I first visited Zamboanga City last April 1992 due to the nature of dad’s job. I was barely two years old that time. We stayed there for about a year and a half before returning to Davao City and settled there for good. It was around the third week of January 2011 when Shane called me. He told me that Cebu Pacific Air’s having a seat sale to all domestic destinations for only Php 488 pesos (one-way, excluding tax and fuel surcharge). We suggested different cities but ended up in Zamboanga. The following day, we purchased a round-trip ticket to Zamboanga City for only Php 1,270 with a flight scheduled to leave Davao on the morning of April 1 and a return flight on the morning of April 3. We left Davao 15 minutes ahead of our scheduled time of departure and 41 minutes later, the Airbus A319-100 safely landed at Zamboanga International Airport. Nothing had changed in Zamboanga for the past years.
Zamboanga City is located at the southern tip of the Zamboanga peninsula. It is the country’s third largest city in terms of land area (1,483 km2). Different cultures thrive in this city due to its geographical location. Moreover, tt is now the centre of economic activities in Mindanao with its modern international seaport, which is one of the principal ports of call for inter-island and international shipping. Its airport, which also classified as an international airport, provides air transportation to various domestic destinations. Both seaport and airport serve as transshipment points of various goods to neighboring cities and countries (Wikipedia, 2011).
Upon arrival, Shane and I got surprised when we saw a lady smoking at the arrival hall. It was a bit weird, knowing we’re from Davao where smoking is strictly prohibited to all public places (kudos to Mayor Duterte!). We went outside the terminal building and were greeted by Joan and Christine. Once again, the five of us got reunited after several months of not seeing each other. We decided to eat breakfast at a local restaurant near the airport since we (Shane, Leo and yours truly) have not eaten a decent meal since the time we woke up. They served a fairly decent meal (rice bowl meal topped with mayonnaise) for only Php 55. Pardon me but I already forgot the name of the restaurant.
Me, Christine and Joan
Joan was so nice that she even offered her house as our ‘hotel’ during our three-day stay in Zamboanga City. We even had the chance to tour the some parts of the pueblo for free courtesy of Tita Pet, Joan’s uber nice mommy. At around 11AM, we met up with Nico at a local grocery store and bought some food, soda and chips for our lunch. Before hitting the beachside, we first visited the Yakan Weaving Village. To be honest, I was in awe while watching how they create such intricately designed textiles! Their work seemed to be excruciatingly hard!
The Yakan Weavers of Basilan
We ate our lunch at Golf Beach situated in front of the Weaving Village. The beach offers a clear view of the north side of Basilan Island. Like typical teenagers, we played, laughed and had some mini-photoshoot at the resort. It was a fun day for us despite the abrupt change of the weather. It suddenly rained but it did not spoil our day. We were still happy. That was one of the happiest moments of the trip.
(L-R Top Row: Leo, Shane, Joan, Tin and yours truly. Bottom row: The one and only, Nico, the grown up kid.)
It was around four in the afternoon when we decided to pack our things and proceed to Ateneo de Zamboanga University. It was a great idea of visiting AdZU. The place was so special to me since I celebrated my 2nd birthday there. It was memorable since I danced with my favorite cartoon characters – Tom and Jerry and Ninja Turtles. The campus had changed a bit, though. Since we were all hungry, we rode a trike going to Paseo del Mar. It was almost five thirty in the afternoon but the weather was still gloomy. I got a bit disappointed during that moment since one of my goals on this certain trip was to take a sunset photo at Paseo del Mar. But a few minutes after our arrival, the sun slowly began to show its glory as it lowered itself to the infinite western horizon. It was one of the most amazing sunsets I’ve ever witnessed.
The beautiful sunset at Paseo del Mar
Paseo del Mar is my favorite place here in Zamboanga City. Different varieties food and beverages are sold here at an affordable proce. Here, we talked about anything under the sun, took pictures (again) and ate a lot of tempura and other street food. The sky plunged to total darkness yet the activities within the coastal park seemed to increase rapidly as more and more people flocked some restaurants nearby. Joan introduced their very own Knicker Bucker to us. It’s a fruit salad (banana-watermelon-melon) mixed with a generous amount of whip cream topped with a large scoop of strawberry ice cream. It cost only Php 60 yet their serving was very big! I love Knicker Bucker!
The delicious and infamous Knicker Bucker of Zamboanga
Overall, our first day in Zamboanga was fun. We experienced Zamboanga’s way of life, learned a bit of Chavacano (Pasaje, por pabor, pueblo! LOL I learned that local phrase while riding a jeep) and its exotic places. We went home to Joan’s pad at around 9:30 PM, showered and slept early. Stay tuned for Day 2. It is more exciting, I tell you.