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The City of Zamboanga (Chavacano/Spanish: Ciudad de Zamboanga) is located at the southernmost tip of Mindanaomarker in the Philippinesmarker. It comprises the southernmost portion of the Zamboanga Peninsulamarker, extending from the northwestern part of Mindanaomarker. Bounded on the south by the Basilanmarker strait, on the west by the Sulumarker and Zamboanga del Nortemarker, on the North by Zamboanga del Surmarker, and on the east by Zamboanga Sibugaymarker, and the most populous city in the Philippinesmarker.

Zamboanga City is one of the oldest cities in the country and is the most Hispanized. It is also one of the largest cities in the world in terms of area, with over 1,483.3849 km², including its 28 surrounding islands. Its recorded population in 2007 was 774,407.

It is the third chartered city in the Philippinesmarker. Zamboanga City is also one of several cities in the Philippines that are independent of any province.

Philippine Commonwealth Act No. 39 signed by President Manuel Luis Quezón on October 12, 1936 established Zamboanga as a chartered city. It has been known variously as "El Orgullo de Mindanao" (The Pride of Mindanao), nicknamed the "City of Flowers," and affectionately called by Zamboangueños as "Zamboanga Hermosa" - Chavacano/Spanish for "Beautiful Zamboanga". Today, the city is commercially branded for tourism by the city government as " Asia's Latin City," a clear reference to Zamboanga's identification with the Hispanized cultures of "Latin America" or the USA's "Latino" subculture.

Zamboanga City has been the center of commerce, trade, health services, and education for all of the Western Mindanao Region. It is the seat of the Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority (popularly known as Zamboecozone).

Zamboanga City brings its best foot forward during the popular Fiesta Pilar, celebrated in honor of the city's patron saint, La Nuestra Senora del Pilar de Zaragozamarker Our Lady of the Pillar of Zaragoza, Spainmarker. A statue honoring the saint is prominently embossed above the facade on the eastern wall of the meter-thick walled fort called El Real Fuerza de Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Zaragozamarker (also called El Real Fuerza de San José in its early days). This Spanish army fort was built on June 23, 1635, by the Spanish Jesuit priest Fr. Melchor de Vera in defense against pirates and slave raiders.

Zamboanga is home of the four major universities: Ateneo de Zamboanga University, Western Mindanao State University, Universidad de Zamboanga and the proposed UP-Zamboanga the second UP campus in Mindanao Island. The city contains the first Catholic diocese in Mindanao, today's Archdiocese of Zamboanga which was created in 1910 and elevated to an archbishopric in 1958.


Inauguration of the Zamboanga Province on July 1, 1901.
Zamboanga City Charter Signing.
Flag of the Republic of Zamboanga

The early Malay settlers called the region "Jambangan", which means Land of the Flowers. These Malays who built their settlements by the river banks were the Subanons, that is the People of the River. Their chief, Saragan, lived with his family atop the legendary Mount Pulumbato that today lords over Pasonanca and Climaco Freedom Park (formerly Abong-Abong Park) then later on, the Samal and the Badjao who came on their frail vintas also settled here, building their huts along the shorelines and confused "Jambangan" with “Samboangan” which comes from the word Sabuan, the wooden pole used to help push their vintas in shallow waters or to tie them for anchorage purposes.

The Spanish colonizers found difficulty in pronouncing Samboangan and instead called the place Zamboanga.The city has rich and colorful history. It was the center of barter trading among Chinese, Malays and the native Tausugs, Samal, Subanons, and the Badjao as early as the 13th and 14th centuries.

It was in 1569 when the Spaniards made their presence felt with a small Catholic Mission established briefly at La Caldera, now known as "Recodo". The city's patron saint is La Nuestra Senora del Pilar de Zaragoza Our Lady of the Pillar of Zaragozamarker, Spainmarker. A statue honoring the saint is prominently embossed above the façade on the eastern wall of Fort Pilarmarker.

Fort Zamboanga was founded, in 1635, by the Spanish, and was the focus of a number of battles between Moro pirates and the Spanish until 1718, when a modifications to the fort were made.

On June 23, 1635, the cornerstone of what is now known as Fort Pilarmarker was laid by Father Melchor de Vera, a Jesuit Priest-Engineer and the Spanish authorities. This date marked the change of the name of the place from Samboangan to "Zamboanga". It is the city’s founding date. The meter-thick walled fort is officially called El Real Fuerza de Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Zaragozamarker (also called El Real Fuerza de San José in its early days).

During the USmarker administration of the Philippinesmarker following its acquisition by the United Statesmarker as a result of the Spanish-American War in 1899, Zamboanga hosted a number of American regional governors, including General John "Black Jack" Pershing (Pershing was Military Commander/Governor of the Moro Province from 1909 to 1914).

Prior to World War II, Zamboanga was the location of Pettit Barracks, where part of the US Army's 43rd Infantry Regiment was stationed. After the successful invasion of the Philippinesmarker, the Japanesemarker occupying force landed at Zamboanga on 2 March 1942, and formed a defense headquarters in Zamboanga, which was taken by combined USmarker and Philippine Commonwealth forces in March 10, 1945.

