Zamboanga City — on the tip of the peninsula that juts out of the bottom of Mindanao island in the southern Philippines — is a delightful combination of history, culture, scenic beauty and economic potential.
Image Zamboanga is 142 thousand hectares of sloping terrain rising from a surrounding shoreline of coral beaches to mineral-rich mountains in the center of the peninsula.
The town that is known as the City of Flowers boasts a profusion of colorful tropical blossoms, outstanding seascapes, cool highland retreats, verdant forests and magnificent underwater scenery.
Zamboanga takes some of its picturesque views from the rich and varied culture of its people.
Cruising the offshore waters on clear, breezy days are vintas, native outriggers with square sails of many designs and colors. Image
Houses on stilts, inhabited by people from tribes that used to call the sea their home, line the shores.
Cultural presentations depict traditional arts and dances, but the discos are also full of young people moving to the latest dance craze.
Zamboanga is one of the oldest cities in the Philippines. Originally inhabited by the Subanon tribe, it became a Spanish outpost in the 17th century.
The Spaniards built a stone fortress that stands to this day. Fort Pilar is a historical, cultural and religious icon. On its eastern wall is a shrine revered by Catholics all over the country.
Inside the refurbished fort is a national museum that houses cultural artifacts and a showcase of the natural wealth of the region. When the Americans took over the city at the turn of the century they made it the capital of the Moro Province, which covered the whole of Mindanao. The Americans built Pasonanca Park, the City Hall and the golf course in Calarian, which is reputed to be the first golf course in the Philippines.
The Second World War brought the Japanese, but the Japanese left little of themselves here. The Zamboanga people are known for their friendliness and cheerful disposition. The women are famous for their beauty.