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This article refers to the people of the Zamboanga region who speaks the Spanish creole language. For the creole language itself, see Chavacano.
Total population
1,000,000 (est.) with Hispanic-Zamboangueño heritage
Regions with significant populations
Zamboanga Peninsula
Metro Manila
Filipino Diaspora
Zamboangueño Chavacano
predominantly Roman Catholic, Protestantism, others

The Zamboangueño are an Austronesian People native to the Latin City of Zamboanga and they are the product of Spanish colonization in the Southern Philippines and among the minor ethnic group in the Philippines, numbering about 850,000.

The Youngest of all Cultural Ethno-Linguistic Groups in Western Mindanao, (other Cultural Ethno-Linguistic Groups in western mindanao are the following: Tausug Ethnic Group, Yakan Ethnic Group, Subanon Ethnic Group, Sama-Lauan Ethnic Group, Sama-Banguingui & Badjao Ethnic groups).

The Zamboangueño People constitute an authentic and distinct Cultural Ethno-Linguistic Group for two reasons: 1.) Claim to a distinct language; 2.) Undeniable vestiges of Spanish occupation-Physical features of the mestizos, Spanish folk literature, songs, dances, fiestas and Roman Catholicism, generally fair skin like the mestizo y mestiza.


People from other ethnolinguistic groups came to Jambangan (present-day Zamboanga City), when the construction of the present-day Fort Pilar begun. The colonial Spanish government ordered the construction of a military fort to guard off the city from moro pirates and slave raiders of Sulu. Laborers from Cebu, Cavite, Bohol, Panay and other islands were brought to the city to help build the fort. Eventually, these people settled in the city to live with other Ethno-Linguistic Groups from the Royal Tribe lineage of Macombong whose father is the late King/Datu Timuay of the Subanon Ethno-Linguistic Group and from the Lutao Ethno-Linguistic Group who are both ancestor and became the nucleus of the present-day Zamboangueño People. Thru inter-marriage among themselves and with the Spanish, they found their new culture with their new Ethno-Linguistic Group, called Zamboangueño. and Because these people from different islands spoke different languages, they also found their new language called Chavano and eventually evolve into Chavacano. thus, a pidgin begun and eventually, the Zamboangueño Chavacano developed into a full-pledge creole language to become the lingua franca of Zamboanga City and then the official language of the Republic of Zamboanga. so to speak, Zamboanga City consider to be the birthplace of the Zamboangueño Chavacano Language and as a new Cultural Ethno-Linguistic Group, as a new people with distinct Ethnic Race and Identity called, Zamboangueño.

Culture, Tradition & Cuisines[edit]

The Character of the Zamboangueño People are unique as we can say for their Kinship Family System, Love for one's Cultural Heritage, Propensity for extravagance, Fiestas and Siestas, and Aristocratic behavior. while their Social Live usually resolve around religious practices, the tradition of the bantayanon, fiestas, fondas, includes their bailes the baile-valse, regodon and paso doble.

The Zamboangueño customs are based on Spanish, Latin America and European notions of patriarchal authority, etiquette, familial obligation, as well as a feeling of superiority - characterized by excessive pride, vanity, jealousy, boastfulness, and snobbishness - over their less-Westernized neighbors. They are mostly devout Roman Catholics.

The Zamboangueño courtship traditions are elaborate and regulated by a long list of required social graces. For example, a perfectly respectable Zamboangueño Latino caballero (gentleman) would not sit unless permitted to do so by the woman’s parents, he then had to endure questions pertaining to his lineage, credentials, and occupation. Finally, the courtship curfew, and the need to cultivate the goodwill of all the members of the woman’s family were paramount considerations before any headway could be made in pursuing a Zamboangueña senorita's hand in marriage.

Zamboangueño songs and dances are derived primarily from Spanish/Iberian performances. Specifically, the Jota Zamboangueña, a Zamboangueño version of the quick-stepping flamenco with bamboo clappers in lieu of Spanish castanets, are regularly presented during fiestas and formal "tertulias" or other Zamboangueño festivities.

Likewise, Zamboangueño traditional costumes are closely associated with Spanish formal dress. Men wear close-necked jackets as they called Camiseta Zamboangueño, "de baston" pants, and European style shoes, complete with the de rigueur "bigotillos" (mustache). More recently, Zamboangueño men have adapted to wearing the formal Barong Tagalog, worn by men throughout the Philippines. Zamboangueña women claim ownership of the Mascota, a formal gown with a fitting bodice, her shoulders draped demurely by a luxuriously embroidered, though stiff, panuelo and fastened at the breast by a brooch or a medal. The skirt tapers down from the waist but continues on to an extended trail called the "cola". The "cola may be held on one hand as the lady walks around, or it may likewise by pinned on the waist or slipped up a cord (belt) that holds the dainty "abanico" or purse. The traditional Zamboangueño dress has been limited to formal functions, replaced by the more common shirt, denim jeans and sneakers for men, and shirts, blouses, skirts or pants, and heeled shoes for women.

