Beyond Zamboanga City

Rhea Claire Madarang

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We list 7 things you can do just right outside the Zamboanga City proper

(Left) TALUKSANGAY MOSQUE AND its distinct red dome roofs. (Right) The view from the mosque’s highest minaret. All photos by Rhea Claire E. Madarang

MANILA, Philippines – Zamboanga City, dubbed “Asia’s Latin City,” abounds with architectural attractions in the city proper.

There are the Spanish ruins of Fort Pilar, and culinary attractions like satti and deep-sea crab curacha. These alone can keep a traveler busy for a day.

If you have more time to explore, you can choose from or do all these activities:

1) Visit the tree houses and teepees at Pasonanca Park.


If you want some quick nature-tripping near the city proper, Pasonanca Park is ideal as it is just 20 minutes away.

With expanses of green grass and abundant trees, it is indeed a park, though with a twist of teepees and tree houses.

For nature lovers with more time in their hands, a trek will bring them down to Pasonanca River.

2) Say a prayer at the cross of Mount Pulong Bato.

MOUNT PULONG BATO’s KRUS Mayor. Our guide told us that people make wishes here.

After Pasonanca Park, you can go onward to Mount Pulong Bato, pass by the Stations of the Cross on the mountain roadside and stop for a prayer at the cross on top.

It is best to go here during the day, when the view of Zamboanga City and the sea is visible and can be fully appreciated.

My travel companions and I arrived after sundown so we did not get to see much.

3) Beach bum at Sta. Cruz Islands’ pinkish white beaches.

STA. CRUZ ISLAND’s BEACHES are made pink by red coral – some specks, some already fine as sand

The Great Sta. Cruz Island is less than 30 minutes away from the city by pumpboat and is perfect for a quick beach getaway.

Its pinkish white sand makes the island one of a kind.

If you have the entire day, you can even hop to the sand bar in the neighboring smaller Sta. Cruz Island. 

4) Watch masterpieces being created at Yakan Weaving Village.

(Left) A YOUNG YAKAN woman at work. (Right) Some of the village’s handwoven products.

This place is not a village, though several Yakan families weave and sell woven products here.

The Yakans are one of the Muslim tribes in Mindanao.

Each mat, bag and piece of clothing at the Yakan Weaving Village is a product of Yakan love – a meter of cloth takes at least one week to weave.

Some patterns even take one month to complete one meter of cloth.

5) Get a “waterfall massage” at Merloquet Waterfalls.


Merloquet Waterfalls is more than two hours away from the city proper, but the travel time is worth it.

The falls stretch and rise majestically to several feet. There are flat rocks on the bottom where you can sit and get “massaged” by the falling water, a much-deserved treat after trekking for more than 30 minutes.

If you plan to go to these falls, it is best to get a guide from the barangay hall to accompany you.

6) Indulge in freshly-picked marang.

MARANG TREES AND FRUITS abound in Barangay Sibulao, the main source of marang in Zamboanga City

Before or after you trek to Merloquet Waterfalls, don’t forget to stop and take a look at the marang trees near the roadside.

Marang is a fruit with skin similar to jackfruit but with insides close to mangosteen’s texture, only sweeter.

You can get marang straight from the locals before they transport the fruit to the city proper. 

7) Climb the highest minaret at Taluksangay Mosque.

With its red, onion-shaped dome roofs standing out of its white facade, Taluksangay Mosque is a unique and very visible landmark in Barangay Taluksangay.

Climbing one of the mosque’s minarets is an adrenaline rush in itself — before you reach the top, you need to go through narrow stairs and a metal ladder. The close view of the mosque’s other red domes and Zamboanga’s coast in the distance makes the climb worth it. 

Just remember to come to the mosque before or after prayer time so as not to disturb our Muslim brothers. Also, wear modest clothes — no sleeveless tops or shorts.

Before going inside the mosque — especially if you plan to climb the minaret — it is best to inform the officials in the barangay hall beside it. – 

For questions and assistance regarding itinerary, email the Zamboanga City Tourism Office at

Claire Madarang is an adventurer who believes in traveling light both in the outer and inner journey. Follow her adventures at




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Rhea Claire Madarang

Claire Madarang is a traveler, writer, biodiversity communications practitioner, and facilitator of nature play activities. Follow her adventures, travel tips, and reflections on her blog Traveling Light and on her Instagram