Zamboanga City

Zamboanga City

City of Zamboanga
Ciudad de Zamboanga
—  Chartered, Independent and Highly Urbanized City  —

Coat of arms
Nickname(s): El Orgullo de Mindanao -The Pride of Mindanao, Ciudad de Flores - City of Flowers, Zamboanga Hermosa - Beautiful Zamboanga, Ciudad Latina de Asia - Asia's Latin City, Philippines' Little Spain, Sardines Capital of the Philippines
Motto: "Adelante Zamboanga"  Chavacano
"Onward, Zamboanga"
City of Zamboanga is located in Philippines
City of Zamboanga
Coordinates: 6°52′N 122°4′E / 6.867°N 122.067°E / 6.867; 122.067
Country  Philippines
Region Region IX
Founded XIV Century
Regional Centre [1] Region IX
(Western Mindanao)
Official language(s) Zamboangueño Chavacano,
Filipino (based on Tagalog)
 – Type Mayor-council
 – Mayor Celso Lobregat (LDP) (re-elect)
 – Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde (LDP)
 – Representatives
 – City Council
 – Land 1,483.3849 km2 (572.7 sq mi)
Elevation 16.0 m (52 ft)
Population (2010 Estimated)
 – Total 947,020
 – Rank Sixth
Demonym Zamboangueño (m) Zamboangueña (f)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
Postal code 7000
Area code(s) 63 (Philippines)
+ 62 (Zamboanga)
Patron Saints Our Lady of the Pillar
St. Pius X
Website Official government website of the City of Zamboanga

The City of Zamboanga (Zamboangueño Chavacano/Spanish: Ciudad de Zamboanga): is a highly urbanized, independent and a chartered city located in Mindanao, Philippines. It is currently ranked as the 6th most populous city (947,020 estimated population as of 2010) and the 3rd largest by land area in the Philippines (1,483.3849/km2 (572.738/sq mi)).[5][6] It is located at the southernmost tip of the Zamboanga Peninsula and is bounded in the north by the provinces of Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga del Norte, in the west by the Sulu Sea, in the east by Sibuguey Bay, and in the south by the Basilan Strait. It is approximately 460 nautical miles (850 km) south of City of Manila, 365 nautical miles (676 km) northeast of Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, 345 nautical miles (639 km) northeast of Manado, Indonesia, bounded to the west by Sulu Sea, on the east by the Moro Gulf, and on the south by the Basilan Strait and Celebes Sea. Its distance from Cebu City is about 372.57 nautical miles (690.00 km), and is 340.17 nautical miles (629.99 km) from Davao City.[7]

The Ciudad de Zamboanga’s climates are generally of the third and fourth types where it is practically from June to December. The highest rainfall occurs on the month of July while the lowest rainfalls on the month of April. The city is outside the typhoon belt, hence, typhoons rarely visit the Ciudad de Zamboanga.

It 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.

It is the seat of one of the largest number of military and police bases in the country. It is also home of the 3rd Air Division of the Edwin Andrews Air Base, which handles the Air Force of the Philippines in the city; and the 6th Naval District in Camp General Basilio Navarro also known as Western Mindanao Command, the main headquarters of Armed Forces of the Philippines in Western part of Mindanao; the Philippine Army, Philippine Marines, and Philippine Navy are assigned to that command. The "Camp Enrile" and other three military camps can be found in the city.

It is the former capital of Moro Province now Mindanao Island (1903 to 1913) in the Philippines. On September 15, 1911, the Municipalidad de Zamboanga was converted into a Ciudad by the legislative order Act. No.272.[8] It is known as CIUDAD LATINA DE ASIA in Zamboangueño Language or in English Language Asia's Latin City for its strong Hispanic/Latin influence.

Currently, Ciudad de Zamboanga is one of the primary hubs in the Philippines, being the premier city in Zamboanga Peninsula Region in terms of commerce, trade, health services, financial institutions and education.[9][10]

Ciudad de Zamboanga serves as an entry point in the Philippines to many destinations in Southeast Asia.



Ciudad de Zamboanga was founded in the late 12th or early 13th century, with the earliest people living there being the Subanen, an indigenous tribe of Malay origin. The Subanen people's name for Zamboanga, 'Sung Lupa', means 'Pointed Land'. Speculation that the name of zamboanga comes from the word 'Jambangan', meaning the 'Land of Flowers', is met by others insisting the name derives from the word 'Saguan' or 'Sambuan', A Malay word for the paddle used by natives to paddle the vintas in the sea. Still another possible origin is 'Sambon' which refers to herbal plants that grew abundantly in the city.[11] Badjao, Samal, Tausug and the Yakan tribes from Malayan descent settled in the same part of Mindanao in the early 14th century.[12] Mohammedanism and Islam gained predominance in the 15th century in the Philippines first as a non-indigenous religion from these Malay peoples after Jews and Christians arrived.[13]

Spanish rule

The Spaniards arrived in the country in the year 1520, as the first European invaders in the country.[14] In the year 1569 Zamboanga was chosen as the site of the Spanish settlement and garrison on La Caldera (now called Barrio Recodo).[15] The goal was to use it for the reinforcement of their troops in the country, making way for Christian settlements by converting the people and protecting the island against foreign invaders and Moro pirates. After 3 decades (1599), the fort was closed and transferred to Cebu due to great concerns about attack by the English on that island, which did not occur. After having abandoned the city, the Spaniards joined forces with Visayan troops and reached the shore of Ciudad de Zamboanga to bring peace to the island against Moro pirates.[16]

Zamboanga Fortress (now Fort Pillar), from before (left) and present (right).
Corps de garde à Samboangan during circa 1846

Ciudad de Zamboanga became the main headquarters of the Spaniards in 1634 upon approval of King Philip IV of Spain.[16] Thousands of Spanish troops headed by a Governor General from Spain took the approval to build the first Zamboanga fortress (now called Fort Pilar) in Ciudad de Zamboanga to forestall enemies in Mindanao like Moro pirates and other foreign invaders.[17] The Zamboanga fortress became the main focus of a number of battles between Moros, Chinese and Spaniards while the Spanish ruled the region from 16th to 18th centuries. While the region was already dominated by Catholicism, Muslims kept up a protracted struggle against the ruling Spaniards in the country into the 18th century.[18][19]

In the Year 1831, the Custom house in Ciudad de Zamboanga was established as a port, and it became the main port for direct communication, trading some goods and other services to most of Europe, Southeast Asia and Latin America.[20] The Americans arrived in the Philippines, headed by General Weyler with thousands of troops to defeat the Spaniards who ruled it more than three centuries. The Spanish Government sent more than 80,000 Spanish troops in the Philippines. The Spanish Government completely and peacefully surrendered the islands to the United States in the 1890s.[21]

American and Japanese period

Reconstruction of the old flag of the Republic of Zamboanga.
Inauguration of the Municipality of Zamboanga which included Basilan, July 1, 1901, with Datu Kalun (background) in attendance
Zamboanga City Charter Signing.

