Located at the tip of Zamboanga Peninsula, Zamboanga City is one of the most progressive cities in Mindanao. It is labelled as “Asia’s Latin City” because of its Spanish-influenced Chavacano dialect – dating back to the Spanish era in the 1600’s. Today, Zamboanga City continues to attract travelers who want to experience the city’s interesting dialect, Spanish inspired dishes offered in may restaurants, beautiful beaches, and many other historical and natural attractions. 

The best time to visit Zamboanga City is during the Hermosa Festival which happens in October. One of the highlights of the Festival is the Regatta de Zamboanga showcasing the colorful vintas of Zamboanga. It is definitely something to look forward to each year. 

Here’s a glimpse of the stunning photos I took during the Hermosa Festival. I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to the Department of Tourism Region IX Office most especially to RD MaJune Bugante for a wonderful experience. Also thank you to Precious Rebollos and Kuya Felix for taking care of us while we were in Zambo. Muchas Gracias!

Regatta de Zamboanga
Regatta de Zamboanga is one of the major activities during the Zamboanga Hermosa Festival. Colorful vintas race along the Cawa-Cawa boulevard (now RT Lim boulevard) for a huge amount of cash prize. It is participated by around 180 local fisher folks of the city. This year Amil Hamja, a fisherman from Sinunuc emerged as the overall winner.

Street Dancing Showdown
Another highlight of the annual Hermosa Festival is the Street Dancing Showdown participated by different schools in the City. During the competition, a skydiving exhibition was performed by members of the Philippine Army which wowed the crowd.

The Great Sta. Cruz Island 
One of the most visited attractions of the city is the Great Sta. Cruz Island. It is located just about 20 minutes by boat from Paseo del Mar. It is a protected area and is home to the famous Pink Sand Beach of Zamboanga. Entrance to the island is P20, terminal fee is P5, and cottage rental ranges from P100 – P500 depending on the size. Boat rental to and from the island is P1000 good for 1-10 passengers. For inquiries, you may call 09272835684. Make sure to be responsible while visiting the island. Bring your trash back to the mainland. 

The Great Sta. Cruz Island Lagoon
Aside from the pink sand beach, another attraction within the Great Sta. Cruz Island is the lagoon. It’s best way to visit the lagoon during high tide so you’ll be able to appreciate its beauty. It is home to different species of mangroves.In order to explore the lagoon, you must rent a yellow boat from the community around the lagoon. 

Paseo del Mar
Paseo del Mar is probably the best place to chill in Zamboanga City. You;ll catch the best sunset in this park as well as you can sample some of the best food in the city. A must-try is the knickerbocker sold in one of the stalls in the are. You can also watch the dancing fountain at night.
Rio Hondo
Rio Hondo is the ground zero of the Zamboanga siege happened in 2013. It is home to a huge Muslim population in the city.

Yakan Weaving Village
Located in Upper Calarian in Zamboanga City, Yakan Weaving Village is one of the must-visit places in the region. A group of Yakan Weavers showcases their amazing craftsmanship in making colorful and intricate patterns using pineapple and abaca fibers.

Zamboanga City Hall
Zamboanga City Hall is not just a seat of local power but also an attractions to many locals and visitors due to its picturesque feature. During Christmas season, it is well-lighted which make it more attractive during the night.

Freedom Park / Helmet Park Zamboanga
The Freedom Park also known as the Helmet Park is the memorial and the final resting place of slain Mayor of Zamboanga City, Cesar C. Climaco. 

Seafood and Satti
Zamboanga is also a food haven. Seafood is abundant in the city and are widely available in most restaurants in the city. A must-try is their Curacha – a lobster-crab hybrid only found in Mindanao. Another must-taste is Satti de Zamboanga– a grilled dish and cube rice dipped in spicy satti sauce. It is only served during breakfast. (Read: 6 Must-Try Restaurants in Zamboanga City).

Photos are captured using FujiFilm Philippines’ XM1 and X-T10.

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