Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hasta La Proxima, Zamboanga

Its my first time to visit Zamboanga City and I was abit scared because of the news about the City of Flowers though I really like to visit their famous pink sand and see their beautiful vintas. I also thought Dipolog is just few hours from Zamboanga City and I wanted to visit Rizal @150 heritage sites but to my dismay I have to travel 7-9 hours by land. So I just researched other tourist spots within Zamboanga City.

When we reached Zamboanga City we go straight outside the airport and look for a vehicle to bring us at Aniceto lodging house. We met Kuya Jojie (vice president of trike association) and asked us to avail his service. At first we don't like to ride a trike coz we know that they will overcharge us but because it's already raining and he will only charge us 60 pesos so we agreed and Kuya Jojie brought us to Aniceto lodging. 

We availed Anicetos's non-aircon room for 640 pesos and 40 pesos tv rental but we asked for a discount and their owner agreed for 600 pesos per night for 5 pax. Their lodging is recommendable for budget travellers like me. Their rooms is very basic but its clean.

After we arranged our things we went to Pueblo then we go straight to the Tourism office at Lantaka Bldg. and register for our Sta. Cruz Island tour. Those who like to visit the Great Sta. Cruz island have to register prior atleast one day before your tour. They will also assign an escort for our security while traveling the island. Boat rental costs 1000 pesos good for 10 pax and entrance fee costs 20 pesos.

We also asked Ma'am Ludy, tourism officer, some info about Zamboanga and the tourist spots we wanted to visit. Ma'am Ludy, her officemates and her Director (sorry I didn't remember her name) gladly shared infos about the City. They also told us that we can get a free Chabacano dictionary at the other tourism office near the City Hall and market. 

After visiting the tourism office we went to Lantaka Hotel bayview area.

Then we visited Fort Pilar, their military fortress built by the Spaniards.


Zamboanga City Museum is located inside Fort Pilar but we were told that its not allowed to take some pictures inside the museum. 

We had our lunch at Jimmy's Satti House at Pilar St.

 sarap ng sauce =) kahit di ako mahilig sa maanghang naubos ko ito

Merienda at Myrna's Bakehouse

After food tripping, we went to the other tourism office of Zamboanga City. It is located near Zamboanga City Hall and city market. They gave us free Chabacano dictionary and also shared information we needed.

 free map and chabacano dictionary c/o zamboanga city dept. of tourism office

We also went to the market and Zamboanga City Cathedral near Mindpro Mall, where we bought some groceries for our tour for the next few days. 
The next day we woke up early for our Sta. Cruz island tour. We went to Paseo del Mar where the boat assigned to us is waiting for our Sta. Cruz Island tour. 

We paid 5 pesos per pax for the terminal fee and asked the staff from marina if we could change our schedule and leave the island earlier. The staff agreed and told the boatman about some changes. We also asked the boatman if we could visit Little Sta. Cruz island and he agreed we will just add few bucks for the gasoline. 

About 15-20 mins of travel and we reached the Great Sta. Cruz Island. We met our escort, Sir Carl, who arrived earlier at the island. We put our things at one of the cottages and after that we roam around the island. We also bought mini vinta that were sold by the locals of the island. They told us that their island is safe but they can't assure our safety at the sea, so that's the reason why we have an escort while traveling to  island.

 mini vinta sold at Great Sta. Cruz Island worth 180 pesos

We stayed there until 11am then left the island and sailed to Little Sta. Cruz Island. Sir Carl, asked the officer at the island if could dock our boat and roam around the island for a few minutes but they didn't allowed us because their officer is at the vicinity and tourists were not allowed at the island.

When we reached Paseo del Mar we met Kuya Manny Paster of Lacuachero Outdoorshop who will guide us at our Merloquet falls trip the next day. We agreed to pay 600 per pax for the transpo and guide fees. He also add rapeling activity at Merloquet falls. He asked us what is our itinerary for the day and we told him that we will visit Pasonanca Park that afternoon. He offered to tour us at the park for free. Of course, we are on a budget so we agreed.. hehe swerte 

We went back at our lodging changed clothes and had our lunch near the lodging. Kuya Manny Paster plus Kuya Leo Alejo fetched us at Aniceto and joined us touring the park. 

We went to Boy Scout Camp



 some of the birds at the aviary

Jardin Maria Clara Lobregat
Unknown soldiers memorial shrine

Climaco Freedom Park, where the body of Mayor Cesar Climaco lies.