In 1899, after the Spanish-American War in the Philippinesmarker, the United States of Americamarker defeated the forces of the revolutionary government of the Republic of Zamboanga under popular President and Gen. Vicente Alvarez y Solis thereby establishing full authority in Zamboanga.

The U.S. military then appointed Alvarez's political opponent and U.S. friendly, Isidor Midel, to finish the Presidential term of Alvarez. In March 1901, a municipal election was held with the help of the U.S. administration, wherein Mariano Arquiza was elected President of the new republic for two years ending in 1903. Then after, the Moro Province was established in Mindanaomarker and Sulumarker, and the original ancient Zamboanga was made its capital. The first U.S. form of military government was the Moro Province and during the 12 years of its existence, the American Military Government converted the original Zamboanga into a city in the Commission Form, the first U.S.-created province in Mindanaomarker to become/revert to a city.

Zamboanga was already a major city of government and military importance under the Spanish Administration in the Philippines. However, the U.S. military government of the Moro Province was abolished to give way to a new form of U.S. military/quasi local civilian government, called the Department of Mindanaomarker and Sulumarker. This form of government entrusted to the Filipino residents of Zamboanga practically all positions in government.

The Commonwealth of the Philippines in 1937 declared Zamboanga as a Chartered City. Progress and development in Zamboanga continued since 1983, the Minister Interior Jose Roño proclaimed Zamboanga City as a highly urbanized city.



Aerial view of Zamboanga City

The City of Zamboanga is in Mindanaomarker, the second giant of the archipelago of all the land mass of the Philippines. It is located at the southernmost tip of the Zamboanga Peninsulamarker (approximately within the 1210 53’ 50’’ and 1220 23’ 25’’ east longitude and 60 53’ 50’’ and 70 29’ 20’’ North.). It is approximately 460 nautical miles south of Manilamarker, 365 nautical miles northeast of Kota Kinabalumarker Malaysiamarker, 345 nautical miles northeast of Menado (Indonesia), bounded to the west by Sulu Seamarker, on the east by the Moro Gulf, on the south by the Basilanmarker Strait and Celebes Seamarker and on the north Zamboanga Del Norte and Zamboanga Sibugaymarker. Its distance from Cebu Citymarker is about 372.57 nautical miles, and is 340.17 nautical miles from Davao Citymarker.

Component Islands

The main land territory of Zamboanga City, which encompasses 1,681 kilometers ( 645 square mile ), there are (officially) 11 islands that are part of its principality. The most popular of these islands is the Great Santa Cruz Island, Its tantalizingly beautiful scenery encompasses the rare "pink sand" ( a coloration effect of white sand mixed with red coral sand). almost 20– 30 minutes while riding a boat from the city to the Great Sta. Cruz Island.

The 11 islands come under the city's jurisdiction. The biggest islands is the Sacol (about 12 km. long and 8 km. wide). Three of these islands (Vitali, Malanipa, and Sacol) are inhabited mostly by fishing residents and have their own barangays. The others are frequented only by fishermen and scuba divers. Eleven of these islands on the Moro Gulf coast form a cluster known as the Eleven Islands, the largest being Cabugan Island (approx. 11 hectares).

Climate and Temperature

Zamboanga City enjoys a location free from the typhoon belt area. March to May is hot and dry, with temperature at 22 degrees Celsius. June to October is rainy. November to February is cool, with temperatures ranging from 22 degrees Celsius to 28 degrees Celsius. Average humidity year-round is 77%. According to the local PAGASA the highest temperature recorded in the city was 38.7°C recorded on August 15, 1999 and the lowest is 15.6°C on February 27, 1965 respectively.



In 2007, the Census of Population and Housing of the government's National Statistics Office recorded the city population of 774,407 people with an annual growth rate of 3.56 percent. Compared to the national population, Zamboanga City's 774,407 is only 0.8 percent of the total Philippine population of 88.7 million people.Zamboanga City has 98 Barangays.


The most dominant religion is Christianity with 75%-85% adhering to the faith. The majority of which are Roman Catholics. The remaining percentage belongs to other non-Christian faiths (Islam, Buddhism, etc). Muslim immigrants or visitors from the islands south of the Zamboanga Peninsula (Sulumarker, Tawi-Tawimarker, Basilanmarker) composed much of the Muslim population in the city.

The Archdiocese of Zamboanga (Latin name: Archdiocesis Zamboangensis) is a Catholic archdiocese located within the Philippine Islands. Its present jurisdiction takes in mainland Zamboanga City, with suffragans in Basilan (Prelature of Isabela, Basilan), Sulu Archipelago (Apostolic Vicariate of Jolo) and Zamboanga Sibugay (Prelature of Ipil). Established in 1910 as Mindanao's first diocese, Zamboanga is elevated into the second archdiocese in Mindanao in 1958. The archdiocese today covers a land area of 1,648 square kilometers and a population of 442,345 of which 81 per cent are Catholics. The area covers 26 parishes, served by 49 diocesan and 18 religious priests. There are also 51 religious sisters working in related activities in the archdiocese.


