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Region 9 Philippines Culture Essay

A Heritage of Smallness

The depressing fact in Philippine history is what seems to be our native aversion to the large venture, the big risk, the bold extensive enterprise. The pattern may have been set by the migration. We try to equate the odyssey of the migrating barangays with that of the Pilgrim, Father of America, but a glance of the map suffices to show the differences between the two ventures. One was a voyage across an ocean into an unknown world; the other was a going to and from among neighboring islands. One was a blind leap into space; the other seems, in comparison, a mere crossing of rivers. The nature of the one required organization, a sustained effort, special skills, special tools, the building of large ships. The nature of the other is revealed by its vehicle, the barangay, which is a small rowboat, not a seafaring vessel designed for long distances on the avenues of the ocean.

However far we go back in our history it's the small we find--the nipa hut, the barangay, the petty kingship, the slight tillage, the tingi trade. All our artifacts are miniatures and so is our folk literature, which is mostly proverbs, or dogmas in miniature. About the one big labor we can point to in our remote past are the rice terraces--and even that grandeur shrinks, on scrutiny, into numberless little separate plots into a series of layers added to previous ones, all this being the accumulation of ages of small routine efforts (like a colony of ant hills) rather than one grand labor following one grand design. We could bring in here the nursery diota about the little drops of water that make the mighty ocean, or the peso that's not a peso if it lacks a centavo; but creative labor, alas, has sterner standards, a stricter hierarchy of values. Many little efforts, however perfect each in itself, still cannot equal one single epic creation. A galleryful of even the most charming statuettes is bound to look scant beside a Pieta or Moses by Michelangelo; and you could stack up the best short stories you can think of and still not have enough to outweigh a mountain like War and Peace.

The migrations were thus self-limited, never moved far from their point of origin, and clung to the heart of a small known world; the islands clustered round the Malay Peninsula. The movement into the Philippines, for instance, was from points as next-door geographically as Borneo and Sumatra. Since the Philippines is at heart of this region, the movement was toward center, or, one may say, from near to still nearer, rather than to farther out. Just off the small brief circuit of these migrations was another world: the vast mysterious continent of Australia; but there was significantly no movement towards this terra incognita. It must have seemed too perilous, too unfriendly of climate, too big, too hard. So, Australia was conquered not by the fold next door, but by strangers from across two oceans and the other side of the world. They were more enterprising, they have been rewarded. But history has punished the laggard by setting up over them a White Australia with doors closed to the crowded Malay world.

The barangays that came to the Philippines were small both in scope and size. A barangay with a hundred households would already be enormous; some barangays had only 30 families, or less. These, however, could have been the seed of a great society if there had not been in that a fatal aversion to synthesis. The barangay settlements already displayed a Philippine characteristic: the tendency to petrify in isolation instead of consolidating, or to split smaller instead of growing. That within the small area of Manila Bay there should be three different kingdoms (Tondo, Manila and Pasay) may mean that the area wa originally settled by three different barangays that remained distinct, never came together, never fused; or it could mean that a single original settlement; as it grew split into three smaller pieces.

Philippine society, as though fearing bigness, ever tends to revert the condition of the barangay of the small enclosed society. We don't grow like a seed, we split like an amoeba. The moment a town grows big it become two towns. The moment a province becomes populous it disintegrates into two or three smaller provinces. The excuse offered for divisions i always the alleged difficulty of administering so huge an entity. But Philippines provinces are microscopic compared to an American state like, say, Texas, where the local government isn't heard complaining it can't efficiently handle so vast an area. We, on the other hand, make a confession of character whenever we split up a town or province to avoid having of cope, admitting that, on that scale, we can't be efficient; we are capable only of the small. The decentralization and barrio-autonomy movement expresses our craving to return to the one unit of society we feel adequate to: the barangay, with its 30 to a hundred families. Anything larger intimidates. We would deliberately limit ourselves to the small performance. This attitude, an immemorial one, explains why we're finding it so hard to become a nation, and why our pagan forefathers could not even imagine the task. Not E pluribus, unum is the impulse in our culture but Out of many, fragments. Foreigners had to come and unite our land for us; the labor was far beyond our powers. Great was the King of Sugbu, but he couldn't even control the tiny isle across his bay. Federation is still not even an idea for the tribes of the North; and the Moro sultanates behave like our political parties: they keep splitting off into particles.

Because we cannot unite for the large effort, even the small effort is increasingly beyond us. There is less to learn in our schools, but even this little is protested by our young as too hard. The falling line on the graph of effort is, alas, a recurring pattern in our history. Our artifacts but repeat a refrain of decline and fall, which wouldn't be so sad if there had been a summit decline from, but the evidence is that we start small and end small without ever having scaled any peaks. Used only to the small effort, we are not, as a result, capable of the sustained effort and lose momentum fast. We have a term for it: ningas cogon.

Go to any exhibit of Philippine artifacts and the items that from our "cultural heritage" but confirm three theories about us, which should be stated again.

