Vamos a Zamboanga! Let’s go to Zamboanga, one of the busiest cities in the Philippines and is considered as Asia’s Latin City due to its strong connection to its Spanish roots – from the language that the people speak to the way people live (and eat). Zamboanga City is famous for the yearly Zamboanga Hermosa Festival and although this may be the best time to visit the city, it is certainly not the only reason to. Coincidentally called the “Garden of Flowers” in Malay, the city offers a bouquet of sights and experiences for travelers who are looking for something that is both fresh and romantic.  

Zamboanga City is a highly urbanized city in the Zamboanga Peninsula but despite that, it has preserved most of its rich history thru its Spanish-style architectures and diverse cultures. Zamboangueños proudly display their diversity to visitors by allowing them to interact with different indigenous tribes and briefly experience and participate in their culture. Additionally, the city attractions can leave anybody speechless with their picturesque sceneries and mountainous backgrounds, leaving any tourist breathless no matter what language they speak. All of these things beautifully tie up to become an unforgettable experience of history, beauty, and novelty.

It is one thing to say something is beautiful and another thing to explain what makes it so. Here are 7 of the most—visited attractions in Zamboanga City that encapuslates its beauty:

1. Fort Pilar

The Real Fuerza de Nuestra Senora La Virgen del Pilar de Zaragoza, or Fort Pilar for short, is a 17th century Spanish military defense fortress that was built by the Spaniards to protect the Philippines from foreign threats such as the Moro pirates and other invaders.  Today, it stands as a Roman Catholic Shrine and is also a regional branch of the National Museum of the Philippines. Fort Pilar not only houses antique items but also exhibits paintings and cultural memorabilia which makes it a symbol of Zamboanga’s cultural heritage. What’s more, Fort Pilar has unique doves that are comfortable with people and have amused tourists and visitors for years.

Photo by Chris Mediavillo
Photo by Janeth Jatico
Photo by Riel VavaVlog
Photo by Obotology Channel

Rates & Other Information

  • Entrance Fees: Fort Pilar – free; National Museum -P20 per person
  • Operating Hours: Open from 9:00am – 4:00pm from Monday – Friday

Other Information


Exact Location: N.S. Valderosa St., Fort Pilar, Zamboanga City

BY TRICYCLE, TAXI, OR WALKING: Go to the city proper. From the city proper, travel to Fort Pilar. Walking from the proper to Fort Pilar takes 19 minutes.

2. Great Sta. Cruz Islands and Sta.Cruz Lagoon

A majestic island opposite the coasts of Zamboanga City, the Great Sta. Cruz Islands gleams pink attracting tourists to its beaches. Because of its unique pink sands, the Great Sta. Cruz Islands has been recognized by the National Geographic as one of the 21 best beaches in the world. In 2000, along with the Little Sta. Cruz Islands, it was declared a protected landscape and seascape under the Presidential Proclamation 271 so its natural beauty is preserved.

The island also boasts its rare species of stingless jellyfish which can be found in the lagoon. Aside from the jellyfish, this lagoon is also a favorite site of migratory birds and is teeming with various species of mangroves.

Photo by Keshier Magdasdas
Photo by Emilio Garcia
Photo by mars malones
Photo by joanamarie Brocal
Photo by Dominador Dela Cruz

Rates and Other Information

  • Terminal Fee: P5 per person
  • Entrance Fee: P20 per person
  • Boat Rental: P1000 per 1-10 people, additional P100 per extra person
  • Cottage Rentals:  Small (6 persons) – P100, Large (10 persons) – P200, Pavilion (15-30 persons) – P500

Other Information


Exact Location: In the Basilan Strait, just 4km south of Zamboanga downtown area

Go to Paseo del Mar by tricycle from the city proper. From Paseo del Mar, ride a boat to the island.

3. Paseo del Mar

The park is Zamboanga’s own version of Roxas Boulevard in Manila where people flock to relax and unwind after a busy day. Paseo del Mar is the second most visited destination in Zamboanga City because of its scenic view of the Sulu sea and its beautiful sunsets. It is a great place to stroll in peace and chill alone or with a group of people. Its board walk is filled with various entertainment and attraction which features the indigenous people and the Badjao. At night, things get busier and livelier with live bands, an assortment of food, and the famous Dancing Fountain.

Photo by
Photo by Jorge Golle
Photo by Kin Enriquez
Photo by Denzo
Photo by Ced Zabala
Photo from Paseo Del Mar Facebook Page
Photo from Paseo Del Mar Facebook Page

This park also serves as the starting point to get to the Great Sta. Cruz Islands.

Rates and Other Information

  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Operating Hours: 6:00am – 12:30am everyday


Exact Location: Panubigan and Dita Villages, Zamboanga City

BY TRICYCLE: After landing in Zamboanga from Manila, proceed to the city proper. From the city proper, ride a tricycle to Paseo del Mar

BY CAR: Navigate with Waze or Google Maps and set the destination to Paseo del Mar. It is just a few minutes from the city proper.