Before the end of the 19th century; The Republic of Zamboanga was established during the American period in the Philippines and it briefly existed from May 18, 1899 to March 1903. The first President of the Republic of Zamboanga was General Vicente Alvarez and succeeded by Isidoro Midel and Mariano Arquiza.[22]

During the American colonial period. Ciudad de Zamboanga hosted a number of American regional governors, including General John J. Pershing, who was military commander/governor of the Moro Province from 1909 to 1914. Gen. "Black Jack" Pershing became the Supreme Commander of the American Expeditionary Force in Europe during World War I when the US entered the war in 1917. The entire Moro Province of Mindanao was administered directly from the city, effectively making the Zamboanga Mindanao's first and only Capital City. Soon after the establishment of the Commonwealth, it was the center of commerce, trade, and government of Mindanao Island, being the capital of the Moro Province.[23]

Ciudad de Zamboanga became a chartered city in the year 1936.[24] In Pre-World War II, Pettit Barracks, a part of the US Army's 43d Infantry Regiment (PS), was stationed. When the Japanese invaded the Philippines, they were headed by Vice Admiral Skugiyama Rokuzo and accompanied with Rear Admiral Naosaburo Irifune and landed at Zamboanga on March 2, 1942.[25] They established a defense headquarters in the city while ruling the government in more than two years. The Japanese government in the city was eventually overtaken by American and the Filipino forces in 1945.[22]

Martial law

In 1953, Cesar Climaco was elected Mayor. He was a flamboyant personality who pursued policies of good governance and cleanliness.[26] On the 1961 Philippine General Election, Cesar Climaco was unsuccessful to run for the Senate under the Liberal Party, but he was appointed as Customs Commissioner under the Macapagal Administration,[27] and later a prominent critic of Ferdinand Marcos. He was reelected as a mayor in Zamboanga city again in 1980, at a time when martial law was declared in the city because of growing violence. Cesar Climaco was assassinated on November 14, 1984.[28]

Philippines after Marcos

After the Marcos regime, Zamboanga city was still enjoying its good economic activities, but the growth was not rapidly high due to incompetent leaders that ruled the city after martial law. At present, Ciudad de Zamboanga is the main hub in Zamboanga Peninsula through education, financial institutions, health and services, infrastructural projects and a center of foreign investment through BIMP-EAGA in relation with other major cities in Southeast Asia.[29]



The map of Zamboanga City

The Ciudad de Zamboanga's physical characteristics have the following advantages: (i) it has an even distribution of rainfall; (ii) it has no liquefaction prone area; (iii) it is outside the typhoon belt; and (iv) it is outside of major fault lines/no active volcano.[30]

The main land territory of Ciudad de Zamboanga, which encompasses 1,681 kilometers ( 645 square mile ), there are (officially) 11 islands that are part of its principality. The most popular of these islands is the Great Santa Cruz Island, It's tantalizingly beautiful scenery encompasses the rare "pink sand". almost 10– 15 minutes while riding a boat from the city to the Great Sta. Cruz Island. Under the Presidential Decree No. 654, President Ferdinand Marcos declared that the Santa Cruz Islands as National Park and Tourism Development in the City of Zamboanga. Aside from Santa Cruz island, the city has also 28 islands off the mainland coast. All of these islands come under the city's jurisdiction. The biggest of these islands is Sacol (about 12 km. long and 8 km. wide), and eleven of these islands on the Moro Gulf coast form a cluster known as the Eleven Islands, the largest being Cabugan Island (approx. 11 hectares).[31]

Geology and Geomorphology

The southwest and eastern sides of Ciudad de Zamboanga are bounded by irregular coastlines with generally rocky terrain with occasional stretches of sandy and gravely beaches. The coastal profile usually descends abruptly towards the sea. In some places where there are rivers, embayment occurs, thus, filling up areas with alluvial materials and producing small tracts of coastal plains and sometimes-broad plains.

It has been observed that younger rock formation occurs in a higher elevation. Areas along the northeastern coast, which were mostly part of the lower alluvial lowlands, and small low lying areas are characterized by the presence of cold water sediments. These are subjected to the daily inundation of tidal movement. The formation of basement complex along the boundaries of Zamboanga del Norte is influenced by the north-south trending fault while a young volcanic cone influences the formation of volcanic outcropping in the area.

Topography, Slope and Elevation

The overall topography of the city could be described as rolling to very steep. There are some flat lands, mostly narrow strips along the east coast. The urban center is mostly flat with a gentle slope to the interior, ranging from 0 to 3%. The highest registered elevation is 1,200 meters. In terms of slope, a large portion of Ciudad de Zamboanga, about 38,000 hectares, have slopes ranging from 18-30%. Another 26,000 hectares have been described as having slopes pf less than 3% while about 37% of the area or a total of 52,000 hectares have slopes ranging from 30% to more than 50%.[32]

Climate and temperature

Zamboanga features a tropical wet and dry climate under the Koppen climate classification. Zamboanga City enjoys a location that is free from the typhoon belt area.

Climate data for Zamboanga, Philippines
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 31.9
Daily mean °C (°F) 27.2
Average low °C (°F) 22.4
Precipitation mm (inches) 32.4
Source: Hong Kong Observatory[33]


Historical populations
Year Pop. ±%
1898 19,844
1903 20,692 +4.3%
1918 42,007 +103.0%
1939 73,894 +75.9%
1948 103,317 +39.8%
1960 131,489 +27.3%
1970 199,901 +52.0%
1975 265,023 +32.6%
1980 343,722 +29.7%
1990 442,345 +28.7%
1995 511,139 +15.6%
2000 601,794 +17.7%
2007 774,407 +28.7%
Est.2010 947,020 +22.3%


The population of Ciudad de Zamboanga has registered an increase of 172,613 (an average annual growth rate of 3.54 percent) in seven years, latest data from the National Statistics Office (NSO) showed. The data released by the NSO regional office based in this city showed that from 601,794 in 2000, the population grew to 774,407 as of 1 August 2007.[35]

Among the 98 barangays in this Ciudad de Zamboanga, Talon-Talon was the most populous with a 3.9-percent share of this city’s population. Next to Talon-Talon were Tetuan (3.8 percent), Baliwasan (3.6 percent), Pasonanca (3.5 percent), Calarian and Tumaga both with 3.3-percent share, and San Jose Gusu (3.2 percent).


According to statistics compiled by the Philippine government, the most dominant religion in the city is Christianity with 73% of the population adhering to the faith. The majority of Christians are Roman Catholics with minorities of Protestants and Orthodox Christians. The remaining 27% percent belongs to other non-Christian faiths such us Buddhism and Islam.


The Official and/or Native language of Zamboanga City is Zamboangueño Chavacano, a Philippine-Spanish Creole. Other common languages in the city are Tagalog, English and Bisaya/Cebuano. Fookien (a Chinese dialect) and Tausug are also prevalent. Approximately 64% of the city’s population consists of the native families of the old Zamboanga, who were greatly influenced by the Spanish culture and lifestyle which is now called as a pure Chavacano de Zamboanga or Zamboangueño. Whilst 36% of the city’s population is composed of cultural minority members, groups of Muslim communities, such as the Subanens, Tausugs, Yakans, Samals, and the Badjaos are dispersed around the city.[36]


City Hall of Zamboanga since 1907
Consejo de La Ciudad de Zamboanga Building
Hall of Justice Building

Ciudad de Zamboanga is the third oldest city in the Philippines, with a strong mayor-council form of government.[37] The city received its own representation for the Philippine Congress since 1984. The former lone congressional district was divided into two separate districts: the West Coast District from the City Proper to Limpapa represented by incumbent Congresswoman Beng Climaco, while in the East Coast District from Tetuan to Licomo is headed by incumbent Congressman Erico Basilio A. Fabian. The government is composed of a Mayor, Vice Mayor, two district representatives, and eight councilors in each district.[38]

Congresswoman Beng Climaco of District I was elected House Deputy Speaker for Mindanao and Women of the 15th Congress of the Philippines, a very important position that is considered to be the first for a representative from Zamboanga City.[39]

The House Committee on Justice recently approved through an omnibus motion, pertinent house bills creating new Regional Trial Courts (RTCs) in various provinces and cities, among which a proposal to create a total of 19 additional RTC branches for Zamboanga del Sur and the cities of Pagadian and Zamboanga authored by Deputy Speaker for Mindanao Climaco.

