|City of Zamboanga
Ciudad de Zamboanga
Zamboanga City Hall
|Nickname(s): Ciudad Latina de Asia, Ciudad de las Flores, Sardinas Capital del Filipinas|
|Motto: Adelante Zamboanga!|
Map showing the location of Zamboanga City.
|Established||June 23, 1635|
|Incorporated (city)||October 12, 1936|
|Established (city)||February 26, 1937|
|Official language(s)||Zamboangueño Chavacano|
|• Mayor||Maria Isabelle Climaco Salazar (Liberal Party)|
|• Vice Mayor||César Iturralde (LDP)|
|• City Council|
|• Land||1,483.3849 km2 (572.7381 sq mi)|
|Elevation||16.0 m (52.5 ft)|
|Population (2010 NSO Census)|
|Demonym||Zamboangueño (m) Zamboangueña (f)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC+8)|
|Area code(s)||63 (Philippines)
+ 62 (Zamboanga)
|Patron Saints||Our Lady of the Pillar
St. Pius X
The City of Zamboanga (Zamboangueño Chavacano Ciudad de Zamboanga) is a highly urbanized city located in Mindanao, Philippines. It has a population of more than 807,129 according to the 2010 census. Zamboanga is the 6th most populous and 3rd largest city by land area in the Philippines. It is the commercial and industrial center of the Zamboanga Peninsula.
Zamboanga was formerly known as Jambangan in Subanon and the center of Subanon tribe and culture during the pre-Hispanic times. After independence from Spain on May 1899, Zamboanga became the Republica de Zamboanga with Zamboangueño Chavacano as its official language and Spanish as its co-official language. After American intervention, the republic incorporated into the Philippines and became the capital of the former Moro Province, now Mindanao, from 1903 to 1913. On October 12, 1936, Zamboanga became a chartered city under Commonwealth Act No. 39. It was formally inaugurated on February 26, 1937, which was declared a local holiday. Known for Hispanic influences in its culture, it bears the nickname "Asia's Latin City."
- 1 History
- 1.1 Spanish rule
- 1.2 Republic of Zamboanga
- 1.3 American period
- 1.4 The 1936 City Charter and the Commonwealth
- 1.5 World War II
- 1.6 Post-World War II
- 1.7 Martial law years
- 1.8 Post-Marcos era (1986–present)
- 2 Geography
- 3 Barangays
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Government
- 6 Communication
- 7 Transportation
- 8 Infrastructure
- 9 Economy and industry
- 10 Education
- 11 Foreign relations
- 12 Health
- 13 Tourism
- 14 Sister cities
- 15 Gallery
- 16 See also
- 17 References
- 18 External links
Zamboanga was founded in the late 12th or early 13th century, with the earliest people living there being the Subanen, an indigenous tribe of the island Mindanao. The Subanon people's name for Zamboanga, "Sung Lupa", means "pointed land". Speculation that the name of Zamboanga comes from the word "Jambangan Bunga", meaning "bouquet/vase of flowers", or the "garden/land of flowers", is met by others insisting the name derives from the word "saguan" or "sambuan", a Malay word for the paddle used by natives to paddle the vintas in the sea. Another possible origin is "sambon" which refers to herbal plants that grew abundantly in the city. Badjao, Samal, Tausug and the Yakan tribes from Malayan descent settled in the same part of Mindanao in the early 14th century. Islam gained predominance in the early 14th century in the Philippines, the first non-indigenous religion to reach Austronesian peoples.
Spanish explorers first arrived in the Philippine archipelago in 1521. In 1569 Zamboanga was chosen as the site of the Spanish settlement and garrison on La Caldera (now called Barrio Recodo). Zamboanga was one of the main strongholds in Mindanao, supporting colonizing efforts in the south of the island and making way for Christian settlements. It also served as a military outpost, protecting the island against foreign invaders and Moro pirates. After three decades (1599), the Zamboanga fort was closed and transferred to Cebú due to great concerns about attack by the English on that island, which did not occur. After having abandoned the city, the Spaniards joined forces with Visayan troops and reached the shore of Zamboanga to bring peace to the island against Moro pirates.
Zamboanga became the main headquarters of the Spaniards in June 23, 1635 upon approval of King Philip IV of Spain, and the Spanish officially founded the city. Thousands of Spanish troops headed by a governor general from Spain took the approval to build the first Zamboanga fortress (now called Fort Pilar) in Zamboanga to forestall enemies in Mindanao like Moro pirates and other foreign invaders. The Zamboanga fortress became the main focus of a number of battles between Moros, Chinese and Spaniards while the Spanish ruled the region from 16th to 18th centuries. While the region was already dominated by Catholicism, Muslims kept up a protracted struggle against the ruling Spaniards in the country into the 18th century.
In the Year 1831, the custom house in Zamboanga was established as a port, and it became the main port for direct communication, trading some goods and other services to most of Europe, Southeast Asia and Latin America. The Americans arrived in the Philippines, headed by General Weyler with thousands of troops to defeat the Spaniards who ruled it more than three centuries. The Spanish government sent more than 80,000 Spanish troops to the Philippines. The Spanish government completely and peacefully surrendered the islands to the United States in the 1890s.
Republic of Zamboanga
Before the end of the 19th century, The Republic of Zamboanga was established during the American period in the Philippines and it briefly existed from May 18, 1899 until March 1903. The first president of the Republic of Zamboanga was General Vicente Álvarez, who was succeeded by Isidoro Midel and Mariano Arquiza.