First: that the Filipino works best on small scale--tiny figurines, small pots, filigree work in gold or silver, decorative arabesques. The deduction here is that we feel adequate to the challenge of the small, but are cowed by the challenge of the big.

Second: that the Filipino chooses to work in soft easy materials--clay, molten metal, tree searching has failed to turn up anything really monumental in hardstone. Even carabao horn, an obvious material for native craftsmen, has not been used to any extent remotely comparable to the use of ivory in the ivory countries. The deduction here is that we feel equal to the materials that yield but evade the challenge of materials that resist.

Third: that having mastered a material, craft or product, we tend to rut in it and don't move on to a next phase, a larger development, based on what we have learned. In fact, we instantly lay down even what mastery we already posses when confronted by a challenge from outside of something more masterly, instead of being provoked to develop by the threat of competition.

Faced by the challenge of Chinese porcelain, the native art of pottery simply declined, though porcelain should have been the next phase for our pottery makers. There was apparently no effort to steal and master the arts of the Chinese. The excuse offered here that we did not have the materials for the techniques for the making of porcelain--unites in glum brotherhood yesterday's pottery makers and today's would be industrialists. The native pot got buried by Chinese porcelain as Philippine tobacco is still being buried by the blue seal.

Our cultural history, rather than a cumulative development, seems mostly a series of dead ends. One reason is a fear of moving on to a more complex phase; another reason is a fear of tools. Native pottery, for instance, somehow never got far enough to grasp the principle of the wheel. Neither did native agriculture ever reach the point of discovering the plow for itself, or even the idea of the draft animal, though the carabao was handy. Wheel and plow had to come from outside because we always stopped short of technology, This stoppage at a certain level is the recurring fate of our arts and crafts.

The santo everybody's collecting now are charming as legacies, depressing as indices, for the art of the santero was a small art, in a not very demanding medium: wood. Having achieved perfection in it, the santero was faced by the challenge of proving he could achieve equal perfection on a larger scale and in more difficult materials: hardstone, marble, bronze. The challenge was not met. Like the pagan potter before him, the santero stuck to his tiny rut, repeating his little perfections over and over. The iron law of life is: Develop or decay. The art of the santero did not advance; so it declined. Instead of moving onto a harder material, it retreated to a material even easier than wool: Plaster--and plaster has wrought the death of relax art.

One could go on and on with this litany.

Philippine movies started 50 years ago and, during the ‘30s, reached a certain level of proficiency, where it stopped and has rutted ever since looking more and more primitive as the rest of the cinema world speeds by on the way to new frontiers. We have to be realistic, say local movie producers we're in this business not to make art but money. But even from the business viewpoint, they're not "realistic" at all. The true businessman ever seeks to increase his market and therefore ever tries to improve his product. Business dies when it resigns itself, as local movies have done, to a limited market

After more than half a century of writing in English, Philippine Literature in that medium is still identified with the short story. That small literary form is apparently as much as we feel equal to. But by limiting ourselves less and less capable even of the small thing--as the fate of the pagan potter and the Christian santero should have warned us. It' no longer as obvious today that the Filipino writer has mastered the short story form.

It's two decades since the war but what were mere makeshift in postwar days have petrified into institutions like the jeepney, which we all know to be uncomfortable and inadequate, yet cannot get rid of, because the would mean to tackle the problem of modernizing our systems of transportation--a problem we think so huge we hide from it in the comforting smallness of the jeepney. A small solution to a huge problem--do we deceive ourselves into thinking that possible? The jeepney hints that we do, for the jeepney carrier is about as adequate as a spoon to empty a river with.

With the population welling, and land values rising, there should be in our cities, an upward thrust in architecture, but we continue to build small, in our timid two-story fashion. Oh, we have excuses. The land is soft: earthquakes are frequent. But Mexico City, for instance, is on far swampier land and Mexico City is not a two-story town. San Francisco andTokyo are in worse earthquake belts, but San Francisco and Tokyo reach up for the skies. Isn't our architecture another expression of our smallness spirit? To build big would pose problems too big for us. The water pressure, for example, would have to be improved--and it's hard enough to get water on the ground floor flat and frail, our cities indicate our disinclination to make any but the smallest effort possible.

It wouldn't be so bad if our aversion for bigness and our clinging to the small denoted a preference for quality over bulk; but the little things we take forever to do too often turn out to be worse than the mass-produced article. Our couturiers, for instance, grow even limper of wrist when, after waiting months and months for a pin ~a weaver to produce a yard or two of the fabric, they find they have to discard most of the stuff because it's so sloppily done. Foreigners who think of pushing Philippine fabric in the world market give up in despair after experiencing our inability to deliver in quantity. Our proud apologia is that mass production would ruin the "quality" of our products. But Philippine crafts might be roused from the doldrums if forced to come up to mass-production standards.

