Dia de la Ciudad de Zamboanga, also known as Dia de Zamboanga and Zamboanga City Charter Day, is the annual celebration held in every February 26th to commemorate the cityhood of Zamboanga City in Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines.
Dia de Zamboanga (which translates to Zamboanga Day) or Dia de la Ciudad de Zamboanga (which means Zamboanga City Day) remembers the day that the first officials were sworn into their appointed positions in the newly created city government in 1937.
February 26th is also a special non-working holiday to give way to the city-wide celebration by virtue of proclamations issued from the Office of the President such as Proclamation 1103 in 2021.
History of Zamboanga City
Zamboanga City is the center of trade and industry in the Zamboanga peninsula and it has been an important place of history and culture in the northwestern portion of the mainland of Mindanao.
The city is a melting pot of cultures and its vibrant heritage is diverse, for the entire peninsula of Zamboanga was settled by migrants long before the Spanish rule. Major tribal groups included Subanen (people who dwell along river banks), Tausugs, Samals, and Badjao.
Muslim missionaries arrived later, and most of the natives converted to the Islamic religion. And for centuries they were known to have established ties with foreign merchants like the Chinese. Furthermore, the city is dubbed as Asia’s Latin City because it has the largest number of speakers of the Spanish creole called Chavacano.
The Spaniards, headed by Juan Ronquillo del Castillo, built La Caldera port in the village of Recodo as headquarter for their eventual colonization of Mindanao in 1596. The colonizers may have had successes in their battles waged against the sultanates but Mindanao never came under their complete rule amidst strong opposition for most of the colonial period.
On June 23, 1635, the Jesuit priest Fr. Melchor de Vera laid the groundwork for Fort Pilar (Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Zaragoza), a fortress complex erected against Moro raids.
The Jesuits’ Christian mission was abandoned years later when the Spaniards regrouped in the capital to respond to Chinese rebellion. They later renewed their mission in 1718 by re-establishing the fort. The fort at La Calderra was rebuilt in 1784.
In the 19th century, its people joined the revolution and set up the Republic of Zamboanga. It was short-lived as the Americans occupied the archipelago, but its sovereignty lasted until March 1903. Later, it became the capital of the Moro Province which encompassed Mindanao and nearby islands.
Zamboanga became a city by virtue of Commonwealth Act No. 39, otherwise known as the Charter of the City of Zamboanga, which was approved by President Manuel L. Quezon on October 12, 1936. The inauguration of the first city officials led by Mayor Nicasio Siason Valderrosa took place on February 26, 1937. This is the date commemorated by Dia de Zamboanga annually.
Later, the city officials were no longer determined by appointment from the Office of the President. Rather, they were selected by means of electoral vote which was introduced by Republic Act No. 1210 that amended the city charter and approved on April 29, 1955.
Dia de la Ciudad de Zamboanga Activities
The high point of the Dia de la Ciudad de Zamboanga is the founding day program on February 26. Other activities that may be slated on that day are the civic-military parade, a ceremony giving out the Local Achievers Awards, and various competitions such as cheer dance and drum & lyre.
In some years, the founding anniversary spans for weeks and it includes memorials of politicians Roseller T. Lim (February 9) and Cesar Climaco (February 28). Other activities include different sporting events, film fest, talent contests, martial arts, and cultural shows.
How to reach Zamboanga City
Zamboanga City is accesssible through Zamboanga International Airport, land-based trips through regular passenger buses, and sea ports.
- Dia de Zamboanga. Ciudad de Zamboanga. Retrieved February 19, 2023
- Activities lined up for 86th Dia de Zamboanga. Politiko. February 15, 2023. Retrieved February 19, 2023
- Virtual Dia de Zamboanga events set amid pandemic. Sunstar. February 14, 2021. Retrieved February 19, 2023
- Zamboanga City. Britannica. Retrieved February 19, 2023
- History of the City. Ciudad de Zamboanga. Retrieved February 19, 2023
- Zamboanga Liberation. Philippine Veterans Affairs Office. Retrieved February 19, 2023
- Commonwealth Act No. 39, October 12, 1936. Supreme Court of the Philippines E-Library. Retrieved February 19, 2023
- REPUBLIC ACT NO. 1210, April 29, 1955. Supreme Court of the Philippines E-Library. Retrieved February 19, 2023
- History. City Government of Zamboanga. Retrieved from original article on February 19, 2023
- Survey chapter: Zamboanga Chabacano. The Atlas of Pidgin and Creole Language Structures Online. Retrieved February 19, 2023
- Holidays–Zamboanga City. Senate of the Philippines. Retrieved February 19, 2023
- Fort Pilar. National Historical Commission of the Philippines. October 2011. Retrieved February 20, 2023
- George Newenham Wright. Samboangan: A New and Comprehensive Gazetteer. Vol. 4. London: Thomas Kelly. p. 459. 1837. Retrieved February 20, 2023
- History of Zamboanga – circa 1500s. Zamboanga.com. Retrieved February 20, 2023
- History of Zamboanga – circa 1800s. Zamboanga.com. Retrieved February 20, 2023
- Eberhard Crailsheim. Missionaries and Commanders: The Jesuits in Mindanao, 1718–68. Journal of Jesuit Studies 9 (2022) pages 207 to 228. Instituto de Historia, Madrid, Spain. Retrieved February 20, 2023