Upon the firm establishment of American colonization and dissolution of the Republic in 1903, Zamboanga, as a municipality, was placed under the Moro Province, a semi-military government consisting of five districts: Zamboanga, Cotabato, Davao, Lanao and Sulu. During this period, Zamboanga hosted a number of American regional governors, including General John J. Pershing, who was military commander/governor of the Moro Province from 1909 to 1914. The entire Moro Province of Mindanao was administered directly from the city, effectively making Zamboanga Mindanao's only capital city.
Conversion into a city
On September 15, 1911, the Legislative Council of the Moro Province passed Act No. 272 converting the municipality into a city with a commission form of government but was amended to be effective on January 1, 1912. Frederick Christopher Bader was appointed mayor of the city.
Reversion to municipality
Upon the establishment of the Department of Mindanao and Sulu in 1914, Zamboanga City was reverted into a municipality run by a municipal president. A native Zamboangueño, Victoriano Tarrosa was appointed to be municipal president.
In 1920, Zamboanga ceased to be Mindanao's capital city when the department was divided into provinces in which the city became under the large province of Zamboanga. It encompasses the present-day Zamboanga Peninsula with the inclusion of the whole province of Basilan.
The 1936 City Charter and the Commonwealth
When the Commonwealth government was established in 1935, calls to convert Zamboanga into a city increased. On September 23, 1936, through Assemblyman Juan Alano, the National Assembly of the Philippines passed Commonwealth Act No. 39 making Zamboanga a chartered city consisting of "the present territorial jurisdiction of the municipality of Zamboanga, the municipality of Bolong, the municipal district of Taluksangay, the whole island of Basilan and the adjacent islands, i.e., the municipality of Isabela, the municipal district of Lamitan, and the municipal district of Maluso." It was later signed by President Manuel Quezon in October 12, 1936. The charter made Zamboanga City as the largest city in the world in terms of land area. During these times, Zamboanga was the leading commercial and industrial city of Mindanao.
In a jubilant celebration held outside the city hall, the new city government was formally inaugurated in February 26, 1937. Nicasio Valderrosa was appointed as mayor while Doroteo Karagdag, Agustin Natividad, Santiago Varela, Faustino Macaso and Pedro Cuevas, Jr. was appointed as councilors.
World War II
When the Japanese invaded the Philippines, they were headed by Vice Admiral Skugiyama Rokuzo, accompanied by Rear Admiral Naosaburo Irifune. The Japanese landed at Zamboanga on March 2, 1942. The city government was reverted to a municipality with Carlos Camins as its mayor. They established a defense headquarters in the city and controlled the government for over two years.
The Japanese government in the city was eventually overthrown by American and Filipino forces following a fierce battle that occurred on March 10–12, 1945.
Post-World War II
Separation of Basilan
After the war, new problems aroused especially for the citizens of the island of Basilan. The people there found it difficult to appear in courts, pay their taxes, seek help from the mayor and other officials. Going from Basilan to the mainland required three or more hours of travel. To fix the problem, Representative Juan Alano filed a bill in Congress to separate Basilan from Zamboanga. So the island of Basilan was proclaimed a separate city through Republic Act No. 288 on July 16, 1948.
In April 7, 1953 by virtue of Republic Act No. 840, Zamboanga City was classified as First Class in which its city annual income exceeded one million pesos and the salaries of the city officials were increased.
Elective city government
In April 29, 1955, a special law changed the landscape of the city government when Republic Act No. 1210 amended the City Charter that made elective the position of city mayor and the creation of an elective vice-mayor and eight (8) elective city councilors. The vice-mayor is the presiding-officer of the City Council. In November 1955, Liberal Party candidate Cesar Climaco with his running-mate, Tomas Ferrer won the first local elections. They were inducted into office on January 1, 1956 as determined by the Revised Election Code.
Climaco's first elected term (1956–1961)
During Climaco's term, the Abong-abong Park in Pasonanca was constructed, which was planned to provide space for a camp site, housing projects, and a shantytown to house the city's homeless population. During this period, Zamboanga City would earn the appellation as the cleanest city in the Philippines and its tourist industry boomed. Zamboanga City also became a host to several international, regional and nation-wide conferences, jamborees and conventions. However, even after his reelection in 1959, Climaco resigned before the November 1961 elections in his bid for the Senate. Vice-Mayor Ferrer succeeded him in office. He eventually ran for his own right in the 1963 local election but lost to former mayor Hector Suarez of the Nacionalista Party.
Suarez administration (1964–1968)
Hector Suarez, previously appointed to the mayoralty in 1954, became the first Nacionalista elected mayor of Zamboanga. During his term, he advocated revisions in the internal revenue code in which the businesses in the city should be required to pay their taxes. Unlike Climaco's exploits in urban development, he focused on the development of the barrios. He brought electricity to the barrios. Another major project of his was the construction of schools in the rural areas. It was also through his efforts that the income earned by the local water utility in the city was transferred from the national to the city treasury. He was later defeated by his vice-mayor for reelection in 1967.
Enriquez administration (1968–1972)
Vice-Mayor Joaquin Enriquez, Jr. of the Liberal Party won the mayoralty election in the 1967 local elections. During his tenure, various infrastructure projects were started including widened roads and better water and light facilities. He continued the electrification of the rural barangays started by his predecessor. Because of his achievements, he was reelected and for the first time the Liberals were able to control the majority of the council in the 1971 local elections.
Martial law years
On September 21, 1972, President Ferdinand Marcos signed Proclamation No. 1081 placing the Philippines under martial law. The local government became under presidential control for the first time since 1955. Marcos extended Enriquez's term when the latter's tenure was about to end in 1975. During this time, Enriquez was able to garner funds to construct the Sta. Cruz Public Market and emergency hospitals in rural barangays such as Quiniput and Labuan.
