Zamboanga City in Contrast

For the Sake of Money

I am indebted to the porters in Zamboanga City wharf for being so harshed in their approach to the passengers who refused to follow their barbaric rules. Last 20 January 2011, me and my colleagues from Tawi –Tawi arrived to Zamboanga City wharf, the largest port in Sulu and Mindanao. At the time our feet touched the cement of the port, the porters were busy to look for passengers who brought a lot of baggages.  The porter chucker-out stand right at the edge of the gate, his duty is to hold any passengers who refused to give tax to the excess baggage -sounds like in airport. If you insist make sure you are stronger than them, if not beware, they might bring you somewhere, in the next morning you’ll be laid in the sidewalk covered with newspapers.  

In the next morning, when my friend arrived to Zamboanga from Sandakan, he complained to me that a certain porter in the wharf charged him of 500 pisos for bringing a laptop. Where part in the world you pay for your own property? It is only in Zamboanga Wharf. What are the reasons, poverty, bad system or stronger than thou attitudes? Whatever it is the Asia’s Latin City mayor must do something to stop this kind of “Patigasan” system if he want positive impression to get from foreigners.

South Way Mall Rule’s

I was astonished when the security guard at South Way mall said “Please switch on your laptop I just want to check if the Windows is genuine”. I refused then and said “didn’t you see the sticker on the Laptop which says “Windows 7 Starter” it means the Windows installed is genuine. He said if you want to complain go upstairs, I said, I’m not complaining, I’m just  telling you if you see that sort of sticker no need for you to ask a person to switch on his LP, you can waste more time. I’m impressed with the system but the one who give a command don’t have much information to the public as why Laptop must be switch on before entering the mall.

Don‘t forget your Passport!

When I was in Jolo, I was supposed to get my money at Western Union outlet. Unfortunately, because of many people I decided to claim it in Zamboanga City. Back then, the WU cashier in Jolo warned me, “I’m not sure if the WU outlets in Zamboanga City allow you with just an Insurance paper to show to get your money. I just said to her, I’ll try.

Luckily, the cashier in Jolo was correct. Even I have an ID addressed in Malaysia; still the cashier didn’t allow me to claim my money. “Only ID issued in the Philippines with validation which we are allowed here sir”, said the cashier. I just left the WU outlet and ask the sender to resend it to another name. The question there, what is the use of MTCN or control number if the rules still asking more requirements? Hence, the rule imposed by WU in Zamboanga City is not friendly to customer.

Prepare your Coins

Did you happen to see those beggars around the City of Zamboanga bringing a cup to ask for money from the people? They are the Badjaos, the great people in the past with history to be proud of under the Sultanate of Sulu. Unluckily, they are now became beggars – never mind to those who dive for coins in the wharf, I don’t consider it begging because they have something in return which can entertain people. But what is not tolerable are the Badjaos roaming around the city begging for money. Prepare your coins, if you’d like to see them coming to you begging.


  1. I am from Australia and visited Zamboanga City last January - 2011 - and saw these friendly shy people during my regular visits to Paseo Del Mar in Zamboanga City. Reading this Forum helps understanding of these people. Keep up the good work.

  2. Thanks for dropping your comment. Please come back to Sulu, most likely if the Sultanate of Sulu government would be reinstalled back.