There are several important events of festival that can be witness during 'Semana Santa', a Zamboangueño Expression of Holy Week. these includes watching peliculas all about Jesus and his teachings, Visitaciones de las Inglesias, Procession, Novenas and the climbing and praying at the Estaciones de Cruz in Mt. Pulong Bato. Fiesta Pilar a festivity in honor to Sñra. La Virgen del Pilar de Zaragoza en Zamboanga and, the Dia de Zamboanga and Dia de Los Zamboangueños/Chavacanos which is celebrated every 15 August every year for foundation of Zamboanga and birth of the Zamboangueño People on 15 of August 1635.

Comida Zamboangueño or the Comidas de Zamboanga like their famous Curacha, Calamares, Tamal, Locon, Cangrejo, Paella, Estopado and Valenciana. other comidas also are not only considered as mere food but a part of the Zamboangueño Identity such as Caldo Vaca/Puerco/Pollo, Pochero, Arroz Caldo, Lechon, Jamonada / Endulzado o Endulzao, Embutido, ADobo, Afritada, Menudo, Caldereta, Jumba, Embutido, Leche Flan and many more.

Further,Of late, the Zamboangueño of Basilan have acquired more modern tastes in food, clothing and customs, usually based on the generally preferred American/Western model.


Zamboangueño are mostly Christians, who are mostly devoted Roman Catholics, devotion towards Jesus through songs and believes that the Catholic faith is the true religion and lastly devoted to Sñra. La Virgen del Pilar. Zamboangueños celebrate Christmas in so many uniquely ways such as the Villancicos / Aguinaldos o Pastores this also includes the dia de navideña y noche buena, Fiestas, Visper, Diana, Misa, Juegos, procession or parade, and feasting.

Languages Influenced During Creolization[edit]

Zamboangueño Chavacano Language, this is the lane of the Zamboangueño People. A Conglomeration of 70% Ancient Spanish/Castillan and 30% influences from other Romance Languages such as Portuguese, Italian, Native American such as Nauhl't, Taino, Quechua, Mexican-Indian, et al., and Filipino Austronesian languages such as Ilonggo, Subanon, Tausug, Yakan, Sama-Lauan, Sama-Banguigui, Cebuano/Bisaya, Tagalog, and other Filipino Languages.

Famous Zamboangueños[edit]

There are Zamboanguenos who are famous for their fields of endeavor, especially in music, entertainment and sports. These are the following:

  • Marc Velasco- singer and composer, whose song "Ordinary Song" became a top hit in 2000.
  • Buddy Zabala-Former Bassist Of famous 1990s rock band Eraserheads and currently Bassist of The Dawn And Cambio and Record Producer.
  • Chris Cayzer- Aficionado Perfumes model and singer, who had his first concert here in Zamboanga on July 2007 with Lovi Poe, another Aficionado model and singer/actress. His Zamboangueño parents were based in Australia, where he grew up.
  • Susan Jane Ritter- beauty queen titlist; co-winner of Magica Dream Girl 1995 with Genesis Canlapan (actress Patricia Javier's real name) and later semifinalist in the 1997 Miss International in Japan.
  • Armarie "Arms" Cruz- one of the "Final 12" and the lone Mindanao bet of Philippine Idol First Season.
  • April Ross Perez- 2002 Miss Earth Semifinalist and first Zamboanguena to win the Miss Philippines-Earth Title.
  • Antonio Salcedo- Filipino Sprinter. Represented the Philippines in Several Far Eastern Games in the 1920s.
  • Simeon Toribio- Filipino High Jumper, 1932 Olympics Bronze Medallist in Athletics. He later settled in Bohol and represented it in Congress.
  • Roberto Gomez- World Pool nine ball 2007 runner-up. Beaten By Daryl Peach onto the finals 17-15.
  • Ronnie Natividad - Mr. University 1998 3rd Runner-up - A National Competition to select official delegate to the Mr. and Ms. University International where eventual Mr. University winner Jansen Cunanan won 1st Runner-up in the Mr. University International Competition in Tokyo Japan.
  • Alberto Nogar Sr. - (Weightlifter) Bronze Medalist 1958 3rd Asian Games Tokyo, Japan, 5th Place 1958 World Weightlifting Championship Stockholm, Sweden, 8th place 1960 Rome Olympiad, 1960 Philippine Sportswriters Association Weightlifter of the Year

See also[edit]

External links[edit]