Zamboangueño people

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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
(3.5 million)
Regions with significant populations
(Zamboanga City, Zamboanga Peninsula, Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, Metro Manila)

predominantly Roman Catholic, Islam, Protestantism, others

Geographic Location of Predominantly Zamboangueño Ethnic

The Zamboangueño people (Zamboangueño/Spanish: Pueblo Zamboangueño) are a creole ethnic group of the Philippines and Malaysia originating in the Zamboanga City. Spanish censuses record that as much as one third of the inhabitants of the city of Zamboanga possess varying degrees of Spanish and Hispanoamerican admixture.[1] In addition to this, select cities such as Bacólod, Cebú, Iloílo and Zamboanga, which were home to military fortifications or commercial ports during the Spanish era also hold sizable mestizo communities.[2] The Zamboangueño constitute an authentic and distinct ethnic identity because of their coherent cultural and historical heritage, most notably the Zamboangueño language, that distinguishes them from neighbouring ethnic groups.


People from other ethnic groups came to Jambangan (present-day Zamboanga), when the construction of the present-day Fort Pilar began. The colonial Spanish government ordered the construction of a military fort to guard off the city from Moro pirates and slave raiders of Sulu. Labourers from Cebú, Cavite, Bohol, Negros, Panay and other islands were brought to the city to help build the fort. Eventually, these people settled in the city to live alongside other ethnic groups. Together, they would form the nucleus of the present-day Zamboangueño people. To this nucleus were added the descendants of labourers from Iloílo (also in Panay) and of soldiers from New Spain[3] and Peru.[4] Through intermarriage, Ilongos, Hispanoamericans and with the Spanish, they created a new culture which gradually developed a distinct identity—the Zamboangueños (Zamboangueño: magá/maná Zamboangueños; Spanish: Zamboangueños). Furthermore, because these people come from different islands and even nations and spoke different languages, they together developed a new pidgin language called Chavacano. Chavacano then evolved into a full-fledged Spanish-based creole to become the lingua franca of Zamboanga City and then the official language of the Republic of Zamboanga.


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 behaviour. While their social lives usually resolve around religious practices, the tradition of the bantayanon, fiestas, fondas, includes their bailes the vals, regodon and paso doble.

The Zamboangueño customs are based on European and Iberoamerican 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, even though the mentality just mentioned flatly contradicts Catholic teaching.[5][6]

The Zamboangueños of Basilan have, of late, also acquired more globalised tastes in food, clothing and customs.


Chavacano Language is the native language of the Zamboangueño people. A Conglomeration of 90% traditional Spanish/Castillan and 10% influences from other Romance Languages such as Portuguese, Italian and French, Native American such as Nahuatl, Taíno, Quechua, Mexican Spanish et al. and Austronesian languages such as Binisaya (mainly Hiligaynon/Ilonggo & Cebuano), Subanon, bahasa Sūg, Yakan, Sama, Tagalog.[7]

Courtship etiquette[edit]

Zamboangueño courtship traditions are elaborate and regulated by a long list of required social graces. For example, a perfectly respectable Zamboangueño gentleman (caballero) 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 Zamboangueño señorita’s hand in marriage.


Zamboangan 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 Zamboangueña, de bastón 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. Zamboangueño women claim ownership of the mascota, a formal gown with a fitting bodice, her shoulders draped demurely by a luxuriously embroidered, though stiff, pañuelo 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 Holy Week (Zamboangueño: Semana Santo; Spanish: Semana Santa). These include watching films (magá película) about Jesus and his teachings, visitaiglesias, processions, novenas and the climbing and praying of the Stations of the Cross (Estaciones de la Cruz) in Mt. Pulong Bato, Fiesta de Pilar (Spanish: Fiesta del Pilar), a festivity in honour of Our Lady of the Pillar (Zamboangueño: Nuestro Señora de Pilar; Spanish: Nuestra Señora del Pilar) and Zamboanga Day (Día de Zamboanga) and Day of the Zamboangueños (Día del magá Zamboangueño) which is celebrated every 15 August every year for the foundation of Zamboanga and ethnogenesis of the Zamboangueño people on 15 of August 1635.

Zamboangueño celebrate Christmas in so many unique ways such as the villancicos/aguinaldos o pastores this also includes the Día de Navideña and Nochebueno (Spanish: Nochebuena), fiestas, vísperas, Diana, Misa, magá juego, processions and feasting.


Zamboangueño cuisine includes in its repertoire curacha, calamares, tamales, locón, cangrejos, paella, estofado, arroz a la valenciana, caldo de vaca/cerdo/pollo, puchero, caldo de arroz, lechón, jamonadas, endulzados, embutido, adobo, afritadas, menudo, caldereta, jumbá, flan de leche and many more.

