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Zamboanga Peninsula is a peninsula and an administrative region in the Philippinesmarker. Designated as Region IX, the region consists of three provinces, namely, Zamboanga del Nortemarker, Zamboanga del Surmarker, and Zamboanga Sibugaymarker, its component cities of Dipologmarker, Dapitanmarker, Pagadianmarker, and Isabelamarker (Capital of Basilanmarker Province, which is a part of the ARMM) and the chartered city of Zamboangamarker. Pagadian Citymarker is the regional center. The region was previously known as Western Mindanao before the enactment of Executive Order No. 36 on September 19, 2001.


Province of Zamboanga

After the United Statesmarker annexed the Spanish East Indies in 1898, Zamboanga was briefly independent as the Republic of Zamboanga. It became a part of the Moro Province, which consisted of the Central and Western parts of Mindanaomarker and the Sulu Archipelagomarker. The name and status of Moro province soon changed to the Department of Mindanao and Sulu on August 16, 1916, that caused Zamboanga to become a province.

On 1942, the occupied by the Japanese Imperial forces taken in Zamboanga Peninsula

On 1945, the liberation at Zamboanga Peninsula by defenders of the Philippine and United States forces against the Japanese Imperial forces during the World War II.

On June 6, 1952, the province was divided into two provinces, Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur, while the chartered City of Zamboanga became an independent city.


Together with the Sulu Archipelagomarker, the provinces that formerly made up Zamboanga province were organized into Region IX by order of Presidential Decree No. 1 as part of the Integrated Reorganization Plan of President Ferdinand Marcos.

Between 1975 to 1989 the old Region IX (Western Mindanao) was divided into two sub-regions by Presidential Decree No. 773 dated August 21, 1975.

Sub-Region IX-A consisted of Basilanmarker, Sulumarker and Tawi-Tawimarker with Jolo, Sulumarker as the sub-regional center.

Sub-Region IX-B consisted of the provinces of Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur, with the chartered city of Zamboanga City as the sub-regional center.

The Present

In 2001, Zamboanga Sibugaymarker, was created from the province of Zamboanga del Sur with Ipil as the seat of government.

In the same year, the residents of Basilanmarker opted to join the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in a plebiscite. However, the citizens of the capital, Isabelamarker, did not want to join so the city remained a part of this region with the as a result of Executive Order No. 36.

In 2004, Pagadian officially became the Regional Center for Region IX- Zamboanga Peninsula, despite opposition from Zamboanga City, the former Regional Center.

Political divisions

Political map of Zamboanga Peninsula
Province/City Capital Population
Pop. density

(per km²)
Zamboanga del Nortemarker Dipolog Citymarker 907,238 7,301.0 137.0
Zamboanga del Surmarker Pagadian Citymarker 914,278 4,499.5 262.6
Zamboanga Sibugaymarker Ipilmarker 546,186 3,607.8 176.8
Zamboanga Citymarker Zamboanga Citymarker 774,407 1,483.4 522.0
Isabela Citymarker¹ 87,985 140.7 625.3

Component cities

¹ Isabela Citymarker is a component city and capital of the province of Basilanmarker. Isabela City continues be under the jurisdiction of Basilan for the administration of provincially-devolved services and functions. But for the administration of regional services, the city is part of the Zamboanga Peninsula Region despite the rest of Basilan being under the authority of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.


Zamboanga Peninsula lies between the Moro Gulf, part of the Celebes Seamarker, and the Sulu Seamarker. Along the shores of the peninsula are numerous bays and islands. Its territory consists of the three Zamboanga provinces and Zamboanga City, as well as the Northern Mindanao province of Misamis Occidentalmarker. The peninsula is connected to the main part of Mindanaomarker through an isthmus situated between Panguil Baymarker and Pagadian Bay. The boundary between the peninsula and the mainland is artificially marked by the border between the provinces of Zamboanga del Surmarker and Lanao del Nortemarker.


The region has vast forest resources and previously used to export logs, lumber, veneer and plywood. Mineral deposits include gold, chromite, coal, iron, lead, and manganese. Among its non-metallic reserves are coal, silica, salt, marble, silica sand, and gravel. Its fishing grounds are devoted to commercial and municipal fishing. It has also aqua farms for brackish water and freshwater fishes.


Zambaoanga Peninsula has five cities: Dipolog Citymarker, Dapitan Citymarker, Isabela Citymarker, Pagadian Citymarker, and the highly-urbanized city of Zamboangamarker. Isabela City is a part of the island-province of Basilanmarker to the south of the peninsula.

Dapitan is also known as the "Shrine City in the Philippines" because the place where Jose Rizal, the National Hero, was exiled. It is also known for the old St. James Parish and the beach resort of Dakak.

Dipolog is also known as the "Gateway to Western Mindanao" and "Orchid City" of the Philippines and the "Bottled Sardines Capital of the Philippines".

Isabela, dubbed "The Rising City of the South", was the southernmost outpost of the Spanish in the Philippines until the fall of Jolo in 1878. Having hosted Catholic residents since 1637, and a Spanish Fort (destroyed in World War II) since 1848, it was likewise the Primary Naval Base of the Spanish for Mindanao until 1899. Named after Spanish Queen Isabella II, the city is the southernmost predominantly Christian enclave of the Philippines, and serves as the entrepot for trade and commerce of Basilan island.

Pagadian is also known as the "Little Hong Kong of the South" because of its topographical feature that is reminiscent of Hong Kongmarker, China. It also has an affluent Chinese community that officially celebrates the Chinese Lunar New Year. The city of Pagadian is the Regional Center of Zamboanga Peninsula.

Zamboanga is the only Highly Urbanized and Independent city in the region. It is ta ourist destination known for its old Spanish fort, Fort Pilarmarker. It is also known as the third oldest charter city in the Philippines and now serves as the center of trade, commerce, industry and education in the region.

In 2006, Zamboanga City was re-labeled from "City of Flowers" to "Asia's Latin City". The new label is the brainchild of mayor Celso L. Lobregat believing that this was a more relevant and significant label given the fact that the people of Zamboanga speak Chavacano, a local dialect composed of Eighty percent (80%) Spanish words and the remaining Twenty percent (20%) a mixture of other local dialects such as Visayan, Ilonggo, Subanon, Yakan and Tausug.


It has the first export-processing zone in Mindanao. Farming and fishing are the main economic activities of the region. It also has rice and corn mills, oil processing, coffee berry processing and processing of latex from rubber. Its home industries include rattan and furniture craft, basket making, weaving and brass work.



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