Monday, October 14, 2013

Overnight in Zamboanga: aftermath

It was supposed to be a trip to Tawi-Tawi.

 I have booked the ticket more than a year ago, along with 3 others, but a month before the trip, a war between the Moro Liberalist and government has fired up leaving the city in distress and affected residents camping out at evacuation centers in the boulevard, and convention centers.

A week before the trip, the flights to zamboanga have been resumed. Two days before the trip, i have called the tawi tawi tourism to get some info about my itinerary, and was told that the tawi tawi trips from zamboanga are on hold. It was not a good news. I wasn't getting any notice from cebu pacific as their notices normally come a day before. So, there it is, I went to work on friday bringing my bag of clothes not knowing where to go. There's also a strong typhoon around luzon, plying, at the interim, the bicol region and will be cruising the rest of the luzon area for the weekend. 

I was thinking of just bumming on a closed cottage next to the beach anywhere close, but the winds make it too risky for land travel (plus the expected flooding along the way to my possible destination).

The Zam-MLa flight has been rescheduled so I have the option of choosing the date I want. I decided to fly to zamboanga instead (rather than ranting on my boredom out of the rain).

The flight was at 5:45am; no cancellations nor delays. Yet, that has been the wobbliest flight i've flown. The fasten seatbelt sign has been lit for the longest time I've seen. Upon reaching the airport, the plane had to make several attempts at landing. First two were failed; the rain has impaired the visibility of the runway.

It was after more than an hour later than our scheduled arrival that we touched down zamboanga.

I am starving and I immediately took a jeep to town where I plan to have breakfast at this chinese owned carinderia near the BPI bldg in Pilar.

I passed by the municipality. It was decorated, and praise songs playing loudly. The Philippine flag waving to its sovereignty..

Zamboanga City Municipal Hall

Zamboanga City Municipal Hall

It was almost 10am and it's still closed; not sure if it were because of the fiesta, or because of the security situation in town. None of those people around could tell.

Meantime, TSOKOLATE is the only stall open that i can grab anything to eat so I walked in and had my breakfast.

TSOKOLATE in Zamboanga City 

TSOKOLATE in Zamboanga City 

Food in TSOKOLATE in Zamboanga City 

After the breakfast, i walked towards Fort Pilar. People paying visits to the shrine while checkpoints and a thick group of military an policemen look around. I walked inside the fort to see what's inside.

Shrine in Fort Pilar, Zamboanga City

After fort pilar, i asked an army guy for directions towards ground zero. While he showed me which way togo, he said I willnot be allowed to get in, for security purposes.

From the check point though, you could see the schoolbuilding dredged in hits of stray bullets; and i am just on the border of the warzone. I couldn't imagine how it is inside.

entry to Sta Barbara in Zamboanga City; Site of the recent war

Ian Limbonis behind an army truck near Zamboanga Port in Zamboanga City

From my distance though, i could see how wrecked the establishments were... Burnt to ashes. 
I tried to get in, making every excuse and negotiations possible, but i could tell there's no way they'd let me. Some residents (and locals) asked permission too, but were not allowed either.

Wajiit (delicacy made of rice and sugar) and Kahwa (native coffee)

After a visit to Sta Barbara war site, I walked to the boulevard to check out the vintas (and the evacuees).

The center island of the road has also turned into shelter. It rained the night before and I feel bad for these people enduring the cold and wet weather

Evacuation Center in the boulevard in Zamboanga City

Evacuation Center in the boulevard in Zamboanga City

Evacuation Center in the boulevard in Zamboanga City

Ian Limbonis with some badjao evacuees in the boulevard in Zamboanga City

Some badjao evacuees in the boulevard in Zamboanga City

After boulevard, I decided to check in at Atilano's to have anap. The afternoon later, I went out to have an early dinner at Family fried chicken. There was no choice but to get back in the room too as establishments close earlier than usual, just as much as transport.

Food in Tsokolate in Zamboanga City

The next day, i decided to back to manila.

Entry to the airport in Zamboanga City

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