Zamboanga – a Spanish City in the Orient Skies.
The Reason for Visiting Zamboanga City
Aside from hearing their Spanish like language – to be honest, I do not know what was in Zamboanga. Aside from the fact that it is where I can find more Muslims wearing hijab, abaya and niqab (which I mistakenly thought as burqah) – I do not know what else to expect. I have grown interests in Muslim women three years ago. I see them as an “isolated and under privileged women” trying to survive in this judgmental world. I do not pity them, however, I salute such strength and grace they show to the world.
And that my friend, was the main reason for embarking to Zamboanga City despite other people telling me of the possible danger it may bring since there are terrorists in some parts of Mindanao.
Let me tell you – Zamboanga City proved to be a peaceful place where Muslims and Catholics thrive together.
Travelling for me would always be discovering other cultures and getting glimpses of how different yet similar the lives of people in places I have not yet visited before. You won’t see how much I spent in discovering Zamboanga in this blog. This is one of the moments where I let my spirit roamed free and let everything unfold the way they wanted to be.
Seeing Muslim women hidden in vibrant clothing walking in the narrow streets of Zamboanga flared up the excitement I fail to contain. I wanted to take photos of them but I didn’t have the courage to approach and ask permission so I settled in being contented in walking and of riding jeepneys with these ladies.
The View that Reminds me of Home
Aside from Muslim watching, I visited famous landmarks in Zamboanga City. This is Fort Pilar. Back in Cebu, we have Fort San Pedro. Next to this post card beauty is Pilar Church which is said to be miraculous. It has sustained bullets exchange during the Zamboanga siege. The saints statue remained blemished free from the gunfire’s wrath. Despite the fact that the Catholic faith here is deeply anchored to people’s lives, I am happy to know that this is one of the few places where Muslim and Catholic friendship exists. It is enough that this country is divided by waters, may no religion ever separate us.
Fort Pilar has a museum that features the glorious bygone days of Zamboanga. When I was there, the museum was closed for renovation. I guess this means I would have to visit the place again.
Sunset would always be a reminder of how splendid it is to be alive and to find a place where you can witness the gracefulness of the sun giving way to the night is such a gift. I hope people in this part of the Orient skies see what kind of gem they have.
The Yakan Village
If you wish to see the weaving of these beautiful tapestry then you have to come before 12 noon. People in the village usually take their siesta after lunch. It is said that each craft is as unique as a snowflake. No pattern is ever repeated and how they do it is beyond my artistic capacity.
Food in Zamboanga
Knickerbocker is a variety of chopped fruits mixed with condensed milk, vanilla/strawberry ice cream with cherry sauce. Well, atleast that’s what my tastebuds told me. Forgive me if I’m wrong.
Satti is another food I have tried. It is a bite sized beef in bamboo skewers with tamuh in sweet and spicy sauce. Tamuh is rice cooked in palm leaves formed into a ball.
There are other food one should try in Zamboanga like the famous Curacha, Tausug Pastries, Lokot-lokot, Saging Prito, Chicalang and Pianono.
Tranquil Night Life in Paseo del Mar
Paseo del Mar has a long stretched aisle full of food stands and bistros where you can witness the sun sinking into the horizon painting the sky into a splash of autumn. We were watching sunset while enjoying knickerbocker.
If you prefer drinking beer while listening to good music, you can stay in Bar Code and let time drift with ease.
Paseo del Mar is considered the best night district in Zamboanga City. It’s much cooler and much calmer compared to Cebu’s Mango Avenue. They also have a dancing fountain, however, I was not able to witness the play of water and lights. So many reasons to go back, I know.
The Barter Trade Center
The products found here are either from Malaysia or Indonesia. Such products include batik, malong, scarves, bags, chocolates, coffee, maggi, soaps and other toiletries. If you want to bring something home, this is one of the places you should definitely check out.
Other Interesting Things
Tsokolate Cafe – It is located near their city hall. I don’t think there’s any shocking about the pastries and desserts they serve here. However, I like the interior design of this place. It transports me to olden days.
Butterfly Garden and the Science Museum – These places are located in Pasonanca. I love the flowers that grow inside and outside the butterfly garden. We also had fun trying the “whisper dish”. These are two big saucer-shaped dishes standing opposite each other at a distance of 10 meters or so. Let your friend stand on the other side and whisper words and you’ll be suprised at how clear you hear his/her voice on your end of the dish. I even joked at my friend who’s rather shy to take her crush there and confess all her feelings for him then she could leave before her crush can turn around and see her red face. Then, she’d spend the days breathing a little easier – maybe.
The Tree House – there’s a tree house near the butterfly garden. You can rent it for 250/night and experienced how it is to live with the trees. You just have to go to the city hall and inquire for availability.
The City Hall is a reflection of how every building looked like during the Spanish era. How intricate the carvings in every furniture used to be. Mc Donald’s and BPI located near the city hall use the same old Spanish styled buildings.
If you wish to see more photos, please visit our Instagram page Urbanscapism.
Until our next escape!