Experience culture and nature in the Asia’s Latin City – Zamboanga City

Story by: Trisha     Date: 29 January 2021    Image by: Canva | Alexpunker

6 minutes reading time Philippines

Wanting to visit a place that’s not only full of spectacular sights but rich in its culture too? Then Zamboanga City is the destination for you.

Located in Mindanao, the southernmost island of the Philippines, Zamboanga City is a part of the Zamboanga Peninsula, particularly Zamboanga del Sur. The place is most known for its interesting cultural and historical roots. But not only that, Zamboanga’s getting more popular among travelers these days because of the continuous developments in its tourism sector. In the past several years, the already beautiful sceneries and landscapes in the city has gotten even more breathtaking.

In fact, the place got so much urbanized lately that any frequent visitor would notice the stark difference compared to how it was way back in then. Currently, malls and shopping centers became scattered across the city. Just last December, a new shopping mall was opened to the public. Now more than ever, this destination remains a worthwhile place to spend time in. You may want to join these new set of tourists visiting for the first time. Here’s what you may want to know about Zamboanga City:

Zamboanga, History

History

First of all, the city is most famous for being a cultural heritage in the country.

You might ask someone from the Philippines who’s never stepped foot in Zamboanga, about what he or she knows about the place and you’ll consistently hear answer – its fascinating history. Known to be called as the Asian’s Latin City, Zamboanga City’s roots traces back to the Spanish colonial period in the Philippines. The Spaniards’ influences have really been cemented into the place and its people. One of the things that Zamboangeños (the locals) possess that’s so clearly taken from the Spanish influence is none other than their language, Chavacano. Chavacano is surprisingly very similar to the Spanish language that if you’re a native in the city and speak the language, then you’ll be able to easily understand the Spanish language, too. In turn, if a Hispanic comes to visit the city, he’ll surely be able to communicate with Zamboangeños without any problems as well. These days almost everyone you’ll meet in the city speaks the Chavacano, but other languages exist as well such as Tagalog, Bisaya, and Cebuano. But for the most part, Chavacano is the most widely spoken.

The city’s geographical location was also the reason for its interesting cultural background. Being on a peninsula, the strategic location of the place made it perfect as a military base during the Spanish era in the Philippines. The Zamboanga fort was where the military men looked out over the sea to prevent any potential attacks or intruders.

More than the interesting backstory to this beautiful place, Zamboanga City also boasts of its majestic sights.

Bask in the nature at Zamboanga History

One of the primary attractions in Zamboanga City is the Pasonanca Park. What people know most about this place is the tall tree house. Those who have phobia of heights might want to stay away, but people climb up the tree and enjoy the great view from above. It’s a nice spot to take photos in or hang out for a while as you overlook the park. This is the perfect getaway for someone who appreciates nature. Surrounded with greenery, the refreshing feel you’ll get from Pasonanca Park is like no other. When the weather is nice and sunny, it would be the ideal spot for afternoon picnics with friends or family. You can also just bring out your bike to ride around with, fly a kite, or simply rest under the shades while reading a book. The place also charms even more travelers in the summer for its waterfalls and swimming pools.

Pasonanca Park is also home to the Boy Scout jamboree where Boy Scouts go out to camp. The open ground is the perfect place for their training and activities. The infamous giant tents that are on the site can be seen even a mile away.

Through time, the place underwent numerous improvements and now it’s also home to a flower garden, butterfly site, and an aviary. Pasonanca Natural Park has been a place not only to cater to tourists, but for the country’s precious flora and fauna too. Various species of wildlife and plants are conserved in the park. That’s why great care is taken into maintaining the cleanliness and order of the place.

If you’re craving a wonderful nature-filled experience or just needed a short, relaxing break from life, then Pasonanca Natural Park is truly the best destination for you.

Take in the history at Fort Pilar Shrine

Your vacation in Zamboanga City wouldn’t be complete without paying this place visit. The Real Fuerza de Nuestra Senora del Pilar de Zaragoza, locally known as Fort Pilar, is one of the main attractions of the city. This famous landmark symbolizes Zamboanga’s rich past as this place was built way back during the Philippines’ Spanish period. As a heritage site, Fort Pilar’s sanctity is carefully maintained. Today, locals and tourists alike flock to this place to see the shrine, light a candle and pray. Of course, you can also just sit and enjoy the peacefulness of the place. It would be good to visit Fort Pilar under a nice weather but I recommend the best time would be around dusk when there’s cool breeze and less crowd. For a more valuable experience, before going home, visit the vendors across the street and fill up your stomach with their native delicacies. There are also several souvenir shops just near the shrine.

Shop at barter markets

Speaking of souvenirs, how is a vacation complete without a shopping trip? If you’re in a tight budget, then you don’t need to worry. Barter markets are popular shopping places for tourists because of the items sold at a cheap price – perfect for your souvenir hauls. The products in barters come from Southeast Asian countries, most typically Indonesia. You can buy lots of different things here like chocolates, candies, bags, clothes, and other wide variety of items. Because everything is so affordable, it would really be tempting to bulk buy to gift your friends back home. Just make sure to wear comfortable clothes because you’ll certainly spend a lot of time looking for the best deals with a pretty large crowd.

Satisfy the stomach with seafood

Being located in a peninsula, there’s only one kind of food you must think of trying when visiting Zamboanga City. That’s right, seafood. Seafood lovers will surely rejoice in the place because of how affordable most of the products are in the market. Shrimps, crabs, all various kinds of fish – Zamboanga has it all for your satisfaction. It’s also a must to visit any seafood restaurants in the place and you’ll be left wanting for more.

Whether you’re traveling for relaxation or adventure, the diversity that Zamboanga City offers makes it a perfect destination. Experience its unique magic and see for yourself why tourists love this place.

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