In November 14, 1975, President Marcos reorganized the local government in which the city council was replaced by a Sangguniang Panglungsod with the mayor as its new presiding officer and members including the vice-mayor, the chairman of the Katipunan ng mga Kabataang Barangay, the president of the Association of Barangay Captains, and sectoral representatives of agriculture, business and labor.
When Mayor Enriquez resigned and threw his bid for the newly created Interim Batasang Pambansa in 1978, Vice-Mayor Jose Vicente Atilano II was appointed by President Marcos to replace him.
Climaco's return (1980–1984)
In 1980, Cesar Climaco staged his political comeback when he was elected again to the mayoral post under his new party, the Concerned Citizen's Aggrupation. He previously went into exile to the United States in protest against Marcos' declaration of Martial Law. He vowed never to cut his hair until democratic rule was restored in the country.
By this time, crime and violence, often at the hands of police and the military, had become rampant in the city, and a frustrated Climaco posted a scoreboard in front of the city hall listing a running tally of unsolved violent crimes in the city. Climaco did not hesitate in denouncing the military and the police in the city, and had the police chief transferred out of the city. Upon the outbreak of violent incidents in the city, Climaco would rush to the scene on board his motorcycle and suppress the disruption.
In 1984, Climaco successfully sought election as a member of the Regular Batasang Pambansa. Climaco however declined to assume his seat until he had completed his six-year term as mayor in his consistent protest against Marcos.
Tensions rose when Climaco was shot on the morning of November 14, 1984 when he was supervising a fire breakout. A motorcycle gunman shot him in the nape at point-blank. The crowd that attended Climaco's funeral in Zamboanga City was estimated as ranging from fifteen thousand to two hundred thousand people. To date, nobody has been convicted for Climaco's assassination. Vice-Mayor Manuel Dalipe replaced him in the vacated post.
The People Power Revolution
Dalipe, previously was the party-mate of Mayor Climaco until he switched sides with the ruling Kilusang Bagong Lipunan, tried to cut the red tape at city hall to ensure services would reach the citizenry in a more systematic manner. He initiated water projects, which brought water to the farthest barangays in the city. He also fast-tracked infrastructure projects by giving them over to private contractors.
When Marcos was overthrown by a four-day massive protest and a failed coup d'état in which was called the People Power Revolution on February 25, 1986, opposition leader Corazon Aquino replaced him. In her purge of all government officials linked with Marcos, she replaced Dalipe with city administrator Rustico Valera as acting mayor.
Post-Marcos era (1986–present)
Later in that year, to unite the Zamboangueños, President Aquino appointed former mayor Climaco's son, Julio Cesar Climaco to be officer-in-charge of the city. Valera returned to his post as city administrator.
During his short term, Climaco was able to make a very bold move when he invited the rebel secessionist organization Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) headed by its chairman Nurulaji Misuari to Zamboanga, a move which came after the controversial meeting between President Aquino and Misuari in Sulu. There was not much to accomplish during this time, in which the city government did not have the sufficient funds to undertake any major projects, and there were no funds coming from the national government, which at that time was more concerned with doing an accounting of money allegedly taken by the Marcos administration. He was, nevertheless, responsible for the concreting of the roads from Gov. Ramos to the Zamboanga International Airport, and the concreting of the road from Suterville to Baliwasan.
When the new constitution was approved by a plebiscite in February 2, 1987, local elections were held. Climaco resigned to run for the congressional seat and President Aquino appointed Councilor Vitaliano Agan to be acting officer-in-charge in which was the candidate for the mayorship. Agan won, but Climaco lost to Maria Clara Lobregat.
Agan administration (1988–1998)
Vitaliano Agan, born in Lanao del Norte, was the first non-Chavacano elected mayor of the city. During his stint in office, he prioritized the construction of high schools in the major barangays of the city. Construction of concrete major roads, street lighting and traffic lights were done during this time. Through these accomplishments, he was reelected in 1992 and in 1995. It was also in his time when the massive Joaquin F. Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex started its construction.
Problems arose in 1996 when President Fidel Ramos initiated several peace accords with the MNLF in Zamboanga City. The MNLF was insisting that Zamboanga be made part of the proposed autonomous region, but the national government could not agree to this, considering that an earlier referendum signified that 99% of the Zamboangueños chose to be out of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao. As a compromise, President Ramos, through a presidential decree, created the Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development (SPCPD), with Chairman Misuari of the MNLF as its head following the signing of a peace agreement. This act would get the ire of the Zamboangueños when the Ramos government decided to include Zamboanga under the SPCPD.
When the people of Zamboanga City were expecting the mayor to speak for their cause, Mayor Agan instead supported the Ramos decision, an act which would turn public opinion against him. It would also turn Congresswoman Lobregat against Mayor Agan despite the fact that they were signatories to a compact of peace and development. Lobregat was strongly against the city’s inclusion in the autonomy scheme and SPCPD coverage. The anti-SPCPD movement staged several massive protests in the city and initiated the recall of Mayor Agan that failed when the majority of the barangay captains remained loyal to the mayor.
Mayor Agan tried to regain his popularity through revitalized infrastructure program for the city, including the street lighting projects and several concreting projects, including the controversial Quiniput-Licomo road. However, the projects backfired on him of overspending and overpricing. Celso, the son of Congresswoman Lobregat, brought the matter to Congress for investigation. This would be the first time in Zamboanga’s history that a city executive and several members of the city council would be summoned by Congress for questioning in connection with graft and corruption. It devastated Agan’s political career. Before the end of his term, Mayor Agan stepped down from office in favor of Vice-Mayor Efren Arañez to file his candidacy for a congressional seat against Celso Lobregat during the 1998 local elections. Agan lost, the first time he was to taste defeat in his political career.