House Bill 1455 entitled an “An Act Amending Sections 14 (J) and 29 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, Otherwise Known as The Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980”, principally authored by Cong. Climaco calls for the creation of four (4) additional Regional Trial Court branches in the Province of Zamboanga del Sur, and the Cities of Pagadian and Zamboanga with an overall total of nineteen (19) branches.[40]

Out of the 19 branches, ten (10) seats shall be for Zamboanga City, and the remaining seats for Pagadian City, Molave, San Miguel, Ipil, and Aurora.

The city of Zamboanga is composed of more than 774,407 people since 2007.[41] Under the Republic Act No. 9269, Zamboanga City is qualified to have a third district representative in the House of Representatives of Congress.[42]

Armed forces and law enforcement

US Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines
U.S. Ambassador for the Republic of the Philippines, Kristie A. Kenney, meets with Western Mindanao Command Chief Major General Nelson Allaga

In the Philippines, Ciudad de Zamboanga hosts one of the largest number of military and police bases in the country. The Edwin Andrews Air Base, which handles the Air Force of the Philippines in the city located in the Zamboanga International Airport; Camp General Basilio Navarro also known as Western Mindanao Command, the main headquarters of Armed Forces of the Philippines in Western part of Mindanao; the Philippine Army, Philippine Marines, and Philippine Navy are assigned to that command. The "Camp Enrile" and other three military camps can be found in the city.

Lieutenant General Raymundo Ferrer is the currently assigned Chief of Staff of the Western Mindanao Command. He is the officer-in-charge of the 1st Scout Ranger Regiment, 1st Infantry (TABAK) Division, Light Reaction Battalion, Naval Forces Western Mindanao, and 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing PAF; with a number of approximately 42,000+ active and reserved personnel who have been assigned to the city.[43]



Ciudad de Zamboanga is a center for the television, advertising, music, newspaper, online and book publishing industries and is also the largest media market in Western Mindanao.

In terms of broadcast media, the Ciudad de Zamboanga has 40 radio stations, frequency modulated (FM) stations and amplitude-modulated (AM) band. There are also eleven regular TV stations and three cable TV stations. Because of transmission problems, however, the reception of TV stations is limited in the far-flung areas. As to the print media, there are several local publications circulating in the various parts of the city and nearby provinces and regions - The Daily Zamboanga Times, The Mindanao Examiner, Voz de Mindanao, Zamboanga Peninsula Journal, Zamboanga Star, Zamboanga Today.

In terms of Digital Electronic Media, the city has two independent news websites, the and the


Ciudad de Zamboanga contributes the evolution of Golden Episodes in Philippine Cinema. In 1937, the first Filipino movie to achieve international plaudit was Zamboanga, a picture starred in by Fernando Poe and Rosa del Rosario. Hollywood director Frank Capra praised the film as the most exciting and beautiful picture of native life he had ever seen. Manuel Conde's Genghis Khan, released in 1950 was a rave at the Venice Film Festival in 1952; and dubbed in French, it was shown in Paris in 1954. Inspired by Conde's picture, Hollywood remade Genghis Khan, with John Wayne as its lead actor.


PLDT and Smart Telecommunication Office

Communication plays a major role in the development of a place. It links places and paves the way to wider dissemination of information and ideas. The major telecommunication firm operating in the city is the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT). Public phones are also provided by PLDT in strategic places where the demand is high.

Ciudad de Zamboanga is also advance in terms of telecommunication service in the Philippines. Mabuhaysat Zamboanga Space Center is the company that was established primarily to build, own, operate and maintain an international satellite facility and other forms of telecommunications equipment that is capable of providing telecommunications and broadcast on a domestic and international level.[44]

Mabuhaysat Zamboanga Space Center is for contingency purposes, the main functions of Subic Space Center is duplicated at the Zamboanga Space Center, albeit on a smaller scale. Redundancy equipment covering baseband, radio frequency antennas are incorporated in the Zamboanga Space Center. It is also equipped with an uninterruptible power supply system and a generator to ensure continuous power supply. The Zamboanga Space Center is manned by a satellite engineer who keeps the facility ready for any contingency action. Periodically, engineers from Subic Space Center visit for any upgrades.

Satellite Towers of Smart and PLDT

There are three cellular phone companies providing mobile communication services in the Ciudad de Zamboanga: Smart Telecommunications, Digitel Mobile Philippines, Inc. (Sun Cellular) and Globe Telecoms.

The existing telegraph system in the city has a computer link to 13 regional centers, which have links to provincial capitals, cities and municipalities, but international telegraphic links are not provided. This telegraph system includes a relay (repeater) station located at Bandera Hills, Abong-Abong. Telof installed a commercial power line to IPTS relay station in 1992 and replaced the old and defective HF/CW radio equipment and establishes back-up circuit at the Regional Office IX. IPTS relay station building was constructed to complement the system.

Fax machines for local use are commercially available at the City Post Office at a fixed rate of P10.00 per page. International fax services are not provided. Telex services on the other hand, are provided for local and international calls.

There are four Internet Service providers (ISPs) in the city, providing the city's links to the world.

Like any other key cities, Zamboanga offers courier services to major cities in the country and to any other countries. There are at least a hundred telegraph stations/counters located strategically within the City.

There are 15 Post Offices to serve the entire population. On the average each post office serves 100 percent. Program like Project Mercury or Kidlat Sulat was launched to hasten the delivery of mails.


The Ciudad de Zamboanga is accessible by land, air, and sea. It is also the home of the busiest airport and seaport in the country for the past 10 years until now.

Land transportation

The city’s roads total to 567.2463 km. Of this, City roads account for 122.664 km; National roads 141.305 km; and Barangay roads, 303.244 km. Almost all city and barangay roads are concrete. The roads are regularly maintained through the relentless efforts of the city government in coordination with the Department of Public Works and Highways.

The major means of transportation in the city are Jeepneys and the Tricycles. Buses are used for long-distance travels, there are bus companies serving the city to other major cities in Mindanao such us Ceres Liner, Rural Transit Bus, Mary May Express and other private bus companies. There are also bicycles with sidecars (locally known as sikad) which are used to ferry passengers in short distances. Taxi service in the city is not well-established, although there are some independent taxis operating in the city.

There are two multi-million projects of the local government of Ciudad de Zamboanga are still pending since 2006. The green and blue City Bus which will serve most part of the city and is a project proposal of Goodvoy Incorporated but yet it is pending by the Local government approval.[45] The PHP178 million Integrated Bus Terminal project in Brgy. Divisoria was temporarily canceled due to its controversial issues about the bidding process and the overpricing issue which RCDG Construction won to do this project.[46]


Zamboanga city enjoys the advantage of being the center of economic activities in Western Mindanao. It is a main commercial port for inter-island shipping. It accommodates foreign vessels and serves as a transshipment point of various goods to provinces and cities.

