A Sound and Secured Zamboanga Trip

After the heart-pounding trips to Basilan and Tawi-Tawi, it's finally time for a relaxed travel. The final leg of this Southern Eskapo is a visit to Asia's Latin City - Zamboanga. Among the 3 provinces we visited, this one brought us less worries. ^_^

Nothing is more remarkable to me but their dialect. Though it really is difficult for me to understand, Chavacano really sounds good. You have no idea how much I pity myself all throughout this trip. Haha Im a pure breed Manila girl and can only speak Tagalog. Oh well, I can communicate in English fluently so I may be able to visit English speaking countries with ease. I might check out Air Canada and catch a flight to the 2nd largest country in the world.

Pink Beach in Sta.Cruz Island
Anyway, Dom and I wasted no time and walked towards Paseo Del Mar. The place will be the jump off point to the famous Pink Beach in Sta.Cruz Island. (thanks to Marx for the booking assistance!) Boat rental is P1,000 - which is a bit steep for the two of us. Thankfully, ate Gigi and her kids joined us.

approaching Sta.Cruz Island

I told you, this Zamboanga leg didn't bring any worries at all. The place was surrounded by military soldiers. The place feels so secured.

Pink Beach in Sta.Cruz

pink sand because of these crushed red corals

The sand is fine and the water is clear. This beach is really a perfect place to take a dip - Im just not sure why most of the locals still haven't visited this place.

security issues? military men are on stand by.

While some are still have security issues, this family don't look bothered at all. I bet no grandmother would ever bring her grandchildren in a place where she thinks would not be safe for the kids.

family time in the beach!

Ate Gigi told us there's a nearby Muslim cemetery in the area so we checked that out.

pictorial in the Pink Beach with Van and her lovely sarong
photo credit: Dong Ho

We reached a strange place (at least for me). The tombs are not the ones I used to see in Manila. This Muslim cemetery looks more interesting. We asked some Muslims and found out that you could identify whether the tomb belongs to a Yakan, a Tausug, a Badjao, and other groups.

some prefer to have their tombs with textile

Usually, a person who's about to die will make specific request for his tomb. Upon his death, the relative will of course comply to his final requests.

The dead bodies are usually wrapped with clothes then placed sidewards. Interesting, bakit nakatagilid?

a tomb which belongs to a Badjao

The cemetery felt so peaceful. I think everyone would want to be buried near the sea as well.

a cemetery which is a step away from the peaceful beach

Moving on, we dropped by the mini-souvenir stores. It's ironic that they sell shirts, shells, corals, but not a food or water. Nakaka-dehydrate. This is where I tasted softdrinks again. Masarap pala ang Coke!

everything is for sale

including this black coral

Around Pueblo by Day and Night
After a quick rest (palit lang ng damit ang pahinga), we strolled around town. Like any other town, the streets get crowded on weekends. Families and friends get together to attend Mass, some spend the night to relax and unwind while having a beer. Pretty much a normal scene.

at Fort Pilar

bird's home at Fort Pilar

There's an ongoing mass in Fort Pilar. It's nice to see that this mass is well attended by the locals.
A very short walk brought us to the Museum. It's like a small Intramuros in some way.

bagets1: may janitor fish. ang laki!
bagets2: kinakain yan sa Maynila
me (biglang umepal sa usapan): hindi ah!

..and where is that janitor fish? na-curious ako.

30 mins before 6pm, we took a tricycle to Canelar Barter. The place is full of goods from Malaysia and Indonesia - the neighboring countries which are only hours away from Zamboanga.

cheap pashmina, sarong, and a lot more

and imported chocolates

The prices are affordable, you just need to name your bid. I bought Cadbury Drinks for P220, Apollo Wafers for P70, and a magnet for P20 only. I should've bought some pashmina too, kaso di na kasya sa bag ko. ^_^

Dom and I agreed to have our dinner at Alavar Restaurant. This place is famous for their Curacha dish.

