When people talk about Zamboanga, they would usually equate it with war and chaos but as a woman who has traveled and worked in Mindanao (Cotabato, Kidapawan, General Santos, Marbel, Tagum, Mati, Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Butuan, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur), going to Zamboanga is another opportunity for me to explore this city.
Zamboanga City is the 6th most populous and 3rd largest city by land area in the Philippines. It is the commercial and industrial center of the Zamboanga Peninsula region. It is an independent city, chartered and became highly urbanized on November 22, 1983. It is Asia’s Latin City and the dialect here is Chavacano, the only spanish based creole in Asia.
Here’s a list of exciting things to do in Zamboanga:
1.Being the island girl that i am, I asked my friends to accompany me to the Great Sta. Cruz Island. It is an island known for its pink coralline sand. It’s pink sand comes from the eons of surf erosion mixed with the white sand. Going to the island needs permit from Zamboanga goverrnment . For security reasons, you will be accompanied with marine officers who will stay wit you in the island and escort you back in the port. There are cottages available for rent when you reach the island. We bought our own food and drinks in the island.
2. Try the famous Knicker Bocker Glory (KBG) from Hacienda de Palmeras. A concoction of milk, creamer, jelly, fresh fruits and Ice Cream.
3. Shop for Crabs, Curacha and Prawn at public market at a very reasonable price.
4. Experience authentic Zamboanga cuisine at Alavar’s Seafood Restaurant located at 173 Alfaro Street and buy Alavar Sauce for personal consumption. The sauce is perfect for any kind of steamed, boiled or fried seafood or any viands.
4. The best apple pie in the city can be found at Country Chicken Restaurant in Pasonanca. They also serve delicious home-made ice cream. The apple pie and ice cream usually sells very fast so make sure to call them and ask for their availability.
5. The best staycation hotel in Zamboanga is at Garden Orchid Hotel.This hotel is just 2 minutes away from the airport. It is complete with amenities for a great staycation–swimming pool, gym, spa, restaurant and hotel bar. Make sure to book your room at the New Wing for more spacious rooms.
6. Take a leisure walk along Zamboanga boulevard.
7. Shop for fruits in season at a very low price. Mangosteen can be bought at Php20.00 per kilo when in season. Even Mangoes and Durian.
8. Shop at Barter Trade for Malaysian goodies in a very low price as well as shawl and other “batik” items. You can bargain for lower prices too! Few of my favorite things to buy at Barter Trade are Nescafe Gold 3 in 1, Cadbury chocolates and Apollo Wafers in different flavors.
9. Say a little prayer at Fort Pilar Shrine. Zamboanga’s open church.
10. Enjoy a night out at Paseo del Mar. There are many restaurants to choose from and there are also restaurants who has live acoustic band performers.
11. Shop for imported goodies at La Tienda. Just above La Tienda is WichCraft, a cozy coffee shop that serves sandwiches, pasta, pastries and coffee.
There are a lot of improvements in the city for the past 7 years. There are already a lot of restaurants that you can choose from. KCC Mall opened December last year, an addition to the malls in Zamboanga. It is the biggest KCC Mall and the biggest mall in the city.
However, there are no taxi’s available in the city. You can go around the city through tricycles (they call it “tricy”) or PUJ’s. But i think the safest way to go around the city is to hire a private vehicle because tricy drivers usually demand high fare from passengers especially if they know that you are not a native of Zamboanga.
There are direct flights via PAL and Cebu PacificAir from Manila, Davao and Cebu to Zamboanga City. There are also buses if you are from Dipolog, Cagayan de Oro or neighboring towns.
Should you have any comments about this travel blog, feel free to leave a message below or send me an email. 🙂