Ciudad de Zamboanga has 19 seaports and wharves, twelve of them are privately owned and the rest are owned by the government. This includes some ports of Basilan which are registered as a part of Ciudad de Zamboanga port management. The biggest and most modern seaport is the government-operated main port in Ciudad de Zamboanga, which can accommodate 20 ships at any given time. There are 25 shipping companies whose vessels regularly dock at the port of Zamboanga. The city also has fastcraft services to Sandakan, Malaysia, and one shipping cargo company from Vietnam is also serving the routes from and to Zamboanga to deliver goods from Vietnam.[47]

In the year 2002; The Port of Ciudad de Zamboanga and inclusive of area ports of Basilan island, was ranked #1 in the entire Philippines and registered an astounding 5.57 million passengers at the same year; Surpassing Batangas by 1.3 million passengers, and Manila by over 1.59 million passengers.[48]

As of May 28, 2009, The PHP700 million port expansion project, funded by the National Government in Zamboanga City, was inaugurated by Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, which was held in the city.[49]


The presence of airline facilities and the frequency of flights from Zamboanga to major points of destination classifies the Zamboanga City Internnational Airport as an international airport. The airport of Zamboanga City is a secondary international airport, since it was mandated by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines that the airport of Zamboanga should be called as the Zamboanga International Airport due to its contribution to aviation of the Philippines and the facilities inside the Terminal. There was a plan to rename the facility after the late mayor of Zamboanga city Maria Clara L. Lobregat. However, the plan was not yet been approved due to some political issues.

The airport has 2,610 meter primary runway and can serve international flights and bigger planes such as the Boeing C-17, Antonov An-124 and Airbus A320.[50][51] The government has already earmarked more than 240 million pesos to complete the rehabilitation of the existing facilities of the airport.[52] The airport of Zamboanga City was ranked the 10th busiest airport in the Philippines in 2008, after being ranked 7th for the past 2 years.[53]



Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative

The Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative is the franchise holder of electric power distribution covering the entire jurisdiction of the city and its ten island barangays. Zamboanga city is one of the biggest electric energy consumer in entire Mindanao, due to high demands of canning factories and other heavy industrial companies in the city. Moreover, there are 5 substations producing electric power in the city.

Some of the far land islands in the Ciudad de Zamboanga do not have electric power. Due to lack of funds to connect electricity in some islands. the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) brings optimism to the people living in the islands for they are now able to use electricity using solar energy. Ciudad de Zamboanga has 98 barangays, all of it having the convenience of electricity.

Conrado Alcantara and Sons (Conal) Holdings constructed a coal-fired power plant with an initial capacity of 100MW on a 60-hectare land inside the Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority (ZamboEcoZone). The company expects to complete the power plant in about four years to meet the expected rise in the demand in electricity of the city by 2014.[54]

Conal Holdings is also planning to set up another coal-fired power plant inside the zone with a capacity of 200MW once the 100MW plant becomes operational. The coal-fired power plant will supply the power requirements of the locators at the zone including the city. There are 33 locators from varied industries that are currently operating inside the zone. Conal Holdings is also planning to construct a port at the ZamboEcoZone's three-kilometer seafront in Barangay San Ramon, west of Ciudad de Zamboanga.


The Ciudad de Zamboanga Watershed is only a few kilometers north of Zamboanga City, at the tip of the Zamboanga Peninsula in southwestern Mindanao. It has the largest block of old growth lowland dipterocarp forest remaining in this part of Mindanao. It has a rolling terrain with moderate to steep slopes. This watershed is the only source of potable water for Ciudad de Zamboanga, and the Tumaga River also provides industrial and irrigation water for the area around the city. Many threatened and restricted-range endemic species have been recorded in or near this area, including recent records of Mindanao Bleeding-heart, Philippine Dwarf-Kingfisher, Philippine Leafbird and Little Slaty Flycatcher, and Zamboanga Bulbul, which is confined to Western Mindanao and Basilan. Most of the recent sightings are made in the Pasonanca Watershed, the southwestern part of the Ciudad de Zamboanga Watershed.

Ciudad de Zamboanga relies heavily on surface water from the Tumaga River for its water supply. Currently, the ZCWD is servicing only 48% of the total population of the total water production, 38% is accounted water. Given the projected population and the fact that the city is a highly urbanizing one, it is likely that future water requirements will not be satisfied unless other sources such as rivers and springs be tapped to augment water supply sources.[55]

The Ciudad de Zamboanga Water District has 24 production wells. These are located in the following strategic areas within the city that are currently producing 1,304 cu.m daily.[56]

Bypass Road

The traffic in the downtown area is one of the problem facing the city. The 1999 feasibility study is know on the Department of Public Works and Highways (Philippines) and with the help of District II Representative Erico Basilio Fabian to finalized the Multi-Billion pesos a thirty two (32) kilometers bypass road project it is basically links from barangay Culianan to the west coast in barangay Limpapa creating an integral link to two crucial economic and trade centres namely the Sangali Fishing Port in the east cost and the Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority site in San Ramon will commerce next year. The Department of Public Works and Highways (Philippines) intends to complete before the term of the President Benigno Aquino III ends in the year 2016. It will provide for an auxiliary route where traffic could then be diverted and help ease congestion it is currently facing within the city proper.

Economy and industry

Calle Mayor Jaldon y Calle Buenavista
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines)-Zamboanga Branch

The Ciudad de Zamboanga is one of the wealthiest cities in the Philippines[citation needed]. Its economy is mostly concentrated on agricultural and aqua cultural products. Most of the investments in the city come from the local business people. This means that unlike other major cities in the country, Ciudad de Zamboanga has been growing through homegrown businesses.

Ciudad de Zamboanga is known for exporting products like rubber, pearls, copra, mahogany, and other fine hardwoods, fish, abaca, and fruits; rice is still imported from countries in Southeast Asia, East Asia, and some parts of Europe and North America[57]


Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) it is the second branch opened in the Philippines with the encouragement of an American general that the second branch of El Banco Español Filipino was established in Zamboanga by General John J. Pershing, the famous American military governor of Zamboanga, encouraged the bank's management to open a branch in that part of Mindanao. The branch was finally established in February 1912, a month after the bank was officially renamed "Bank of the Philippine Islands" (BPI). That branch of BPI was eventually designated by the insular government as the official depository of funds for the province of Zamboanga and of the Zamboanga custom house. Gen. Pershing chose to locate his official residence on the second floor of the BPI branch in Zamboanga City.[58]

Presently, there are more than 60 banks operating in Ciudad de Zamboanga. The banks with the most number of branches in the city are Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, Allied Bank, Banco De Oro (BDO), Philippine National Bank (PNB), One Network Bank, Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and Union Bank of the Philippines. 3 brands of interbank networks of automated teller machines (ATMs) are widely used in the city; these are BancNet, Expressnet and MegaLink.

List of Universal Banks in the Ciudad de Zamboanga are Allied Bank, Islamic Bank of the Philippines, Banco De Oro (BDO), Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), China Banking Corporation (ChinaBank), Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, Philippine National Bank (PNB), Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation, Security Bank, Union Bank of the Philippines, and United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB).

Commercial Banks are Asia United Bank, Bank of Commerce, East West Bank, Maybank, Philippine Bank of Communications (PBCOM), and Philippine Veterans Bank.

Tharift Banks are Equitable Savings Bank (ESB), GE Money Bank, Philippine Postal Savings Bank, Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank), and RCBC Savings Bank.

