Zamboanga Hermosa Festival 2014

It’s time to get your happy shoes on, and be amazed. Come this October, experience the best, the razzle and the dazzle of the#ZamboHermosaFest2014, a one of a kind fiesta for the bold and the passionate.

Embrace the fiesta spirit as we march to the beat of one flag, one nation, and one Zamboanga!

It’s a date! Mark your calendars, block off your schedules, and bring your friends as we celebrate our grand fiesta this October. Don’t miss out on a single event – grab our calendar of activities and experience the #ZamboHermosaFest2014  

Hermosa Calendar


Zamboanga Hermosa Festival 2014

This October, witness the resurgence of the city’s grandest fiesta!


Expect a riot of colors and the pulsating beats of timeless traditions and trending tunes. A festival beyond compare. Vamos a Zamboanga

Theme: Levanta con Fuerza y Fe: Marcha con Alegria, Devocion y Unidad!
Creative Layout: Cedrick Zabala hermosa

A Kind Seat Bar: drink till you drop

Club Zz

Saturday Night at Club Zzyzx in Malate with Ced and Maila. 


We are always at a never-ending quest to find the best places for night life. When the sun goes down, we all fuel up for food and later hit the bars or clubs to party, drink and dance. When in Manila, if its not Republiq, my friends and I mix in with the almost all-Korean crowd at Club Zzyzx in Malate where the most wild, unimaginable, unforgettable nights happen!

In Zamboanga, if you feel too saturated with Paseo del Mar and the restaurants dotting its baywalk area and doesn’t like the noise or sometimes the rowdy crowd at Catribo Complex, then I suggest you hit A Kind Seat Bar at Tebi and Sean for a more laidback and acoustic ambience with good drinks. It’s a nice place to chat and connect with friends or even strangers while nibbling on Beef Tapa and enjoying a glass of Margarita.



The AKS Bar at Tebi and Sean along Camins Avenue


The place is good enough for small gatherings of friends and acquaintances and you have an option to either stay inside for good music or drink out al fresco style. It’s a fave venue for young professionals who fill its prim little bar stools after work on weekdays. Hit the bar on a midweek for a more relaxed environment to try their cocktails or go and meet the crowd and enjoy the live band performances on Fridays and Saturdays.



(YOLO Party at AKS Bar) 


When I go on a night out at AKS Bar with my officemates, we always enjoy a pitcher of Lemon Drop over cheesy French Fries and talk and laugh like there’s no tomorrow!


lemon drop

Their cocktails come in single shot glasses or pitchers and their beer can come in bottles or buckets.

My fave includes either a bucket of Antonov Ice or shot glasses of Kamikaze, Tequila Sunrise or Singapore Sling. But if you are in for some kick, grab an order of Dragon Machida – A Bull Frog deconstructed Cosak Vodka, GSM Blue Gin, Tanduay White Rum, Mixkila, Blue Curacao and Calamansi Juice topped with an Energy Drink.

If you want more, the bartender will give you a lengthy list of spunky named cocktails like Grasshopper, Fire Truck, Rusty Nail and Mojako – an infusion of Tanduay Dark Rum with muddled julienne ginger, lime fruit, and muscovado sugar topped with Sweet Soda.

If you are a foodie, you can try their buffalo wings or drunken shrimp and explore their good selection of sizzling plates and other menu of small plates that won’t cost more than P200.

Just in the vicinity is a bowling alley, some private videoke rooms that you can rent out and sing all night long and a billiards place that you can hit to cap the night.

Party starts at sundown and drink till you drop!

At Hanazono, the stomach is full! Manpuku desu~ 満腹です



From the hot and humid air in Manila, I felt the sudden chill when I stepped out of the NorthWest Airlines plane and entered Narita International Airport in Tokyo.  It was my first time to set foot on a foreign soil when I had connecting flights from Manila to Chicagao, Illinois in 2005. Luckily, I passed through Japan but I always long to have an opportunity to go beyond their airport and tour around Tokyo proper.

