This year I had the opportunity to shoot during the street dance parade for our city's Hermosa Festival. It is one of the highlights of the fiesta where students are on their colorful outfits, joyously dancing to the lively beat. Even though the weather is gloomy, the vibrant array of graceful dancers didn't stop to pay tribute to the miraculous shrine of La Virgen del Pilar. Every movement and detail tells different stories about our city and every story is of great significance in our existence today. Along side the street dancers are huge floats made of flowers depicting the beautiful scapes and sceneries that Zamboanga is truly proud of. Here are some of my photos of the said event together with some story about Zamboanga.
Colores y Bailes. A festival without colors is like a flower without fragrance. Colors and Dances come together to show our celebration of life. Hermosa means "beauty", and this festival is all about the beauty. The beauty of our city, its culture, people and heritage.
Adelante. The war cry of Zamboanga which means "to go forward". Amidst all the negative image of the city, together we move forward and push through all the obstacles and become frontliners of peace and development. We do it with the guidance of our faith and harmony amongst our brothers and sisters.
Bellas y Personas. What makes Zamboanga special is the diversity of its culture and people. It is the melting pot of Western Mindanao where people live together in harmony despite of differences in customs and beliefs. We believe that respect begets respect, and love begets love (amor con amor se paga).
Hardin de Flores. Zamboanga was once dubbed as the City of Flowers. Accordingly, the place grew the most number of species of endemic flowers, the most biodiverse in the region. Before it became Zamboanga, Subanons were the first settlers of this ancient place called Jambangan ("Flowers arraged in a Vase"). In the early years of Zamboanga as a city, the streets were once filled with bougainvillea vines and the plaza were filled with a kaleidoscope of floral life.
La Abundancia del Mar. Zamboanga is also known as the Sardines capital with 8 out of 11 sardines companies located in the region. The seas of Zamboanga are rich with natural resources such as seaweeds and aquatic life. Aside from the food that it supplies, it also supports livelihood among the people sustaining almost 20,000 workers in this industry alone.
Nuestra Senora La Virgen del Pilar. The gloomy weather cannot stop the people from shouting out these phrases. Zamboanga's patronness, our Lady of the Pillar, was introduced during the establishment of the Real Fuerza del San Jose in 1635, built during the Spanish period. Hermosa Festival is one of the oldest festival in the country.
La Herencia Latina. Zamboanga is known to be Asia's Latin City for its highly influenced hispanic roots. During the building of the fort, Zamboanga had a transformation. The Spaniards introduced Christianity to the locals. They also learned to speak spanish and therefore creating a creole language known as Chabacano de Zamboanga. The Latin heritage can also be seen in the architecture, food, clothing, music, dance and more.
Mariposa. Where there are flowers, there are butterlflies. A Butterfly is a symbol of transformation and beauty. Like flowers, they come in different colors and sizes. They both represent the Hermosa festival which is a festival of the celebration the beauty of life. Zamboanga is like a butterfly undergoing metamorphosis adapting to change and developing into a better beautiful place to live in.
Vamos a Zamboanga! Let us not be ignorant about the rich culture that Zamboanga has to offer. It is a peaceful place that is worthy of recognition and many people missed its wonderful festivities. There are places to be visited, delicacies to be tasted, music to be heard, sceneries to be seen, stories to be heard and experiences just waiting for you to be discovered.