It's easy enough to quote the West against itself, to cite all those Western artists and writers who rail against the cult of bigness and mass production and the "bitch goddess success"; but the arguments against technological progress, like the arguments against nationalism, are possible only to those who have already gone through that stage so successfully they can now afford to revile it. The rest of us can only crave to be big enough to be able to deplore bigness.

For the present all we seen to be able to do is ignore pagan evidence and blame our inability to sustain the big effort of our colonizers: they crushed our will and spirit, our initiative and originality. But colonialism is not uniquely our ordeal but rather a universal experience. Other nations went under the heel of the conqueror but have not spent the rest of their lives whining. What people were more trod under than the Jews? But each have been a thoroughly crushed nation get up and conquered new worlds instead. The Norman conquest of England was followed by a subjugation very similar to our experience, but what issued from that subjugation were the will to empire and the verve of a new language.

If it be true that we were enervated by the loss of our primordial freedom, culture and institutions, then the native tribes that were never under Spain and didn't lose what we did should be showing a stronger will and spirit, more initiative and originality, a richer culture and greater progress, than the Christian Filipino. Do they? And this favorite apologia of ours gets further blasted when we consider a people who, alongside us, suffered a far greater trampling yet never lost their enterprising spirit. On the contrary, despite centuries of ghettos and programs and repressive measures and racial scorn, the Chinese in the Philippines clambered to the top of economic heap and are still right up there when it comes to the big deal. Shouldn't they have long come to the conclusion (as we say we did) that there's no point in hustling and laboring and amassing wealth only to see it wrested away and oneself punished for rising?

An honest reading of our history should rather force us to admit that it was the colonial years that pushed us toward the larger effort. There was actually an advance in freedom, for the unification of the land, the organization of towns and provinces, and the influx of new ideas, started our liberation from the rule of the petty, whether of clan, locality or custom. Are we not vexed at the hinterlander still bound by primordial terrors and taboos? Do we not say we have to set him "free" through education? Freedom, after all is more than a political condition; and the colonial lowlander--especially a person like, say, Rizal--was surely more of a freeman than the unconquered tribesman up in the hills. As wheel and plow set us free from a bondage to nature, so town and province liberated us from the bounds of the barangay.

The liberation can be seen just by comparing our pagan with our Christian statuary. What was static and stolid in the one becomes, in the other, dynamic motion and expression. It can be read in the rear of architecture. Now, at last, the Filipino attempts the massive--the stone bridge that unites, the irrigation dam that gives increase, the adobe church that identified. If we have a "heritage of greatness it's in these labors and in three epic acts of the colonial period; first, the defense of the land during two centuries of siege; second, the Propaganda Movement; and the third, the Revolution.

The first, a heroic age that profoundly shaped us, began 1600 with the 50-year war with the Dutch and may be said to have drawn to a close with the British invasion of 1762. The War with the Dutch is the most under-rated event in our history, for it was the Great War in our history. It had to be pointed out that the Philippines, a small colony practically abandoned to itself, yet held at bay for half a century the mightiest naval power in the world at the time, though the Dutch sent armada after armada, year after year, to conquer the colony, or by cutting off the galleons that were its links with America, starve the colony to its knees. We rose so gloriously to the challenge the impetus of spirit sent us spilling down to Borneo and the Moluccas and Indo-China, and it seemed for a moment we might create an empire. But the tremendous effort did create an elite vital to our history: the Creole-Tagalog-Pampango principalia - and ruled it together during these centuries of siege, and which would which was the nation in embryo, which defended the land climax its military career with the war of resistance against the British in the 1660's. By then, this elite already deeply felt itself a nation that the government it set up in Bacolor actually defined the captive government in Manila as illegitimate. From her flows the heritage that would flower in Malolos, for centuries of heroic effort had bred, in Tagalog and the Pampango, a habit of leadership, a lordliness of spirit. They had proved themselves capable of the great and sustained enterprise, destiny was theirs. An analyst of our history notes that the sun on our flag has eight rays, each of which stands for a Tagalog or Pampango province, and the Tagalogs and Pampangos at Biak-na-Bato "assumed the representation of the entire country and, therefore, became in fact the Philippines.

From the field of battle this elite would, after the British war, shift to the field of politics, a significant move; and the Propaganda, which began as a Creole campaign against the Peninsulars, would turn into the nationalist movement of Rizal and Del Pilar. This second epic act in our history seemed a further annulment of the timidity. A man like Rizal was a deliberate rebel against the cult of the small; he was so various a magus because he was set on proving that the Filipino could tackle the big thing, the complex job. His novels have epic intentions; his poems sustain the long line and go against Garcia Villa's more characteristically Philippine dictum that poetry is the small intense line.

