It was quite some time before I revisited Zamboanga. The beautiful pink sand beach of Great Santa Cruz Island and feasting on fresh seafood is still clearly imprinted on my mind. It would be good to swim in the clear waters of the island again.
The recent trip to the Region IX city was too short to include the tour to the far-off island. However, it gave us the chance for an update.
First order of the day was meeting the new DOT Regional Director, Ms. Karina Rosa Tiopes, a charming lady from Tacloban, who welcomed us warmly upon our arrival at the airport.
Zamboanga City is getting busier, development abuzz. Tourist arrival has increased in the past year, so has its economy. Perhaps the biggest and the most exciting news making its round is the plan to build a new and bigger Zamboanga airport to accommodate direct international flights, which includes the Zamboanga-Sandakan connectivity. This air route will cut travel time for businessmen and tourists from 14 hours via RORO sea craft to 45 minutes by air. Let me join the citizens in crossing fingers that these projects will take off soon.
We did our usual rounds of local attractions—the Yakan Village and barter trade center, but we went to a couple of attractions I haven’t had the chance to visit yet: the El Museo de Zamboanga, owned and run by the Lobregats, which features the city’s development from pre-historic to post-war Zamboanga through the exhibited artifacts and memorabilia; the Freedom Park, which displays relics of military weapons, a tomb of an unknown soldier and the final resting place of Mayor Cesar Climaco, who was assassinated in 1984; and the Pasonanca Park, a public park that includes the Camp Jose Atilano with a memorial amphitheater dedicated to Zamboangeño First Class Scout Antonio Limbaga, a treehouse and a convention center.
While the peninsula denizens are waiting for the new airport project to take off, they are quite pleased with the newest addition to their leisure destinations—the KCC Mall. The latest addition to the shopping scene is the biggest of all the KCC malls and the biggest mall in the city and peninsula. We were told that the mall owners were allowed to own land and build their mall in the city only if they agree to move their corporate office in Zamboanga City. The mall’s presence confirms the agreement.
The huge crowd says it all— it’s the latest hangout of the shopaholics, foodies and entertainment seekers. And why not? It’s a cool escape from the Zamboanga heat to start with.
How else should a one-day visit end but with a hearty a meal at Alavar’s for that so-Zamboanga delicacy of curacha?
Short but sweet and I am wishing the next visit to the chavacano-speaking city will be longer and adventure-filled. Adios Zamboanga City and see you soon!
Also published in the SunStar Davao newspaper.
For lifestyle stories, visit www.ofapplesandlemons.com
Email me at email@example.com