The most common languages and dialects in the city are Zamboangueño (a Chavacano dialect, also known as Zamboangueño Chavacano or Chavacano de Zamboanga), Bisaya, Tagalog, English, Fookien (a Chinese dialect) and Tausug. Approximately 64% of the city’s population consists of the native families of the old Zamboanga who are greatly influenced by the Spanish culture and lifestyle which we called now as a pure Chavacano or Zamboangueño. While the 36% of the city’s population is composed of cultural minority members. A Group of Muslim community, such us the Tausugs, Yakans, Badjaos, Samals, and the Subanons.


The City of Zamboanga has become a Chartered City since 1936. The 3rd oldest city in the Philippines, with a "strong" mayor-council form of government. The government of the City is more centralized than that of most other Philippines cities; the central government is responsible for public education, correctional institutions, libraries, public safety, recreational facilities, sanitation, water supply and welfare services. The public officials can only stay on their position for four-year and tree terms in the same position. The City received its own representation for the Philippine Congress since 1984. The former lone congressional district was divided into two separate districts; the West District (I) from the City Proper to Limpapa headed by Congresswoman Maria Isabelle C. Salazar, while in the East District (II) from Tetuan to Licomo is headed by Congressman Erico Basilio A. Fabian. The government is composed of a mayor, vice mayor, two district representatives, and eighteen councilors.

The city of Zamboanga is composed of morethan 774,407 population since last year 2007. Under the House Bill No: 6259, which is Zamboanga city is qualified to have an additional district representative in the congress since the population of the city becomes bigger since last year 2007. Zamboanga city has 2 representative at the House of Representatives of the Philippines.

The creation of an additional legislative district will be consistent with the constitutional mandate of proportional representation. The additional representation will also result in the additional allocation of Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) which makes possible the implementation, in every congressional district, of small-scale but significant projects which can not be part of large-scale projects of national agencies.

Armed Forces and Law Enforcement

If you are debating about starting or moving your business to Zamboanga City and your are concerned about security; Zamboanga City is one of the most secured cities in the Philippines. Zamboanga City has the Air Force, Army, Marines, the Southern Command of the Philippines or South-Com, and the Police.

In Zamboanga City defense is handled by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which is based on the United States armed forces and is composed of three branches: the Air Force, the Army, and the Navy (including the Marine Corps).


The Zamboanga City is accessible by land, air, and water. Zamboanga is also known as home of the busiest seaport and airport in the country for the past 10 years from now.


Zamboanga International Airport

The local airport of Zamboanga has been upgraded into a secondary international airport, since it's been called as the Zamboanga International Airportmarker.It is the gateway to one of Southeast Asia's fastest growing business and culture hubs and to the entire Western Mindanao area. The airport covers a total land area of 270 hectares. There was also a plan to rename its present airport name into a new named after the late mayor, Maria Clara L. Lobregat.However,the planned was not yet been approved. The airport has a 2,610 meter primary runway and it can serve international flights and bigger planes such as the Boeing C-17, Antonov An-124 and Airbus A320. The government has already earmarked more than 240 million pesos in 2008 for 365 days to completely rehabilitate the existing facilities of the airport.. The airport of Zamboanga was ranked the #10 busiest airport in the Philippines in 2008, after being on the rank 7 for the past 2 years.


Zamboanga International Seaport

The Port of Zamboanga is located in one of the coasts of city,which was considered to be one of the fastest growing economic zones in Mindanao. Zamboanga City has 19 seaports and wharves, wherein the 12 are privately owned and 7 are wholly owned by the government. The seaport is the biggest and the most modern which can accommodate 20 ships at any given time, and there are 25 shipping lines whose vessels regularly serve the port of the city. The port can handle inter-island and international fast ferries, and occasionally international cruise ships. In 2002, the Port of Zamboanga, inclusive of all area ports and Basilan, was ranked #1 in the entire Philippines and registered an astounding 5.57 million passengers, surpassing Batangas by 1.3 million passengers,and Manila by over 1.59 million passengers.

As of May 28,2009, The P700 million worth of port expansion project,which was funded by the National Government in Zamboanga City, was already inaugurated by Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, which was held inside the Freeport Zone in the city..

Land Transportation

Mainly,major public transportations include the jeepneys, tricycles and buses. There are only a few Holiday Taxis serving the city,although most of the taxis in the city are wholly owned by independent players which can accommodate the traffic passengers at the same time. In addition, the proposed City Bus was already a planned since last year 2007, but until now the planned was yet pending at the city council which is wholly owned by a private company.

Master Plan of Zamboanga City

  • Proposed Zamboanga International Airport
The proposed Mercedes International Airport is still yet pending by the government, even though the possible study and all requirements for the new airport are all set. The possible site for the new airport of would be in Brgys. Mercedes, Talabaan and Taluksangay area.

The DOTC of the Philippines allotted 15 million Pesos for the study and preparation for this project last November 2008. Asian Development Bank (ADB) Consultants as well as engineers from Davao City conducted an ocular inspection on an area of more than 200 hectares of idle land in the east coast of the city. This location is being eyed as the site of the new airport, and the newborn commercial district in the city that will boom the economic progress in the east coast of the city proper.

