? bakit kailangan may marine escorts to Tawi-Tawi? is that a must?

  2. Naks, celebrity lang ang peg. Hehe. Are women required to wear hijab when in Zamboanga?

    1. di naman ryan. bumili lang yung isa kaya tnry ko :)

  3. wow grabe 10 hours. nakakabaliw. hehe

    1. korek chyng. buti na lang gabi kaya borlogs kami lahat...

  4. VIP ang peg, toroy! parang mas nakaaktakot pag kasama mga sundalo (paranoid lang.

    hindi rin ata namin keri ang 10 hours sa ferry. spell puke. (sorry gross) hihi

    1. ok naman yung boat ride. medyo nakakapraning lang kasi nga andami naming escorts. obviously dayo kami. hihi

  5. i've visited zamboanga city before when it was still a peaceful and safer place and went to the Pasonanca Park where we saw the famous Tree House at that Park, the Boy Scout's TeePee there and Our Lady of the Pilar Shrine.
    since i found out from lakad pilipinas blog comment that u missed to see that awesome place, i want to let u know that when i visit the philippines, i will invite u to go there for a personal visit to see silliman university and maybe rizal park in dapitan and dipolog, too my old hometown. hope u will go there with me and my friends from cebu. see u in 2015!!

    1. hi there oly! i've visited zamboanga last year without the escorts and i felt safe naman. unlike now that there are reports of unwanted elements around the city. sad talaga

      and wow! thanks for the invite. i would love to see those places. sobrang thank you for inviting me :)

    2. hi, thanks for accepting my invitation to see those places, looking forward to my balikbayan in two yrs. i studied at silliman, it is such a lovely place. it is unforgettable that i want to visit there someday. my old hometown, dipolog is nearby and i miss that place, kinda homesick.
      as a teacher u should visit rizal park in dapitan that's why i want to show u that national park. when u see that park u will know why jose rizal lived there so peacefully. it's such a beauty.

    3. i would love to explore dipolog po talaga :)


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