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Local Philippines: Zestful Zamboanga

Located seven hundred kilometers away from Manila is a land known to many as Asia’s Latin City. But aside from its rich Hispanic past, this tourist hotspot is one of the centers in the fields of ...

Located seven hundred kilometers away from Manila is a land known to many as Asia’s Latin City. But aside from its rich Hispanic past, this tourist hotspot is one of the centers in the fields of commerce, trade, finance, health, and education in Mindanao. Synonymous to nature, beauty, and variety, Zamboanga City is the place to be if you’re looking for a different kind of adventure in the Philippines.

Zamboanga City might not sound music to the ears of the adventure-bound. Other than its diving sites, the highly urbanized city offers no particular spots for mountain climbing, caving, and other outdoor recreations. Nonetheless, Zamboanga always amuses its visitors with its natural charm and appealing attributes.

While most Philippine travel guides caution tourists about security risks in Zamboanga City, the local travel industry remains a force to reckon with. Last year, visitor arrivals in the city reached 321,581, a 1.5% growth from the 2008 figure. The local government attributed the improvement to the opening of new tourist attractions and continuous promotion of other scenic spots and festivals. Mushrooming resorts and hotels that offer various accommodations are also contributing factors.

Here are some of the places and events that make Zamboanga City one of the major travel destinations in the Philippines.

Fort Pilar
Fort Pilar is one of the famous landmarks in Zamboanga City. Built by the Spaniards in the 17th century, this military fortress was used to defend the city against pirates and raiders coming from different parts of Mindanao. Fort Pilar, which was originally called Real Fuerza de San Jose, now houses a shrine of the Virgin Mary. Rumors have it that the Blessed Virgin made miraculous appearances in the fort.

Paseo del Mar
One of the newest additions to the growing list of attractions in Zamboanga City is Paseo del Mar. This bay walk area, which opened to the public last year, provides a magnificent view of the famous Zamboanga sunset. It has several stalls rented by concessionaires, a police outpost, a travel information center, and a mini-port for tourist boats.

Santa Cruz Island
Visitors in Zamboanga should not miss out on Santa Cruz Island. It is famous for its pink sand beach, one of the very few of its kind in the world. The island, which has been declared a protected area, is a magnet for diving enthusiasts. Its crystal-clear water is perfect for underwater photography. Santa Cruz Island is just 20 minutes away from downtown Zamboanga.

Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Feed your soul with a visit to the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. This place of worship, located beside Ateneo de Zamboanga University, is considered one of the modern cathedrals in Asia. Inside the church can be found a marble statue of the Immaculate Conception designed by national artist Napoleon Abueva.

Yakan Weaving Center
Zamboanga City is also known for its colorful fabrics with intricate patterns. The best way to discover how these indigenous clothing are made is to visit the Yakan Weaving Center. The facility, located just across the La Vista del Mar Beach Resort, displays and sells various products made from pineapple and abaca fibers such as clothes, placemats, coin purses, and bags.

One of the travel tips experts frequently give to visitors in Zamboanga is to look for accommodations and vacation packages that suit your budget and preference. Another is to always get information about the security situation in Mindanao.

Local Philippines is your travel buddy. We have information about the destinations, how to get there, what to do while in the area and more! Destinations in the beaches or in the mountains, destinations under water, destinations right at the middle of the urban hubFree Reprint Articles, name it and Local Philippines will most likely feature it.

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Allan Leandro Merin has been writing for a living since 2008. After leaving a career at a daily electronic crew newspaper, he joined a web development outsourcing company and linked up with Local Philippines, the most comprehensive online directory of Philippine destinations, events, and attractions.

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