  • New Zamboanga International Seaport
The Zamboanga International Seaport was already open but since then the second phase of this project is still pending at this moment. This international seaport is also one of the priority projects of the government, to assume that the business industry inside the Special Economic Zone are doing well to attract more investors and to accommodate bigger shipping lines and cruise ships from domestic to international. This project will be located inside the Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority which will be one of the promising projects in the city.

  • Integrated Bus Terminal
The proposed P179M project of the Integrated Bus Terminal in the east coast of the city is one of the priority projects of the local government of the city. The Integrated Bus Terminal (IBT) project will be located at the Maria Clara L. Lobregat Highway, in Brgy. Divisoria.The construction of the departure and arrival stations, with architectural design that is modern and contemporary with a touch of Philippine architecture of the Spanish-American era, the road network, drainage systems, complete utilities and amenities, perimeter fence, frontage, expansion of the highway as well as a pedestrian overpass are all included on the plan. The winning bidder of this project hasn't yet been announced, since the project is being currently controversial.

Economy and Industry

The economy of Zamboanga city is mostly on focus to agricultural and aqua cultural. Agriculture and fishing provide activity with an income of 70 percent of the population, while the 30 percent are in Rural activities. Zamboanga is known to be as the Center of Trade, Business and Industry in Zamboanga Peninsulamarker Region and even the island of mindanaomarker.

Zamboanga City exports rubber, pearls, copra, mahogany, and other fine hardwoods, fish, abaca, and fruit products; rice is still imported.


There are 59 active Banks serving the city and 2 more banks are planning to rise in the city in the year 2009. Most of the banks in the city are mainly head branches in the Zamboanga peninsulamarker region. There are also numerous firms and other financial services in the city.

Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority

The Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority (Zamboecozone),also known as Zamboanga Freeport Authority (ZFA), was created by virtue of the Republic Acts of the Philippines 7903 of the Philippinesmarker in the year 1995. It was authored by then the congresswoman and late mayor of the city of Zamboanga,Maria Clara L. Lobregat.

The Special Economic Zone was enacted into law on February 23, 1995 and made operational a year later with the appointment of a chairman and administrator and the members of the Board by former President Fidel V. Ramos. It is located about 20 km. from the city center.

Recognizing the vital role of promotions in attracting viable investments to the freeport zone, an intensified promotional blitz was developed to make ZamboEcozone an investment haven in Southern Philippines. Creating awareness to the various business opportunities offered at the ZamboEcozone was one of the Authority’s marketing priorities for the year, thus a promotional blitz was established.

Shopping Centers and Malls

As the center of commerce in Western Mindanao, Zamboanga is home to five shopping malls and numerous department stores, supermarkets and retail stores.

  • Mindpro Citimall - It was opened in the year 1996, the second mall in the city after Alta mall. The only shopping mall that has a cinema.
  • Yubenco Star Mall - Is a shopping complex that is located at Barangay Putik.
  • Southway Square - It was opened in the year 2007,It is a modern architectural structure in the city.
  • Shoppers' Center - Zamboanga's newest mall. It is located at the City proper.
  • Midtown Plaza Mall - A unique shopping mall that is located at Nuñez Extension.
  • Shoppers' Mall - A proposed 10-story mall with hotel which is currently under construction. Upon completion, it would be the tallest commercial building in the city and will probably be the tallest mall in the country. Owned by the Huylian Development Corporation, it has been two years under construction, and the expected opening of this mall will be within four years time.

Seaweeds Industry

The major species of seaweed grown and harvested in Zamboanga City is the Eucheuma Cottonii seaweed because of its numerous uses; it can be farmed commercially almost anywhere in the city’s coastal areas. Eucheuma seaweed has been commercially introduced in various method of propagation, after extensive experimentation. It was disclosed that eucheuma seaweeds grow faster on reefs than other areas which prove that seaweed farming is viable in this city. When the study of Eucheuma seaweeds propagation was initiated, its technical advancement was transferred to the private sectors, thus making the seaweed industry one of the leading ventures in the country today.

Sardines Industry

Zamboanga is noted for sardine exports to the Philippinemarker market. The sardines are also exported to other countries and regions such as the United Statesmarker, Europe, Middle East, and the Far East. There are canning factories located in the west coast of Zamboanga producing popular sardine brands. Sardine fishing and processing account for about 70 percent of the city's economy or P3 billion, according to press reports. Situated at the western tip of the Mindanaomarker mainland, Zamboanga City is a natural docking point for vessels traversing the rich fishing grounds of the Zamboanga peninsula and the Sulu archipelago. The city’s eight canneries, which employ around 15,000 workers, process 1,000 tons of sardines daily.


The formal education in the Zamboanga City is patterned after the American system, with English as the medium of instruction. Schools are classified into public (government) or private (non-government).Classes start in June, and end in March. The majority of colleges, and universities follow a semester calendar from June to October, and November to March. There are a number of foreign schools with study programs.


The general pattern of formal education follows five stages:
  • Pre-primary level - nursery and kindergarten offered in most private schools;
  • Primary level - six years of basic education;
  • Secondary level - four years of high school education;
  • College level - usually takes four, sometimes five and in some cases as in medical and law schools, as long as eight years; and,
  • Graduate level - additional two or more years of schooling.

