Monday, August 25, 2008

Zamboanga City, Asia's Latin City

My mom invited me to join her in visiting a classmate who was going to get wed last month in Zamboanga City. Because I haven't been to the city, which is located in Southern Philippines, I eagerly joined her thinking that I can also go around. Zamboanga City is nicknamed as Asia's Latin City due to its culture and native language called Chavacano, a blending of languages and dialects, majority of which is Spanish in nature. We booked a flight with Cebu Pacific, a low-cost airline in the Philippines and departed from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Domestic Terminal early Saturday morning.

We arrived an hour and a half later in Zamboanga International Airport, the main airport serving the city and nearby provinces.

Cebu Pacific plane

The terminal is old and facilities, though just enough, are quite outdated for one with an international status. Upon entering the arrival area, we proceeded to the baggage carousel to get our bags.

We stayed in GC Hotel, a place owned by the classmate of my mom whom we are visiting.

Because it was still early and we have nothing else to do, another classmate of my mom invited us to go around first. We went to Lantaka Hotel by the Sea to chill out and have coffee. In there is a centuries old cannon used during the Spanish era.

There was also a colorful vinta sail, though it is not attached to a boat.

And of course, a beautiful scenery of the beach! It wasn't the best but it's good enough considering we are in a city.

After having coffee, we went out to have lunch at Hai San Seafood Market & Restaurant. The restaurant boasts of a lot of food and delicacies, mostly seafood.

Small fishes in an omelette and crispy shrimps

Steamed fish

We didn't do much for the remainder of the day aside from meeting their classmates who also flew in and rest in the hotel.

The next day was a full-day tour for all of us, including other friends and classmates of those that are to be wed.

First thing that we visited is the El Fuerza Real de Nuestra Señora Virgen del Pilar de Zaragoza, known as Fort Pilar. It is a 17th century fortress used by the Spanish government during colonial period.

Housed inside Fort Pilar is a branch of National Museum

Courtyard of Fort Pilar

Beside the Fort Pilar, at its other end is the shrine of Our Lady of the Pillar

Tricycles, which is actually a motorbike connected with a sidecar for the passengers. This is one of the major modes of public transportation in the city.

We also visited the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Concepcion, the biggest Roman Catholic church in the city. It is also one of the most modern-looking churches I've seen in the country.

We also went to a "barter trade" center as they call it. It is actually an open air, dry market selling goods from other nearby countries like Malaysia.

We also passed went to Pasonanca Park where a famous Tree House is located sitting on an Acacia tree.

The treehouse is a famous landmark among visitors because it is famous for being an open house. One can stay here for a night just be notifying the city government and setting a schedule.

Beside the Tree House is a Boy Scout of the Philippines camping site.

For lunch, the group had a buffet meal at the Lantaka Hotel.

After lunch, we went back to the hotel to rest for a couple of hours and then we proceed with the tour of the city. We were brought to the Yakan Village, a place where a group of people of the same namesake live. They are famous for their art of weaving and sell their goods here for a reasonable (not necessarily cheap) price.

We went next to the Ayuda Badjao or the Badjao Livelihood Training Center. The Badjaos, like the Yakans, is another group of community, but they are famous for weaving mats.

We were shown a number of colorful mats of different sizes.

I also saw a man constructing a boat in the place. I haven't seen one doing woodcraft like this before.

Last thing we visited is a Chinese Buddhism temple where the others had an offering and prayed.

The next day, right before the wedding, I decided to take a walk and go to the city center, which is a few minutes away from where we are staying.

I passed by Plaza Pershing, a park in the middle of the city named after General John Joseph "Blackjack" Pershing, who once served as the governor general of Zamboanga.

Nearby is the City Hall, a beautiful building reminiscent of Spanish architecture, though built during American colonization period. It is also the oldest government building in Mindanao. In front of it is a monument of Jose Rizal, Philippines' National Hero.

Just beside the City Hall is a branch of Bank of the Philippine Islands. Nothing much special here except this is the oldest building of the bank and is its second branch ever established.

Nearby is Universidad de Zamboanga.


Ivana said... are so lucky to have a free journey with ur mom,hehehe.
Anyway,the treehouse pic is so much funny

Chester Coronel said...

Nice accomodations for members of the BSP down there! It is so unlike the one in Los Baños, Laguna.

eunice said...

This part of the Philippines is so interesting. The beach definitely looks good in the photo! And that tree house!! Just looks like those drawn in children's story books that I read before, even dreamt to live in that kind of tree house!

carlotta1924 said...

amazing travelogue on zamboanga. love the pics especially that one of the beach. and yeah, fort del pilar looks a lot like intramuros. =)

ßrigida ∫chmidt © Copyright said...

Jasper, you look funny in that treehouse ~ face similar to that of a monkey rather than a bird landing on nest in the tree.

Also, I knew somebody from Zamboangga and yes they do speak broken Spanish. Am sure glad there's one place in the Philippines that still speaks the language, though not that excellent.

The airport isn't that bad. It's an island airport, it looks good enough. Haha! Visit me, I was looking for you on my comment box and you're gone.

mhel said...

Thanks for sharing Jasper. I agree with Bridge, I can't forget that funny face of yours with the tree house as a backdrop.

GingGoy said...

ganda dyan no kahit pangit reputation nya due to misinformation

x said...

you took very nice pictures of zamboanga! so colorful!

Jasper said...

@tutubi - oo nga eh, sad dahil lang dun

@acey - thanks! :)

eunice said...

Hey Jasper! Long time never see you update, at least you used to have more frequent updates! Are you traveling in any places now?

Thank you for all your votes in helping me to win the contest. :D

ßrigida ∫chmidt © Copyright said...

Still gone with the wind huh??? Everybody seems to miss you na. Go back and blog... most importantly, go back and blog-hop! kekekeke!

Ivana said...

so,where's the new post?

Anonymous said...

Hello! :)

Buti ka pa u had the chance na mag ikot sa Pilipinas! I want to go back! Pero sabi nga nila parang Black Person (inde ako recist) and Singapore, Once you go Black you can't go back ika-nga.

Pero prawmis ang ganda ng pics!!! tatambay na ko d2! Patambay ha!

ang daya! bat hindi ako makapag post ng using ang url ko! LOLX inde ako makakakuha ng traffic dito! LOLX

Jasper said...

@umcool23 - sure! welcome na welcome ka dito! :)

@everyone - i will be posting updates on this blog. i'm just a bit busy left and right because of my transitioning to a new role. watch out for my 2 overdue posts of my travels last April! :)

ßrigida ∫chmidt © Copyright said...

Hey, thanks for the comment. It was too short though, hehehe! Remember 9/11. Yesterday everybody celebrated it and yeah documentaries about it are all over the media. I wrote my thoughts and experience on this subject. Check it out!

mhel said...

Just saying to you HI! Hope you're doing fine and thanks for the comment. :)

Anonymous said...

Hey, I like the treehouse. Did you spend any hours living there? :D
btw, you've been given the Coolest Blog award. Visit my site. ^^


great feature on La Bella Zamboanga dude.