After visiting Pasonanca Park we also went to a river near the park.
Then we visit R.T. Lim Boulevard where we had a beautiful sunset view.
Because its weekend its difficult to find a parking lot at Paseo del Mar so opt to take our dinner at Sugba Tula Kilaw Food Haus at Valderosa St. near Fort Pilar. I ordered their yummy shrimp rebosado, sarap.

After dinner we went to Fort Pilar Shrine,where Our Lady of the Pillar was placed at the wall outside the fort.

The next day we went to our much awaited trip to Merloquet falls. My travel and forum friends and I were really  excited for this trip because aside from falls seeing we will get to experience rappelling at Merloquet falls. Most of us don't have experience rappelling so this will their gears.

Before going to Merloquet falls we had a side trip at  Zamboanga City fish port where we could buy fish for pasalubong but we dont have refrigerator in our lodging so we didnt bought anything.

When we arrived at the jump off point of Merloquet falls we register our names at a house and then proceed trekking. For about 15-30 minutes we reached the beautiful Merloquet falls.
start trekking
konting lakad na lang makikita na kita merloquet =)

ang pinakamagandang falls na nakita ko, so far =)

After picture taking we had our lunch prepared by Kuya Manny Paster, actually lunch is not included in their package but we asked him to cook for us and he agreed. We rest for a while after taking lunch then we proceed to the second level of Merloquet falls and they prepared the gears to be used for rappelling.

Kuya Manny gave us instructions on how to use the rappelling gears. He also told us that we don't have to panic and always trust the gears. I'm the last one to go down and since it was my first time I got scared a bit but I have to control my fear and finish the activity, and of course I did (sa ngalan ng picture.. hehe) with the help of kuya Leo Alejo because my left hand's grip was weak during that time.

sa ngalan ng picture, magrarappel ako =) (Photo credits to Leo Alejo of Lacuachero Outdoorshop)

At 2 in the afternoon we started to trek back at the jump off point because we also wanted to visit Taluksangay Mosque which is far from Brgy. Sibulao where Merloquet falls is located. Kuya Manny contacted his student (Kuya Manny Paster is also a  college teacher) who lives near the mosque. His student adviced Kuya Manny to cancel our visit because its already late and we are not sure of our safety there. We agreed so they just drop us at Aniceto and they'll just meet us for the copy of pictures they took during our trip (pictures included at their package).

We met Kuya Manny at one of the restaurants at Paseo del Mar and he gave the copy of our pictures. We paid him 700 pesos for the package plus the food and drinks that they provide.

We tried their knicker bocker, their version of halo halo, for our dinner.

On our last day we went to market for pasalubong buying. I bought dried squid and fish and some noodles at the market. We went back to Jimmy's Satti House and Myrna's Bakehouse, both located at Pilar St.

After food tripping we plan to visit the Yakan Weaving Village and looked for a tricycle to ride going to Yakan.

I bought a bag and malong for souvenir at Yakan Weaving Village.

We paid 300 pesos for the trike going to Yakan and back to Aniceto. At first he asked us 320 pesos but we ask for a lesser price and he agreed at 300 pesos. I didn't get his name and he don't have a phone number but here he is and his trike. I think he didn't overcharged us for his service.

Our last stop was at Canelar Barter Trade. I bought some chocolates, malong and tshirt for pasalubong. Tip for shoppers is that you ask first every store then buy at the store who gave the cheapest price. But if you don't have much time, ask the seller to give you a lesser price, he/she might gave you the price that you like.
We all agreed that we had a great time at Zamboanga City not only because of their beautiful place but ZamboangueƱos are one of the nicest people and they will also put some more effort to help us in our visit. This is definitely one of the places I want to visit again. Til we meet again Zamboanga or should I say Hasta la Proxima, Zamboanga.

Contact numbers

Leo Alejo of Lacuachero Outdoorshop - 09177107424
Ma'am Ludy of Dept of Tourism - 09228246456
Kuya Jojie (vice president of trike association) - 09263764868


1st day (Pueblo tour)

5:30am   -  Depart Manila
7:00am   -  Zamboanga City Arrival
7:15am   -  Check-in at Casa Atilano, bonding with gt sises and my travel friend
10:00am -  Start Pueblo tour
10:15am -   Reservation for the Sta. Cruz Island tour at the tourism office at Lantaka Hotel Bldg.
11:00am -  Fort Pilar and Zamboanga City Museum
12:00pm – Lunch at Jimmy’s Satti House at Pilar Street
3:00pm   -  Meryenda at Myrna’s bake house
4:00pm   -  Visit the other  tourism office at N.S. Valderosa St., claim their free Chavacano dictionary
4:30pm   -  Zamboanga City Market, walkathon at Pueblo
5:30pm   -  Zamboanga City Cathedral
6:00pm   -  buy some groceries at Mindpro Mall
7:00pm   -  back to Atilano

