10 + 1 Things to do in Zamboanga City

There are many things to do in Zamboanga. Here are just some of them.

By Raul Ramon Lopez-Vito Bucoy II
January 12, 2012

Picture perfect pink sanded Santa Cruz Island, colorful vinta sails, and the historic 300 year old Spanish fort may well be Zamboanga's star attractions, and with good reason. But only a few know Asia's Latin city has plenty to offer beyond all those.

Located south of Manila and an hour and thirty minutes by air, Zamboanga City bombards you with beauty, history, and culture. The entire experience feels at once effortless and nonpareil - the apex of living in a different time zone, a rich history bringing you back to Spanish Philippines.

So what do you do when you've actually reached Asia's Latin city? Here are some ideas.

Ride the tricycle around town. The streets of Zamboanga teem with culture. A great way to see the town, surrounding artistic villages, and the historic fort is on a tricycle.

Photo by Raul Ramon Lopez-Vito Bucoy II

Rent the iconic and historic Tree House in Pasonanca Park. No trip to Zamboanga is complete without an overnight stay at the much-visited landmark. Book early. For reservations, call Zamboanga City's tourism office.

Watch the sunset at R.T Lim (Cawa-Cawa) Boulevard. The neighbouring island of Basilan and pink sanded Santa Cruz rises out of the horizon like a hazy dream along Basilan Strait. Catching it at sunset frames the neighbouring islands at their most beautiful and surreal.

Shop at the famous Yakan Village. 30 minutes west from downtown, Yakan Village is a great place to grab some tribal trinkets and preciously weaved Yakan fabrics.

Shop for pasalubong at Zamboanga's Barter Trade Complex. They've got everything from colorful batik to boxes of chocolates imported from nearby Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

If you enjoy playing golf, then the nearby Zamboanga City Golf Course and Country Club has one the best links course and is the oldest in the county.

Go snorkeling at the pink sand island of Santa Cruz. The pristine pink sand island is only 15 minutes by boat from the mainland - a perfect departure from the bustling city. Hire a boatman to take you out to the reefs for the day, and prepare to get your mind blown. Snorkeling does not get better than this. The bright reefs and strange fish will tattoo a smile upon your face.

Photo by Raul Ramon Lopez-Vito Bucoy II

Climb Mount Pulong Bato. The sugarloaf mount and surrounding watershed provides a proper setting for a gorgeous clamber to the summit. The best time to climb is in the morning. Most groups begin their ascent around 6 am hitting the summit at 7 - enjoy a sprawling view of the city.

Binge on Curacha. Literally "cockroach" in Chavacano, the pidgin' Spanish dialect of the city. A cross between a large sea crab and a spiny lobster, these famous crustacean can only be found in the waters of Zamboanga and is sold daily at the Zamboanga City public market .

Paseo del Mar. Comparable to Manila's defunct Baywalk,  Paseo del Mar at night is the place to be seen for young Zamboangenos. 

Grab a bowl of Satti from Jimmy's along Pilar Street. Who cares if it burns your mouth, it's the best welcome meal every Zamboangeno can offer a non-local next to curacha.