Alavar Restaurant

Curacha is a deep sea crab, and because of scarcity Curachas are a bit expensive compared to regular crabs. We just didn't expect that a piece of large Curacha Dish would cost us P650! Ang mahal!

Curacha in Alavar sauce for P650!

Actually it tasted like a regular crab. I dont regret ordering this anyway. Famous dishes in a place are always a must try.

○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○
a week after this trip, the ultimate Nomadic Pinoy invited us (with the big time bloggers Nina and Ferdz) for a buffet dinner at Marriot Hotel.

surprisingly, the expensive Curachas are being served! well of course, Dominic and I grabbed our chance to eat as much Curachas as we wanted. ^_^

thank you Dennis, it's a great pleasure to meet you. im a fan!
○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○

Okay, going back. Like other locals, we headed to Paseo del Mar to spend the night. Faith, Zyrene, Tanggera.com and her friend joined us.

dancing fountain at Plaza Pershing

Among the many memorable things in Zamboanga, this one really amazed me big time. These Badjao kids showcased their deep sea diving skills and superior night vision! They could even dive without goggles for a precious coin! Ha-meey-zing!

badjao kids and their great night vision + deep sea diving skills

I have no coins left in my pocket (and Dom only gave me a coin to throw tapos ayaw na nya kong bigyan ulit) so my amusement with these kids ended immediately. Haha Siguro nga ako lang talaga nag-eenjoy sa talent nila. ^_^

Another must try in Zamboanga is the Knicker Bucker. It's just basically a fruit salad, with watermelon, buco, and ice cream.

a knicker bucker for P60 (sponsored by Faith)

It was the night to chill and relax, and so we did.

Taluksangay Mosque
The next morning, we headed our way to the oldest mosque in Western Mindanao - the Taluksangay Mosque. Muslim religious missionaries from Arabia, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Borneo have been visiting this village to see it.

The inhabitants of this area are all Muslims so we took extra precautions. It's important to ask permission first before you do anything inside this village.

i really salute these Muslim kids for wearing this outfit.
the sun is unforgiving yet their bodies were all covered.

Someone approached us and asked our purpose. We told the care taker of the mosque that we're tourist and we just wanted to see the place. He gladly opened the gate and let us in.

Taluksangay Mosque
being repainted at the moment

all mosques all over the world are built facing the direction of Mecca

polished and well maintained

I believe this is the first time I entered a mosque. Most of the time I would just be contented to take a photo from the outside. For me, a house of prayer is sacred - so it is a disrespect to walk around the area or/and disturb the worshipers.

Islam means to submit freely to The Commandments and Will of The One and Only God (Allah). This submission should come from within, from sound belief in and conviction to Allah, with no doubt. It should also come from love, trust, and affection.

This religion is interesting as well. I would love to learn more of it in the future.
As a bonus, we had the chance to hitchhiked and talked with a Hajji on our way back to the city.

Metropolitan Cathedral
There are still lots of tourist spots to see in Zamboanga City but I choose to visit the Metropolitan Cathedral.

The cross in Metropolitan Cathedral is exaggeratedly built to be huge to emphasize that Zamboanga is a Christian dominated city. 60% of the population here are Christians.

The military men are just around the church entrance for security purposes. I told you, this Zamboanga trip is so sound and secured.

not only that i found this place safe, my heart and soul felt peace to be in the House of our Lord

This well-attended Catholic Mass was indeed a great sight. It's nice to know there are lots of Christians in this part of Mindanao. Throughout our Southern Eskapo, this is the only time I felt inner peace. Finally, Im in a familiar place.

the beautiful altar

Secured, not exactly safe.
Again, bad things can happen anywhere at anytime. Zamboanga City really aims to protect and secure the people from any attacks that might happen. Military men can be found everywhere!

Malaya ang matapang.
What can I say but I really admire those people who are willing to take risks. Their adventures are limitless, and their lives are well-spent.

To be united is a great thing. But to respect the right to be different is even greater.

again, thank you Dom for the company. enjoy ang trip na to! saan tayo next? =)

42 responses:

Chyng said...

