Zamboanga City is in the Mindanao region of the Philippines. Known as the City of Flowers (the etymology of Zamboanga comes from the Malay word jambangan means garden of flowers), it is now one of the most important and busiest port cities in the Philippines. The Chavacano Language (popularly known as Zamboangueño language or Zamboangueño Chavacano, which is based on 80% Spanish words, and 20% Italian, Portuguese, Quechua, Taino, Mexican-Indian, Nauhtl, Tagalog, Ilongo, Bisaya and other Philippine languages) made Zamboanga as "Asia's Latin City." This is also because of the same traditions with Spain, particularly the patroness Our Lady of the Pilar (which is also the Patroness of Spain).
There are daily flights to/from Manila by Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific,
Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific have regular flights to Manila, Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de oro, vice versa.
The Port of Zamboanga has a scheduled passenger service from Sandakan, Malaysia. In addition, it is served by cruise ships, and several shipping lines offer regular trips from Dipolog/Dapitan, Jolo, Bongao, Isabela City, Cebu City and Dumaguete.
George and Peter Lines boats are available 2 days a week for sailing from Cebu City.
If you are from Luzon and Visayas, the Nautical Highways (RoRo) can bring you here. Buses from major cities in Mindanao are also available. there are buses going to Dipolog. and Cagayan de oro via Pagadian and Iligan.
As soon as you get off the boat or plane, your first concern would probably be your luggage. Both ports provide helpful employees. Be gracious and tip properly. Depending on the number of luggage your tip can range from 50 to 200 pesos. The seaport is not as organized and there are a lot of free-lancers who are willing to help for a fee (sometimes a very hefty fee). Tip only after you have been escorted to your transportation.
For those who don't have someone to pick them up, there is public transportation readily available. You have your choice of tri-cycles, Jeepneys, or taxi. Taxi would be your best bet. The taxi fare for a 5 kilometer trip would be less than 50 pesos but there aren't that many available.
Second choice is the tri-cycle. A passenger and luggage traveling a distance of 5 kilometers would cost no more than 30 pesos. But since you are coming from the port, the tri-cycle drivers want a heftier fare (this is illegal for them because they can lose their license). So usually the fare is bumped up 100%.
To get a jeepney, the best way is to have someone (your porter) hire the jeepney for you while you watch over your luggage. Within a 5 kilometer radius a Jeepneys will cost you anywhere from 200 to 300 pesos. This is called a "special". The driver will also help you with your luggage. You only pay for your transportation at destination.
- Cawa-Cawa Boulevard. You can visit the place early in the morning for brisk walking/jogging or in the afternoon for its famed sunset view. You can also spend some time at night eating Balut (a fertilized duck embryo that is boiled and eaten with vinegar and salt).
- Fort Pilar. 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. One can appreciate the glorious past of Zamboanga as a Spanish City in the Orient Skies here in the museum. It also has record of inhabitants and antique items of the early time. It also exhibits paintings, natural marine life and cultural memorabilia.
- Metropolitan Cathedral of 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 Mindanao, 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). The main church is located at the second floor, with stained glass portraying the life of Mary and Asian saints as well as the history of Mindanao's dioceses starting from 1910. At the lower level are the columbarium, the day chapel, the adoration chapel at the left wing, the conference hall at the right wing, and the baptistery fronting the day chapel.
- 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.
- Pasonanca Park. Traversed by a gently rippling stream, this park is the only one of its kind in the country. It 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.
- 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.
- 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. (The Natividad is one of the biggest clans in the Parish spread throughout the city up to the hinterlands and reputed to be large property owners. Members held various positions in the government and parishes. At least one became a Jesuit priest). In January of 1863, apparently having reached the required number of Catholic would be parishioners and with the availability of the would-be parish priest, the St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish was created with a Jesuit, Rev. Fr. Ramon Barua, SJ as its first Parish Priest.
- Sta. Cruz Island. The Great Santa Cruz island is known for it's pink sand beach and sand bar, while the Little sta. cruz island is a typical white beach, with pulverized-like sand. It is also a diving site and is host to a lagoon, a Muslim burial site and a badjao/samal community.
- Serenity Falls. Zamboanga City's Serenity Falls bounded between La Paz and Pamucutan, at the foot of the EcoZone's south entrance.
- Taluksangay Mosque. This colorful mosque is located in the barrio of Taluksangay outside the city center.
- La Vista del Mar & Honorory Consulate of Spain (Honorario Consulado de España). Beach resort. Delicious restaurant with fresh seafood and beautiful views of the sea. Also home of Honorary Consulate of Spain, great museum of art, culture, and shared Hispanic history of Zamboanga City and Spain. There is an small entrance fee to get into the resort.
- Yakan Weaving Center. Host to the only Yakan commmunity 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 Course and Beach. 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. There were talks that a Korean Company will be building a 5 star hotel in the area. it was once used as a landing strip.
