Zamboanga Peninsula Photo: Jay A.

Zamboanga Peninsula

The Zamboanga Peninsula is the smallest region in Mindanao. The name “Zamboanga” is derived from the Malay term, “Jambangan,” which means “Land of Flowers.”

It’s northwest coast is bordered by the Sulu Sea, while the Moro Gulf is to its south. The region is made up of three provinces (Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga Sibugay) with colorful festivals, islands bursting with life, and age-old stone churches.

The people of Zamboanga speak Chavacano, a singsong Spanish-based creole language. Spanish speakers will be able to pick up words and phrases easily. Zamboanga people also speak English and Filipino (Tagalog), so tourists shouldn’t have problems getting around.

Zamboanga del Norte is made up of two “twin cities,” namely Dapitan and Dipolog. National hero Dr. Jose Rizal was exiled to Dapitan City from 1892 to 1896, and the city turned his temporary home into a shrine and museum. Zamboanga del Norte is also known for its white sand beaches and cascading waterfalls.

Visit the riverfolk, also known as Subanons or Subanens, of Zamboanga del Sur. The province has four bays, three rivers, and three lakes, making it popular for having the freshest crustaceans in the country. Locals speak mostly Cebuano, and a little bit of English and Chavacano.

At the bottom tip of the peninsula lies Zamboanga City, which is not under the administration of any province. The city is home to over 30 colleges and universities, including Ateneo de Zamboanga University, Western Mindanao State University, and Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology.

Zamboanga City is highly urbanized, but maintains its historical landmarks and parks such as Paseo del Mar, Fort Pilar, and Pasonanca Park.

Zamboanga Sibugay, which is the southwest region of the peninsula, is famous for its oysters. The province was nicknamed the Talaba (Oyster) Capital of the Philippines, and supplies oysters to the rest of the Philippines and to several other countries in Asia.

Head to the nearby city of Isabela, where you can see Badjao houses built over water. Besides visiting the white sands of Malamawi Island, you can also tour the rubber plantations and factories in the city.

Join the dancing in Zamboanga Peninsula’s music-filled festivals. The Megayon Festival in Zamboanga del Sur is in celebration of the province’s diverse yet unified cultures, as well as good harvest. Learn about Zamboanga Sibugay culture in the Sibug-Sibug Festival, held on the province’s foundation day.

Places to visit in Zamboanga Peninsula

  1. Zamboanga del Norte

    Zamboanga del Norte

    56 Places
  2. Zamboanga del Sur

    Zamboanga del Sur

    15 Places
  3. Zamboanga Sibugay

    Zamboanga Sibugay

    51 Places