Rural Banks are Zamboanga City Rural Bank, Rural Bank of Siocon, Philippine Farmer's Bank, One Network Bank, First Valley Bank, Pen Bank and Bank of Makati.

Most of the banks in the city are the head branches in the Zamboanga peninsula (and even in the country) such as Islamic Bank of the Philippines, Development Bank of the Philippines, Land Bank of the Philippines, Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation and One Network Bank. The city also hosts several other financial firms.

Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority

The Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority (Zamboecozone) also known as Zamboanga Freeport Authority (ZFA), was created by virtue of the Republic Acts of the Philippines 7903 of the Philippines Constitution in the year 1995. It was authored by the then congresswoman and late mayor of the city of Zamboanga, Maria Clara L. Lobregat.[59]

The Special Economic Zone was enacted into law on February 23, 1995 and made operational a year later with the appointment of a chairman and administrator and the members of the Board by former President Fidel V. Ramos. It is located about 20 km from the city center. It is one of the three current Economic Freeport Zone outside Luzon.

The Zamboanga Freeport Authority has come up with another priority project for the First Industrial Park. This project is in line with the President's vision of a more globally competitive Philippines. Priority is given to Retirement Village and Wellness Center, Information Technology (IT) with the availability of IT services such as Data Transcription, Medical Transcription, Litigation Support, Publishing Services, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Data Conversion, Graphics Animation, Computer-Aided Drafting and Design (CADD), Hispanic Call Centers, and Software Development and Maintenance. On the other hand, the 664-hectare seafront property of the Authority which serves as the site for the Second Industrial Park is the proposed site for the construction of a world-class International Seaport Complex. The complex will have a main area of 20 hectares. Other projects envisioned for the seaport site includes an 18-hole golf course, hotel, recreational facilities, restaurants, marina and theme parks.

The Second Development Site of the Zamboanga Freeport Authority is a 15,000-hectare logged-over area in upper La Paz and Pamucutan. It is ideal for agro-forestry, high-end residential projects, information technology ventures and a university village. The Baguio-like climate is highly viable for eco-tourism. Visitors have raved about the once-in-a-lifetime experience of trekking in the slopes of the rugged terrain accompanied by well-trained members of Team Kaguang, the Authority's mountaineering club. Guests vowed to come back for the exhilarating experience once more. The concept of a retirement center in the hinterlands is now in the drawing boards. The identified 40-hectare property for this project nestled among the rolling hills has a magnificent view of the ocean and has a serene and calming effect most idyllic for a retirement community complete with hospital facility, fitness center, outdoor entertainment, sports and recreational center, spas and salons.

Shopping centers and malls

As the center of commerce in Western Mindanao, Zamboanga is home to five local shopping malls and numerous department stores, supermarkets, and other retail outlets.

Mindpro Citimall
Southway Square and Plaza Pershing
The Gateway & the Southway Mall
Calle Climaco Central Business
  • Mindpro Citimall - It was opened in the year 1996. It is the second mall in the city after the defunct Alta mall. It is the only shopping mall in the city that has cinemas.
  • Yubenco Star Mall - A shopping complex that is located at Barangay Putik. It is the farthest mall from the city's main business district.
  • Southway Square - It began its operations in the year 2007. The mall features one of the most modern architectural designs among the city's newest architectural features.
  • Shoppers' Center - Zamboanga's newest mall. It is located within the city proper.
  • Midtown Plaza Mall - A shopping mall located along Nuñez Extension. Though operational for a few years now, most of this mall's stalls remain vacant.
  • Robinson's Place Zamboanga - The mall will soon to rise along Nunez Extension.
  • SM City Zamboanga - SM will soon to rise in the city.
  • Gaisano Mall - had a planned to put the mall in the city, this will soon to rise in the city.

Entertainment and recreation

The Ciudad de Zamboanga boasts of several popular recreation sites such as Catribo Complex, Latitude, Park 88, and Grand Alejandra's place. Many other popular restaurants and commercial complexes are located around the city, some of which are: Mano-Mano na Greenfield Restaurant, Harry's Grill, The Lobby Bar, Family Fried Chicken, Manang Terry's Chicken Inato, Mang Inasal, Country Chicken, Pizza Pedricos, McDonald's, and KFC.

Mindpro Cinemas and Viva Theatre are the city's only movie theaters.

There are many convention centers that cater to large regional, national, and international events and congregations; they include Garden Orchid Convention Center, Marcian Convention Center, Zamboanga City Colliseum in Tetuan, Zamboanga City Convention Center, Astoria Regency in Pasonanca (the biggest convention center in Mindanao), and Patio Palmeras Convention Centers.

Sport venues of the Ciudad de Zamboanga include the Joaquin F. Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex (which is the biggest sports complex in the Philippines), where most of the largest regional and national sporting events are held, the Summit Centre, and the Zamboanga City Coliseum.

Seaweeds industry

The primary species of seaweed grown and harvested in Ciudad de Zamboanga is the Eucheuma Cottonii seaweed because of its numerous uses; it can be farmed commercially almost anywhere along the city’s coastal areas. Eucheuma seaweed has been commercially introduced in various method of propagation, after extensive experimentation. It was disclosed that eucheuma seaweeds grow faster on reefs than other areas which prove that seaweed farming is viable in this city. When the study of Eucheuma seaweeds propagation was initiated, its technical advancement was transferred to the private sectors, thus making the seaweed industry one of the leading ventures in the country today.[60]

Sardine industry

Sardines Capital of the Philippines

Ciudad de Zamboanga is noted as sardines capital of the Philippines because 8 out of 11 sardines companies in the country are operating in the city. The sardines made from Ciudad de Zamboanga are also exported to countries and regions like the North America, Europe, Middle East, and East Asia. The canning factories are converged in the west coast of Ciudad de Zamboanga and are behind popular sardine brands like Mega Fishing Corporation (Mega Sardines), Universal Canning Corporation (Family's Brand Sardines), and Columbus Seafood Inc. (555 Sardines, SM Bonus Sardines, Blue Bay Sardines). Sardine fishing and processing account for about 70 percent of the city's economy. Situated at the western tip of the Mindanao mainland, Ciudad de Zamboanga is a natural docking point for vessels traversing the rich fishing grounds of the Zamboanga peninsula and the Sulu archipelago. The Ciudad de Zamboanga’s eight canneries, which employ around 15,000 workers, process 1,000 tons of sardines daily.[61]


The formal education in the Ciudad de Zamboanga is patterned after the American system, with English as the medium of instruction. Schools are classified into public (government) and private (non-government). Classes start in June, and end in March. The majority of colleges, and universities follow a semester calendar from June to October, and November to March. There are a number of foreign schools with study programs.[62]

The general pattern of formal education follows by five stages:

  • Pre-primary level - nursery and kindergarten offered in most private schools;
  • Primary level - six years of basic education;
  • Secondary level - four years of high school education;
  • Tertiary level - usually takes four years, sometimes five and in some cases as in medical and law schools.
  • Graduate level - additional two or more years of schooling.

Universities and colleges

One of the most historic cities in the Philippines; Zamboanga plays host of numerous first-rate colleges and universities. These educational institutions attract many students in the province, as well as from the other parts of the country. The city of Zamboanga has a several prestigious private schools in Southern and Western Mindanao. Most of these private schools or institutions are administrated by Catholic missionaries.

Most of the universities and colleges in the city which offer different courses with the same standard of teaching to that of others schools in the Philippines. Thus, pursuing a degree in the city is not difficult. Records show that educational institutions in the city have produced topnotchers in board examinations as well as competent men and women in the government and private sectors.

