Monday, April 14, 2014

Zamboanga Adventure: Exploring Asia's Latin City (Fort Pilar)

Wazzup Pilipinas!

To continue with our tour of Zamboanga, Asia's Latin City where you'll get hooked on eating tiger prawns, curachas, and knickerbockers, or if you're the more adventurous, you could have indulged on the satti for early morning breakfast. We now take you to a few more popular places we've explored while  immersed between birdwatching and celebrating Zamboanga Day through its many festivities and activities.

Above you'll see another popular landmark and heritage site called Fort Pilar or Real Fuerza de Nuestra SeƱora del Pilar de Zaragoza (Royal Fort of Our Lady of the Pillar of Zaragoza). The 17th-century military defense fortress built by the Spanish colonial government is now a regional museum of the National Museum of the Philippines.

What you see outside the walls at the eastern side is a Marian shrine dedicated to Our Lady of the Pillar, the patroness of Zamboanga city. The insides of Fort Pilar was under renovation when we visited sometime end of February 2014. They told us it was supposed to have been completed already it the Zamboanga siege did not take place.

As per request of the people running the place, I only took photos of the areas that do not show any signs of construction.

The other sides of the walls of Fort Pilar resembles that of Intramuros but smaller in area. You can see a cannon there on top of the wall pointing towards the direction of the seas.

You can read all about the rich history of Fort Pilar somewhat taking us back in time when different nationalities invaded or took over the Fort.

Fort Pilar now house the National Museum of Zamboanga where they showcase the indigenous marine life of Zamboanga and the nearby islands, the underwater archaeological finds from the "Grifim" which sank during the l8th century in the waters northwest off Basilan Province, and a few more featuring the Peoples of Southwestern Philippines, the Sama Dilaut, the Subanon, and the Yakan..

Beside Fort Pilar is the Plaza Del Pilar. If Paseo Del Mar is the ideal place where you can eat, drink and be merry, Plaza Del Pilar derived its name from the historical Fort Pilar, being the immediate significant landmark nearby. This is where you can buy neat items for personal usage or as "pasalubong". If you know how to haggle like a bargain master, then you can get away with many great items for a low price. They also have some food stalls but we prefer eating at the Paseo Del Mar where restaurants choices are plenty.

Now, at first look this seems to be two grand pigeon tree houses. But if you'll research about it, you'll find out that it is a Shrine dedicated to Saint Lorenzo Ruiz Now that is creativity at its best. I don't now where they got the idea but this is unique and beautiful at the same time.

The pigeons are lucky to have homes huge for many of their winged and feathered kind.

Zamboanga is teeming with many heritage structures that is worth the time and effort to visit. If you're looking for more than just your typical beach frolicking activity (which the Grand Santa Cruz Island can provide) or binge eating on local favorites (which the many famous restaurants like Alavar or Hai San can offer) you can come to Zamboanga for culture awareness and appreciation.

Who wants to go out of the country when you haven't fully explored your own? After all, it's more fun in the Philippines!

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