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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Zamboanga City :: Day 1 - How We Got to Zamboanga City

I've seen a black sand beach, gray sand beach, yellow sand beach, white powdery sand beach, but never a pink sand beach. This beach can only be found in Great Sta Cruz Island in Zamboanga and when I learned about this, I knew it was time to mark the map!

We booked plane tickets waaaayy even before the Zamboanga seige happened in 2013. As February 7 2014 was approaching, I was feeling doubtful if it's worth the visit considering the risk. 

But yes, we came and we saw and we bombed... the hell out of the experience! 

 ~ o ~ o ~

The Plan? No plan at all. I was so busy with work prior our trip that I didn't have time to do so much research. No accommodation yet and I know how much of a hassle it is to look for a place to stay the day of arrival itself as I've experienced it when we went to Ilo-Ilo last year (See my Iloilo entries here). As for the tour, no plan either. 

From NAIA Terminal 3, we flew to Zamboanga International Airport. Welcome to Asia's Latin City!!!

"Zamboanga City is called “Asia’s Latin City” because of its Spanish-tinged Chabacano dialect – dating back to the earliest foreign occupation of the Philippines in the 1600’s. This musical language is a huge part of ZamboangeƱo culture. You’ll find a lot of its influence in local song and dance." -

Right outside the arrival area are barkers offering a ride through a van or tricycle. Some of these barkers were so annoyingly persistent. We just had to politely decline. Mahirap na (you know what I mean).

We walked for around 3 minutes and found ourselves outside the airport's vicinity, waiting for a jeepney to take us to Casa Canelar. We paid P8 to the jeepney driver and he dropped us off at Gerry's Grill. 

There's a pavement beside Gerry's Grill that leads to Casa Canelar. There are other inns at the back of this pension that's cheaper, unfortunately they were all fully booked at that time.


Room: P1200/night (for 3 persons)
Extra Person: P300
-with hot and cold shower
-no breakfast
-free wifi

Casa Canelar Pension is located at Canelar Street and sits right in the center of Zamboanga City. We got a room good for 3 persons - with 1 double bed and a single bed. We paid extra bed for our friend. What's nice about this place is that it's clean and accepts major Credit Cards. What I didn't like it was difficult to access their free WIFI, though our room is right next to the spot. We had to call for the basic stuff that's supposedly readily available like soap, shampoo, extra towel and pillow for the extra person.

We settled our stuff and rested a bit. At 3PM, we were out to go to the Department of Tourism office,which is just near the City Hall. 

We rode a jeepney and alighted at Metropolitan Cathedral, located near Ateneo De Zamboanga. 

More information regarding Metropolican Cathedral can be found in Wikipedia. Here's the link:

Then we walked towards the City Hall, passing through plazas, malls and schools.

Department of Tourism is located along Valderrosa Street, same street where the City Hall is. 

We were able to talk to a very accommodating guy who explained to us where to go, what to eat, what to bring home and even recommended a short trip to Basilan! When I heard Basilan, excitement overpowered my fear. I wanted to go there and decided yes, we'll probably go the next day. I highly recommend visiting Department of Tourism so they can better explain what their tourism can offer and ease away whatever fear or doubt anyone feels towards Zamboanga. I admit, it's comforting speaking to this Officer. My worries about safety completely vanished...

Overall, reaching the town is very easy. From the airport, walk outside the airport and from there are jeepneys going to town. Pay a minimum fee. Don't hesitate to ask people around town. They are  nice.

Visit my Day 2 in Zamboanga City here => Great Santa Cruz Island and its Pink Sand Beach

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