With the Revolution, our culture is in dichotomy. This epic of 1896 is indeed a great effort--but by a small minority. The Tagalog and Pampango had taken it upon themselves to protest the grievances of the entire archipelago. Moreover, within the movement was a clash between the two strains in our culture--between the propensity for the small activity and the will to something more ambitious. Bonifacio's Katipunan was large in number but small in scope; it was a rattling of bolos; and its post fiasco efforts are little more than amok raids in the manner the Filipino is said to excel in. (An observation about us in the last war was that we fight best not as an army, but in small informal guerrilla outfits; not in pitched battle, but in rapid hit-and-run raids.) On the other hand, there was, in Cavite, an army with officers, engineers, trenches, plans of battle and a complex organization - a Revolution unlike all the little uprisings or mere raids of the past because it had risen above tribe and saw itself as the national destiny. This was the highest we have reached in nationalistic effort. But here again, having reached a certain level of achievement, we stopped. The Revolution is, as we say today, "unfinished."

The trend since the turn of the century, and especially since the war, seems to be back to the tradition of timidity, the heritage of smallness. We seem to be making less and less effort, thinking ever smaller, doing even smaller. The air droops with a feeling of inadequacy. We can't cope; we don't respond; we are not rising to challenges. So tiny a land as ours shouldn't be too hard to connect with transportation - but we get crushed on small jeepneys, get killed on small trains, get drowned in small boats. Larger and more populous cities abroad find it no problem to keep themselves clean - but the simple matter of garbage can create a "crisis" in the small city of Manila. One American remarked that, after seeing Manila's chaos of traffic, he began to appreciate how his city of Los Angeles handles its far, far greater volume of traffic. Is building a roadthat won't break down when it rains no longer within our powers? Is even the building of sidewalks too herculean of task for us?

One writer, as he surveyed the landscape of shortages---no rice, no water, no garbage collectors, no peace, no order---gloomily mumbled that disintegration seems to be creeping upon us and groped for Yeat's terrifying lines:

Things fall apart; the center cannot hold:

Mere anarchy is loosed...

Have our capacities been so diminished by the small efforts we are becoming incapable even to the small things? Our present problems are surely not what might be called colossal or insurmountable--yet we stand helpless before them. As the population swells, those problems will expand and multiply. If they daunt us now, will they crush us then? The prospect is terrifying.

On the Feast of Freedom we may do well to ponder the Parable of the Servants and the Talents. The enterprising servants who increase talents entrusted to them were rewarded by their Lord; but the timid servant who made no effort to double the one talent given to him was deprived of that talent and cast into the outer darkness, where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth:

"For to him who has, more shall be given; but from him who has not, even the little he has shall be taken away."

For other uses, see Zamboanga (disambiguation).

Zamboanga City
Highly Urbanized City
City of Zamboanga

Clockwise from top: Zamboanga City Hall, Great Santa Cruz Island, Paseo del Mar, Zamboanga City view, Metropolitan Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, Santa Barbara Mosque


Seal
Nickname(s): City of Flowers
Asia's Latin City

Map of Zamboanga Peninsula with Zamboanga City highlighted
Coordinates: 6°55′N122°05′E / 6.92°N 122.08°E / 6.92; 122.08Coordinates: 6°55′N122°05′E / 6.92°N 122.08°E / 6.92; 122.08
Country Philippines
RegionZamboanga Peninsula(Region IX)
ProvinceZamboanga del Sur (statistically only)
District1st (West Coast) and 2nd (East Coast) districts of Zamboanga City
FoundedJune 23, 1635
CharteredOctober 12, 1936
CityhoodFebruary 26, 1937
Barangays98 (see Barangays)
Government[1]
 • TypeSangguniang Panlungsod
 • MayorBeng Climaco
 • Vice MayorCesar Iturralde
 • Congressman
 • Electorate412,795 voters (2016)
Area[2]
 • Total1,414.7 km2 (546.2 sq mi)
Area rank3rd (city)
Elevation16.0 m (52.5 ft)
Population (2015 census)[3]
 • Total861,799
 • Density610/km2 (1,600/sq mi)
Demonym(s)Zamboangueño
Time zonePST (UTC+8)
ZIP code7000
PSGC097332000
IDD:area code+63 (0)62
Climate typetropical climate
Income class1st city income class
Websitewww.zamboanga.gov.ph

Zamboanga City, officially the City of Zamboanga, (Chavacano: Ciudad de Zamboanga, Filipino: Lungsod ng Zamboanga), is a 1st class highly urbanized city in the Zamboanga Peninsula, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 861,799 people.[3]

It is the 6th most populous and 3rd largest city by land area in the Philippines.[3][4] It is the commercial and industrial center of the Zamboanga Peninsula Region.[5] Zamboanga City is an independent, chartered city and was designated highly urbanized on November 22, 1983.

Zamboanga City used to be known as Samboangan in historical records. The settlement was founded by the Subanen people during pre-Hispanic times and was the site of trade among the Chinese, Malays and different native ethnic groups around the area. It was in 1635 when construction began on what is now known as Fort Pilar. Following independence from Spain, Zamboanga declared it to be the Republic of Zamboanga, which lasted briefly until 1903. After American armed intervention, Zamboanga was incorporated into their Philippines colony and became the capital of the Moro Province, now Mindanao, from 1903 to 1913. On October 12, 1936, Zamboanga City became a chartered city under Commonwealth Act No. 39.[6][7] It was inaugurated on February 26, 1937, which was declared a local holiday.

