Thursday, August 16, 2012

Around Paseo Del Mar in Zamboanga City

After recharging our tired bodies from enjoying the beach of Sta. Cruz island in the morning, we spent the remaining part of our first day at Paseo del Mar. There were a lot of people when we arrived, as it was the launching day of Vinta Sailing, a new tourism initiative by the local DOT office and city government. We saw local press people covering the event, doing interviews to the guests, including Mayor Lobregat.

This is where we met Ms. Ludy of the Dept. of Tourism, who helped us visit the Merloquet Falls the following day. Like with all the people that day, she invited us to ride the vintas for free, but my kids do not want to get wet again from sea waves.

Later, we tried the food and refreshments at the snack shops in Paseo. The squid balls and Knickerbocker below are both very good. Knickerbocker is a fresh fruit salad consisting of papaya, watermelon, ripe mango, gulaman, and evaporated milk topped with a large scoop of strawberry ice cream. Sold at Php 60 per 16-oz cup, its a big hit among the visitors, and we had it for 2 afternoons at the plaza.

While enjoying our snack of squid balls, sliced potato on stick, etc., Mayor Lobregat and his entourage occupied our neighboring table. On their company is a group of European teenagers who gamely accepted the challenge of eating balut, a Filipino delicacy of steamed duck embryo.

We decided to check the neighboring Fort Pilar and museum, passing the pasalubong stores and Plaza Del Pilar, with towering old acacia trees like the one below.

Unfortunately, the museum closes early at 4:30 pm. It is open even on weekend, but closed during Mondays. We were never able to visit it due to time constraints.

We proceeded to Fort Pilar which is on the same compound, where lots of doves greeted us at the entrance. A mass in Chavacano language was being held that Saturday afternoon, so we did not stayed long since we cannot understand the sermon.

Anyway, we circled the whole block to appreciate the stone walls of the century-old fort. It still has cannons placed on strategic parts, that were used to defend the city against Moro pirates during the Spanish era.

We went back to the neighboring Paseo del Mar after our walk. One thing we noticed is that Zamboangenos are strict in enforcing the access to entry and exit points. Not only on this nice park, but also on a group of cheap eatery place in Puericulture Center. The rest of the afternoon, we just watched the people and the beautiful sunset at Paseo.

Dinner was at Mano-Mano branch on the same area, al fresco style. 

While waiting for our food to be served, we watched the symphony of lights and gyrating water fountain with flames, accentuated by upbeat music.

We ordered this set menu of assorted viands, which could have been better if they were the grilled version, not fried. Food is affordable, with our total bill costing a little above Php 400 including our drinks.

I say the Zamboanguenos enjoy a better city life than we do in Luzon.
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