2nd day (Sta. Cruz islands and Pasonanca Park tour)

5:00am   -  wake up
6:45am   -  left Casa Atilano
7:10am   -  arrival at Paseo del Mar, travel to Sta. Cruz island
7:30am   -  arrival at Great Sta. Cruz Island. Photo ops and brunch at the island
11:30am -  depart Great Sta. Cruz Island. Travel to Little Sta. Cruz island
11:50am – ask permission to visit Little Sta. Cruz island
12:30pm - arrival at the port at Paseo del Mar, meet up with kuya Manny Paster of Lacuachero Outdoorshop
12:45pm - visit Lacuachero Outdoorshop, tour organizer of Eco-adventure tours at Zamboanga City
1:00pm   - back to Atilano, wash up and lunch at a carinderia near the lodging inn.
2:00pm   - Pasonanca Park tour c/o Lacuachero Outdoorshop (Boy scout camp, treehouse, aviary, butterfly farm, unknown soldiers memorial shrine, Cesar Climaco Park , photo ops at a river)
6:00pm   - Baywalk, sunset photoshoot
7:00pm   - dinner at Sugba tula kilaw foodhaus
8:30pm  -  Fort Pilar Shrine
9:00pm   - arrival at Atilano

3rd day (Merloquet falls and rappelling)

7:00am   - start tour
8:10am   - Zamboanga City fish port
9:50am   - jump off point of Merloquet falls at Brgy. Sibulao
10:00am – start trekking
10:20am – Merloquet falls at last =)
11:00am – lunch
12:00pm – start trekking to second level of Merloquet falls for the falls rappelling
12:30pm – rappelling time
2:00pm   - goodbye Merloquet, I’ll see you again
2:30pm  - arrival at jump off point
2:45pm  - travel time
5:00pm   - back at Atilano
8:00pm   - dinner at Paseo del Mar, tried their knicker bocker
10:00pm - back to our lodging inn

4th day  Pasalubong time =)

7:30am   - Zamboanga City Market
8:00am   - breakfast at Jimmy’s Satti House
8:40am   - Myrna’s bakehouse, tried their Maria Clara cake
10:00am - travel to Yakan Weaving Village
11:20am – Atilano
11:30am – Canelar barter
1:00pm  - lunch at a carinderia near Canelar barter
1:20pm  - back to Atilano
3:00pm  - ride jeepney going to Zamboanga City airport
3:15pm  - check in
4:10pm  - boarding
4:30pm  -  til we meet again Zamboanga
6:00pm  - arrival at terminal 3
7:00pm  - home sweet home

Lodging inn  120*3 360

airfare  682.08           
taxi (baclaran to T3) 100
terminal fee T3 200
trike airport to Atilano 15
jeepney to pueblo 7.5
trike mindpro to atilano 16
trike to paseo del mar 16
terminal fee going to sta. cruz island 5
jeepney to pueblo 7.5
trike to atilano 16
jeepney to pueblo 7.5
jeepney to canelar barter 5
jeepney to zamboanga airport 7
terminal fee zamboanga city 40
shuttle T3 20

Tours, Entrance Fees and Tips
Sta. Cruz Island tour (1thou per boat) 200
Entrance fee Sta. Cruz island 20
Cottage rental (100 per cottage) 20
Little Sta. Cruz island (add 300) 60
tip security (100) 30
entrance aviary  5
entrance butterfly farm 5
Pasonanca tour (gas only) 60
yakan weaving village 60
Merloquet Falls 700

Food and Drinks
Mineral water 38
lunch at Jimmy's 106
cake and coffee at Myrna's 82
groceries 106
siomai and siopao at family friend chicken 70
brunch 70
lunch 40
softdrinks at aviary (30 pesos for the guide) 6
softdrinks 15
dinner 143
knicker bocker 60
dinner 75
breakfast at jimmy's 66
coffee and cake at myrna's 98
lunch 72

pasalubong atbp
daing 350
noodles 34
yakan bag 300
yakan wallet 90
yakan malong 300
ref magnet 70
chocolate 365
malong  450
bandanas 100
tshirts 200