Growing up watching Doeraemon, Pokemon, Dragon Ball Z and all the waves of anime and manga series from the Land of the Rising Sun, Japan has always been an interesting country for me. I remembered being exposed to Japanese taiko drums and their players way back in college when we were tasked to write feature stories in our Journalism class in the Ateneo.  When I went to Indonesia in 2009, I met Japanese students from Sophia University in Tokyo and from the Elisabeth University of Music in Hiroshima. They later on became one of my closest friends in the program and spent a lot of time with them during our exposure trips and cultural immersions in the Borobudur Temple and in the Indonesian villages along the slope of the breathtaking Mount Merapi. They always told me that Filipinos are really warm and our smiles were very infectious.

In Zamboanga, I always run to Japanese food if I want to occasionally shun away from the regular Filipino or fast food menu.  Miso soup has been my comfort food ever since I was exposed to Japanese food.

There are a number of restaurants in Zamboanga that offer a plethora of Japanese food like Kintaro at Sky Park Hotel, Eureka in Palmeras and even Lantaka Hotel. But for me, I enjoy Hanazono Japanese Restaurant.  That is, if you are looking for authentic Japanese food in Zamboanga with a variety of options that are affordable and that can provide efficient service too.


Although the ambiance seems old and nothing extra special since it lacks Japanese ornaments and nothing much has changed since the first time I went there and up to the present, still, it never failed to satisfy my cravings for Japanese food. My food trip buddy Khevin, fondly calls it the “Sack House” since its walls are adorned with what seems like native fiber which Khevin thinks resembles a sack use to store goods while I argued that it looks more like a native mat plastered on Hanazono’s walls.


Hanazono has been in existence for more than 20 years and offers a menu that features a variety of sushi rolls, bento meals and noodles to name a few.

For beginners, I suggest you try their Maguro (Tuna) Sashimi –  a serving of raw, thinly sliced Tuna meat with a dipping sauce and simple garnishes like radish and carrots. Other Sashimi options include Ebi (prawn), Ika (squid), Kani (crabsticks) and Salmon. Price ranges from P100 – P200.


Maguro Sashimi

If you want a healthier starter, You can also try Hanazono Salad that consists of fresh crisp lettuce and cabbage, shredded Nori (edible seaweed), kani and cucumber served with their special Hanazono dressing. Although the dressing for me is nothing to rave about since it tastes like a regular mayo dip for a salad. But nonetheless, it’s cheaply priced at P85.


Hanazono Salad

They also have good options of Makimono. Their sushi rolls include the popular California Maki (ebi, mango, cucumber and sushi rice rolled uramaki style with ebiko), Temaki (kani, mango, and sushi rice hand-rolled into a beautiful cone-shaped sushi), Tekka (fresh tuna slices rolled hosomaki style), Ebi (prawn rolled hosomaki style), Kappa (fresh cucumber) and Tamago (Japanese omelet). Price ranges from P130 – P180.

Their Bento (set meal) is also good. It offers a selection of 6 Sets.


A bento meal and a serving of California Maki


Set 1 – tempura, miso soup, yasai and rice (P210)

Set 2  – Chicken/beef/tuna teriyaki, yasai, miso soup and rice (P155) – My fave is beef teriyaki J

Set 3 – Chicken/beef/tuna teriyaki, fried tofu, yasai and rice (P160)

Set 4 – Tonkatsu/Torikatsu, Sakanakatsu, miso soup and rice (P155)

Set 5 – Torikatsu/Tonkatsu, sakanakatsu, yasai and rice (P155)

Set 6 – Chicken/Beef/Tuna Curry, Miso Soup and Rice (P155)

You can add P25 to upgrade your rice to yakimeshi 🙂

Other good offers include steamed or fried gyoza – Ravioli dumplings served with a dipping sauce priced at P160 and the ever – satisfying Nabeyaki – hot udon noodles cooked and served with egg, tofu, chicken and ebi tempura topping priced at P170. Watashi wa kono ryouri ga daisuki desu! 





I you are interested to visit and try the food at Hanazono, it is housed at the Garden Orchid Hotel building along Gov. Camins Avenue near the airport. It is one of the best value restaurants in Zamboanga City. When you try their food, I’m sure you’ll really say “kore wa oshiidesu” ^^





Chicago Throwback: Simply Flabbergasting!