Although geographically separated, Zamboanga City is grouped with the province of Zamboanga del Sur for statistical purposes, yet governed independently from it.

It is in Zamboanga where a Spanish-based creole language evolved known as Chavacano and is one of the main lingua francas in the city.

History[edit]

Zamboanga City was founded in the late 12th or early 13th century as a settlement by the Subanen people. Zamboanga peninsula was also the homelands of the ancestors of the Yakan, the Balanguingui, and other closely related Sama-Bajau peoples.[8][9]

During the 13th century, the Tausūg people started migrating to Zamboanga and the Sulu archipelago from their homelands in northeastern Mindanao. They became the dominant ethnic group after they were Islamized in the 14th century and established the Sultanate of Sulu in the 15th century. A majority of the Yakan, the Balanguingui, and the Sama-Bajau were also Islamized, though most of the Subanen remained animist (with the exception of the Kolibugan subgroup in southwestern Zamboanga).[8][10][11]

The name for the city (and later the peninsula), "Zamboanga", is the Hispanicized spelling of the Sinama term for "mooring place" - samboangan (also spelled sambuangan; and in Subanen, sembwangan), from the root word samboang ("mooring pole").[12] The name "Samboangan" is well-attested in Spanish,[13] British,[14][15] French,[16][17] German,[18] and American[19] historical records from as far back as the 17th century.[13]

This is commonly contested by folk etymologies which instead attribute the name to the Indonesian word jambangan (claimed to mean "place of flowers", but actually means "pot" or "bowl"), usually with claims that all ethnic groups in Zamboanga were "Malays". However, this name has never been attested in any historical records prior to the 1960s.[20]

Spanish rule[edit]

Spanish explorers arrived in the Philippine archipelago in 1521.[21] In 1569 Zamboanga was chosen as the site of the Spanish settlement and garrison on La Caldera (now part of Barangay Recodo).[22] Zamboanga City was one of the main strongholds in Mindanao, supporting colonizing efforts in the south of the island and making way for Christian settlements. It also served as a military outpost, protecting the island against foreign invaders and Moro pirates.

In 1599, the Zamboanga fort was closed and transferred to Cebú due to great concerns about attack by the English on that island, which did not occur. After having abandoned the city, the Spaniards as well as some Latin-American mercenaries from Peru and Mexico,[23] joined forces with troops from Pampanga and Visayan soldiers (From Bohol, Cebu and Iloilo) and reached the shore of Zamboanga to bring peace to the island against Moro pirates.[24]

Zamboanga became the main headquarters of the Spaniards on June 23, 1635 upon approval of King Philip IV of Spain, and the Spanish officially founded the city.[24] Thousands of Spanish troops headed by a governor general from Spain took the approval to build the first Zamboanga fortress (now called Fort Pilar) in Zamboanga to forestall enemies in Mindanao like Moro pirates and other foreign invaders.[25] The Zamboanga fortress became the main focus of a number of battles between Moros and Spaniards while the Spanish ruled the region from 16th to 18th centuries. Spain was forced to abandon Zamboanga temporarily and withdraw its soldiers to Manila in 1662 after the Chinese under Koxinga threatened to invade the Spanish Philippines.

While the region was already dominated by Catholicism, Muslims kept up a protracted struggle against the ruling Spaniards in the country into the 18th century.[26][27] In January 1798 a British naval squadron conducted a Raid on Zamboanga but was driven off by the city's defensive fortifications.In 1831, the custom house in Zamboanga was established as a port, and it became the main port for direct communication, trading some goods and other services to most of Europe, Southeast Asia and Latin America.[28] The Americans arrived in the Philippines, headed by General Weyler with thousands of troops to defeat the Spaniards who ruled it more than three centuries. The Spanish government sent more than 80,000 Spanish troops to the Philippines. The Spanish government completely and peacefully surrendered the islands to the United States in the 1890s.[29]

Early 20th century[edit]

Before the end of the 19th century, the Republic of Zamboanga was established right after when the Zamboangueño revolutionary forces defeated the last Spanish Government in Zamboanga and when Fort Pilar was turned over to General Vicente Álvarez, the first genuinely elected president who ruled the República de Zamboanga from 18 May 1899 until November 1899. The Republic of Zamboanga continued to exist until 1903 with Isidoro Midel as the 2nd President under a puppet government of the United States of America, and who was succeeded by Mariano Arquiza.[30] Upon the firm establishment of American colonization and dissolution of the Republic in 1903, Zamboanga City, as a municipality, was placed under the Moro Province, a semi-military government consisting of five districts: Zamboanga, Cotabato, Davao, Lanao and Sulu. During this period, Zamboanga hosted a number of American regional governors, including General John J. Pershing, who was military commander/governor of the Moro Province from 1909 to 1914.

