FTF / #MindaNOWorNever: Zamboanga City

12:00:00 AM

When I still worked for Selecta, I had a stand-up act of sorts that I staged for my friends: "Mayora." It started one day when I wore a crisp white polo shirt with jeans and a pair of peep-toe heels, and I joked that I looked like a small-town mayor. My friends gave me the nickname "Mayora," and I just ran with it. So when Hannah and I landed in Zamboanga City, we got a welcome befitting a mayor. Jerome picked us up and brought us to our hotel. Nasvin joined us there, and after lunch, we had a MOTORCADE! Haha!

Okay, so it's not really a motorcade - it was just a grand tour of Zamboanga City, riding on the back Jerome's pick-up truck. Time wasn't on our side so Jerome had to drive fast - making us hold on to whatever we could get our hands on for dear life. After checking in, Hannah and I were supposed to go to Pink Beach. However, there were no boats headed there after lunch, so we ended up going for a city tour instead - with Nasvin as the ultimate, high-energy tour guide. Haha! Here were our stops (not in order):

We went to Yakan Village in Upper Calarian. Weaving was the villagers' livelihood, and they make wonderful, colorful products ranging from bags to malongs to table runners to scarves. In a few shops, traditional blades and musical instruments were also being sold. I wanted to buy a knife, but I couldn't find one that I liked enough.
Next generation
Traditional weapons and instruments
We passed by the Zamboanga City Hall, and I loved its Hispanic architecture. I appreciate that it was preserved after all this time. On the flip side, we also drove past a mosque - but it wasn't like anything I've seen in the history books. Maskid Al Imam Al Madhi Mosque was very modern, although it still bore some of the traditional design elements of an Islamic place of worship.
Zamboanga City Hall
Masjid Al Imam Al Madhi Mosque
At the Shrine of Nuestra Senora del Pilar, our group stopped by to say a quick prayer. And when I say quick, I MEAN IT - we were there for under 10 minutes because Jerome and Nasvin were determined to take us to all the "must-see" spots. Hannah and I have been in Mindanao for over two weeks already, but we've never felt more like tourists until Zamboanga!
Outside. Bad photo, sorry
Plaza Pilar was pretty well-known - and crowded, too! It was like the Intramuros/Fort Santiago of Mindanao. I've always had a fascination with buildings and other structures from the Spanish occupation, and I love that the local government really took measures to ensure its preservation.
Plaza Pilar at an angle
At one of the side streets, kids were playing with pigeons.
Behind Plaza Pilar is the school that was at the center of the Zamboanga Siege.
Paseo del Mar was absolutely stunning. I would have loved to go for a run if we had time. But we didn't, so I just let my eyes soak up the view. It was like a bigger and significantly warmer Rizal Boulevard (Dumaguete). Here, you could really see the big cargo and military ships in the distance. This is where we were supposed to catch a boat to Pink Beach, but yeah, maybe next time.
Concrete beach
I like history, so I actually am the type who reads memorials when I visit parks. We were brought to Climaco Freedom Park, which was 7.5 kilometers away from the city proper, and there I learned that Cesar Cortes Climaco, the man for whom Abong-Abong Park was renamed, was a staunch Martial Law critic. He suffered the fate of many others who fought the conjugal dictatorship of the Marcoses.
History tidbit
But first, let us take a selfie!
Zamboanga seems to have a lot of parks - after Climaco Freedom Park, we drove down to Pasonanca Park. This park had everything - swimming pools, a butterfly conservatory, a flower garden, and even a museum! Too bad they were about to close when we got there. :( (I guess that means we have to go back. Woohoo!)
One of my few photos of the park. My phone died
Because Mamu Vangie (Hannah's boss in Selecta) asked us to buy her chocolates, a stop at Barter was absolutely mandatory. I didn't have too much money to spend, but that wasn't a problem because everything was so cheap! I got Apollo Wafer Sticks and Cadbury Milk Chocolate for the ACC Team in Cebu.
Take your pick!
Although as a writer, I am very much a nocturnal person, I am actually a sun chaser. Whenever I could, I take snaps of sunrises and sunsets. My first and only sunset in Zamboanga was one of the most beautiful ones I've ever laid eyes upon, and I got lucky that the stoplight turned red the moment I saw it - giving me enough time to snap a photo:
Hannah and I were to go our separate ways the next day - I had to fly to Cebu for work, while she had to finish the rest of #MindaNOWorNever without me. So we had a grand dinner (still cheap, though!) at Hacienda de Palmeras Hotel, where we had the Knicker Bocker - a must-try local desert. Apparently, lots of people have tried to copy it, but only Palmeras does it right.
Quite the feast. But CHEAP
Legendary Dessert
All that in one day.


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Hello, reader! Thank you for wasting your time reading my blog. I do hope you enjoyed whatever you stumbled upon. :)