M. C. Lobregat administration (1998–2004)
Previously served as Zamboanga City's representative, Maria Clara Lobregat was the first woman mayor elected in its history. Vesting against incumbent Mayor Arañez, she was known for legislating the creation of the Zamboanga Special Economic Zone and Freeport during her stint in Congress. During her term, Mayor Lobregat made it her priority to restore the city of flowers’ lost glory. This was the time when they city was popularly known as the City of Flowers. She also sought to make Zamboangueños historically conscious and proud of their legacy as Zamboangueños. She embarked on a program of rehabilitating and refurbishing the city’s landmarks and required City Hall employees to make use of the traditional Filipino attire in the office every Monday.
Unfortunately, Mayor Lobregat died on January 2, 2004 due to diabetes complications. Vice-Mayor Erico Basilio Fabian was later inducted into office.
Cabatangan siege (2001)
In November 19, 2001, The Cabatangan Government Complex located in Barangay Cabatangan, the seat of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, was raided by former MNLF fighters in protest of Misuari's ouster as Governor of the autonomous region in which they have taken the residents there hostages. The complex also houses the different regional government offices such as the Commission on Audit, Population Commission, Civil Service Commission, Area Vocational Rehabilitation Center, DECS Training Center and the Zamboanga Arturo Eustaquio College Department of Criminology. An air strike by the military began on November 27 in which the hostages were later released after the government agreed to escort the rebels to a safe zone in Panubigan where they were allowed to go free.
C. Lobregat administration (2004–2013)
Lobregat pursued grand infrastructure projects including the rehabilitation of Plaza Pershing and Pasonanca Park in which he added Jardin Maria Clara in the memory of his mother, construction of Paseo Del Mar and the erection of uniformed Barangay halls around the city.
He was reelected twice in 2007 and 2010. In 2007, the city was divided into two legislative districts pursuant to Republic Act No. 9269. The city therefore is entitled to two representatives to the national congress.
Climaco-Salazar administration (2013- )
Zamboanga City crisis
On September 9, 2013, a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) under the leadership of Nur Misuari seized hostages in Zamboanga and attempted to raise the flag of the self-proclaimed Bangsamoro Republik, a state which declared its independence earlier in August, in Talipao, Sulu. This armed incursion has been met by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which seeks to free the hostages and expel the MNLF from the city. The standoff degenerated into urban warfare, and brought parts of the city under standstill for days.
The southwest and eastern sides of Zamboanga are bounded by irregular coastlines with generally rocky terrain and occasional stretches of sandy or gravelly beaches. The coastal profile usually descends abruptly towards the sea. Where rivers enter the sea, bays have formed, and the surrounding area has filled up with alluvial soils, producing small to large coastal plains.
It has been observed that younger rock formations frequently occur at higher elevations. Areas along the northeastern coast, which were mostly part of the lower alluvial lowlands, and small low lying areas, are characterised by the presence of cold water sediments. These are subjected to the daily inundation of tidal movement. The formation of basement complex along the boundaries of Zamboanga del Norte is influenced by the north-south trending fault. In addition, a young volcanic cone influences the formation of volcanic outcroppings in the area.
Topography, slope and elevation
The overall topography of the city could be described as rolling to very steep. There are some flat lands, mostly narrow strips along the east coast. The urban center is mostly flat with a gentle slope to the interior, ranging from 0 to 3%. The highest registered elevation is 1,200 metres. In terms of slope, a large portion of Zamboanga, about 38,000 hectares, have slopes ranging from 18 to 30%. Another 26,000 hectares have been described as having slopes pf less than 3% while about 37% of the area or a total of 52,000 hectares have slopes ranging from 30% to more than 50%.
Climate and temperature
|Climate data for Zamboanga, Philippines|
|Average high °C (°F)||31.9
|Daily mean °C (°F)||27.2
|Average low °C (°F)||22.4
|Precipitation mm (inches)||32.4
|Source: Hong Kong Observatory|
The city is politically subdivided into 98 barangays or barrios. These are grouped into two congressional districts, with 38 barangays or barrios in the West Coast and 60 barangays or barrios in the East Coast.
District I (West Coast)
- Camino Nuevo
- Campo Islam
- Dulian Pasonanca
- La Paz
- Lower Calarian
- Rio Hondo
- San Jose Cawa Cawa
- San Jose Gusu
- San Ramon
- San Roque
- Sta. Barbara
- Sta. Maria
- Sto. Niño
- Zone I
- Zone II
- Zone III
- Zone IV
District II (East Coast)
- Arena Blanco
- Busay (Island Barangay)
- Dulian Bunguiao
- Landang Gua (Island Barangay)
- Landang Laum (Island Barangay)
- Latuan Curuan
- Pangaputan (Island Barangay)
- Pasilmanta (Island Barangay)
- Sibulao Curuan
- Sta. Catalina
- Tictabon (Island Barangay)
- Tumalutab (Island Barangay)
The population of Zamboanga has registered an increase of 172,613 (an average annual growth rate of 3.54 percent) in seven years, latest data from the National Statistics Office (NSO) showed. The data released by the NSO regional office based in this city showed that from 601,794 in 2000, the population grew to 807,129 as of May 1, 2010.
Among the 98 barangays in this Zamboanga, Talon-Talon was the most populous with a 3.9-percent share of this city’s population. Next to Talon-Talon were Tetuán (3.8 percent), Baliwasan (3.6 percent), Pasonanca (3.5 percent), Calarian and Tumaga both with 3.3-percent share, and San José Gusu (3.2 percent).