In 1920, Zamboanga City ceased to be Mindanao's capital city[citation needed] when the department was divided into provinces in which the city became under the large province of Zamboanga. It encompasses the present-day Zamboanga Peninsula with the inclusion of the whole province of Basilan.

Soon after the establishment of the commonwealth, it established itself the center of commerce, trade, and government of Mindanao Island as the capital of the Moro Province.[31]

The 1936 City Charter and the commonwealth[edit]

When the Commonwealth government was established in 1935, calls to convert Zamboanga City into a city increased. On September 23, 1936, through Assemblyman Juan Alano, the National Assembly of the Philippines passed Commonwealth Act No. 39 making Zamboanga a chartered city consisting of "the present territorial jurisdiction of the municipality of Zamboanga, the municipality of Bolong, the municipal district of Taluksangay, the whole island of Basilan and the adjacent islands, i.e., the municipality of Isabela, the municipal district of Lamitan, and the municipal district of Maluso."[6][7] It was later signed by President Manuel Quezon in October 12, 1936. The charter made Zamboanga City as the largest city in the world in terms of land area. During these times, Zamboanga was the leading commercial and industrial city of Mindanao.

Before World War II, Pettit Barracks, a part of the U.S. Army's 43d Infantry Regiment (PS), was stationed there.

World War II[edit]

When the Japanese invaded the Philippines, they were headed by Vice Admiral Rokuzo Sugiyama, accompanied by Rear Admiral Naosaburo Irifune. The Japanese landed at Zamboanga City on March 2, 1942.[32]

The Japanese government in the city was overthrown by American and Filipino forces following a fierce battle on March 10–12, 1945.[30] The rebuilt general headquarters of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and Philippine Constabulary was stationed in Zamboanga City from March 13, 1945 to June 30, 1946 during the military operations in Mindanao and Sulu against the Japanese.[citation needed]

Post-World War II[edit]

After the war, new problems arose especially for the citizens of the island of Basilan. The people there found it difficult to appear in courts, pay their taxes, seek help from the mayor and other officials. Going from Basilan to the mainland required three or more hours of travel. To fix the problem, Representative Juan Alano filed a bill in Congress to separate Basilan from Zamboanga City. So the island of Basilan was proclaimed a separate city through Republic Act No. 288[33] on July 16, 1948.

In April 7, 1953 by virtue of Republic Act No. 840.[34]

In April 29, 1955, a special law changed the landscape of the city government when Republic Act No. 1210[35] amended the City Charter that made elective the position of city mayor and the creation of an elective vice mayor and eight (8) elective city councilors. The vice mayor is the presiding-officer of the City Council. In November 1955, Liberal Party candidate Cesar Climaco with his running-mate, Tomas Ferrer won the first local elections. They were inducted into office on January 1, 1956 as determined by the Revised Election Code.[36]

Martial law years[edit]

On September 21, 1972, President Ferdinand Marcos signed Proclamation No. 1081 placing the Philippines under martial law. Zamboanga City's local government came under presidential control for the first time since 1955. Marcos extended Enriquez's term when his tenure was about to end in 1975.

In November 14, 1975, President Marcos reorganized the local government and the city council was replaced by a Sangguniang Panglungsod with the mayor as its new presiding officer and members including the vice mayor, the chairman of the Katipunan ng mga Kabataang Barangay, the president of the Association of Barangay Captains, and sectoral representatives of agriculture, business and labor.[37]

When Mayor Enriquez resigned and bid for the newly created Interim Batasang Pambansa in 1978, Vice Mayor Jose Vicente Atilano II was appointed by President Marcos to replace him.

Climaco's return (1980–1984)[edit]

In 1980, Cesar Climaco staged his political comeback when he was elected again to the mayoral post under his new party, the Concerned Citizen's Aggregation. He had gone into exile to the United States in protest against Marcos' declaration of Martial Law.[citation needed]

In 1984, Climaco was elected a member of the Regular Batasang Pambansa. Climaco however declined to assume his seat until he had completed his six-year term as mayor in his consistent protest against Marcos.

21st century[edit]

On November 19, 2001, the Cabatangan Government Complex in Barangay Cabatangan, the seat of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, was raided by former MNLF fighters in protest of Misuari's ouster as Governor of the autonomous region in which they took residents hostage. The complex also houses the different regional government offices such as the Commission on Audit, Population Commission, Civil Service Commission, Area Vocational Rehabilitation Center, DECS Training Center and the Zamboanga Arturo Eustaquio College Department of Criminology. An air strike by the military began on November 27 in which the hostages were later released after the government agreed to escort the rebels to a safe zone in Panubigan where they were allowed to go free.[38]

In 2013, Maria Isabelle Climaco Salazar who is the niece of former Mayor Cesar Climaco was elected became the second woman mayor of the city.