2 items down in my 2012 To-Do-List. yey!

rem said...

ang habaaaaaaa.... at sayaaaaaa! hehehe! CONGRATS!!! ;)

khantotantra said...

ayus yung black coral.... wowowowwo. mukang magandang pasalubs.

congrats for removing 2 items sa bucket list.

Chyng said...

^ hehe, bawal yun.

wander shugah said...

wow!! I love zamboanga city! and i wanna visit it again :) Beautiful photos! konti nlng ung nasa 2012 to do list mo! :D

Axl Powerhouse Production Inc. said...

wow... yun...
i like it... oh no.. i must say.. ILOVE it....
congrats nabawasan na ang list sa bucket....

natawa ako bigla sa janitor fish hahaha....

ardee sean said...

at first, naalarma ako dun sa boat when you were approaching the island.. camouflage talaga.. shet.. ay sorry.. pero as soon as i tour around your post, so fab.. ang saya lang, nakikisaya na lang ako.. hahah.. pupuntahan ko na lang din yan.. :P

mars said...

long but as usual, ever so interesting post. one more down on your bucket list(yes sinusubaybayan ko sya haha), congrats!

Kate said...

thanks for sharing! I'd love to go back here. Last time I was in Zamboanga was in 1999 pa! We were there for a week tapos we went to Jolo where I had the unfortunate experience of eating turtle eggs (not to offend our host) :( Wish I still had my photos. I took a lot with my SLR pero nawawala na yung film. haha.

Nathelle said...

Hi Chyng! My mom is from Zamboanga, and the only times we visited her hometown, we just stayed in the province. I showed her this post and she said that Sta. Cruz island is indeed a beautiful place. :)

Pinoy Adventurista said...

Will definitely include the Sta. Cruz Beach and the Taluksangay Mosque on my next visit to Zamboanga by the end of the year... Bienvenidos Ciudad de Zamboanga!

blissfulguro said...

at sumoftdrinks ka chyng?!

ansarap ma-shopping sa Zamboanga!

super noted

Senyor Lakwatsero said...

bagets1: may janitor fish. ang laki!
bagets2: kinakain yan sa Maynila
me (biglang umepal sa usapan): hindi ah!

hahaha! yan din exactly gagawin ko pag ako nakadinig nyan

jhengpot said...

nakakatuwa talaga mapadpad dito, nakaka-engganyo magtravel. pero for the mean time sulyap sulyap na lang muna sa mga pektures. hehehe

Micamyx|Senyorita said...

Interesting yung tombs sa cemetery nila ah. Nice pics at nakaka-engganyo as usual :D

michymichymoo said...

Wonderful photos! :) May beef naman sila dun di ba? :) Wala kasi akong hilig sa seafood. :)


John Michael Bueno said...

Wish I could do the same Chyng... really wish...

Nicole said...

malaya ang matapang, chyng na chyng! :)

Photo Cache said...

this post is a veritable visual feast. the photos are amazing and your experiences memorable.

nice to see your photos with nomadic pinoy.

marxtermind said...

Nadaanan nyo ung street na puro ibon (kalapati ata) sya pag gabi?

Bechay said...

Ang ganda pala ng Zamboanga city! I wanna go there!

lakwatserong tatay said...

panalo talaga ang trip nyo...at least dito nasabi mo ito na ang pinakasafe...hehehehe...

congratz in advance nga rin pala malapit na matapos un 2012 to do list mo!!! galing....^_^

chino said...

Congratulations, nakakainggit Pangarap ko din yan puntahan ang zamboanga city. Pero hindi ko pa ata kaya ngayon.

Ichan said...

Hameyzing talaga! congrats! wala pang mid ng 2012 matatapos mo na ung bucket list mo.. =)

mia said...