Universities and Colleges

One of the most historic cities in the Philippines, Zamboanga plays host to numerous first-rate colleges and universities. These educational institutions attract many students in the province, as well as from the other parts of the country. The city of Zamboanga has a several prestigious private schools in Southern and Western Mindanao. Most of these private schools or institutions are administrated by Catholic and Jesuit schools.

Private Schools

  • Pilar College was founded in the year 1894, as a Cartilla School by the Beaterio Sisters who evacuated from Tamontaca, Cotabato. One of the two sisters who started the Cartilla School in the year 1894 was Mother Maria Antera Cruz, RVM.
  • Ateneo de Zamboanga University (AdZU), founded by the Society of Jesus in 1912, it is the second oldest Jesuit school in the Philippines. It initially catered to primary and secondary education for boys. It became a college in 1952, and a university in August 2001. The Ateneo de Zamboanga began in 1912 as Escuela Catolica, a parochial school run by Spanish Jesuits at the old site of the Immaculate Conception Church, right across the Sunken Garden.
  • Universidad de Zamboanga(UZ) is a private university in Zamboanga City, Philippines, founded on October 12, 1948 by Arturo Eustaquio, Sr. It was formerly known as Zamboanga A.E. Colleges until it was granted by ChEd to become a University School in the year 2005. It has 8 campuses spread out in an area of more than 130 hectares in and outside of the city. These campuses include the Main Campus in barangay Tetuan, City Campus, Cabatangan Campus, Pasonanca Campus, Veterans Campus, San Jose Campus, Canelar Campus and the Ipil Campus in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay. UZ has 2 Highschools namely Arturo Eustaquio Memorial Science Highschool and the UZ Technical Highschool.

Public Schools
  • Western Mindanao State University (formerly Zamboanga Normal College founded 1904) is the first to be granted as a university in the year 1978. It is the only state university in the city. Its campus is located in Baliwasan and is offering college and vocational programs. The university is believed to be the oldest school in Mindanao. WMSU already brought numerous achievements in the academic field, it is the Center of Excellence in Teacher Education, Center of Development in Architecture, Best School in Social Work, Best School in Forestry and Number 1 in the Criminology Board Examinations.

  • Zamboanga City State Polytechnic College( formerly Zamboanga City Trade School founded 1905). It was founded as a small workshop classroom of the Zamboanga Central School in July 1905. In 1937, by virtue of commonwealth Act No. 39, it became Zamboanga City Trade School which offered the secondary curriculum.In 1959, it became a national school under the name Zamboanga School of Arts and Trades by virtue of R.A. No. 2300. Three years later, R.A. No. 3286 authorized the school to offer a degree Program, a 4-year Teacher Education curriculum leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science in Industrial Education (BSIE) with different major of fields of specialization. In 1992, the Zamboanga School of Arts and Trades was converted into Zamboanga City Polytechnic College under the supervision of the Commission on Higher Education. In July 20, 2001, pursuant to R.A. 9142, the Zamboanga City Polytechnic College became a state college and its name was changed to Zamboanga City State Polytechnic College. The college is mandated to provide advanced instruction and professional training in science and technology and other related fields, undertake research and extension services, and provide provide progressive leadership in this areas.

  • University of the Philippines, Zamboanga is proposed university under the Senate Bill No. 2662, A Bill to create new University of The Philippines Campus in Zamboanga City mandated by Senator. Rodolfo Biazon, to serve the whole Zamboanga Peninsula Region and ARMM Region. if this will be approved, UP-Zamboanga will be the second UP campus in Mindanao after UP-Mindanao in Davao City.

Foreign Relations

The City of Zamboanga jurisdictions often partner with foreign cities through Sister Cities International, an organization whose goal is to “promote peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation.” Sister cities interact with each other across a broad range of activities, from health care and education to business, culture and arts.

Zamboanga City is a member of BIMP-EAGA which stands for Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area. BIMP-EAGA is an agreement among the four Southeast Asian neighbor countries for economic cooperation. It has put Zamboanga City in touch with towns in Malaysia and Indonesia. As a result of contacts arising from BIMP-EAGA, an air and sea route has been opened between Zamboanga City and Sandakanmarker in Malaysiamarker.

Sandakanmarker and Zamboanga seen as sisters states or twin cities have always managed to work well together. The strong relationship between Sandakan and Zamboanga has existed for many generations. As immediate neighbors, these two regions have a long history of interactions not only through trade relations but also through culture and social interactions. BIMP-EAGA which was formed in 1994 merely served to further strengthen the existing economic and social ties between these two regions formally.

Hospitals and Health Centers

The city is also home to medical centers and hospitals. These provide quality health care service for Zamboanguenos.

  • Brent Hospital and Colleges, Inc. (Located at R.T.Lim Boulevard) was founded on February 2, 1914 by Charles Henry Brent, the first Protestant Episcopal missionary bishop in the Philippines. It also runs a school within the extensive Hospital Compound, offering nursing and allied health courses.
  • Zamboanga City Medical Center, is the largest medical facility in Region 9 in terms of bed capacity. The hospital was founded in 1918 as the Zamboanga General Hospital. ZCMC, better known simply as "General", is located in the corner of Veterans Avenue-Fort Pilar road.