- Bathe in Pasonanca's natural pools. Bathe in Pasonanca's natural swimming pools- where water flows freely from the mountains to 3 pools- Rotary Pool, Wee-wee Pool for Kids, Tanada Pool.
- Sta Cruz Island. swim and scuba diving in a pink sand beach in an unspoilt island
- Savour the area's delicacies. Eat special delicacies like Baolo and Satti.
- Visit Abong Abong Park. Climb the hill and do the Stations of the Cross during Holy week or any day of the year, visit the Scout Camps, the tomb of the unknown soldier and Mayor Cesar C. Climaco.
- Visit the Aviary at Pasonanca Park.
- Visit the Fort Pilar Shrine. Light candles at the Fort Pilar Shrine
- Visit the Maria Clara Lobregat Park.
- Visit the Zamboanga Museum at Fort Pilar.
- Barter Goods - ranging from various Chinese, Malay and local food, delicacies and imported items.
- Fruits and Vegetables - Try visiting Bagsakan Center (just across Sta. Cruz Market) at night for easy access to a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that are on season at a knock-down price. Seasonal fruits vary from the famed durian, sweet lanzones, mangosteen and a lot of locally harvested fruits.
- Lokot-lokot - a roll that looks like a bunch of golden brown hair intertwined together. You may purchase one at the airport or even at some local delicacy stores around the city.
- Pearls - the home of the South Sea Pearls- you can buy different kinds of pearls at Lantaka Hotel or at various malls within the Business District like the Sophia Jewellery at the 3rd level of Mindpro Citimall.
- Sardines- there are many popular sardine brands in the Philippine market today. Most of these brands are canned and packed in Zamboanga City's west coast areas, where the sardines are freshly caught.
- Seafood - you can buy fresh fish at the waterfront of the Main Public Market, Aderes Flea Market(in Guiwan), or at the weekend makeshift market at the Cawa-cawa Boulevard or at Sinunuc. The catch ranges from the famous Curacha to Freshwater and Saltwater Crabs to Yellow-fin and Bluefin Tuna, to unusual looking fishes and seaweeds.
- Souvenir Items - You can choose a number of souvenir items at the Home Products located along Ledesma St.( near San Jose Rd. corner Climaco Ave.).
- Yakan-weaved Cloth - you can purchase this from the Yakan Village Weaving Center at Upper Calarian-just across the famed La Vista del Mar Beach Resort. The clothes are intricately woven to creat an ethnic pattern. Visitors usually use the clothes as table lining, tapestries or even as accessories to their formal wear.
- Barter Centers:
- Canelar Barter Trade
- Baliwasan Commercial Complex
- Sta. Cruz Commercial Complex
- Zamboanga City Public Market
- Citimart, Gov. Lim Ave.
- Mindpro Citimall, La Purisima St.
- Sophia Jewellery 3rd level- for elegant collections of gold, diamond, pearl jewelry.
- Sophia Jewellery ground level- for silver and gold low priced and pre-owned (rematado) jewelry.
- OK Department Store, Climaco Ave.
- Shop-O-Rama, Gov. Lim Ave.
- Shoppers' Chain of Stores
- Shoppers' Center (2008)
- Shoppers' Central
- Shoppers' Emporium
- Shoppers' Square
- Shoppers' Plaza
- Shops along Climaco Avenue
- Beng Hock Drug Store (pioneer Chinese pharmacy)
- Best Mart (department store)
- Lim Shi (department store)
- Touchpoint Enterprises (one-stop shop for personal items including computers, electronic gadgets, and jewelries)
- Tropical Meat Haus (local retail chain of meat shops)
- Young Mart (department store)
- Southway Square, P. Lorenzo St.
- Yubenco Star Mall, Putik Highway.
- ABC Bakery and Restaurant (beside Shoppers Central.).
- Alavar's Seafood House, Don Alfaro St., Tetuan..
- Antonio's Steakhouse, Pasonanca..
- La Casa Maria, Sta.Maria, ☎ 062 991-8230;991-8023, e-mail: email@example.com. 6AM-10PM. Cafe - Restaurant - Function Room 100-500.
- Chowking, La Purisima St (across Puericulture Center), ☎ (+6362)9921809. , (+6362)9921810The only oriental quick service restaurant in the city open 24 hours, and with free delivery service,
- Country Chicken Restaurant and Country Bakeshop, Pasonanca Road..
- Eureka, Pasonanca Rd, ☎ 6362-991-3284. Japanese & local cuisine
- Flavourite Cuisine, Rizal St. and Nuñez branches..
- Food Paradise, Climaco Avenue..
- Golden Boys Sports Grille. Nunez Extension.
- Hai San Seafood Market and Restaurant, 60 San Jose Rd.
- Hanazono, Gov. Camins Ave. A Japanese (not Chinese) restaurant.
