Debunking the Stereotypes as I set foot in the City of Flowers:
Zamboanga is also known as the City of Flowers when the Malay settled at the tip of Zamboanga peninsula and saw a group of ornamental plants that beautifully bloom in the area and called it as “Jambangan”- land of flowers. Other version was the “saguan/sambuan” also from Malay word means paddle or pole which was used by the locals to paddle their colorful Vintas.
- Security 101 – Let us be fair in all the cities and provinces across the country. Zamboanga is a huge if not big peninsula and ticking part of Tawi-tawi and drag it to the downtown gives an image of negativity for tourist. Every place has this so called “no to go” zones, perhaps the “no to go” zones of Zamboanga has been in the limelight of media and spreads the news up north. While it is true that you can see army and police visibly around every corner, but honestly,you will feel more secured, and I bet Zamboanga is relatively much safe than some corners of metro at night! Also, Zambonaga is an open city, like any pother other city here up north, the difference perhaps is the factor of insurgency and terrorism, no more no less.
- A City where Muslims and Christians lives in harmony – this one is debunking # 1 stereotype in my head. I must say that not every corner has this so called “Islamic influence” but of an amalgamation of both Christian and Muslim cultures. So interesting isn’t?! Up North in the urban Manila, we always think that Mindanao is a place of insurgency and politico-socio- cultural conflicts, but I say nay. People live here in harmony, you would be amazed how two different cultures interacts with one another with no weapons, no hate and etc. – so amazing!
- Know when to Harvest or forever hold your peace! – I just realized and based from the informal chats I had with the locals, the best time to do agri-shopping here is around September and not early August.
- Hablo Espanol? Va en Zamboanga – Zamboanga, being a peninsula, and the last battle front during the Spanish era is the best place to practice your Spanish speaking skills. They would really encourage you to speak the broken spanish (chavacano) and they would love to correct you with your phrase. I remember walking around the market asking the lady “cuanto” instead of how much and we end up speaking in English. 🙂
- A City Like No Other– as we had our mid-night tour around the city, you would feel as if you were transported back in the Spanish era, with a lot of Spanish influences around the corner from the usual set up of pueblo (town) having the City Hall and other government offices near with the Church out of brick, schools within the vicinity ruins of history could still be felt in this city a must visit by any history geek!
If I will be ask to go to this city again definitely I will! The 72 hour trip was not enough to explore and indulge this City! hasta luego Zamboanga!