  • Zamboanga Doctors' Hospital, Veterans Avenue, is the first privately owned hospital established in 1964.

  • Ciudad Medical Zamboanga, one of the most equipped and advance medical centers in Zamboanga, is a five-storey medical complex and located at Nunez Extension.
  • Western Mindanao Medical Center, located at Veterans Avenue Extension, it was established in the year 1990, with state-of-the-art facilities and newly reconstructed building.

  • Universidad de Zamboanga Community Medical Center, (formerly the Zamboanga Arturo Eustaquio Colleges Memorial Medical Center) along San Jose Road, is a university-owned hospital equipped with advanced medical facilities and has a 24-hour pharmacy located inside the Medical complex.

  • Zamboanga City Red Cross,Zamboanga City Chapter Is one of tine pioneer chapters in the country it was established in June 17. 1946 known originally as Zamboanga Chapter. The original Zamboarga Chapter was comprised of the city of Zambonnga and the 3 provinces of Basilan. Zamboanga (Del Norte, and del Sur) .Zamboanga City Chapter has a Blood Center complete with laboratory equipment for blood processing. The chapter contributed to the wed being of the patients needing blood both in public arid private hospitals.

Other specialized hospitals are: Zamboanga Children's Hospital, Salvador A. Cabato Memorial Hospital, Edwin Andrews Air Base Hospital, Camp. Navarro General Hospital, Zamboanga Puericulture Lying-in Maternity Hospital and the Mindanao Central Sanitarium.

Parks and Landmarks

Zamboanga City Gallery

The Philippine Department of Tourism has selected Zamboanga City to highlight as a tourist destination to be promoted nationally and internationally. Tourism to the Zamboanga Peninsula has trended upward in recent years. Domestic and foreign tourist arrivals increased 8 percent to 439,160 in 2005, according to data from the regional tourism office. The same report notes that Filipinosmarker accounted for 80 percent of the tourist arrivals. Moreover, 50 percent of those tourists visited Zamboanga City.

Courtyard of Fort Pilar
Paseo del Mar

  • Cawa-Cawa Boulevard - Is a park that near at the sea that you can visit the place early in the morning for brisk walking/jogging or in the afternoon for its famed sunset view.

  • Fort Pilarmarker - Founded in 1635 as a garrison during the Spanish period, the Fort Pilar serves as a present day open-air shrine. Originally named as La Fuerza Real de San Jose, the fort is named after and dedicated to Our Lady of the Pillar, the patroness of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga. It image is embossed at the altar (which was then an entrance of the fort). Fort Pilar also houses a National Museum branch inside the fort.

  • Sta. Cruz Island - The Great Santa Cruz island is known for its pink sand beach and sand bar, while the Little sta. cruz island is a typical white beach, with pulverized-like sand.

  • National Museum of Zamboanga City - The establishment of a museum branch in Zamboanga City was made possible by Presidential Decree 260. declaring Fort Pilar as a National Cultural Treasure on August 1,1973. Situated within the historic Fort Pilar, the museum is named in honor of Nuestra Señora del Pilar, patroness of Zamboanga.

  • Paseo del Mar na Zamboanga - a seafront parkway located adjacent to the walls of Fort Pilar. The Paseo encompasses 2.5 hectares in what was a former slum, which required relocating 300 families. The walkway faces scenic Basilan Strait.

  • Pasonanca Park - Traversed by a gently rippling stream, that is abounds with trees, flowering plants, ferns, shrubs and 600 different species of orchids. Mindanao Governor John J. Pershing started the construction of Pasonanca Park in 1912. He sent for a parksman in the United States, once named Thomas Hanley, to prepare the plan and direct its execution. The park was completed under the administration of Governor Frank W. Carpenter. There is a treehouse nestling high in the branches of one big tree where guests could pass the night and hold communion with nature which, in the darkness, could still be perceived in the gentle rustling of the pine trees. Permission to use the treehouse, which is for free, can be obtained at the Office of the Mayor.

  • Pettit Barracks - site that US forces under Gen. C. Bates occupied after the capture of the city on November 15, 1899. It was named Pettit Barracks after Col. James S. Pettit, 31st Infantry, US Volunteer Commanding Officer of the Second Military District. Occupied by Japanese forces in 1942-1945, the barracks were recaptured by United States and Philippine Commonwealth liberation forces on March 10, 1945, and turned over to the Philippines on July 4, 1946.

  • Plaza Pershing - Plaza Pershing was established in Zamboanga City, Philippines to honor John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing (September 13, 1860 – July 15, 1948) with his victory over Muslim insurgents.

  • Jardin de Maria Clara- La Jardin de Maria Clara Lobregat is a garden park named after the late mayor Maria Clara Lobregat. The park consists of floral and butterfly species such as orchids, roses and colorful butterflies surrounding the garden. It also has an aviary park for the avian species such as parrots, turkeys, and eagles among the birds.