Zamboanga City crisis[edit]

See also: 2013 Zamboanga City crisis

On September 9, 2013, a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) under the leadership of Nur Misuari seized hostages in Zamboanga City and attempted to raise the flag of the self-proclaimed Bangsamoro Republik, a state which declared its independence earlier in August, in Talipao, Sulu. This armed incursion has been met by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which seeks to free the hostages and expel the MNLF from Zamboanga City. The standoff degenerated into urban warfare, and brought parts of the city under standstill for days.[39]

Mayor Climaco-Salazar and her administration are relocating the internal displaced persons (IDPs) affected by the crisis to transitory sites and later, permanent housings in various places around Zamboanga City.[40] Her rehabilitation plan, "Zamboanga City Roadmap to Recovery and Rehabilitation (Z3R)", envisions building back a better Zamboanga City and rehabilitating the areas affected by the crisis.[41]

Geography[edit]

Geology[edit]

See also: List of Islands in Zamboanga City

The southwest and eastern sides of Zamboanga City are bounded by irregular coastlines with generally rocky terrain and occasional stretches of sandy or gravelly beaches. The coastal profile usually descends abruptly towards the sea. Where rivers enter the sea, bays have formed, and the surrounding area has filled up with alluvial soils, producing small to large coastal plains.[citation needed]

Topography[edit]

The overall topography of the city could be described as rolling to very steep. There are some flat lands, mostly narrow strips along the east coast. The urban center is mostly flat with a gentle slope to the interior, ranging from 0 to 3%. The highest registered elevation is 1,200 metres. In terms of slope, a large portion of Zamboanga City, about 38,000 hectares, have slopes ranging from 18 to 30%. Another 26,000 hectares have been described as having slopes pf less than 3% while about 37% of the area or a total of 52,000 hectares have slopes ranging from 30% to more than 50%.[42]

The territorial jurisdiction of the city includes the islands of big and small Sta. Cruz, Tictabon, Sacol, Manalipa, Tumalutap, Vitali, as well as other numerous islands. The total land area of the city is recorded to be 142,099.99 hectares or 1,420.99 kilometers. This does not include the area of about 25 other islands within the territorial jurisdiction of the city — which have an aggregate area of 6,248.5 hectares as verified by the Office of the City Engineer. Putting these all together, the city’s new total land area would come to 148,338.49 hectares.

Climate[edit]

Zamboanga City features a tropical wet and dry climate under the Köppen climate classification.

Climate data for Zamboanga City

MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)39
(102)
42
(108)
37
(99)
41
(106)
37
(99)
42
(108)
40
(104)
38
(100)
41
(106)
37
(99)
37
(99)
38
(100)
42
(108)
Average high °C (°F)31
(88)
31
(88)
31
(88)
32
(90)
32
(90)
31
(88)
31
(88)
31
(88)
31
(88)
31
(88)
31
(88)
31
(88)
31
(88)
Daily mean °C (°F)27
(81)
27
(81)
28
(82)
28
(82)
28
(82)
28
(82)
27
(81)
28
(82)
27
(81)
27
(81)
27
(81)
27
(81)
28
(82)
Average low °C (°F)23
(73)
23
(73)
24
(75)
24
(75)
25
(77)
24
(75)
24
(75)
24
(75)
24
(75)
24
(75)
23
(73)
23
(73)
24
(75)
Record low °C (°F)17
(63)
17
(63)
20
(68)
13
(55)
21
(70)
20
(68)
17
(63)
21
(70)
15
(59)
13
(55)
21
(70)
20
(68)
13
(55)
Average rainfall mm (inches)40
(1.57)
50
(1.97)
40
(1.57)
50
(1.97)
90
(3.54)
120
(4.72)
130
(5.12)
120
(4.72)
130
(5.12)
160
(6.3)
110
(4.33)
80
(3.15)
1,190
(46.85)
Average rainy days11236433464138
Average relative humidity (%)90908991919293929293939192
Source: Canty and Associates LLC [43]
Climate data for Zamboanga, Philippines
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Average high °C (°F)31.9
(89.4)
32.0
(89.6)
32.3
(90.1)
32.6
(90.7)
32.4
(90.3)
31.7
(89.1)
31.4
(88.5)
31.7
(89.1)
31.8
(89.2)
31.8
(89.2)
31.7
(89.1)
32.1
(89.8)
31.95
(89.51)
Daily mean °C (°F)27.2
(81)
27.3
(81.1)
27.7
(81.9)
28.0
(82.4)
28.1
(82.6)
27.7
(81.9)
27.4
(81.3)
27.5
(81.5)
27.6
(81.7)
27.5
(81.5)
27.5
(81.5)
27.4
(81.3)
27.58
(81.64)
Average low °C (°F)22.4
(72.3)
22.5
(72.5)
23.2
(73.8)
23.4
(74.1)
23.9
(75)
23.6
(74.5)
23.3
(73.9)
23.4
(74.1)
23.3
(73.9)
23.2
(73.8)
23.3
(73.9)
22.7
(72.9)
23.18
(73.72)
Average precipitation mm (inches)32.4
(1.276)
45.6
(1.795)
37.1
(1.461)
53.3
(2.098)
81.3
(3.201)
125.8
(4.953)
136.4
(5.37)
114.0
(4.488)
133.9
(5.272)
157.1
(6.185)
98.8
(3.89)
51.0
(2.008)
1,066.7
(41.997)
Source: Hong Kong Observatory[44]

Barangays[edit]

See also: List of barangays in Zamboanga City

The city of Zamboanga is politically subdivided into 98 barangays or barrios. These are grouped into two congressional districts, with 38 barangays or barrios in the West Coast and 60 barangays or barrios in the East Coast.