Sana magkaron ako ng lakas ng loob na pumunta sa Tawi Tawi, Basilan at Zamboanga! Nakapunta palang ako South Cotabato at Sultan Kudarat at ninerbyos na ako ng husto haha. Good job! Congrats!

tey hilario-morales said...

so glad you find zamboanga secured.. have you tried their famous sate?
no matter how much i have liked it, i could never feel secured while staying there...maybe because i visited it during election time...

Mahj said...

You are recommended by a friend and now I added you on my blog list, I will now read your blog always

Donnie Ray said...

once palang ako nakatikim ng crab with alavar sauce. gusto ko uli makakain nun!

ganda ng shots.

Ikaw na!

Chyng said...

^ weh? nakapunta ka na ng Zambo?

Kol Me Empi said...

pasalubong! :D

Chris|SeaBreezeCottagesMoalboal said...

I think that beach was featured on Korina's show. Ganda pala talaga ng pink na beach. Maganda sana potential ng place kaso di mo maiaalis ang stigma ng tao. It could be the next Boracay.

joy said...

Again, great post, wonderful pictures and very informative. Thank you for sharing again:) can't wait for the next:)

Allen said...

1. ang cool ng military boat. parang laruan.

2. napakainteresting ng tomb stones. mas artsy pa kesa sa christian ones.

3. naglaway ako sa curacha.

4. those kids' smiles are priceless.


docgelo said...

I definitely agree with your last statement. Despite the fact that "Unity in Diversities" is great, it remains to be ideal only; difficult and luxurious to achieve. Respect for differences would be so much practical and logical.

I read this post with Gabby seated beside me. I showed him your photos of Muslim kids just to teach him that there are Muslim-Filipinos too. Alam mo naman, walang Sibika-at-Kultura o Araling Panlipunan ang dapat na grade-one-kong anak dito, kundi Geography and other non-Filipino subjects.

The photo with imported stuffs must have come from either Indonesia and Malaysia, possibly in Kota Kinabalu (Sabah)--may nakita akong Ali Cafe white coffee at Oat Krunch e! :) Good buy ang Cadburry chocolate drink, did you have the one in powder drink-form?

Glad to see "the ultimate" Dennis with Pinoy travel bloggers. I am one of great followers/fans too.

Sumi Go said...

Wow! Love all the photos ate Chyng! I want to visit the Pink Beach too in the future. For now, hanggang wishful thinking nalang muna ako.

"To be united is a great thing. But to respect the right to be different is even greater." I super agree :)

Elal Jane Lasola said...

Ako ay naiinggit ng sobra kasi nag mindoro ako pero 2 lang kami noon at hindi kami nakapunta sa apo reef. >.< Ang ganda lang talaga!

Anonymous said...

When and where is the next destination? me and my friends are interested.. :)

Chyng said...

^ im currently in siargao! =)

saved.by.grace said...

Thank you for visiting Zamboanga! I'm so glad you enjoyed your stay here. I really enjoyed reading your blog, you gave me a different perspective of my own hometown :) GOD bless you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for visiting Zamboanga City. The presence of the the military boat in the island was probably because some VIP military personnel or guest was there when you visited. The "military" guys you saw at the Cathedral are actually policemen. Police are required to be visible in the streets of the city rather than for them to stay in their offices.

There are more places to visit. You still have not seen the majestic Merloquet waterfalls.. do come and visit again. I suggest that you leave behind your fear and be more relaxed in your next visit. It will definitely be more fun.

Emily Joy Legados said...

Hi I am a Zamboanguena and kaya may stigma pa din kame hanggang ngayon na pumunta ng Sta. Cruz Island ay dahil noon pag bibisita ka sa Sta.Cruz eh halfway pa lang makikidnap ka na kasi ang mga bandido eh nasa tabi tabi lang raw. It's true. Since ang lapit nga lang naman niyan sa Basilan. Up to now my mom prohibits us from visiting the famed island much to our dismay but it's ok i understand her. By the way Ateneo de Zamboanga is the neighbour of the Metropolitan Cathedral, you should have visited my Alma Mater na din sana. Hihihi. Thanks for visiting my ciudad. :)

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