PHOTO: Chicago skyline right behind my 15 year-old self. Lol #throwback2005

It’s #FlashbackFriday! I wanna do a throwback of my awesome trip to Chicago way back in 2005! Geez, I saw some of my old photos and all I can say is, I look sooo horrible! Hahaha.

In 2005, I was one of the delegates sent to United States to attend an exchange program. It might sound like the story of Sunshine Corazon (played by Charice) in Glee, but it was more special to me than just singing Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” inside a comfort room. LOL.

I became part of the Access to Community and Civic Enrichment for Students (ACCESS) Philippines Program offered to young and adult leaders from Mindanao. The month-long program focused on Inter-Ethnic Dialogue and Conflict Resolution. The training provided a myriad of workshops and lectures on peace, peer mediation, cultural solidarity and other related issues. But for many who were part of the exchange, a tour of the windy city of Chicago was always one the highlights of the program. A sojourn in the US Midwest will never be complete without visiting Chicago.

It was spring that time and the city on the lake had a full slate of performances, festivals, fairs, art exhibits, and shows. Chicago is recognized for its breathtaking skyline, sensational shopping centers, upscale restaurants, must-see attractions, and its diverse cultures and peoples and uhmm Michael Jordan too.


PHOTO: Michael Jordan statue outside the United Center

The city is credited with having the world’s first skyscraper in 1883. The Sears Tower is one of the world’s most famous landmarks, equal to Paris’ Eiffel Tower and the London Bridge. It lends an air of distinction to Chicago’s skyline. It was the world’s tallest building until the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia were constructed and then years later by Burj Khalifa in Dubai.


PHOTO: Close-up of the Sears Tower!

In one of my trips to Chicago, I had the chance to go up the Sears Tower’s 110th floor where the Skydeck is located. It is the highest observatory in Chicago. It gives you a bird’s eye view of Chicago and even the views of the states of Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin on a clear day. But before you’ll reach the Skydeck, adventure already kicks-in in its multi-media elevator ride which is reportedly one of the fastest in the world.

But the best way to immerse yourself in Chicago’s forest of skyscrapers is through an architectural river cruise. I suggest you try Shoreline Sightseeing’s boat tours. I tried it and was awesome! Tour guides will provide you with trivia of Chicago’s prime architectural structures like a condo unit once owned by dear Oprah Winfrey while you enjoy cruising along the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. It is a perfect way to experience Chicago!


PHOTO: A sight of Chicago’s architectural marvel during my river cruise!

But aside from its skyscrapers, Chicago’s other top sights are its parks. The city has one of the world’s most spectacular urban public spaces. Its Millennium Park continues to wow everyone with its postmodern architecture that lures visitors that is why it is on my top list. It features three major artistic highlights:  Cloud Gate, Crown Fountain and the Jay Pritzker Pavillion.


PHOTO: View of Chicago’s urban jungle from the Pritzker Pavillion

Next visit – the John G. Shedd Aquarium which is one of the world’s largest indoor aquarium. The biggest surprise there when I visited it was the “Wild Reef” section. It provides a divers’-eye view of the Philippine coral reefs teeming with live corals and species of reef fishes. This stunning exhibit is a promotional project of the Department of Tourism and the Philippine Consulate in Chicago. It was really a proud moment as a Filipino went I explored the exhibit. 


Another must-stop is the Navy Pier along Lake Michigan and check its rides and stores. Do not forget to see its 15-story-high Ferris Wheel!

But if you think Chicago is just that, nope. It is also a prominent place for a number of upscale restaurants but if you want to try diverse and authentic dishes, try visiting neighborhoods like their China Town. In this area you’ll be assured of a myriad of ethnic restaurants with exotic dishes and quality food. But a food trip in Chicago will not be complete without an order of a classic Chicago hotdog smeared with mustard, relish, onions and hot peppers.