Political Boundaries and Population 2010 - 2015

Zamboanga City (98) ninety eight barangays Overview

AdministrationPopulationCode and Class
DistrictOfficial nameArea(ha)[45]Official 2015Official 2010ChangeCodeUrban/Rural
IIArena Blanco 51.571712,58910,0167001256888977635780♠+25.69%97332001Rural
IAyala 529.130322,54720,0967001121964570063690♠+12.20%97332002Rural
IBaliwasan 126.547625,04227,0702999250831178426300♠−7.49%97332004Urban
IBaluno 1,643.46023,1552,3157001362850971922250♠+36.29%97332005Rural
IZone I 14.79664,1123,4057001207635829662260♠+20.76%97332061Rural
IZone II 12.93382,1432,8652998747993019197210♠−25.20%97332062Rural
IZone III 29.02951,5192,0302998748275862068970♠−25.17%97332063Rural
IZone IV 27.10361,3093,0462998429743926460930♠−57.03%97332064Urban
IIBoalan 865.5618,6967,4357001169603227975790♠+16.96%97332010Urban
IIBolong 1,574.05946,4605,8627001102012964858410♠+10.20%97332011Rural
IIBuenavista 1,003.51896,4855,8377001111015932842210♠+11.10%97332012Rural
IIBunguiao 2,562.07277,2877,3682999890065146579810♠−1.10%97332013Rural
IIBusay (Sacol Island) 436.36633,3592,9317001146025247355850♠+14.60%97332014Rural
IICabaluay 872.29866,3505,8027000944501895897970♠+9.45%97332015Rural
ICabatangan 896.649413,6809,9447001375703942075620♠+37.57%97332016Rural
IICacao 1,194.45811,3471,0457001288995215311000♠+28.90%97332017Rural
IICalabasa 1,849.93533,2222,6857001200000000000000♠+20.00%97332018Rural
ICalarian 253.888728,89925,3317001140855078757250♠+14.09%97332019Urban
ICamino Nuevo 68.68037,7398,2952999329716696805300♠−6.70%97332099Urban
ICampo Islam 26.260612,55211,2377001117024116757140♠+11.70%97332020Urban
ICanelar 92.718511,10011,1603000462365591397850♠−0.54%97332021Urban
ICapisan 490.56771,4081,0907001291743119266060♠+29.17%97332098Rural
ICawit 378.07629,2499,1247000137001315212630♠+1.37%97332022Rural
IICulianan 900.53288,3188,5242999758329422806190♠−2.42%97332023Urban
IICuruan 7,216.06958,7967,3787001192193006234750♠+19.22%97332024Urban
IIDita 133.72222,0853,8312998544244322631170♠−45.58%97332025Rural
IIDivisoria 286.27079,2189,0427000194647201946470♠+1.95%97332026Rural
IIDulian (Upper Bunguiao) 1,542.32992,5702,0237001270390509144830♠+27.04%97332027Rural
IDulian (Upper Pasonanca)679.63961,3251,3632999721203228173150♠−2.79%97332028Rural
IIGuisao 567.33873,3982,5607001327343750000000♠+32.73%97332030Rural
IIGuiwan 178.020514,30215,3232999333681393982900♠−6.66%97332031Rural
IIKasanyangan14,1148,4257001675252225519290♠+67.53%97332101Rural
ILa Paz 1,740.08227,5575,6067001348019978594360♠+34.80%97332032Urban
ILabuan 1,961.720311,45711,4703000886660854402790♠−0.11%97332033Urban
IILamisahan2,125.88882,2892,9952998764273789649420♠−23.57%97332034Rural
IILandang Gua 589.85592,9932,9806999436241610738250♠+0.44%97332035Rural
IILandang Laum 268.5474,7684,8033000271288777847179♠−0.73%97332036Rural
IILanzones 953.14013,2872,7437001198323004010210♠+19.83%97332037Rural
IILapakan 955.3831,3781,5292999012426422498369♠−9.88%97332038Rural
IILatuan (Curuan) 98.07662,4572,1257001156235294117650♠+15.62%97332039Rural
IILicomo 1,707.89955,3175,7272999284092893312380♠−7.16%97332100Rural
IILimaong1,853.78324,0003,4457001161103047895500♠+16.11%97332040Rural
Inauguration of the Municipality of Zamboanga with Datu Kalun (1901)
Location map of barangays of Zamboanga City