Zamboanga City is one of the cities with rich and diverse culture. It is the city where people from different ethnic tribes, religion, and languages converge. That is why Zamboanga City is one of the perfect venues for culture discoveries.
Roaming around Zamboanga City is part of our Ultimate Zamboanga Trip last August 2017. Straight from our previous leg: Chasing Zamboanga Waterfalls in 2 Days, we finally arrived in Zamboanga City on our 4th day of the trip. Fresh from our tiring adventure, our bellies grumbled and demanded to be fed. Of course, since we are in a culture-diverse city, we wanted to try out their delicacies and recipes.
Food trip in Zamboanga City
Zamboanga City has so much to offer when it comes to their foods. Since the city is positioned near the tip of the Philippine border between the country of Malaysia, it is no wonder that influence of Malaysian palettes can obviously be seen and tasted on their cuisine. Not only that, Zamboanga City is located in between the Sulu Sea and the Celebes Sea which brings the city hundreds of seafood on its platter.
Here are some of the foods we tried in Zamboanga City:
- Curacha in Alavar Sauce
- This cuisine is a “must try”, especially for the crab lovers. This can only be ordered in Alavar Seafood Restaurant in Zamboanga. Or you can cook on your own if you know the recipe. You can buy Alavar Sauce in the restaurant as well. “Curacha also known as spanner crab or red frog crab is a local Chavacano name given to Ranina ranina, commonly found in the waters of Sulu province and Zamboanga.” – Wikipedia
- Chicken/Beef Satti
- This is very common, especially in areas with Muslim communities. Usually served early in the morning. “Satti is a common food in Southeast Asia, particularly in Malaysia and Mindanao, Philippines. It comes from a Hindu-Arabic word Shatein, which means “food of Shaytan” (Satan). Its main ingredients are small pieces of beef, grilled on hot coals until it becomes red-black in color. Eaten together with rice cooked in coconut leaves, it dazed on red-colored, spicy sauce.” – Wikipedia
- Knicker Bocker
- This is a dessert popular in Zamboanga City. Somehow, it resembles the traditional Pinoy halo-halo. It still has the usual fruits, colorful gelatin, milk, and topped with ice cream. The only thing that separates this from halo-halo is the absence of crushed ice. Each serving costs at around 75 pesos. There are Knicker Bockers available in Paseo del Mar.
Aside from their wide variety of foods, Zamboanga is also known to be colorful and rich in culture. There are so many places to visit and so many things to do in Zamboanga City. Each place has a story to tell and a culture to back it up.
Roaming Around Zamboanga City
We spent a day going around Zamboanga City. The city is so lively and full of people. Who would have thought that the city was once terrorized by a group of militants a few years ago?
Going around the city is easy. There are jeepneys and tricycles available. Fare would cost around 8 – 10 pesos depending on the distance.
Here are some of the culturally rich and historic places we visited in the city:
- Sta. Cruz Island
- The island is just a few minutes away from the main island of Zamboanga City. The island is more known for its pink beach. Its unique characteristic is because of the presence of powdered red corals mixed with its white sands. Visitors can go around the island and visit the marine and mangrove sanctuary. Locals do also offer different kinds of seafood on the island.
- Paseo del Mar
- Serves as the seaside park within the city. Paseo del Mar offers a place for the people to chill, unwind, and dine. There are food stalls and bars on the place.
- The place is also a good spot to watch the sunset.
- Zamboanga National Museum
- Just beside Paseo del Mar is a historical Spanish fort, now made a museum. Everybody can get inside for free, just bring a valid ID. There are several instagrammable corners on the place.
- You may also visit Fort Pilar just right outside the museum. There are birds flocking the street and feeding on the corn kernels people spread on the street.
- Yakan Village
- “The Yakans reside in the Sulu Archipelago, situated to the west of Zamboanga in Mindanao. Traditionally they wear colorful, handwoven clothes.” – Wikipedia
- The village is located in Upper Calarian.
- Here you can witness the art of traditional hand weaving and also buy souvenirs.
- Rio Hondo Village
- The village is highly concentrated with Muslim communities. Here you can see the basic lives of our Muslim brothers.
- Rio Hondo is named due to the fact that the village is surrounded by rivers. It was formerly known as Cagang-Cagang.
- Actually, Rio Hondo is not a tourist attraction. It is not even recommended for tourists to visit the place in fear of security. But actually, people in the village are very welcoming and kind.
- Plaza Pershing and Zamboanga City Hall
- The old-fashioned looking city hall is surely a photograph worthy.
- The place gets busy especially during peak hours.
Except for Sta. Cruz island and the Yakan Village, everything else is just a walk away from each other. After we visited the city hall, we went back to Paseo del Mar which is our usual go-to place. It is good because there, we can relax and unwind by the soft breeze of the ocean.
Our stay in Zamboanga City did not cost us that much. It was a luck when our friend’s relative welcomed us to her simple abode. Enough for us to have a place to sleep. For three nights she let us stay and even took care of us despite her busy schedule. We are so thankful that she allowed us to stay. She even prepared a nice meal on our last night in Zamboanga City.