According to statistics compiled by the Philippine government, the most dominant religion in the city is Christianity with 73% of the population adhering to the faith. The majority of Christians are Roman Catholics with minorities of Protestants, Iglesia Ni Cristo, Jesus Miracle Crusade and Orthodox Christians. The remaining 27% percent belongs to other non-Christian faiths such as Islam and Buddhism.
Patron Saint of Zamboanga City: Nuestra Señora del Pilar Zamboanga City has various religious groups:
- Catholics - The city contains the first Catholic diocese in Mindanao, today's Archdiocese of Zamboanga which was created in 1910 and elevated to an archbishopric in 1958. The two catholic parishes named below serve the downtown zamboanga city catholic faithfuls. There are several other catholic parishes all throughout Zamboanga City. The official website of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga is www.zamboangaarchdiocese.com.
Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception - (Founded: 1816) Archbishop Romulo Valles,DD - Parish Priest Fr. Sulficio Soliva Fr. Adriano Ruiz Fr. Francis Edwin Jacinto Msgr. Joseph Kung St. Joseph (Chinese) Parish - (Founded: 1954) Msgr. David Alonzo - Parish Priest Fr. Joel Malcampo - Parochial Vicar
- Muslims - The Muslims have been an integral part of Zamboanga City since the beginning. Before any other religions were practiced in Zamboanga City, the Muslim religion already had a firm hold of the area. It is estimated that approximately 22% of the people in Zamboanga City are Muslims. Some barangays of Zamboanga City are populated by 100% Muslim. These barangays with Muslim majority population, do not celebrate "Fiestas". Instead, they celebrate Hari Raya (the eid celebration).
- Protestants - With the inception of the American era, Other religions were introduced. Christian and Missionary Alliance, Seventh Day Adventists, Church of Latter day Saints, Iglesia Ni Cristo and United Church of Christ in the Philippines are included.
Metropolitan Cathedral of Immaculate Conception
The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is a church located in Zamboanga City, Philippines. It is the seat of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga.
The first church was originally located at the front of Plaza Pershing, where the present Universidad de Zamboanga stands. The church was designated a cathedral in 1910 when the diocese of Zamboanga was created. In 1943, the cathedral was one of the edifices bombarded by Japanese soldiers during World War II. In 1956, the cathedral was relocated beside Ateneo de Zamboanga University, formerly known as the Jardin de Chino.
Zamboangueño Chavacano, a Spanish-based creole language, one of the Filipino Languages was born in the City of Zamboanga on 1635 and the native language of the Zamboangueño Ethnic group living around Zamboanga City, Basilan and the Filipino Disapora. English, Tagalog by the Tagalog Ethnic Group, and Cebuano by the Cebuano/Sugbuanon Ethnic Group are also used by the residents who are migrants to the City.
The other major Filipino Languages spoken by other Filipino Ethnic Groups in Zamboanga are: Tagalog, English, Cebuano/Sugbuanon/Bisaya/Binisaya, Tausug, Subanon, Samal, Spanish and Chinese. English is still the language used in all the school system to educate the public. either Zamboangueño Chavacano and Tagalog or other native Filipino languages is the second language used for education, though the Zamboangueño Language is more preferred among Zamboangueño Ethnic Group/Race.
Zamboanga is the third oldest city in the Philippines, with a mayor-council form of government.
Formerly the city government was in a commission form shortly existed between 1912 and 1914 with an appointed mayor.
It then was replaced by a municipal form of government headed by a municipal mayor assisted by a municipal vice-president.
When the City Charter of Zamboanga was signed on October 12, 1936, the municipal government was converted into a city one headed by a mayor appointed by the President of the Philippine Commonwealth.
During the Second World War, Zamboanga was reverted to municipality status by the Japanese until it was changed when the American and Filipino forces came to liberate the city on March 1945.
With the passage of Republic Act No. 1210 on April 29, 1955, the position of mayor became elective and the post of vice-mayor was created.
Since then, the mayor holds the distinction as the leading figure of the city government of Zamboanga.
Representation in Congress
The city received its own representation for the Philippine Congress in 1984 when the Regular Batasang Pambansa was convened. Previously, Zamboanga City was part of the representation of the Zamboanga Province from 1935 to 1953, of Zamboanga del Sur from 1953 to 1972 and of Region IX from 1978 to 1984.
The former lone congressional district was further divided into two separate districts: the West Coast District from the City Proper to Barangay Limpapa represented by incumbent Congressman Celso Lobregat, while in the East Coast District from Barangay Tetuán to Barangay Licomo is headed by incumbent Congresswoman Lilia Macrohon-Nuño.
The city of Zamboanga is composed of more than 774,407 people since 2007. Under the Republic Act No. 9269, Zamboanga City is qualified to have a third district representative in the House of Representatives.
The first legislative body of Zamboanga was established in 1914 composed of councilors who represented the different districts of barrios of then-municipality of Zamboanga.
When the City Charter of Zamboanga was signed on October 12, 1936, the municipal council was replaced by the City Council presided by the mayor and consisted of five councilors, the city treasurer and the city engineer. All members are appointed by the President of the Philippine Commonwealth.
With the passage of Republic Act No. 1210 on April 29, 1955, the position of mayor became elective and the post of vice-mayor was created. The Council also became elective and its membership was increased to eight presided by the vice-mayor.
