Download GPX file for this article
7.8333122.4167Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Zamboanga Peninsula is on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines.

Location within the Philippines
Travel Warning WARNING: Western goverments strongly discourage travel to this region, due to the on-going terrorist activity and threat of kidnapping. Violent crime and armed clashes between government and insurgent forces are also possible in this region.
(Information last updated Jun 2018)


Map of Zamboanga Peninsula

The peninsula is divided into three parts:


Other destinations[edit]


This region has a Christian majority, in contrast to the Muslim majority in neighboring Bangsamoro (formerly the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or ARMM). Most people either speak Cebuano or Chavacano (a Spanish-based creole).

Zamboanga Peninsula is rather a poor region, but it has a booming export-oriented economy. Major industries are agriculture, fishing, forestry, and mining. Zamboanga City is known for its canned sardine production.


The first inhabitants on Zamboanga Peninsula are the Subanon people, an animist ethnic group. Part of the peninsula became Muslim after an invasion by the Sultanate of Sulu. The Spanish arrived in 1569, and became an important outpost to protect the rest of the Philippines from Muslim marauders. The Spaniards faced constant war from the Muslim Filipino (Moro) pirates and warriors. While many towns still have heritage churches, many are repeatedly damaged or destroyed by the marauding Muslims.

At the final stages of the Philippine Revolution, where the Americans invaded the Philippines, Zamboanga was a short-lived republic, which was eventually annexed into the rest of Mindanao, as part of the Moro Province under the American colonial government. Zamboanga became a separate province as the Moro Province is renamed into the Mindanao and Sulu department.

Zamboanga province, which included the provinces of Sulu Archipelago, composed the region of Western Mindanao until the formation of the ARMM in 1988. The province has since been split up into three provinces retaining "Zamboanga" in their name, while Zamboanga City became an independent city. Isabela City remains part of Zamboanga Peninsula administratively, while surrounding Basilan joined an expanded ARMM.

Zamboanga Region used to the called Western Mindanao until it was officially renamed in 2015. The regional center has been transferred to Pagadian, which is to the ire of Zamboanga City's locals. That said, Zamboanga City has a more developed economy and a vibrant tourism scene.


Cebuano is the major language spoken in the Zamboanga Peninsula, but Chavacano, a Spanish creole, is also spoken, most particularly in Zamboanga City.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Zamboanga International Airport (ZAM IATA) is the main port of entry, but despite its name, there are no international flights, except for short-lived services from Sabah in Malaysia. The provincial capitals of Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur, Pagadian and Dipolog, respectively, has smaller airports, served by daily flights from Manila or Cebu.

By bus[edit]

Rural Transit connects most cities and provincial capitals in Zamboanga from Cagayan de Oro.

From the Visayas, Ceres Liner has a bus from Dumaguete to Dapitan, which take the ferry.

By ferry[edit]

Zamboanga City is served by ferries from Luzon and the Sulu islands, and internationally, from Sandakan in Malaysia. Dapitan has frequent ferries from Dumaguete and Cebu.

Get around[edit]


Visitors to Zamboanga Peninsula tend to have Zamboanga City at the top of their minds, but there are many hidden attractions waiting to be explored

The Philippine national hero, Jose Rizal, lived in exile at Dapitan after being arrested by the Spaniards for his revolutionary activities. Dapitan, a city since the 1960s, has a Spanish-era downtown, with a city square Rizal has designed. The hut where he once lived on is now a shrine.

Dipolog, the capital of Zamboanga del Norte, has an American-era city hall which replicates the town hall in Maribojoc, Bohol, and a waterfront boulevard, once littered but now clean.

Many rural municipalities have hidden natural sights.




Stay safe[edit]

While Zamboanga Peninsula is Christian-dominated, there remains risks from the spillover of the insurgency in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. In 2013, Zamboanga City was sieged by the then-insurgent Moro National Liberation Front. Chances of a terrorist attack remain low elsewhere, but likely in areas bordering ARMM.

Go next[edit]

This region travel guide to Zamboanga Peninsula is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!