4. Merloquet Falls

Zamboanga City is not only rich in culture and history but also natural beauties that captivates the hearts of many who visit. Merloquet Falls is one of Mindanao’s most beautiful waterfalls. With white water curtains glistening under the sun and draping over various rock formations, Merloquet Falls puts an image to the word paradise. It’s 10-meter high and 15-meter wide rock walls that end in a shallow pool definitely makes it one of a kind in the country.

Photo from @naaakxv via Instagram
Photo from Merloquet falls Facebook Page
Photo from Merloquet falls Facebook Page
Photo from Merloquet falls Facebook Page
Photo by Michael Ignacio

Rates and Other Information

  • Entrance Fee: P5 per person
  • Parking Fee: P10/ motorcycle; P20/car and other 4-wheel vehicles
  • Cottage Rental: P100

Other Information


Exact Location: Sibulao, Zamboanga City

BY BUS: From Zamboanga City, ride a bus to Pagadian, Dipolog, or Ipil. Get off at Barangay Vitali bus stop and from there, ride a habal-habal to the waterfalls. Finally, walk down the 370-step stairs to the waterfalls

BY CAR: Navigate with Waze or Google Maps and set the destination to Yakan Weaving Village

5. Once Islas (Eleven Islands)

Once Islas is a fairly new destination but is one that is slowly gaining popularity. One of the reasons is the undeniable beauty of its rock formations, white sands, and blue waters. The Once Islas is a group of islands along the Moro Golf which is protected by the Zamboanga Tourism Office. Out of the eleven islands, only four islands are open to the public while the other islands are not yet accessible.

Photo by Evanhoe Rio
Photo from Once Islas Facebook Page
Photo by Evanhoe Rio
Photo by Evanhoe Rio

Rates and Other Information

  • Entrance Fee: P100 per person
  • Environmental Fee: P100 per person
  • Boat Rental Fee: P1200 – P2000 for a maximum of 9
  • Guide Fee: P300 per group
  • Cottage Rental Fee: P150 per day
  • Hiking Fee in Sirumon: P50 per person
  • Kayak Rental in Bisaya-Bisaya: P300 per hour
  • Operating Hours: 8:00am to 3:00pm, everyday except Fridays
  • There is a carrying capacity of 200 persons per day for island hopping. Bookings are closed when the 200-mark is reached.   


Exact Location: Panubigan and Dita Villages, Zamboanga City

BY BUS: Take a northbound bus from Zamboanga City Proper to Panubigan. To get to the island, take a ferry from the Panubigan Ferry Terminal

BY CAR: Navigate with Waze or Google Maps and set the destination to Once Islas. Parking is available upon arrival. To get to the island, take a ferry from the Panubigan Ferry Terminal

6. Yakan Weaving Village

The Yakans are the original inhabitants of the Basilan province and are one of the finest weavers in the Philippines. Tourists frequent the Yakan Weaving Village to witness the craftsmanship of the Yakans. The Yakan cloth is a high-quality cloth which is revered for its design and detail. Visitors can directly purchase these quality textiles from the few stalls erected inside the village and bring them home as cultural souvenirs from Zamboanga.

Photo by Ma. Gianina Burayag
Photo by Arnann Jay
Photo by Zernie Maitoh
Photo by Rey Tajor
Photo by Nj Ismael
Photo by mars malones

Rates and Other Information

  • Entrance Fees: Free
  • Operating Hours: Open anytime


Exact Location: Yakan Weaving Village, Zamboanga City

BY JEEPNEY (PUJ): Take a PUJ or a jeepney from the public market with the sign “Ayala” or “Sinunuc”. Get off at the Zamboanga Golf Course or the Yakan Weaving Village

BY VANS: Vans pass by the public market that can take people to the Yakan Weaving Village.

BY CAR: Navigate with Waze or Google Maps and set the destination to Yakan Weaving Village

7. Pasonanca Park

The Pasonanca Park offers a variety of sights and activities within the confines of its gates. The park has three swimming pools: an Olympic size swimming pool, and children’s pools with water slides. Although it is a public pool, the water in the pools is naturally flowing and comes from the mountains and immediately flows downhill which keeps the water fresh and clean at all times. Aside from refreshing pools, there are also natural sights such as the Butterfly Garden, the Garden of Maria Clara Lobregat, and an aviary with various avian species. People can also enjoy the cute Pasonanca teepees and treehouses after swimming and strolling around the park. At the end of the day, visitors can book a treehouse overnight to rest in which offers the same services as a hotel room.  

Photo by Raffy Futolan
Photo by DES B
Photo by Nj Ismael
Photo by Sid Ciceron
Photo by Franklim Baygar
Photo by John Jerric Camero
Photo by عبدالرحمن العديني

Rates and Other Information

  • Entrance Fees: Park – free, Aviary – P5, Butterfly Sanctuary – P10
  • Operating Hours: 6:00am – 6:30pm, everyday


Exact Location: Pasonanca Road, Zamboanga City

BY JEEPNEY (PUJ):  Ride a jeepney going to “Crossing”. Get down here, cross the road and then ride another jeepney to Pasonanca Park. You can also ride a jeepney from the City Proper directly to the Park.

BY CAR: Navigate with Waze or Google Maps and set the destination to Pasonanca Park

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