And if shopping is your thing, Chicago is the place to be! Its Michigan Avenue is lined with designer shops, international department stores and stylish boutiques. But other areas of the city also beckon visitors eager for a spree. If you’re looking for designer and name brands sold at lower prices, then go to Chicago Premium Outlets. They offer brands like Adidas, Giorgio Armani, Versace Company, Salvatore Ferragamo, MaxMara and more at 25-65% off.!

Chicago is a city alive with activities and attraction. It offers many options. After boating, walking, shopping, or theater-going, there is still that zoo, concert, museum, library, and garden to visit or perhaps a ballgame to watch. Chicago has everything for everyone!

Indeed, a sojourn in the US Midwest yields a trove of experiences and memories never to be forgotten.

Zoom in to Zamboanga como un Perro Loco!

Perro Loco was created as a personal space to scribble about food, travel and anything about the nook and cranny of Zamboanga and beyond. Welcome to my first attempt at blogging! 


Many are afraid to come but the Queen of Spain felt at home when she visited the City. The president even went on a spiritual retreat and found peace in this bustling seaport metropolis when he ultimately decided to run for presidency last 2010 – a turning point in our political history that unfolded in the comforts of a Carmelite Monastery that stood humbly in its picturesque boulevard that gives a romantic view of the sun kissing the sea. 

“Don’t you go to far Zamboanga” may be the fitting words for those who are scared, but the song echoes more the hearts of those who have fallen in love with El Ciudad Hermosa

Ride in her waves, roll in the pink sand and swirl yourself into a riot of colors are just some of the many ways to experience Zamboanga – and there’s still more in store for everyone to do in this vibrant City at the tip of Zamboanga Peninsula.

Last September 7, 2013, a few days before the armed siege happened, Zamboanga City leveled up the ante in tourism promotion as it launched its new advertising campaign at the 24th Philippine Travel Mart at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. The latest drive is an invitation for visitors and locals alike to zoom in again and take a closer look at the many reasons, some still unknown, why people love Zamboanga and why many call it their home. 

The Subanens, who are riverfolks called her Jambangan meaning “land of flowers”, others called her Orgullo de Mindanaountil recently, it was branded as Asia’s Latin City to highlight its Spanish-based Creole Chavacano and other Hispanic influences in its culture. The old Spanish fort now home to the miraculous image of Nuestra Senora La Virgen del Pilar and the National Museum are recuerdos de la presencia de España in the City’s vivid past.

The City is called by many names. Zamboanga’s titles are indeed as colorful as its history, as rich as its culture and traditions and as diverse as its people.  The new ad campaign invites you to come, zoom in, and celebrate the City’s unique fusion. 


A highly urbanized city with more than 800,000 inhabitants, Zamboanga is home to native Chavacano speakers, tribes of Tausug, Yakan, Sama and Subanen as well as migrants from the neighbouring provinces of the Peninsula and Visayan islands. It is the bastion of Christianity in Mindanao when the first Catholic diocese was established in the City but Mosques and their minarets also dot the skyline including Chinese temples too that reflect a lively Filipino-Chinese community. Its multiculturalism is its identity as a City and this is evidently woven into its tapestry, food, language, and the daily bustle of people in this busy City with an international seaport and airport to welcome guests and visitors.   



A visit to Zamboanga is not just about its cultural and historic attractions but you need to also pack up your things and be ready to get wet in an eco-trek to see the curtain-like cascades of the Merloquet Falls in Barangay Sibulao in the east coast of the City.  The scenic falls is now becoming a popular destination flabbergasting many visitors with its pristine waters gushing down her tier while surrounded by a lush canopy of trees. Sitting with your back behind the falls for a natural water massage will surely take your stress away.  But the west coast also has its own natural hidden treasure to boast of. Barangay Pamucutan offers you the majesty of their Kambal Falls in its hinterlands that is now becoming an admired picnic destination too.

