BEtween friends: Levanta, Zamboanga! PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 29 December 2014 14:18

By Linda Cababa – espinosa, Ed. D.

 

As the holiday season crept in last month, I had been hearing animated conversations about how the downtown center area of Zamboanga City is beautifully lighted up at night-Plaza Pershing, the Rizal Monument, the City Hall and the Paseo del Mar.

Having planned to spend Christmas and the New Year in Manila with a former classmate and her family, I promised myself I would find a way to see this much-talked about evening glory before I left. Last week I got my chance. After attending an anticipated Saturday afternoon mass at the Cathedral, we decided to go for a drive-through of the places we had heard so much about. We were not disappointed. The city government, it seemed, went all out in making the city look like it was sporting the biggest, sweetest holiday smile it ever could to project the real spirit of Christmas.  City Hall was outstanding in its lighted design and glory. It was like I had never seen it before, and I have lived here since I was six years old!

The Zamboanga siege last year continues to haunt the collective memory of the Zamboangueños - the fire, the terror, the deaths. Although it directly affected only about 4-5 barangays in the east coast, the emotional and psychological effects spread throughout the other directions of the compass. And that was because it was an experience like no other for a peace-loving city like Zamboanga where different cultures and religions have managed to co-exist weathering other previous minor conflicts.

To its merit, the city government, led by a very active, understanding and humane lady mayor with very supportive city officials, has been doing it’s very best to assist the thousands of evacuees in providing shelter and other needs. Although much more still has to be done to completely normalize life for the siege victims, the determination to help has been unrelenting and the compassion to share has been obsessive.

There are Zamboangueños who believe that the Lady of the Pillar at the Fort has a lot to do with the city’s continued safety and survival from those who wish to destroy and control it for their selfish ends. It has been said that faith works miracles and for those who believe, no human intervention can overwhelm it. To give each other moral strength and courage in the rebuilding and restoration of their beloved city a rallying cry was born: Levanta, Zamboanga!