Posted by: Luciell's | August 5, 2009

Zamboanga City “City of Flower”

zamboanga

Zamboanga City — on the tip of the peninsula that juts out of the bottom of Mindanao island in the southern Philippines — is a delightful combination of history, culture, scenic beauty and economic potential.

Image Zamboanga is 142 thousand hectares of sloping terrain rising from a surrounding shoreline of coral beaches to mineral-rich mountains in the center of the peninsula.

The town that is known as the City of Flowers boasts a profusion of colorful tropical blossoms, outstanding seascapes, cool highland retreats, verdant forests and magnificent underwater scenery.

Zamboanga takes some of its picturesque views from the rich and varied culture of its people.

Cruising the offshore waters on clear, breezy days are vintas, native outriggers with square sails of many designs and colors. Image

Houses on stilts, inhabited by people from tribes that used to call the sea their home, line the shores.

Cultural presentations depict traditional arts and dances, but the discos are also full of young people moving to the latest dance craze.

Zamboanga is one of the oldest cities in the Philippines. Originally inhabited by the Subanon tribe, it became a Spanish outpost in the 17th century.

The Spaniards built a stone fortress that stands to this day. Fort Pilar is a historical, cultural and religious icon. On its eastern wall is a shrine revered by Catholics all over the country.

Inside the refurbished fort is a national museum that houses cultural artifacts and a showcase of the natural wealth of the region. When the Americans took over the city at the turn of the century they made it the capital of the Moro Province, which covered the whole of Mindanao. The Americans built Pasonanca Park, the City Hall and the golf course in Calarian, which is reputed to be the first golf course in the Philippines.

The Second World War brought the Japanese, but the Japanese left little of themselves here. The Zamboanga people are known for their friendliness and cheerful disposition. The women are famous for their beauty.

History

Zamboanga, the ancient and beautiful City of Flowers that was founded in 1635, now acknowledged as Asia’s “only” Latin City, was once declared and existed as a sovereign republic within its territory of historic existence inside a revolutionary government popularly chosen by its Chavacano citizens.  It resulted from the chaos of war declared between the United States versus Spain and its territories, including its only Asian territory – The Philippines; then, the ensuing war between the Filipinos of Luzon against their former comrades of the conquering U.S. forces; followed thereafter by the battle between the Chavacanos of Zamboanga against their former allies of the ruling Spanish military, and then ultimately against the invading U.S. Army after the Zamboangueños defeated and evicted the ruling Spaniards (who lost and capitulated to the U.S. government in the Treaty of Paris).  Afterwards, Gen. Alvarez declared victory and their freedom from all foreign influence by creating their historic Republic of Zamboanga on May 18, 1899.

The Republic of Zamboanga’s declared sovereignty lasted from May 18, 1899 until November 16, 1899, wherein its revolutionary government and chosen President General Vicente Alvarez, who led the liberation of the Zamboangueños from the tenuous grip of the retreating Spanish military, along with his victorious military troops, exercised  de facto sovereignty over administrative functions and military control within their new country territory and was not subordinate or subject to any other government or authority in the country known as Las Islas Filipinas by its former Spanish rulers, that became The Philippines under its United States conquerors and administrators (which finally resulted as the Republic of The Philippines after its eventual  independence from all foreign intervention).  President Alvarez proclaimed his new Republic of Zamboanga had overarching rule over the entire island of Mindanao, Basilan and Sulu – effectively the entire southern Filipinas, amidst a tri-party war between the U.S., Spain, and the Philippine islands’ natives.  Although President Alvarez’s overarching claim was grandiose (similar in context to proclaimed Dictator/President Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo’s overarching non-de facto claim for the Islands of Luzon and Visayas as the Dictatorial Government of the Philippine Revolutionary Government on June 23, 1898), his more realistic sovereignty was over the existing premises of ancient Zamboanga, which can be estimated to be about the same size as present day Zamboanga City is.  Nevertheless, President Alvarez and his troops, along with the redeemed Zamboangueños, became the only citizens of the Filipinas who had complete sovereignty over their de facto jurisdiction, a feat no other Filipinos ever attained during this war, not even his northern cohort, Luzon’s revolutionary Dictator/President, and General, Emilio Aguinaldo.  That is a sad fact in Philippine history and we aim to correct that misrepresentation herein.  Zamboanga was the first sovereign “Filipino” republic ever created in Philippine history.

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