During the Marcos regime, the city council was renamed to Sangguniang Panglungsod and its membership shuffled. The mayor became the presiding-officer while the vice-mayor became a regular member. Other representatives such as the agriculture, business and labor sectoral representatives; chairman of the Kabataan Barangay Federation and the president of the Association of Barangay Captains was added to the council. All members of the council except for the mayor and the vice-mayor are all appointed by the Preside,t
After Marcos was deposed, a new Local Government Code was enacted in 1991 and the mayor was restored to the executibve branch. The city council organization existed since.
The current local Sangguniang Panglungsod is composed of 19 members:
- the Vice-Mayor as its presiding officer elected city-wide;
- 8 councilors elected from the two legislative districts;
- Chairman of the Liga ng mga Barangay of the city as ex officio member; and
- President of the Federasyon ng Federasyon ng Sangguniang Kabataan of the City as ex officio member.
House Bill 1455 entitled an "An Act Amending Sections 14 (J) and 29 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, Otherwise Known as The Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980", principally authored by Representative Climaco calls for the creation of four additional Regional Trial Court branches in the Province of Zamboanga del Sur, and the Cities of Pagadian and Zamboanga with an overall total of nineteen branches.
Out of the 19 branches, ten seats shall be for Zamboanga City, and the remaining seats for Pagadian City, Molave, San Miguel, Ipil, and Aurora.
Armed forces and law enforcement
Zamboanga City hosts one of the largest number of military, police and coast guard bases in the country. The Edwin Andrews Air Base, which hosts the Air Force unit in the city is located at the Zamboanga International Airport complex. The Camp General Basilio Navarro, the main operating base of the Western Mindanao Command, hosts the main headquarters of Armed Forces of the Philippines in Western Mindanao.
The Western Mindanao Command, known officially as the WestMinCom, is one the Armed Forces of the Philippines' Wide Support Commands Combating Terrorism and Insurgency in Mindanao.
Camp General Basilio Navarro serves as the main operating base of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the Southwest Philippines, and is the Headquarters of the Western Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM).
The Coast Guard District South Western Mindanao is located at Upper Calarian while Coast Guard Station Zamboanga is located at Port Area Zamboanga City. Aside from performing law enfocement functions, the coast guard has been very active in rendering search and rescue operations to maritime incidents and floodings in low lying barangays of the city. Moreover, environmental protection activities were being spearheaded by the coast guard.
Zamboanga has 40 radio stations. There are also 11 regular TV stations and 3 cable TV stations. Several local publications are operating in the various parts of the city and nearby provinces and regions such as, The Daily Zamboanga Times, The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper, Voz de Mindanao, Zamboanga Peninsula Journal, Zamboanga Star, Zamboanga Today and Zamboanga Forum.
Major telecommunications firm, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, maintains operations in the city. Mabuhay Satellite Corporation has set up a facility in Zamboanga in order to improve existing communications infrastructure.
The Zamboanga International Airport has a 2,610-metre primary runway and can serve international flights and bigger planes such as the C-17 Globemaster III, Antonov An-124, Airbus A330 and Boeing 747. The government has already earmarked more than 240 million pesos to complete the rehabilitation of the existing facilities of the airport. The airport was ranked the tenth busiest airport in the Philippines in 2008.
The city's roads total to 567.2463 km. City roads account for 122.664 km, national roads 141.305 km, and barangay roads, 303.244 km.Nearly all of the city and barangay roads are concrete.
The primary modes of transportation within the city are serviced by jeepneys, tricycles, and habal-habal. Bicycles with sidecars (locally known as sikad) are also available for short-distanced trips. There are also taxi services operating within the city. Regular and air-conditioned buses of RTMI and Ceres Liner serve the long-haul routes from Zamboanga City to other areas in Mindanao and in the Visayas. Other smaller bus companies ply the routes to neighboring municipalities in the Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga Sibugay areas.
The traffic in the city centre area is one of the problem facing the city. The 1999 feasibility study is know on the Department of Public Works and Highways (Philippines) and with the help of District II Representative Erico Basilio Fabian to finalised the Multi-Billion pesos a thirty two (32) kilometres by-pass road project it is basically links from barangay Culianan to the west coast in barangay Limpapa creating an integral link to two crucial economic and trade centres namely the Sangali Fishing Port in the east coast and the Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority site in San Ramon will commerce next year. The Department of Public Works and Highways (Philippines) intends to complete before the term of the President Benigno Aquino III ends in the year 2016. It will provide for an auxiliary route where traffic could then be diverted and help ease congestion it is currently facing within the city proper.
Zamboanga has nineteen seaports and wharves, twelve of them are privately owned and the rest are owned by the government. This includes some ports of Basilan which are registered as a part of Zamboanga port management. The biggest and most modern seaport is the government-operated main port in Zamboanga, which can accommodate 20 ships at any given time. There are 25 shipping companies whose vessels regularly dock at the port of Zamboanga. The city also has fastcraft services to Sandakan, Malaysia, and one shipping cargo company from Vietnam is also serving the routes from and to Zamboanga to deliver goods from Vietnam.
In 2002, the Port of Zamboanga, including the area ports of Basilan, registered 5.57 million passenger movement, surpassing Batangas by 1.3 million passengers, and Manila by over 1.59 million passengers.
The Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative is the franchise holder of electric power distribution covering the entire city.
Conrado Alcantara and Sons (Conal) Holdings constructed a coal-fired power plant with an initial capacity of 100MW on a 60-hectare land inside the Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority. The company expects to complete the power plant in about four years to meet the expected rise in the demand in electricity of the city by 2014.
