Oh, Zamboanga! PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 11 July 2015 10:48

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

Los Angeles, CA. — Despite the kidnappings, bombings, murders, the 2013 siege, Zamboanga is still the city of migrants fleeing their own regions from poverty and unemployment. She remains fabulous in many ways, although inhabited by killers and drug dealers from other provinces.

Zamboanga has a rain forest listed as one of the best in the world. We have the sweetest smelling flowers, still ocean, the finest fruits not found in other regions, the laziest of lives (yahoo!), the soothing sea and mountain breezes, the clearest of skies.

The baby boomers are slowly going back to Sweet Home Zamboanga, although still scared of the demoralizing crimes. They say, “we were born here and we will die here.”

My cousin continues to post on Facebook of Zamboanga’s old pueblo with a few automobiles and calesas as running and/or parked along Guardia Nacional (Mayor Climaco Ave.). It’s a pity we lost the historical Immaculate Conception Cathedral where Ateneans would go for confession every Friday before Spanish-speaking Claretian priests like Fr. Fuentes and Fr. Sebastian.

Everything in Zamboanga is local — the plants, fruits, giant trees, water, except religion, imported by the Spanish Friars and foreign Jesuits, either Irish or American.

The population continued to swell and migration rolled on. In the last three decades, Visayan-speaking people started flowing in, including people from down south.

A major trading port in the south because of its proximity to Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, Zamboanga grew rapidly in terms of transportation and communication needs despite losing its title as the capital of Region 9 or Western Mindanao. Soon, the noisy tricycles invaded the streets, so did the smoke-belching jeepneys and buses and more recently, motorcycles.

Except for the imposing commercial buildings, the pueblo has not changed. If Oakland is now described as “Dub City” with the recent victory of the Golden State Warriors in the NBA, and New York as “Big Apple,” then Zamboanga should retain its old tag as the “City of Flowers.” That’s what the city council should be working on. That’s also what the Lions, Rotarians and the Jaycees should concentrate on doing — growing flowers, alongside preserving our precious, unique dialect CHABACANO.

Zamboanga has gone through a lot, but not quite yet. We will have to push hard to have a new airport. We need to prepare for a severe drought in the coming years by building a water-holding dam. We need to improve power generation by bringing it to zero blackout level.

We are self-sufficient in food. So far, we have enough employment and livelihood, although underemployment is high. We shall continue to fight for “independence” from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao without necessarily being isolated from the rest of the country and the world.

And finally, if a Constitutional Convention is called next year to amend the charter, my candidate for con-con delegate in the first congressional district is bar-top notcher Vicente R. Solis. I need not say more.