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Zamboanga City Travel Guide

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Bienvenidos a Ciudad de Zamboanga!

Zamboanga City, ZAM Del Sur (15 out of 81). Known by its epithet “Asia’s Latin City,” Zamboanga City (6°55’N 122°05’E) is the first city I have been to in the island of Mindanao in my personal quest for #Project82PH.

Vinta Boat Sta. Cruz Island Zamboanga City | Turista Boy

Being my first time in Mindanao, I have set (a bit) high standards on what to expect and what to do, especially as one coming from the Cordilleras. Upon researching what this City has to offer, I have come across things such as weaving, vinta boat riding, and curacha eating among others, but I think there is more to that.

Here is my own version of the Zamboanga City Travel Guide!

Read also: Zamboanga City: Exploring Asia’s Latin City

Approximately 853 Kilometers by air; 1,333 Kilometers via the Pan-Philippine Highway; and 466 Nautical Miles south of Manila, Zamboanga City is also known as one of the biggest cities in the Philippines by land area. I can say it is also the biggest City on Mindanao’s “West End.”

Zamboanga City Then and Now

The peninsula was then Spain’s headquarters in 1635, officially founding the City. There was also a point in history where the Republic of Zamboanga was established during the American occupation. It was then incorporated as part of ZAM Del Sur in 1936, and a chartered (independent) City by 1937. The City is also the third oldest city in the country (following Cebu City and Iloilo City.)


Zamboanga Demographics

Region Region IX (Zamboanga Peninsula)
Land Area 1,414.70 km² (Half the size of Rhode Island)
Elevation 16.0 meters (52.5 feet) above sea level
Time Zone GMT +8
Temperature Range 22 – 32 °C (71.6 – 89.6 °F)
Climate / Weather Condition Tropical Wet and Dry (Köppen Climate Classification)
Religion Roman Catholic (62%)

Islam (35%)

Others (3%)

Local Dial Code 062
Postal Code 7000
Language / Dialects Zamboangeño Chavacano (official language, Spanish-based creole) / English / Filipino / Tausug / Cebuano (minority languages / dialects)
Indigenous Peoples Zamboangeño, Kalibugan (majority)

Tausug, Subanon, Sama (minority)


Zamboanga Sibugay (N)

Moro Gulf (E)

Sulu Sea (W)

Basilan Strait, Isabela / Lamitan, Basilan (S)

R.T. Lim Boulevard Zamboanga City | Turista Boy

How to get to Zamboanga City

Being one of the major points of entry in the island of Mindanao, Zamboanga City can be easily reached through various modes of transportation:

By Land

Zamboanga City Tricycle | Turista Boy

If exploring in and around the city, you can ride either the jeepney or tricycles / baobaos. For jeepneys, the minimum fare is ₱ 13.00 – 15.00, while tricycles and baobaos post their minimum fare at ₱ 40.00 – 50.00, depending on the destination.

You can also reach Zamboanga City from other provinces in Mindanao via Bus. It services routes to and from Pagadian City, Dipolog City, Cagayan de Oro City, Davao City, Bacolod City (via Dumaguete City), Cotabato City, Cebu City, and Siocon, among others. The ZAM City Integrated Bus Terminal serves these routes on hourly schedules.

By Air

Zamboanga International Airport | Turista Boy

At present, there are two (2) major airlines servicing the Manila – Zamboanga route – Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific. The flight approximately lasts for 1 hour 45 minutes. Here are their schedules as of writing (direct flights only):

Philippine Airlines*

0405 – 0545 H 0640 – 0825 H
0710 – 0850 H 1245 – 1430 H
1325 – 1505 H 1600 – 1745 H
1710 – 1850 H 2000 – 2145 H

Cebu Pacific*

0645 – 0840 H 0935 – 1125 H
1010 – 1205 H 1235 – 1425 H
1255 – 1455 H 1535 – 1735 H
1445 – 1645 H 1730 – 1930 H

*Flight schedules and fares may change without prior notice!

