Zamboanga City

There is an incredible variety of flowers, plants and ferns around here. But you’ll want to look out for the magnificent Philippine cherry tree, and the area’s 600-strong species of orchids.

Visit the Yakans and see their amazing handicrafts at the Yakan Weaving Village. This is a remarkable group of artisans; some of the finest weavers in the Philippines. They use pineapple and abaca fibers to make strong and intricate and colorful patterns. Traditional Yakan loom weaving takes its inspiration from nature — snakes, fish, leaves and the like. Support this cultural treasure by buying bags, table cloths, coasters or shirts straight from the source. All the village’s handicrafts make outstanding souvenirs.

Zamboanga seafood is a sensory overload. We recommend crabs steamed in coconut milk, or tossed with garlic and chili. The gigantic local curachas are a lobster-crab hybrid that you’ll only find in Mindanao. They’re also delicious. Zamboanga’s lapu-lapu (grouper fish) are also exceptionally large.

The perfect trip to this city includes visiting sun-kissed Pink Sands Beach, and catching a colorful vinta boat race – a highlight of the Zamboanga Hermosa festival.