The Zamboanga peninsula offers a variety of parks and recreational spaces where you are free to roam.
And there is a park for almost anyone. So if you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or someone who just wants to enjoy the outdoors, consider adding these to your itinerary:
There are at least two parks bearing the name Pasonanca in Zamboanga.
One is Pasonanca Natural Park, which is a 17,000-hectare protected area and biodiversity hotspot. The other is Pasonanca Park, a recreational space famous for its natural and cultural amenities.
One of the most frequented places in the latter park is the treehouse, which was used by former Zamboanga City Mayor Cesar C. Climaco to accommodate guests visiting the city during his term.
The treehouse can also be rented out overnight for a small fee. But many people are happy just going for the day and taking a photo by the treehouse.
Just as popular are the City Museum (El Museo de Zamboanga), Aviary Park, and the La Jardin de Maria Clara Lobregat, and Butterfly Park, named after the late mayor Maria Clara Lobregat. Pasonanca Park also has swimming pools for kids and adults alike to enjoy.
Pasonanca Park is open every day from 6AM to 6:30PM. Entrance is free, but the aviary and butterfly sanctuary have minimal fees for maintenance purposes.
Jose Rizal Memorial Protected Landscape
National hero Dr. Jose Rizal purchased this 16-hectare estate in Barangay Talisay, Zamboanga del Norte, after winning the lottery. There, he built a farm, a school for boys, and a hospital where he could do his practice.
Now known as the Jose Rizal Memorial Protected Landscape, the historical park houses replicas of the original structures used by the hero. These included their family house, a dorm for his pupils, clinics, among others, where visitors can explore and take photos at.
There is also a museum that houses books, artifacts, and other paraphernalia about Rizal. The curators also provide lectures about Rizal’s life as part of the tours. The park is open from 8AM to 5PM daily, and admission is free.
Paseo del Mar Children’s Park
What was once an underdeveloped area in Zamboanga City is now a 2.5-hectare leisure park located at the back of the historic Fort Pilar. It was recently inaugurated in October 2021, during the month-long Zamboanga Hermosa Festival.
Featuring a colorfully-designed open stage, a children’s playground, and a skate park, Paseo del Mar is a place for families. Here, kids can run free and enjoy the outdoors.
In a previous interview, Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar said that the park is “the city’s gift to all the children in the area.”
Cogon Eco Tourism Park
This environmental area park and forest preserve in Dipolog, Zamboanga del Norte covers a total land area of 344 hectares. Entrance is free.
The 40 hectares’ worth of natural forests in the area are home to at least 10 documented rare fauna species such as the Pigeon Dove, the Philippine Turtle Dove, and the Monitor Lizard and fruit bats.
This park is part of a reforestation project initiated by the local government of Zamboanga del Norte.
As such, the Eco Park is great for nature lovers, or those who want to trek or camp. There is also an inhabited Subanen Village in the park. Here, the local Subanen present various aspects of their culture, from dances, basket weaving techniques, to ways of living.
Mt. Timolan Protected Landscape
Mt. Timolan in Zamboanga del Sur is a popular hike among local mountaineers. It is full of natural wonders, including a 20-hectare heart-shaped crater lake, Maragang Lake.
Experienced hikers can trek the mountain in around three hours, while newbies can scale it in around four hours.
The Rainforest Park, which houses the lake, may be reached through hiking or a habal-habal ride from Barangay Limas. Renting a motorcycle costs around Php100-150.
It is also recommended to stock up on food, water, and other important trekking equipment/materials at the barangay before scaling the mountain.
Once at the park, guests may enjoy a swim at the lake, trekking, bird watching, and camping. The park is equipped with basic accommodations and amenities for guests, including cottages, kitchens, picnic sheds, and the like.
Prior to ascending the mountain, a registration fee of Php5 should be paid at Barangay Limas. There is also a Php25 entrance fee at Lake Maragang itself. Registered guides may also assist travelers for a fee of Php300 to 500.
Kabug Mangrove Park & Wetlands
This eco-tourism and birdwatching location located in Siay, Zamboanga Sibugay, hosted the first-ever World Migratory Bird Day in the Philippines.
Twice a year, the area becomes home to thousands of migratory birds—37 out of 53 recorded birds in the area are from faraway regions.
Aside from birdwatching, bat watching, and touring the wetlands by boat, a hot spring and a waterfall are said to be found near the area as well. These natural formations, among other activities in the area, are being developed to make Siay a more popular eco-tourism spot.
The tours in Kabug last for around 4 to 6 hours, with varying prices based on the number of people: Php2,300 (4 pax), Php2,830 (6 pax), Php3,360 (8 pax), and Php3,890 (10 pax). There are also calamansi picking activities (Php150 entrance fee), kayaking (Php50-70 per hour), among other optional activities.
Explore the Zamboanga Peninsula responsibly by making sure that you comply with the region’s health and safety protocols, such as wearing face masks and practicing social distancing.
For the latest travel information about Zamboanga, you may visit their official website or Facebook page. You may also review updated safety protocols and requirements on Philippine destinations at www.philippines.travel/safetrip or download the Travel Philippines app at app.philippines.travel