Famous Zamboangueños[edit]

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





  • 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.
  • Chezka Centeno (born June 30, 1999)[9] is a Filipina billiards player from Zamboanga City.[10]
  • George Christian T. Chia (born August 19, 1979), better known as Gec Chia, is a Filipino business executive and former professional basketball player.
  • Armarie "Arms" Cruz - one of the "Final 12" and the lone Mindanao bet of Philippine Idol First Season.
  • A. Z. Jolicco Cuadra (24 May 1939 in Zamboanga City - 30 April 2013 in Calamba City) was a poet and artist, art critic, essayist, and short story writer. He was known as the "enfant terrible of Philippine art" in the 1960s, and his good looks and writings dubbed him the Byron of Philippine literature.








  • Winner Jumalon is a multi-award winning Filipino contemporary visual artist based in Manila. His works of oil and encaustic on canvas have been described as "late capitalist masterpieces marred by illogical marks, haze, and aggregations of reality that not only displaces portraiture as the totemic symbols of power and status but questions the formation of identity itself as the trap where man cannot go forward".[16]



Rudy B. Lingganay Jr. (born August 15, 1986 in Zamboanga City) is a Filipino professional basketball player who last played for the NLEX Road Warriors of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).[17]

  • Nancy Lee Leonard - Miss Philippines Earth (Miss Water / 2nd runner-up and became Miss Air / 1st runner-up)


Alfonso R. Marquez[20] (born March 29, 1938), better known as Alfonso "Boy" Marquez, is a Filipino former basketball player and coach. Marquez was born in Zamboanga City, Philippines.


  • 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 - (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



  • 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.


  • Harry Tañamor (born August 20, 1977) is an amateur boxer from Zamboanga City, Philippines best known to medal repeatedly on the world stage at light flyweight.
  • Simeon Toribio - Filipino High Jumper, 1932 Olympics Bronze Medallist in Athletics. He later settled in Bohol and represented it in Congress.
  • Nathan Sy







See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jagor, Fëdor, et al. (1870). The Former Philippines thru Foreign Eyes
  2. ^ Institute for Human Genetics, University of California San Francisco (2015). ""Self-identified East Asian nationalities correlated with genetic clustering, consistent with extensive endogamy. Individuals of mixed East Asian-European genetic ancestry were easily identified; we also observed a modest amount of European genetic ancestry in individuals self-identified as Filipinos"
  3. ^ Letter from Fajardo to Felipe III From Manila, August 15 1620.(From the Spanish Archives of the Indies) ("The infantry does not amount to two hundred men, in three companies. If these men were that number, and Spaniards, it would not be so bad; but, although I have not seen them, because they have not yet arrived here, I am told that they are, as at other times, for the most part boys, mestizos, and mulattoes, with some Indians. There is no little cause for regret in the great sums that reënforcements of such men waste for, and cost, your Majesty. I cannot see what betterment there will be until your Majesty shall provide it, since I do not think, that more can be done in Nueva Spaña, although the viceroy must be endeavoring to do so, as he is ordered.")
  4. ^ "SECOND BOOK OF THE SECOND PART OF THE CONQUESTS OF THE FILIPINAS ISLANDS, AND CHRONICLE OF THE RELIGIOUS OF OUR FATHER, ST. AUGUSTINE" (Zamboanga City History) "He (Governor Don Sebastían Hurtado de Corcuera) brought a great reënforcements of soldiers, many of them from Perú, as he made his voyage to Acapulco from that kingdom."
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "El Torno Chabacano". Instituto Cervantes. Instituto Cervantes. 
  8. ^ Badua, Snow (April 18, 2014). "There's a story behind every jersey number. Find out what No. 14 meant to San Mig guard Mark Barroca". Retrieved December 4, 2015. 
  9. ^ "(Billiards and Snooker) Biography Overview: CENTENO Chezka". 28th SEA Games 2015. 
  10. ^ Padilla, Jaime (9 June 2015). "Chezka Centeno: The 15 year old Cueist Sensation". 28th SEA Games Singapore 2015. Retrieved 10 June 2015. 
  11. ^ Official profile at the 2008 Beijing Olympics
  12. ^ "15 Filipinos battle odds, Olympic gold ‘curse’",, August 9, 2008
  13. ^ City commends Zamboangueño weightlifters
  14. ^ "BT: Castaways sa Survivor PHL: Celebrity Doubles Showdown". Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Lingganay layup lifts Powerade". Philippine Daily Inquirer. September 25, 2011. Retrieved August 4, 2012. 
  18. ^ Paroa Pinoy Exchange
  19. ^ Ruru Madrid Official Fan Page
  20. ^ - Alfonso Marquez
  21. ^ Vera, Noel (28 June 2012). "The Quiet Man Passes". Business World Philippines. Retrieved 29 June 2012. 
  22. ^ "Mario O'Hara: First an actor, second a writer, and lastly a director". 28 June 2012. 
  23. ^ O'Hara profile Archived September 18, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  24. ^ "Established rockers form new group". Manilla Bulletin Publishing Corporation. January 11, 2010. Retrieved January 14, 2010. 

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