  • Modern Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception - Founded in 1810 as a parish located at the present day Universidad de Zamboanga campus, the Cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Zamboanga (created in 1910 as diocese and elevated in 1958 as an archdiocese). It is known as one of the most modern cathedrals in Asia, built in 1998-2001. The cathedral is located at La Purisima St. The cathedral's structure is cruciform, resembling a cross and its facade is patterned after a candle (which is connected to the Blessed Virgin Mary).

  • St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish Church, Tetuan - Records shows that at the start, there was a small chapel constructed on a lot. Owned by Don Balbino Natividad, a permanent resident of Tetuan. It was build on January 1863. Barrio Tetuan's Catholic Church now known as the Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish Church can be found on Fr. Baruja,S.J. Street corner Atilano Street. The original church structure was destroyed during World War II. It is historically recognized as the first catholic parish in Mindanaomarker, Philippinesmarker.

  • Serenity Falls - Zamboanga City's Serenity Falls bounded between La Paz and Pamucutan, at the foot of the EcoZone's south entrance.

  • Taluksangay Mosque - The famous Mosque in Barangay Taluksangay is considered as one of Zamboanga’s tourist spots. This colorful mosque is located in the barrio of Taluksangay outside the city center.

  • Old Normal School Building - Also known as the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) Social Hall, the building was built during the American Era and was the center of education for most of Mindanao. Presently, this houses The College of Education of WMSU and is also the site where most cultural presentations are held. It also houses a Museum.

  • Yakan Weaving Center - Host to the only Yakan community in the City, the center is located just across the famed La Vista de Mar beach resort at the border of Barangay Upper Calarian and Sinunuc and along the National Highway. You can witness the local people weaving intricately hand-woven clothes on giant looms as well as traditional brasswares.

  • Zamboanga City Hall - The construction of this building started in 1905 and was completed in 1907 by the Federal Government of the United States for the then American Governors of the area which included: Leonard 0. Wood, Tasker H. Bliss, Ralph W. Hoyt, and Gen. John Pershing of World War I fame. Today, this serves as the City Hall of Zamboanga City where the Mayor holds office.

  • Zamboanga Golf and Country Club - Known to be the "oldest Golf Course" in the Philippines. It was established during the American Occupation and is overlooking the Basilan Strait. It also is host to a public swimming resort managed by the Philippine Tourism Authority.


Zamboanga City is home to a diverse culture. It is a melting pot of different kinds of people. It boasts a long and worth-knowing history. These diversity and duration are just two of the many reasons behind the City's numerous colorful and solemn festivities. These festivals dates are generally non-working holidays. A few of the major celebrations in the city are listed with some bits of must-know facts.

Cultural Arts and Music

Zamboanga City's Art history spans a period of over 500 years, with heavy influence coming from the Malay and Spanish culture early on, and the West more recently. Countless, and quite priceless, artifacts dating back to over a thousand years have been excavated in the early 1900s by American archaeologists during their occupation of the Philippinesmarker in the vicinities of Zamboanga and Mindanaomarker.

Many of these artifacts are currently housed in "vaults" of some major U.S. universities, inaccessible to the general public. The gong is a percussion instrument found in music throughout Southeast Asia. In Mindanaomarker, the second largest island in the Philippines, and Zamboanga City particularly, the gong is used in many folk dance routines reflecting the international flavor of its ancestry.

When played, it is suspended from the rim and struck on the center piece, called a "boss," with a wooden beater that has a cork head. Changes in pitch are achieved by shaving down either the boss or the rim of the instrument.


Zamboanga City is a center of communication, for television, advertising, music, newspaper and book publishing industries and is also the largest media market in Western Mindanao.Some of the city's daily newspapers conglomerates include the Mindanao Examiner Productions, Zamboanga Times, Zamboanga Today are based in the city. And the City of Zamboanga operates a Private Regional public broadcast service, like the ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation, GMA Network, TV5, RPN Zamboanga, and GPBI-TV11, this media conglomerates that serve the Western Mindanao specially the City of Zamboanga. And many cable channels are being served the City.

OCM (Original Chavacano Music)

Concert of Comic Relief
2008 marks the year of OCM (Original Chavacano Music as it mades its way mainstream. Wherein it is now being played always on the radio. With the COMIC RELIEF band first pioneered the songs of OCM including "CUANDO?", "NUAY MAS" & "NECESITA", many bands jumped into the bandwagon and created also their very own compositions: Maldita, BadGrass and RainPlay. OCM is now enjoying mainstream success.


Zamboanga cuisine is like its exotic Chavacano: basically Spanish with an admixture of local tongues, thus endowing it with a delectable gastronomical flavor that provides a rich cultural experience as well. This was especially true in the old days when Castilian influence rubbed off quite thickly on the people of that little Spanish town, now revered in prose as "un glorioso pedaza del corazon de Castilla" (a glorious pice of the heart of Spain).

Most Zamboanga dishes are Spanish in origin. Others, like bagon de gata, tamales, and those with heavy dependence on gata (coconut cream/milk) are distinctly indigenous. Yet, even the most native of local foods, namely the sinigang, Spanish influence is evident in the use of herbal spices, such as tanglad (lemon grass), and bambawing (a "weed" which seems to be peculiar to Zamboanga, and looks and smells like a "wild" member of the basil family). Olive oil is often used for some fish preparations.