Private schools

  • Ateneo de Zamboanga University - Founded by the Society of Jesus in 1912, it is the second oldest Jesuit school in the Philippines. It initially catered to primary and secondary education for boys. It became a college in 1952, and a university in August 2001. The Ateneo de Zamboanga began in 1912 as Escuela Catolica, a parochial school run by Spanish Jesuits at the old site of the Immaculate Conception Church, right across the Sunken Garden.[63] The school now has two campuses in the city.
  • Pilar College was founded in the year 1894, as a Cartilla School by the Beaterio Sisters who evacuated from Tamontaca, Cotabato. One of the two sisters who started the Cartilla School in the year 1894 was Mother Maria Antera Cruz, RVM.
Universidad de Zamboanga city campus.
  • Universidad de Zamboanga - A private university in Zamboanga City, Philippines. Founded on October 12, 1948 by Arturo Eustaquio, Sr. It was formerly known as Zamboanga A.E. Colleges until it was granted a university status by the CHED in the year 2005. It has 8 campuses spread out in an area of more than 130 hectares in the city and some parts of Zamboanga Peninsula. Universidad de Zamboanga has 2 Highschools namely Arturo Eustaquio Memorial Science Highschool and the UZ Technical Highschool.[64]
  • Ebenezer Bible College and Seminary - The Ebenezer Bible College and Seminary is the largest school of the Christian and Missionary Alliance Churches of the Philippines and one of the oldest and finest co-educational schools in the Philippines. It was built upon a foundation of two Christian days schools known as Ebenezer Schools, the first being established after 1903 by Rev. and Mrs. David O. Lund, and the second after 1920 by Rev. JA McMillan. For 31 years, Ebenezer was located 2 km. east of the business section of Zamboanga City and transferred its site from Tetuan to a 13-hectare campus west of the city, Calarian in 1957. The campus is bounded on the north side by the national highway and on the south side by the beautiful Sulu Sea.

Public schools

  • University of the Philippines, Zamboanga is proposed university under the Senate Bill No. 2662, a bill to create the new University of The Philippines Campus in Zamboanga City mandated by Senator. Rodolfo Biazon, to serve the whole Zamboanga Peninsula Region and ARMM Region. If this is approved, UP-Zamboanga will be the second UP campus in Mindanao after UP-Mindanao in Davao City.[65]
  • Western Mindanao State University - Formerly Zamboanga Normal College founded 1904; Is the first to be granted as a university in the year 1978. It is the only state university in the Ciudad de Zamboanga. Its campus is located in Baliwasan and is offering college and vocational programs. The university is believed to be the oldest school in Mindanao. WMSU already brought numerous achievements in the academic field, it is the Center of Excellence in Teacher Education, Center of Development in Architecture, Best School in Social Work, Best School in Forestry and Number 1 in the Criminology Board Examinations.[66] The school is considered one of the best public universities in the country.
  • Zamboanga City State Polytechnic College - Formerly Zamboanga City Trade School founded 1905. It was founded as a small workshop classroom of the Zamboanga Central School in July 1905. In 1992, the Zamboanga School of Arts and Trades was converted into Zamboanga City Polytechnic College under the supervision of the Commission on Higher Education. On July 20, 2001, pursuant to Republic Act 9142, the Zamboanga City Polytechnic College became a state college and its name changed to Zamboanga City State Polytechnic College. The college is mandated to provide advanced instruction and professional training in science and technology and other related fields, undertake research and extension services, and provide progressive leadership in the Ciudad de Zamboanga.
  • Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology - Is a member of Philippine States and Colleges League. The only school in the Philippines aside from the city of Cebu that offered a course that related to Marine and Sea Courses. It was founded in 1956.[67]

Foreign relations

Department of Foreign Affairs
U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie A. Kenney and Zamboanga Mayor Celso Lobregat

The City of Zamboanga often partner with foreign cities through Sister Cities International, an organization whose goal is to “promote peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation". Sister cities interact with each other across a broad range of activities, from health care and education to business, culture and arts.

Ciudad de Zamboanga is a member of BIMP-EAGA which stands for Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area. BIMP-EAGA is an agreement among the four Southeast Asian neighbor countries for economic cooperation. It has put Ciudad de Zamboanga in touch with towns in Malaysia and Indonesia. As a result of contacts arising from BIMP-EAGA, an air and sea route has been opened between Ciudad de Zamboanga and Sandakan in Malaysia and even a free-trade of goods to other BIMP-EAGA members.

Sandakan and Ciudad de Zamboanga is seen as sisters states or twin cities have always managed to work well together. The strong relationship between Sandakan and Zamboanga has existed for so long. As immediate neighbors, these two regions have a long history of interactions not only through trade relations but also through culture and social interactions. BIMP-EAGA which was formed in 1994 to further strengthen the existing economic and social ties between these two regions formally.[79]


Zamboanga City Medical Center (TZU -CHI Great Love Eye Center).
Zamboanga Doctors' Hospital.
USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) is anchored off of the coast of Zamboanga City

The Ciudad de Zamboanga has been adjudged as the outstanding city in the 2009 implementation of the local level plan of action for nutrition, a feat which entitles this southern port city to be an entry in the National Nutrition Council’s “Green Banner Award.” During the year 1996 the City received the prestigious “Green Banner Award”. Based on the evaluation, Agbulos said Ciudad de Zamboanga got a final score of 91.87 percent, followed by Dipolog City with a score of 88.20 percent, and Dapitan City with 84.92 percent.[80]

Medical and dental needs of the city’s residents are among the primary concerns of the city government. Most of the hospitals in the city are equipped with advanced and modern medical instruments and services.

The Department of Health is always on the front-line assisting the residents on their medical needs and disseminating vital heath information to its target clientele. It regularly conducts outreach programs, consultations and dialogues. All the barangays in the city have their own barangay health centre managed by the city heath department.

The city is also home to medical centres and hospitals. These provide quality health care services for Zamboanguenos.

  • Zamboanga City Medical Center - Is the largest medical facility in Region IX in terms of bed capacity. The hospital was founded in 1918 as the Zamboanga General Hospital; better known simply as "General Hospital", is located in the corner of Veterans Avenue-Fort Pilar road.
  • Zamboanga Doctors' Hospital - Located at Veterans Avenue, It is the first privately owned hospital and one of the most modern facilities in the city, was established in 1964.
  • Ciudad Medical Zamboanga - Is one of the most equipped and advanced medical center in the city. Ciudad Medical is a five-storey medical complex located at Nunez Extension.
  • Western Mindanao Medical Center - Located at Veterans Avenue Extension; It was established in the year 1990, with state-of-the-art facilities and a newly reconstructed building.
  • Universidad de Zamboanga Community Medical Center or ZAEC Community Hospital - Formerly the Zamboanga Arturo Eustaquio Colleges Memorial Medical Center, along San Jose Road; Is a university-owned hospital equipped with advanced medical facilities and has a 24-hour pharmacy located inside the Medical complex.
  • Zamboanga City Red Cross - Is one of the pioneer chapters in the country. It was established on June 17, 1946, known originally as Zamboanga Chapter. The original Zamboanga Chapter comprised the city of Zamboanga and the 3 provinces of Basilan, Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur. Zamboanga City Chapter has a Blood Center with complete laboratory equipment for blood processing. The chapter contributed to the well being of the patients needing blood, both in public and private hospitals.[81]
  • Zamboanga Peninsula Medical Center - Target completion and opening is by the first half of 2013 or approximately one and a half year construction.
  • Zamboanga Children's Hospital