The Zamboanga Watershed is only a few kilometers north of Zamboanga City, at the tip of the Zamboanga Peninsula in southwestern Mindanao. It has the largest block of old growth lowland dipterocarp forest remaining in this part of Mindanao. It has a rolling terrain with moderate to steep slopes. This watershed is the only source of potable water for Zamboanga, and the Guiwan River also provides industrial and irrigation water for the area around the city. Many threatened and restricted-range endemic species have been recorded in or near this area, including recent records of Mindanao Bleeding-heart, Philippine Dwarf-Kingfisher, Philippine Leafbird and Little Slaty Flycatcher, and Zamboanga Bulbul, which is confined to Western Mindanao and Basilan. Most of the recent sightings are made in the Pasonanca Watershed, the southwestern part of the Zamboanga Watershed.
Zamboanga relies heavily on surface water from the Tumaga River for its water supply. Currently, the ZCWD is servicing only 48% of the total population of the total water production, 38% is accounted water. Given the projected population and the fact that the city is a highly urbanising one, it is likely that future water requirements will not be satisfied unless other sources such as rivers and springs be tapped to augment water supply sources.
The Zamboanga Water District has 24 production wells. These are located in the following strategic areas within the city that are currently producing 1,304 m³ daily.
12,107 hectares of old growth forest which serves as its main watershed. It is one of the three intact watershed in the Philippines.
Economy and industry
Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority
The Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority (Zamboecozone) also known as Zamboanga Freeport Authority (ZFA), was created by virtue of the Republic Acts of the Philippines 7903 of the Philippines Constitution in the year 1995. It was authored by the then congresswoman and late mayor of the city of Zamboanga, María Clara L. Lobregat.
The Special Economic Zone was enacted into law on February 23, 1995 and made operational a year later with the appointment of a chairman and administrator and the members of the Board by former President Fidel V. Ramos. It is located about 20 km from the city center. It is one of the three current Economic Freeport Zones outside Luzon.
Shopping centers and malls
- Mindpro Citimall is the first and currently largest shopping mall in Zamboanga City, as well as the 4th largest shopping mall in Zamboanga Peninsula located at La Purisima St., Zamboanga City. The mall houses Mindpro Supermarket, 6-screen cinema, foodcourt, department store, and many branded stores and boutiques.
- Yubenco Star Mall is the first shopping complex outside the city proper, located at Maria Clara L. Lobregat Highway (MCLL), Putik, Zamboanga City.
- Southway Square situated at the heart of Zamboanga City along Gov. Lim Ave., is a five-storey, medium-sized shopping center houses a supermarket, an upscale department store and selected stores and boutiques. It is known as the "City's Prime Mall" because of its investment potentials and ability to host concerts and mall tours. The mall's parking area is situated at the basement, a first in Zamboanga City.
- Shoppers' Center' "Gateway"' is a 4-storey shopping mall in Zamboanga City's central business district owned by Shoppers' Chain of Stores located at Gov. Lim Avenue cor. Almonte Street.
- Midtown Plaza Mall A 2-storey Shopping Mall located at Nunez Extension corner Gov. Camins Avenue in Zamboanga City. Constructed in 2001, this may make the mall the most convenient and neighborhood shopping mall where KFC opened its first branch in the city.
- KCC Mall de Zamboanga is the 4th KCC Mall in the Philippines. It is the first national mall in the city. Having 120,000 square meters as their gross floor area, it will soon to be one of the biggest mall in Mindanao, and it will be the biggest in the region. The mall is expected to open in 2015.
- Megaland Mall is one of the newest mall in Zamboanga City under Megaland Corporation. It is currently under-construction and the opening of the mall was not yet stated.
- Shoppers' Mall is a proposed commercial complex owned by Shoppers' Chain of Stores located between Ledesma St. and Climaco Avenue, Zamboanga City. The 10-story commercial complex, probably the biggest mall in the city, will be patterned after major malls in the Philippines.
- CityMall Zamboanga is a proposed mall in partnership between DoubleDragon Properties Corp. and SM Investments Corp. CityMall Commercial Center, Inc. (CMCCI), is 66% owned by the 50-50 joint venture of Injap Investments, Inc., headed by Mang Inasal founder Edgar J. Sia II, and Honeystar Holdings Corp. chaired by Jollibee Foods Corp. founder Tony Tan Caktiong, and 34% by SMIC. The construction of the said mall will commence soon.
Sports and recreation facilities
Convention centers that host several events and congregations include the Garden Orchid Convention Centre, Marcian Convention Centre, Zamboanga City Colliseum in Tetuán, Zamboanga City Convention Centre, Astoria Regency in Pasonanca, and Patio Palmeras Convention Centres.
Sport venues in Zamboanga include the Joaquin F. Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex, the Summit Centre, and the Zamboanga City Coliseum.
Zamboanga City's team was in the 1992 Little League World Series and initially won the championship, but was stripped of their title after a number of players failed to meet age and residency requirements.
Seaweed production plants in Zamboanga, along with Cebú and Southern Luzon, produce most of the world's supply of carrageenan. Seventy-five percent of the country's eucheuma and kappaphycus seaweed is produced mostly in the Zamboanga peninsula and the Sulu archipelago.
Zamboanga is noted as the Sardines Capital of the Philippines because 9 out of 12 sardines companies in the country are operating in the city. The canning factories are converged in the west coast of Zamboanga. Sardine fishing and processing account for about 70 percent of the city's economy. Situated at the western tip of the Mindanao mainland, Zamboanga is a natural docking point for vessels traversing the rich fishing grounds of the Zamboanga peninsula and the Sulu archipelago. Zamboanga’s eight canneries, which employ around 15,000 workers, process 1,000 tonnes of sardines daily.
Canned sardine firms in this city that have upgraded their production to conform to international food safety and quality standards are looking to enter new markets in Russia and other European countries. In 2008, Zamboanga’s exported just 13,000 tonnes of canned sardines, worth approximately $16 million.
