Through the years, the Hispanic influence remained strong in Zamboanga City. It is more prominent compared to other Philippine cities that used to be Spain’s stronghold between the early 18th to late 19th century. The Hispanic influence can also be clearly seen in some of the city’s buildings, like the city hall. True enough, I can really say that Zamboanga is the one and only Asia’s Latin City due to its rich Hispanic influence which had contributed to the city’s culture, language, history and identity.
For our second day in Zamboanga, Joan told us that the best-tasting beef shawarma can only be found at Early Birds. And yes, once again Joan didn’t lie to us. It was indeed delicious. Starting at Php 40.00, one can enjoy Early Birds beef shawarma. Early Birds is located at Maria Clara Lobregat Highway, near Putik Elementary School. The bakery also sells different kinds of breads and pastries. I even ordered two because it was really delicious! After eating their shawarma, we went to Barter located somewhere in Canelar Street to meet up with Nico. We passed by St. Joseph Church while walking under the intense heat of the sun.
The Barter Center is famous for its imported Malaysian goods – from Malaysian textiles, Malaysian chocolates (Apollo!), Malaysian Maggi noodles to Malaysian-looking ladies (LOL just kidding) and many more. Because we were on tight budget, we just bought this cutie-patootie Zamboanga keychain (surprisingly, it’s not made in Malaysia, LOL again) for only Php 20.00.
Because the heat of the sun was starting to hurt our sensitive skin, we entered Mindpro Citimall just to chill for a while. It was a relatively small mall though. Nothing’s fancy at Mindpro, though. Next destination: Pasonanca Park. We first visited the Pasonanca Aviary. The aviary seemed like a smaller replica of Philippine Eagle Nature Park here in Davao City. The place was very clean as well as the air. Here are some of the few shots I took inside the aviary:
And oh, I feel like Harry Potter with my Nimbus 3000 BC!
And these three blind ducks (yes, you heard it, DUCKS not MICE) kept on chasing us! It was really frightening, I tell you.
We also visited Jardin Maria Clara Lobregat (Maria Clara Lobregat Garden). It’s a perfect place for families, friends or even lovers to have some quality time. The six of us talked anything under the sun while eating some chips.
We went back to the pueblo (downtown) and visited the largest cathedral of Western Mindanao, the Zamboanga Cathedral. Unfortunately, a Eucharistic Celebration was held at the main building thus we only had a chance to visit its chapel located at the ground floor. To have a better view of the cathedral, we went to a commercial building located in front of the cathedral and went at the building’s rooftop. Good thing, the guard was kind enough to allow us to climb at the rooftop.
Also, I had the chance to witness the beautiful Zamboanga sunset.
We planned to visit the museum near Paseo del Mar but it was too late. Thus, we decided to just visit Real Fuerza de Nuestra Señora La Virgen del Pilar de Zaragoza aka Fort Pilar instead. Fort Pilar used to be a military defense fortress during the Spanish era. Today, it is now one of the city’s major tourist attractions and holy masses are regularly celebrated here during weekends. As we made our way to the former Spanish stronghold, we were greeted by numerous candle-and-flower vendors. It reminded me of Quiapo Church in Manila. As we entered Fort Pilar, there were lots of people because a mass had just ended. We lighted our candles, offered some prayers and off we went to Paseo del Mar for dinner. Of course, we took several wacky photos here!
Nico had to leave early that night. So we bid him farewell and the five of us went inside Paseo del Mar (again). We ate our dinner and had some booze at Pinokyo courtesy of Shane (Yehey, thank you so much Shane for the post-birthday blowout!). We just talked about anything under the sun – from life, love life, academic life and future life. Spending our last day at Zamboanga was truly memorable and undeniably fun! It was really a great experiencing of visiting my second hometown again together with my VYLH friends! It feels surreal to be back at Zamboanga, after almost 20 years!
Nico, Joan and Tin, thank you for the hospitality that you have given to us. We really appreciated it. I hope the three of you visit us here in Davao!
Quere yo con el Zamboanga!