- Jimmy's Satti, Campaner cor. Brillantes..
- Kadday Sug, Sta. Cruz Market..
- Kintaro 10th High. Best Japanese restaurant in Mindanao, at Skypark Hotel.
- Lejan Ice Cream House and Restaurant, Santa Maria..
- Mang Inasal, 2nd flr. Southway Square Mall..
- Manang Terry's Chicken Inato. Mayor Jaldon (Canelar) and Nunez (MP Tower) branches.
- Mano-Mano, Gov. Ramos Avenue, Sta. Maria..
- Niel's Fastfood, MCLL Highway, Mercedes..
- Park 88, Pasonanca Park..
- Red Ribbon Bakeshop, Shoppers' Center..
- Papito's Grille, Lunzuran Road, Tumaga ((beside Ateneo High School).).
- Patio Palmeras, Pasonanca..
- St. Mary's Grille, Gov. Ramos Avenue fronting Sta. Maria Parish Church..
- Savoury Panciteria and Restaurant, Mayor Jaldon St., Putik, Tetuan, Santa Maria..
- Shamba Grille, Gov. Camins Avenue beside Caltex Gas Station..
- Sunflower, Rizal St., Veterans Ave., Brilliantes St. branches..
- A Taste of Asia, Unichan Building, Veterans Avenue fronting WMMC..
- Tropics Fine Cuisine, Sta. Maria fronting SLQ Chicken, ☎ (062) 990-2032.
- Village Zamboanga, Gov. Camins Avenue (beside Garden Orchid Hotel.).
- La Vista Seaside Restaurant, La Vista del Mar Resort, Calarian..
- Whoopee Burger Haus, Pilar St. and Gov. Lim Avenue..
- Z-Beryani Persian Cuisine, Nunez Midtown Plaza..
- Amigos Amigas.
- Island Bubble Tea, Nunex Extension (Next to Asia United Bank, Front of SKYGO), ☎ 926-3648. We offer Pearl Shakes (25 flavors), Belgian waffles, fries, and more. Perfect place to have merienda. WIFI zone.
- Lobby Bar.
- Myrna's Bakeshop, Pasonanca, km. 4. serves delicacies like cakes, pastries, pasta and drinks (coffee and shakes)
- Roof top.
- Amil's Tower, Pilar St..
- Azenith Royal Hotel, Gov. Camins Ave..
- Blue Pearl Pension House., Veterans Ave, ☎ 63-62-992-3046.. a/c Double rooms with own Bathrooms and Cable TV. php500..
- Blue Shark Hotel, Veterans Avenue.
- La Casa Maria Hotel, Sta. Maria, ☎ 062 991-8230;991-8023, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Hotel - Cafe - Restaurant - Function Room - Events Php 1160.
- David's Inn and Internet Cafe. your home away from home
- GC Hotel, Nunez St. (beside St. Joseph Church and Mormon Church).
- Garden Orchid Hotel, Gov. Camins Avenue. (the best hotel in Zamboanga)
- Grand Astoria Hotel, Mayor Jaldon Street.
- Hacienda de Palmeras Hotel & Restaurant (Palmeras Hotel & Restaurant), Sta. Maria-Pasonanca Rd, ☎ 6362-991-3284, e-mail: email@example.com. Located in a quiet residential area, garden setting; clean, comfortable rooms; hot water, TV, mini bar, quiet A/C; complimentary breakfast, airport transfers, internet access; restaurant on-site.
- Hermosa Hotel, Mayor Jaldon St..
- Hotel Perlita, Mayor Jaldon St..
- Hotel Salwa, Gov. Camins St.. An Islamic owned hotel
- Jardin dela Vina, Gov. Alvarez Avenue.
- Lantaka Hotel by the Sea, N. Valderossa Street.
- Mag-V Royal Hotel, San Jose Road.
- Marcian Business Hotel, Mayor Cesar Climaco Avenue.
- Marcian Garden Hotel, Gov. Camins Avenue.
- Pension Royale Hotel. 12 rooms
- Platinum 21 Pension House, 34 Barcelona Street. (Located in the down town Area.), ☎ 63-62-991-2514. Standard a/c rooms with own Hot water Bathroom and Cable TV. De Luxe a/c rooms with own Hot water Bathroom and Cable TV. Refrigerator. php620/700.
- Preciosa Hotel, Mayor Climaco Ave, ☎ (062)9922020. An affordable old hotel situated in downtown area.
- Skypark Hotel. This hotel being the tallest structure in Zamboanga, has the Best Japanese Restaurant in Mindanao
- Sweet Home Suite, Toribio St., Tetuan. A very cheap accommodation can be found here. php400..
- Viva Pension House., Tomas Claudio and Urdaneta Streets, ☎ 991-3783. a/c Double rooms with own bathroom. php600..
- Yang's Hotel, Tomas Claudio Street.