We’d have different comfort levels. But trust me when I say Zamboanga City is not a war zone, and it’s certainly not unsafe like the media says. Zamboanga City, or Asia’s Latin City, is as unsafe as your current location, but not as charming. Its quaintness lies in the Spanish creole Chabacano dialect and sightseeing opportunities: the great Santa Cruz Island’s pink sand beach; the Zamboanga International Airport showcasing the city’s Islamic heritage; the Pasonanca park comparable to Baguio because of its altitude and flora varieties; the Zamboanga city hall that was constructed by the Americans during the early 1900s; the Fort Pilar shrine, a 1635 Spanish garrison turned museum; the huge Metropolitan Cathedral of Immaculate Conception; and the Paseo Del Mar that resembles the bay-walk along Manila bay. But I’m not writing about tourist spots in this city, nor the cuisine here. I’d share about shopping (clearly, the title of this post!), about great buys, should your comfort level allow you to go see Zamboanga City.
Let’s get straight to it, WHAT TO BUY IN ZAMBOANGA CITY:
1. Barter Goodies – Choose from various Malay and Chinese treats, like wafers and chocolates. (Buy from Barter Centers: Canelar Barter Trade Sta. Cruz Commercial Complex Baliwasan Commercial Complex Zamboanga City Public Market)
2. Malong, Sarong or Tubao (handkerchief) – These vibrant items can be used as turban, blanket, mat or as wraparound when at the beach. (Buy from Barter Centers listed above)
3. Yakan Cloth – Made by Yakan weavers, they are best as accessories, as bags, or as tapestries and table pieces, because of their beautiful and intricate ethnic patterns. (Buy from Yakan Village Weaving Center at Upper Calarian, right across La Vista del Mar Beach Resort)
4. Lokot-lokot – A fine-hair-like roll made from sweet rice flour mix. (Buy from local groceries or delicacy stores)
5. Seafood – Choose among a variety of seafood: curacha, freshwater or saltwater crabs, tuna, seaweeds. (Buy from the Main Public Market, but it’s readily available from any local wet market)
6. Fruits – Durian, marang, sweet lanzones, mangosteen. (Buy from Sta. Cruz Bagsakan Center, at night, for cheaper prices)
7. Sardines- Most sardine varieties you see in your grocery stores were canned and packed in Zamboanga City’s west coast areas. More pasalubongs are bottled Spanish sardines. (Buy from local groceries or souvenir stores)
8. Souvenir Items – Bring something as remembrance, like key chains, fashion accessories, refrigerator magnets, souvenir shirts, rainmaker, bags, mats, bamboo flute, hammocks, bolo, fans, wooden statues, and hats. (Buy from Home Products at San Jose Rd. corner Climaco Ave.)
Enjoy shopping in Zamboanga City!
From Manila, there are daily flights to Zamboanga City by major domestic airlines. Flight time: approx 1 hour and 15 minutes.