The Military Sealift Command (MSC) hospital ship, USNS Mercy (T-AH-19), is anchored off of the coast of Zamboanga City, as it provide a multitude of medical, dental and veterinary care for the people who live in this region. This care is provided by a portion of Mercy's staff working side by side with their Filipino counterparts at several medical centers in the city, as well as patients being given care on the ship itself. Mercy's stop in Zamboanga is the first of many, during its humanitarian deployment to South and Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Mercy is able to rapidly respond to a range of situations on short notice and is capable of supporting medical and humanitarian assistance needs with special medical equipment and a multi-specialized medical team, providing a range of services ashore as well as aboard the ship. The medical staff is augmented with an assistance crew, many of whom are part of non-governmental organizations that have significant medical capabilities.[82]


Ciudad de Zamboanga is the entry and exit point to any parts of Southeast Asian Region to the Philippines from Investment to Tourism.[83] There are constant reminders of the city’s exotic past as a major East-West trading port. Zamboanga remains a melting pot of cultures with the colorful vinta sails and Fort Pilar symbolizes the city’s rich heritage.[84]

Parks and landmarks

There are several tourist destinations in the city. These include: The Zamboanga Fortress now called Fort Pilar; Pettit Barracks, the former encampment of United States; The Modern Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception; The Old Normal School Building; St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish Church; Taluksangay Mosque; and the Zamboanga City Hall are Historical Buildings that the main attractions for tourists in the city and most of them are religious places.[85]

Episcopal Church in the Philippines

The Sta. Cruz Island, Paseo del Mar, Pasonanca Park, Jardin de Maria Clara, Cawa-Cawa Boulevard, Zamboanga Golf and Country Club, Plaza Pershing and other parks in the city are designed to encourage the local and foreign tourists to visit the city.

The Department of Tourism has selected Zamboanga City as a tourist destination to be promoted nationally and internationally.[86] Tourism to the Zamboanga Peninsula has trended upward in recent years. Domestic and foreign tourist arrivals increased 8 percent to 439,160 in 2005, according to data from the regional tourism office. The same report notes that Filipinos accounted for 80 percent of the tourist arrivals. Moreover, 50 percent of those tourists visited Zamboanga City before.[87]

Modern Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Interior of the Port Pilar; Part of Z.C. National Museum
Merloquet Falls
  • Cawa-Cawa Boulevard, R.T Lim Boulevard - Is a bayside roadway comparable to Manila's Roxas Boulevard. Locals and visitors often walk Cawa-Cawa to see its famed sunsets.
  • Fort Pilar - Founded in 1635 as a garrison during the Spanish period, 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 Pilar, the patroness of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga. Its 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.
  • Sta. Cruz Island - The Great Santa Cruz island is known for its pink sand bar, while the Little Santa Cruz Island is a typical white beach, with powder-like sand. Access to these islands is limited, so reservations must be made first.
  • National Museum of Zamboanga City - The establishment of a museum branch in Zamboanga City was made possible by Presidential Decree 260. declaring Fort Pilar as a National Cultural Treasure on August 1, 1973. Situated within the historic Fort Pilar, the museum is named in honor of Nuestra Señora del Pilar, patroness of Zamboanga.[88]
  • Yellow Beach - About 8 km. from city center via jeepneys & minibuses from public market landing site of US Liberation Forces under Maj. Gen. Jens A. Doe on March 10, 1945. The Americans named the beachhead Yellow Beach for operational identification. Japanese resistance collapsed on April 2 with Filipino troops and local guerillas effectively collaborating with US Forces. The beach is in Sinunuc, about 8 km. west of the city center.
Isla de Santa Cruz
Pasonanca Pool
Salāhuddīn Mosque
The oldest Tree House in the City -1963
  • Paseo del Mar na Zamboanga - a seafront parkway located adjacent to the walls of Fort Pilar. The Paseo encompasses 2.5 hectares in what was a former slum, which required relocating 300 families.[89] The walkway faces scenic Basilan Strait.
  • Pasonanca Park - Traversed by a stream, abound 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 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. Permission to use the treehouse, which is for free, can be obtained at the Office of the Mayor.
  • Zamboanga Barter Markets - There are 4 barter markets: BCC Shopping Center in Baliwasan, Sta. Cruz Market, Port Area, and Canelar. These are where one can shop for imported merchandise from Europe, the US, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and the People's Republic of China. On sale are textiles, houseware, blankets, batik cloth, umbrellas, toys, canned goods, toiletries, and electronic items.
  • Pettit Barracks - site that US forces under General John C. Bates occupied after the capture of the city on November 15, 1899. It was named Pettit Barracks after Col. James S. Pettit, 41st Infantry Division (United States), US Volunteer Commanding Officer of the Second Military District. Occupied by Japanese forces in 1942-1945, the barracks were recaptured by United States of America and Philippine Commonwealth liberation forces on March 10, 1945, and turned over to the Philippines on July 4, 1946.[90]
Zamboanga City Hall and Rizal Monument
Paseo del Mar
Fort Pilar Shrine
RT Lim Boulevard
  • Plaza Pershing - Plaza Pershing was established in Zamboanga City, Philippines to honor Governor John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing (September 13, 1860 – July 15, 1948) with his victory over Muslim insurgents. The plaza is newly developed and has it's colorful fountain.
  • Jardin de Maria Clara- La Jardin de Maria Clara Lobregat is a garden park named after the late mayor Maria Clara Lobregat. It also has an aviary park. The park was putted a colorful fountain and it is open by night.
  • Plaza del Pilar - located across the Fort Pilar Shrine. Plaza del Pilar is the first all-in-one “Pasalubong Center” in the city and has 56 stalls catering to all types of good, candles, devotional items, and souvenir items that are truly Zamboangueño.
  • Modern Metropolitan Cathedral of the 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 Asia, built in 1998-2001. The cathedral is located at La Purisima street. The cathedral's structure is a cruciform, resembling a cross and its facade is patterned after a candle (which is connected to the Blessed Virgin Mary).[86]

A new landmark of Zamboanga City completed in December 1999. It is perhaps the country's most modern cathedral and the only one with an elevator. Summary: 2-storey Cathedral accessible by ramp & side stairs; Cruciform design accented elliptical/oval forms in the shape of candles - 3 at main entrance (foot of cruciform) and 1 each at 3 other ends of the cruciform Ground Floor: Area - 2,303.77 sq. m.; 400-500 capacity Day Chapel; 536 sq. m. Conference Room; 250 capacity Perpetual Adoration Chapel; 355 sq. m. Crypt; Public and Clergy Offices Second Floor: Area - 2,276.82 sq. m.; 1,600 to 2,000 capacity Main Cathedral; 250 each capacity Baptistry and Blessed Sacrament Chapel; 116 sq. m. Sacristy; highly proportional Sanctuary and Altar, elevated Bishop's Chair, ample area for Ordination ceremonies; approached by Front Ramps, side stairs, and winding stairs.

