The City of Zamboanga is a highly urbanized city located in Mindanao, Philippines. It is considered as the 6th most populous and 3rd largest city by land area in the Philippines.
During the era before the Spaniards found their way into the Philippines, Zamboanga City was a vast track of land and nameless. However, due to its proximity with the other islands in Southeast Asia, it became a barter trading post among the Chinese-Malays, the native Tausugs, Subanons, Samals, and the Badjaos. This barter trading took place as early as in the 13th and 14th centuries. Archeological findings of pottery prove of Chinese presence in the region. The inhabitants then were the Subanons along the river banks in the hinterlands, the Samals and Badjaos living in the coastal areas.
The origin of the word Zamboanga came from the early Malays who came to settle at the tip of the Zamboanga peninsula. These Malays discovered the place to be profusely blooming with flowers and called it “Jambangan” meaning “land or pot of flowers.” These Malays who built their settlements by the riverbanks were Subanons, meaning “People of the River.” Their chief, Saragan, lived with his family atop the legendary rock Mt. Pulumbato that lords over the city.
However, the early Badjaos and Samals who settled on and off the shorelines were confused with the name “Jambangan” and called the place “Samboangan” instead. The name “Samboangan” appeared on the 16th Century map of the Philippine Archipelago, and was said to have derived from the native word “Sabuan” meaning a wooden paddle.
Zamboanga City was founded by a Spanish Mission who sailed into the southern part of the Philippine Archipelago in 1635. The group landed at Caldera Bay, a fishing village along the west coast, now known as Recodo. The Spanish settlement at La Caldera later moved to the tip of the peninsula which they found to be strategically located, and a fort was built to ward off invading natives.
The Federal Government of the United States built the City Hall in Zamboanga in 1905, which was completed in 1907. It became the official residence of the Military Governor of Mindanao, which included Generals like Leonard O. Wood, Tasker H. Bliss, Ralph W. Hoyt, and John “Blackjack” Pershing of World War I fame. Today, it still serves as City Hall of Zamboanga City.
Population/ Language/ Area
Zamboanga City has a total population of 807,129, as of 2010, making it the 6th most populous city in the Philippines.
Considered as the 3rd largest city in the Philippines, Zamboanga City has a total land area of 1,483.3849 km2 (572.7381 sq mi). 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 18–30%. 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%.
Products and Services
Zamboanga is noted as the Sardines Capital of the Philippinesbecause 8 out of 11 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.
Numerous landmarks in Zamboanga include Fort Pilar, Great Santa Cruz Island, Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Pasonanca Park, Paseo del Mar, Pettit Barracks, and Zamboanga Golf and Country Club.
Festivals and Celebrations
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.