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March 13 2013 4 13 /03 /March /2013 15:35

Antonio Enriquez


Time  Magazine





Zamboanga lies on the southernmost tip of Zamboaga del Sur. It is one of two provinces occupying the Mindanao Peninsula which is shaped like a clenched fist with   an extended forefinger pointing toward the Sulu Sea, Moro Gulf and Celebes Sea—the waters that surround it.

Sobriguets have been bestowed upon this colorful city, where pagans, Muslims and Christians continue to live together in relative peace. At one time the Malay called it “Jambangan,” or “Land of Flowers,” and the Spaniards, sick for home, regarded it as “ un rincóncito de España,” a piece of Spain.

From the old pier, Zamboanga’s coastline spreads out in opposite directions. The west branch turns smoothly toward Magay, a Chinese district, and Cawa-Cawa Boulevard, which derives its name from its vatlike shape. The east branch curves sharply inward and only straightens out where the Spanish Fort Pilar and a Muslim mosque rise on a level of land. Beyond that is swampland ending at Rio Hondo, a Moro village where the houses are built on stilts. Beyond Rio Hondo, off-shore, is Mariki Island, home of the seafaring Samal and Badjao.

The business district of Zamboanga starts at the City Hall and continues to Sucabon Bridge, about a kilometer away. From there, the residential district begins. A large Subanon settlement used to occupy this area, but these pagan aborigines of Zamboanga now live in the hinterlands.

They say in no other Philippine town has Spain left so much of her culture behind. This claim is most apparent in the Zamboangueños language, Chabacano. Although it does include native words from Subanon, Samal and Visayan, it is seventy-five percent Spanish.

In my youth, just before the fifties began, Zamboanga was a small, quiet town with simplepleasures. My friends and I would watch the sun slide down gradually into Caldera Bay, abruptly explode into various iridescent colors, and moments later, turn into a red-orange orb, like an egg on a breakfast plate, before being swallowed by the horizon.

Or we would hang around the breakwater and wait for the Badjao fishing     vintas                                                                                                                                                                          

Have corrected this in my later pieces.  

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  • : antoniofermin's name
  • : See Deep South through folktales and literature, see the clash between Christians and Moros, see its history through tradition and myths, see Zambanga's mestizos as they fought against their Spanish colonizers, see how the Zamboanguenos sieze the strongest Spanish fort in the Visayas and Mindanao, see the new Imperialist U.S.A. trample the Zamboanga revolutionarios by starving the people, see the horror and terror of the dictator Marcos's martial law, & see ethnic cleansing in the evil regime.
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