Last February 2014, the City hosted the 9th Philippine Bird Festival bringing in birdwatchers from across the country and around the globe to zoom in to the wild birds of Zamboanga in their natural habitat. Checklist includes 185 species of birds with 78 endemics that can be observed by birdwatchers at the Pasonanca Natural Park and the eco-park at the Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology.  The barn swallows high up the wires give you an eyecathching encounter in the evening

If you love spelunking though, a Cave Summit is also underway to press for the preservation of natural caves and promote eco-tourism. The Latuan Cave in the east coast of Zamboanga City offers almost a kilometre stretch of rock formations with an underground river. But if island hopping is your thing, then you can kick off a trip to the Great Sta. Cruz Island with its famous pink sand by taking a boat from its berthing point in Paseo del Mar. The island was named as one of the top ten island paradise in the country by the travel site CNNGo with some good snorkelling sites, an old burial ground and a mangrove forest teeming with giant bats. Another adventure awaits you if you hop in to the Eleven Islands with Bolong Beach or Barangay Panubigan as your jump-off points. 

You can also go on an extreme adventure by trying the zipline at the Zamboanga Economic Zone and   enjoy their newly constructed waterpark and gamezone. 



When DOT Secretary Ramon Jimenez went on an official visit to the City last October 2011 when Zamboanga celebrated its grandest fiesta – the Hermosa Festival, he described Zamboanga as “the most colourful City in the Philippines” as a kaleidoscope of colors and smiles envelope him during the street dancing festivities. The annual competition converge together contingents from various schools to showcase the strong faith of Zamboanguenos to the City’s patroness.

October is also a must-experience month to be in Zamboanga because this is the time when people come in throngs at the R.T. Lim Boulevard to witness fisherfolks unfold vinta sails in a rococo of colors for the annual Regatta race. 

If nature and its bounty is something that you want to zoom in, you can check the vegetable gardens and flower beds high up in La Paz or take a trip to Pasonanca Park and visit Jardin de Maria Clara that houses a flower and butterfly garden including an aviary with birds of every color and size. Other must-see sites in Pasonanca include the world-renowned Tree House that was once rented out for honeymooners and the boyscout camp that hosted national jamborees. You can also travel down Zamboanga’s history lane in its newly constructed City Museum or be amazed by the interactive exhibits at the newly opened Science Park.

You can zoom in even farther to the Climaco Freedom Park in Abong-Abong to see a World War Memorial and pay respects to Zamboanga’s most revered hero, the late Mayor Cesar C. Climaco and climb up to the scenic Way of the Cross that offers a breathtaking view of Zamboanga City and nearby island of Basilan.


Her ancestors handed to her a plethora of stories and legends woven in every tapestry. A visit to Zamboanga wouldn’t be complete without zooming into intricate patterns of the Yakan Cloth woven by the tribe in their village in Calarian. Go farther and visit the Badjao Village for colorful banig of various colors and sizes done by the locals in their houses on stilts. 

October is also a time for the City to showcase Zamboanga’s Mascota that features a fashion show of period dresses of women in the late 1800s. But if you want something more ethnic, head towards Barangay Canelar and check the barter trade heaving with Malong of different design variations and styles.  


Zamboanga City is also branded as the “Sardines Capital of the Philippines” due the presence of more than a dozen canning factories manufacturing canned sardines and other processed seafood products for local and foreign markets. As a seaport City, it offers you a smorgasbord of the sea’s bounty bannered by the in demand deep-sea crab called Curacha. Other seafood items include fresh fish, lobster, shellfish, prawns, squid, and shrimp that are available in almost all local restaurants.  Hispanic influences also made waves in its local cuisine with dishes such as Paella, Pochero, Ropa Vieja, and Callos de Andalucia became part of the mouth-watering selections. 

Another local favourite is Satti that offers you skewered meat with a spicy sauce similar to the Malaysian Satay. Other must-try products include lokot-lokot, the famous Knicker Backer dessert of fruit slices topped with ice cream, and the lychee-based milkshake named Zamboanga White.    


Zamboanga as a City is indeed blessed. All you need to do is to zoom in to every color, sound, flavor, pattern, face, scent, and corner of the City and be enchanted by her many charms.  Bigger things lie ahead of you when you come and visit La Bella Zamboanga. Rediscover this diadem of the Philippine South through the Perro Loco blog. I will capture each moment of discovery and will share my experience. Vamos a Zamboanga and zoom in to endless opportunities!