By Water

Port of Zamboanga | Turista Boy

The Port of Zamboanga is also one of the busiest and major ports in Western Mindanao servicing the island and Malaysia. Here are some of its routes to and from the Port:

Montenegro Shipping Lines**

ZAM – Jolo, Sulu Jolo, Sulu – ZAM
2100 H 2030 H

Fare: ₱ 850 – non-aircon / ₱ 1105 – aircon

Travel time: 8 – 9 hours (overnight trip)

ZAM – Isabela City, Basilan Isabela City, Basilan – ZAM
0530 H 0530 H
1030 H 1030 H
1315 H 1315 H
1600 H 1600 H

Travel Time: 1.5 hours

Aleson Shipping Lines**

ZAM – Jolo, Sulu (except Saturday)

Jolo, Sulu – ZAM (except Sunday)
2000 H 2000 H

Travel time: 8 – 9 hours (overnight trip)

ZAM – Isabela City, Basilan Isabela City, Basilan – ZAM
0515 H 0630 H
0645 H 0645 H
0930 H 0745 H
1200 H 0930 H
1230 H 1230 H
1345 H 1500 H
1530 H 1530 H
1630 H 1630 H

Fare: ₱ 120 – non-aircon / ₱ 145 – aircon

Travel Time: 1.5 hours

ZAM – Sandakan, Malaysia Sandakan, Malaysia – ZAM
*By Schedule
M/V Antonia – Departs ZAM at 1400 Departs Sandakan 1 – 2 days after arrival

Travel Time: 16 – 17 hours

Requirements: Passport, Return Ticket

Ibnerizam Shipping Lines**

ZAM – Jolo, Sulu Jolo, Sulu – ZAM
MWF – 2000 H TThS 2000 H

Travel time: 8 – 9 hours (overnight trip)

Weesam Express Ferry**

ZAM – Jolo, Sulu Jolo, Sulu – ZAM
MWSat – 1100 H TThSun – 1100 H

Travel time: 6 – 7 hours (day trip)

ZAM – Isabela City, Basilan Isabela City, Basilan – ZAM
0815 H 0645 H
1245 H 0930 H
1530 H 1400 H

Travel Time: 45 minutes – 1 hour

2Go Travel**

Manila (Port of Manila) – ZAM
*By Schedule
Mega Value Class / Super Value Class ₱ 2712.79
Tourist Class ₱ 2762.68
Cabin for 4 ₱ 4236.81

**Ferry schedules and fares may change without prior notice!

Things to know about when visiting Zamboanga City

Masjid Al-Islamia Rainbow Mosque Zamboanga City | Turista Boy

Cellular Signal (Globe, Smart, Dito) Globe and Smart (Good to Best in City Center)
Socket Standard, Voltage (V), Frequency (Hz) Socket Type A, B, C // 220 Volts // 60 Hz
Modes of Payment Most establishments use Cash as mode of payment. Some establishments also use Online Transfer (i.e. GCash), and others also accept Wire Transfer (Debit / Credit Cards)
Currency used Philippine Peso (PH₱)

Basic Chavacano Words you might need to know when visiting Zamboanga City

– Hi / Hello – Hi, Hello / Hola!

– Goodbye – Paalam

– Thank you – (Muchas) Gracias

– Welcome – Bienvenidos

– Good morning – Buenas Dias

– Good afternoon – Buenas Tardes

– Good evening / night – Buenas Noches

– How are you? – Kumusta?

Zamboanga City Hall | Turista Boy

Read also: Zamboanga City: Exploring Asia’s Latin City

*Note that the places, prices, and information written as of publication date and time are true and are given best during my visit. Changes may occur without prior notice. If you notice any changes to the information given above, you can e-mail me here so we can dish things up!*

We’re born to travel!

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8 thoughts on “Zamboanga City Travel Guide

  1. LC says:

    Looks like an interesting city to visit. Thanks for the tips!

    1. It surely is, ate LC! Visit Zambo soon!

  2. Indrani says:

    I had read about the accommodations in this place in another post of yours. This one kind of completes the whole city. I hope I can visit some day.

    1. Yep, it’s really an interesting city to visit, Indrani! Hope to see you here in the Philippines soon! 🙂

  3. Wow! Looks like you have researched a lot on this city. Zamboanga has such great history. Really appreciate your efforts!

  4. I have only explore the northern part of Zamboanga. This part of Mindanao has been in my bucket list for the longest time! Yet, every time I planned to go there, something terrible happened around this area!!! Grrr! And going to Sitangkai is my dream of all dreams!

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