Zamboanga is known for many native delicacies. One of the most loved delicacies of Zamboanga that has been made as the favorite pasalubong of Zamboangueños is the Zambo Rolls which is called in local dialects as "lokot-lokot", "jah" or "tagaktak". There are other native delicacies in Zamboanga City loved by Zamboangueños such as the alfajor, chika-chika, satti(popularized by Jimmy's satti) , sikalang and many more.

Entertainment and Recreation

The city of Zamboanga is also one of the cities in the Philippines that cater Entertainment and Recreation area in the Philippines, Zamboanga City comprises a wide range of establishments that operate facilities or provide services to meet varied cultural, entertainment, and recreational interests of their patrons.


There are 5 major sports in the Zamboanga City. These are basketball, boxing, billiards, football (soccer), and volleyball. Sports such as athletics, weightlifting, aerobics, and martial arts are also a popular recreation.

Real Estates

Subdivisions are areas of land that have been subdivided into individual residential plots. Whereas some subdivisions comprise exclusive gated communities, others are merely demarcations denoting a specific neighborhood. Some subdivisions may conduct autonomous security, or provide basic services such as water and refuse management. Most subdivisions are governed by associations made up of members who are residents of the subdivision. In the Philippines, subdivisions are also known as villages.

Festivals and Events

  • Dia de Zamboanga
February 26, 1937- the date when Zamboanga was declared a chartered city under the Commonwealth Government. Charter Day of the City became a non-working holiday. A roster of special activities are lined up annually to mark the occasion. The signing of the City's Charter by Pres. Manuel Luis Quezón was witnessed by Assemblyman Juan S. Alano, Representative of the Moro Province of Mindanao, then Zamboanga City Mayor Don Pablo Lorenzo, and a number of other public officials, as well as a young school girl, Maria Clara Lorenzo, who eventually became a well-loved Representative and City Mayor of Zamboanga until her death in 2004.

  • Holy Week
March/April (movable)A city procession known as the Santo Entierro (Holy Funeral) on Good Friday highlights the observance of the season of Lent. Celebrated in most parish churches in the city and in the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, the Santo Entierro is a procession of Christ's images, many of the Stations of the Cross, along the city's main streets, depicting his last hours before, during, and after the Crucifixion.

  • Flores de Mayo
A religious feast celebrated in all Catholic church in honor of the Virgin Mary. Little children in white gala dresses walk up the altar to offer flowers to the image of the Blessed Mother, as the Catholics call her. In some parts of the city, the traditional Santacruzan is also held. The Santa-cruzan is a procession of the Reyna Elena and other local beauties with their escorts, decked out in Maria Clara gowns and barong tagalog, along major streets.

  • Santacruzan
Last day of Flores de MayoA religious feast celebrated in many Catholic Parishes in honor of Reyna Elena (Queen Helen)and her son Constantine who went to the Holy Land to search for Jesus' Cross.

Every October the scenic city of Zamboanga, as the "City of Flowers", and also known as Asia’s Latin City celebrates its grand annual Zamboanga Hermosa Festival or the popularly known as Fiesta Pilar with 12 days and nights of events and celebrations. The beautiful city of Zamboanga welcomes thousands to the region's biggest, most extravagant celebration of the year. The two day celebrations are mainly in honor of the miraculous image of Our Lady of the Pilar Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Zaragosa, which is also commonly known as the Fiesta Pilar at the legendary Fort Pila who has a special fiesta in October. The people of Zamboanga passionately believe that the lady has served as their unifying cultural and historical symbol.

In tribute of her feast day, Zamboanga displays its loyalty and enthusiasm with a nine-night procession, the event includes live music, cultural performances; street parades, fireworks displays and one of the most amazing aspects of the festivities include a wonderful Regatta de Festival with old sailing ships and yachts sporting red, yellow, other brightly colored sails, the Mascotta festival. There are also art exhibitions and colorful flower shows displaying the botanical wonders of Mindanao's tropical vegetations. (Watch out for the orchids, which are particularly striking). 'Hermosa', which means beautiful, is an appropriate term for this visually dazzling event.

  • Pascua na Cuidad
Every year, the local government of Zamboanga decorates one of the central landmark of the City, the City Hall. And every year, this place becomes an attraction to local folks and visitors of the city. This is a great initiative of the local government. Aside from inviting people to come to Zamboanga, the lights also brings the spirit of Christmas to everyone. People, young and old, rich and poor, gather around the area and watch the beauty of the lights.Celebration of Jesus Christ's Birth. City hall, churches, schools, streetlight post, houses, streets, commercial places, parks and most of the other places in the City are covered with lights, filled with joyous sounds and other Christmas Decorations.

  • Fonda de Barangay
Week-long celebration in the Barangay/Barrios honoring their patron saints. The celebration usually starts with novena masses held every day for 9 straight days prior the feast day of the patron saint. every night, the barrio is lit up for celebration and merry-making that includes pageants, trade fair, parade, cock-fighting, carnival, musical competition and "baile."

See also

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