  • 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. It was built on January 1863. Barrio Tetuan's Catholic Church now known as the Saint Ignatius of Loyola Parish Church can be found on Fr. Baruja, S.J. street corner Atilano street. The original church structure was destroyed during World War II. It is historically recognized as the first catholic parish in Mindanao, Philippines.
  • Salāhuddīn Mosque - Is the largest and most prominent mosque in Zamboanga, located in the Santa Barbara district not far from the city center. The mosque is named after Salahuddin, the famous Muslim general who fought the Crusaders and reconquered the city of Jerusalem.
Cruz Major overlooking the city and the Basilan Strait
Jardin Maria Clara Llobregat
Jose Rizal Monument
Maria Clara Lobregat Monument
  • Serenity Falls - Zamboanga City's Serenity Falls bounded between La Paz and Pamucutan, at the foot of the EcoZone's south entrance.
  • Japanese Memorial Shrine - There are two Japanese Memorial Shrines in the city. One is located in Pasonanca Park which is 7 kilometers from the city proper. Another is located in Malagutay which is 11 kilometers from the city proper. The shrines are made of marble that came from Japan with names engraved on it in Japanese character. The names engraved are those of the Japanese soldiers who died during the World War II as they were retreating from the liberating the joint and combined U.S. and Philippine Commonwealth military forces.
  • Taluksangay Mosque - The Mosque in Barangay Taluksangay is considered one of Zamboanga’s tourist spots. This colorful mosque is located in the barrio of Taluksangay outside the city centre. A Sama village made more picturesque and majestic by golden minarets towering over a lagoon and luxuriant green brushlands. Villagers are engaged in fishing, seaweed farming, and firewood-gathering from vast swamplands nearby. An interesting site is its "floating village" made up of little houses on stilts above the water.
  • Old Normal School Building - Also known as the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) Social Hall, the it 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.
Dullian Falls
  • Yakan Weaving Center - Host to the only Yakan community 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. Local people weave intricately hand-woven fabrics on giant looms as well as making traditional brasswares.
  • Campo Muslim - Rio Hondo - Sahaya - A colony of coastal Tausugs, Samas, and Badjaos living in frail-looking houses on stilts situated about 200 meters from Fort Pilar, Campo Muslim can easily be located by its silver-dome mosque. To reach the other area known as Rio Hondo, one has to cross the wooden bridge that spans the narrow river that has given this part of the village its present name - Rio Hondo - meaning deep river. Inside Rio Hondo is a human settlement project of the government called Sahaya. It sits on a 23-hect-are tract of mangrove.
  • 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 Wood, Tasker H. Bliss, Ralph W. Hoyt, and Governor John J. Pershing of World War I fame. Today, this serves as the City Hall of Zamboanga City where the Mayor holds office.
  • Zamboanga Golf and Country Club - 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 hosts a public swimming resort managed by the Philippine Tourism Authority.[91]

Approx. 6 km. on the west coast, accessible by jeeyneys and minibuses. Originally known as the Zamboanga Golf and Country Club when it was founded in June 1910 by Gov. John "Blackjack" Pershing of the Moro Province. This is one of the oldest golf courses in the Philippines with Pershing himself as the club's first president. This course has a fine layout with winding fairways, dogleg situations, and good greens planted to Tifton 228. Its bunkers have the pinkish sand from Sta. Cruz Island. Although Zamboanga's first nine is somewhat flat in terrain, the second is fairly rolling, skirting around the Basilan Strait for a bit of ocean view. Interesting rounds await the average golfer or seasoned campaigner, as flexibility is assured with long tee mounds. The course has elevated greens which can be tricky for their small size and rolling make-up. The course has 18 holes in 64 hectares.

Zamboanga Golf Beach
Zamboanga Golf and Country Club

Arts and culture

Zamboanga National Museum
Zamboanga National Museum Inside
Maria Clara Lobregat Museum


  • Zamboanga National Museum
  • Western Mindanao State University Ethnological Museum[92]
  • AteneoDZU The Gallery of the Peninsula and Archipelago
  • Maria Clara Lobregat Art Gallery

Festivals and events

Zamboanga City is home to a diverse culture. It boasts a long and worth-knowing history. These diversity and duration are just two of the many reasons behind the City's numerous colorful and solemn festivities; These festivals dates are generally non-working holidays. A few of the major celebrations in the city are listed with some bits of must-know facts.

  • Dia de Zamboanga

(February 26)- The date when Zamboanga was declared as a chartered city under the Commonwealth Government in the year 1937. Charter Day of the City became a non-working holiday. A roster of special activities are lined up annually to mark the occasion. The signing of the City's Charter by Pres. Manuel L. Quezon was witnessed by Assemblyman Juan S. Alano and the representative of the Moro province of Mindanao.

(March/April) - A city procession known as the Santo Entierro (Holy Funeral) on Good Friday highlights the observance of the season of Lent. Celebrated in most parish churches in the city and in the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, the Santo Entierro is a procession of Christ's images along the city's main streets, depicting his last hours before, during, and after the Crucifixion.

  • Santacruzan

(May) - A religious feast celebrated in many Catholic Parishes in honor of Reyna Elena (Queen Helen)and her son Constantine who went to the Holy Land to search for Jesus' Cross.

  • Eid al-Fitr/Hari Raya Puasa

(August) - Often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic Holy month of fasting. Eid is an Arabic word meaning "festivity", while Fiṭr means "to break fast"; and so the holiday symbolizes the breaking of the fasting period. It is celebrated after the end of the Islamic month of Ramadan, on the first day of Shawwal.

  • Zamboanga Hermosa Festival (Fiesta Pilar)

(October 1–31) - The Hermosa Festival also known as Zamboanga La Hermosa Festival or popularly known as Fiesta Pilar a month-long festival held each year in the city of Zamboanga,[93] the city center of Zamboanga Peninsula Region in the Philippines. It is one of the Oldest Festival in the Country and the most awaited Event in the Region.

The Festival is being held in honor of the miraculous image of Our Lady of the Pillar (Spanish and Chavacano: Nuestra Señora del Pilar), the patroness of Zamboanga City which is held in every 12 October. It is also the patroness of Zaragoza in Spain, the sister city of Zamboanga in Philippines.[94]

Highlighted by the October 12 Fiesta Pilar in honor of the miraculous image of Our Lady of the Pillar at the legendary Fort Pilar. The festival features month-long celebrations with so many lineup activities to be held; Hermosa dance sports competition and the street dance competition is the most awaited activities in the festive. The festival commences with a solemn procession and a grand mass at the Fort. With thousands of pilgrims converging in Zamboanga City. One of the oldest festivities in the country..

  • Fiesta de La Immaculada Concepcion (Feast of the Immaculate Conception)

(2nd week of December) - A Feast day of Zamboanga City's Patron; the Blessed Virgin Mary's Immaculate Conception. Traditionally celebrates with a procession and mass highlighted by either first communion or ordination rites. They're also holding several activities such us the Street dance competition.

  • Pascua na Zamboanga,(Christmas)

(December 25) - Celebration of Jesus Christ's Birth. City hall, churches, schools, barangays, streetlight post, houses, streets, commercial places, parks and most of the other places in the City are covered with lights, filled with joyous sounds and other Christmas Decorations.

  • Fonda de Barangay or Fiesta de Barangay

Week-long celebration in every Barangay/Barrios honoring their patron saints. The celebration usually starts with novena masses held every day for 9 straight days prior the feast day of the patron saint. every night, the barrio is lit up for celebration and merry-making that includes pageants, trade fair, parade, cock-fighting, carnival, musical competition and "baile."

See also



 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "Zamboanga City".

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External links

Coordinates: 6°54′N 122°4′E / 6.9°N 122.067°E / 6.9; 122.067

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