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Zamboanga Del Sur Travel Guide

Itinerary, Things to do, How to get there and more

The 52nd province of the Philippines, Zamboanga del Sur is situated in the western area of Mindanao. It boasts of fertile land, rich marine life and natural wonders that make it interesting to discover. A province with 26 municipalities, the name Zamboanga came from the word ‘Jambangan’, a Malay word which means a pot or place with flowers. Pagadian City, a city which is a combination of rural and modern lifestyle, is the province’s capital and is the regional center of the Zamboanga Peninsula. One unique thing about this city is the inclined tricycle built to take on the city’s topography. Take a ride on any of these colourful tricycles which are inclined in 25-40 degrees angle. With different migrants that settled in the area, Zamboanga del Sur became a melting pot of culture in this side of Mindanao. When exploring the province, get ready to hear several dialects such as Cebuano, Chavacano, Subanon, Tausug, Iranun, to name a few. Nature lovers will definitely relish Zamboanga del Sur’s landscape and seascape, one of the country’s best offerings to the world.

Where to go in Zamboanga Del Sur

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Arcillas Beach

Upper Calarian Zamboanga City, Zamboanga Del Sur, Zamboanga Peninsula, 7000, Philippines

Baka Falls

Pagadian City (capital), Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Peninsula, 7016, Philippines

Batupuri Hills

Zamboanga City, Zamboanga Del Sur, Zamboanga Peninsula, 7000, Philippines

Canelar Barter Trade Center

Brgy. Canelar Zamboanga City, Zamboanga Del Sur, Zamboanga Peninsula, 7000, Philippines

Caragasan Beach

Brgy. Sinunuc Zamboanga City, Zamboanga Del Sur, Zamboanga Peninsula, 7000, Philippines

CityMall

Don Alfaro St. Zamboanga City, Zamboanga Del Sur, Zamboanga Peninsula, 7000, Philippines

Climaco Freedom Park

Zamboanga City, Zamboanga Del Sur, Zamboanga Peninsula, 7000, Philippines

Ditoray Falls

Pagadian City (capital), Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Peninsula, 7016, Philippines

Dulian Falls

Brgy. Dulian Zamboanga City, Zamboanga Del Sur, Zamboanga Peninsula, 7000, Philippines

How to Get Here

By air
There are direct flights going to Pagadian City via the Pagadian Airport. Located roughly 5 kilometers away from the city, the airport is serving flights to the whole Zamboanga del Sur, as well as the province of Zamboanga Sibugay.

There are 10 flights weekly from Manila to Pagadian and 5 flights from Cebu to Pagadian via the airline company Cebu Pacific. Another airline that offers flights from Manila is Asian Spirit Airline
By land
Taking a bus from Zamboanga City going to Pagadian City is available through Rural Transit that operates from Zamboanga City Bus Terminal. A fare of Php 495.00 for an aircon bus is what you need to shell out. There are also buses from Ozamiz City, CDO, Dipolog and other key cities in Mindanao going to Pagadian.
By water
There are ferry rides from Manila that go to Ozamiz City and from there, one has to take a bus going to Pagadian City.

Popular Food

A local favourite in the area, tiula itum is a soup or broth and is served hot and spicy. This is a Tausug dish cooked during weddings, religious events and other big celebrations. “Itum” means black and the black broth is made from chicken or beef meat with turmeric, ginger and burned coconut flesh.

(c) @marie_managuit / instagram.com

Fan of seafood? Then, curacha is a must try! A specie of deep-sea crab found only in the waters of Zamboanga City, curacha is a famous exotic dish popular in the whole region. Better eat this yummy crab cum lobster with your bare hands to get all its meat paired with a generous topping of sauce made with coconut milk, chilli, ginger and other spices.

(c) @fitmamaflor / instagram.com

Made of rice, brown sugar, water and oil, lokot-lokot is one of Zamboanga Peninsula’s most loved delicacies. Usually served during Muslim holidays, lokot-lokot or sometimes called ‘Jaa’ by the locals and is now known as Zamboanga or Zambo Rolls. It is one of the province’s best known ‘pasalubong’.

(c) @goyanago / instagram.com

When in the Zamboanga, one has to try this delectable dish called ‘balbakwa’. Made from beef knuckles or from other parts of the cattle such as tail, skin or knees, balbakwa is a Pinoy stew and is considered as one of the region’s comfort food.

(c) @mackeycalo / instagram.com

Best Time to Go

BEST TIME TO GO
The province is constantly warm throughout the year. Pagadian City has an overcast weather, but it is still preferable to wear a sunscreen during the day and a mosquito or bug spray during the night. December to March are cooler months and the best time to explore the province.

Join in the fun in the city’s biggest festival, the Megayon Festival, which is held annually every month of September. Pagadian City hosts this week-long festival that celebrates the unity between the tri-people of the region: the Muslims, the Subanons and the Christians.

When out exploring the city and the rest of the province, it is better to wear long pants so as not to attract public attention.

What to Do

Go diving
Zamboanga del Sur is a good destination for diving enthusiasts. The province has beautiful and diverse coral formations that will surely excite any divers out there. Some of the province best diving sites are Dao-dao Islands, Bomba Beach and Barangay White Beach.
Indulge in seafood
The province is rich in marine life and restaurants offering seafood dishes abound - shrimps, crabs, curacha – all these and more for a scrummy food trip.
Visit and see the different natural attractions
Zamboanga del Sur possesses remarkable natural wonders for a true blue nature lover. Consider this – the province has 4 bays, 3 rivers and 3 lakes plus a list of other picturesque attractions that’s enough to entice anyone to discover the place.

Estimated Costs

Tourist attraction entrance fee
Depending on what tourist attraction you would like to see, but entrance fee usually starts with only Php 20. 00
Tricycle Fare
Minimum fare for the city’s famous inclined tricycle is Php 10. 00 per head and can go to as much as Php 800.00 to Php 1, 000.00 when you hire one for a city tour or depending on the tourist sites to visit.
Transportation
Look for airline promos when planning to visit the province. An airline ticket starts from Php 3, 000.00, depending on an airline and the date of travel. Ferry rides and bus rides depend on your place of origin, but be ready to have at least Php 2, 300.00 for a ferry ride from Manila to Ozamiz City.
Accommodation
Zamboanga del Sur has an ample selection of lodging. A 1-star hotel starts Php 700.00 a night while a 3-star hotel costs around Php 3,500.00 a night.
Food
Php 100.00 to Php 400.00

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