The formal education in Zamboanga is patterned after the American system, with English as the medium of instruction. Schools are classified into public (government) and private (non-government). Classes start in June, and end in March. The majority of colleges, and universities follow a semester calendar from June to October, and November to March. There are a number of foreign schools with study programmes. The general pattern of formal education follows by five stages:
- Pre-primary level – nursery and kindergarten offered in most private schools;
- Primary level – six years of basic education;
- Secondary level – four years of high school education;
- Tertiary level – usually takes four years, sometimes five and in some cases as in medical and law schools.
Universities and major colleges
- Ateneo de Zamboanga University is a Catholic and Jesuit university in Western Mindanao. It is also known by the acronym AdZU. Founded by the Society of Jesus in 1912, it is the second oldest Jesuit school in the Philippines. It initially catered to primary and secondary education for boys. It became a college in 1952, and a university in August 2001. The Ateneo de Zamboanga began in 1912 as Escuela Catolica, a parochial school run by Spanish Jesuits at the old site of the Immaculate Conception Church, right across the Sunken Garden. Fr. Manuel Sauras, S.J. was the first director.
- Pilar College is a private sectarian school in Zamboanga City, Philippines. It is located at R.T. Lim boulevard. The college, owned and administered by the Religious of the Virgin Mary (RVM), gives Catholic education in the southwestern part of Mindanao. Dedicated to the education of the children and the youth of Zamboanga City and the surrounding provinces, it offers elementary, secondary and college learning.
- Universidad de Zamboanga is a private university in Zamboanga City, Philippines, founded on October 12, 1948 by Arturo Eustaquio, Sr. It was formerly known asZamboanga A.E. Colleges until it was changed to Universidad de Zamboanga in 2005, the year it was granted university status. UZ holds 25% of all college enrolment in region 9Western Mindanao. It has 8 campuses spread out in an area of more than 130 hectares in and outside of the city. These campuses include the Main Campus in barangay Tetuan, City Campus, Cabatangan Campus, Pasonanca Campus, Veterans Campus, San Jose Campus, Canelar Campus and the Ipil Campus in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay. UZ has 2 Highschools namely Arturo Eustaquio Memorial Science Highschool and the UZ Technical Highschool.
- Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) is the premier and only state university in Zamboanga City. It is said to be one of if not the oldest university in Mindanao founded last July 18, 1904. It has two campuses: the main campus of 79,000 square meters and 9,147 square meters is in the city (Barangay Baliwasan) and the satellite campus of 200,000 square metres occupied by the College of Agriculture and the College of Forestry lin San Ramon, 20 kilometers from the city. Campuses comprising the external studies units are in the provinces of Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga Sibugay, including the newly integrated formerly CHED-supervised institutions in Molave and Tampilisan. It has a student population of over 22,000, regular faculty members of over 600 and over 150 administrative personnel.
Zamboanga is a member of East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), a regional economic cooperation initiative between the several countries in Southeast Asia. As a result of its membership, air and sea routes have been opened between Zamboanga and Sandakan in Malaysia. The two cities have existing trade relations and have had historical cultural interactions.
Major hospitals in Zamboanga City:
- Brent Hospital
- Ciudad Medical Zamboanga
- Mindanao Sanitarium Hospital
- Western Mindanao Medical Center
- Zamboanga City Medical Center
- Zamboanga Doctor’s Hospital
- Zamboanga Peninsula Medical Center
There are several medical centres and hospitals in Zamboanga. The Zamboanga City Medical Center is the largest medical facility in Zamboanga Peninsula in terms of bed capacity. The hospital was founded in 1918 as the Zamboanga General Hospital. The Brent Hospital and Colleges, Inc. was founded on February 2, 1914 by Charles Henry Brent, the first Protestant Episcopal missionary bishop in the Philippines. Today, it operates a school within its compound, offering nursing and allied health courses.
The Zamboanga City Red Cross chapter was established on June 17, 1946, known originally as Zamboanga Chapter. The original Zamboanga Chapter comprised the city of Zamboanga and the 3 provinces of Basilan, Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur.
In 2006, the Military Sealift Command (MSC) hospital ship, USNS Mercy (T-AH-19), anchored off of the coast of Zamboanga City, to provide of medical, dental and veterinary care for the people of the city.
The Department of Tourism has selected Zamboanga City as a flagship tourism destination in Zamboanga Peninsula. Domestic and foreign tourist arrivals increased 8 percent to 439,160 in 2005, according to data from the regional tourism office. The same report notes that Filipinos accounted for 80 percent of the tourist arrivals. Moreover, 50 percent of those tourists visited Zamboanga City before.
Parks, landmarks and other sites
Numerous landmarks, tourist spots and parks in Zamboanga:
- Fort Pilar
- Great Santa Cruz Island
- Pasonanca Park
- Paseo del Mar
- Pettit Barracks
- Climaco Freedom Park
- Plaza Persing
- Plaza del Pilar
- La Vista del Mar
Festivals and events
The Día de Zamboanga (Day of Zamboanga) is celebrated every February 26, the day when Zamboanga was declared as a chartered city under the Commonwealth Government in 1937. The Hermosa Festival, a month-long festival held every October, is celebrated in honor of the miraculous image of Our Lady of the Pillar, the patroness of Zamboanga City.
Zamboanga is twinned with the following cities:
- Bengkulu City, Bengkulu, Indonesia
- Pekanbaru, Riau, Indonesia
- Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia
- Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Philippines
- Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental, Philippines
- Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines
- Muntinlupa City, Philippines
- Trece Mártires, Cavite
- Zaragoza, Aragon, Spain
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