I’ve been wanting and anticipating to see a real VINTA for so long as I can only see this colorful vessel in our school textbooks and when I get the chance to travel back in Zamboanga during their Hermosa Festival, I did not waste any time, I packed my bags and headed to Mindanao.
Every 2nd week of October Zamboanga City celebrates the Hermosa Festival. The celebration lasts for almost a month. They had the battle of the bands, beauty pageant, a showcase of different plants and flowers, food and RTW bazaar and the most anticipated day is the Vinta Race at the boulevard. Vinta is a small vessel used by the Badjao’s to fish. This time, you can no longer see this colorful vessel on a daily basis, only during the Hermosa Festival in Zamboanga City.
During the festival, it is best to plan your trip to Zamboanga, from your hotel accommodation, flight dates/booking, and your travel itinerary. Always book your flight ahead of time as the airfare will cost you 3,000 to 4,500 / 60 to 90 USD one way Manila to Zamboanga City during the festival month. However, if you book your flight on promo, you can get a round trip ticket for 1,500 to 2,500 PHP / 30 to 50 USD only.
A nice hotel will range from 1,200 to 3,000 PHP / 24 to 60 USD per night. I am a super budget traveler but I want to stay in a comfy and clean hotel room. Found this new hotel located near the boulevard (about 5-7 mins walk).
WHERE TO STAY: CT BOULEVARD HOTEL
Price: 1,800 to 2,500 / 36 to 50 USD per night
Standard room with no window 1,800 per night
Standard room with window 2,000 per night
Deluxe double room with window 2,500 per night
All rooms are good for 2 pax with free Filipino plated breakfast for two. Children 9 below (no charge).
CT Boulevard Hotel is a family-owned hotel, located at Catribo Complex, Buenavista street, Zamboanga City. ABout 5-7 minutes away walk from the boulevard and about 10-12 minutes walk from Zamboanga City Hall.
Getting to the hotel is easy, you can hire a tricycle from the airport (fare: 50 pesos to 70 pesos / 1 to 4 pax) or you can ride a jeepney going to the town proper/city hall (fare: less than 10 pesos/pax).
CT Boulevard lobby
My room has no window as the hotel is fully booked but the good thing is that I have an ensuite bathroom with a super cold a/c, has a hot and cold shower, small dresser, cable tv with a working area and the bed is comfy (not too hard and not too soft).
They serve plated Filipino breakfast such as Tapsi, Longsi, Spam all are served with rice, egg, fruits and you can choose from coffee or fruit juice.
If you are planning to visit Zamboanga City, I strongly suggest staying at CT Boulevard Hotel, price per night is CHEAP plus it comes with an FREE breakfast, super accessible to public transportation, besides the hotel is a 24-hour open grocery, a local coffee shop, and clean hotel rooms.
Also, CT Boulevard Hotel also has a function room to accommodate birthday celebrations, baptism, and even wedding. For bookings and info call +63906-5797364 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
WHERE TO EAT:
Myrna’s Bake House
This local bakeshop turned into a small cafe/restaurant has been in the business for more than 20 years. They started selling cakes and pastries and now they also offer pasta and noodle dish.
Brownies and a slice of Brazo de Mercedes
Price: less than 50 pesos each
SATTI NI EGAY
Located at Buenavista street, Zamboanga City. A small carinderia/eatery that offers home-cooked meals and they sell Satti only in the morning. For 50 pesos / 1 USD, you will have a full meal with small sticky rice, and choices of meat.
WHAT TO DO FOR FREE: (No entrance fee)
1. Fort Pilar Museum
One of the many things I love doing is visiting a museum. It is the best place to learn the history of a place you’re visiting.
2. Fort Pilar (open church)
3. Walk along the boulevard
Boulevard at night during Hermosa Festival
5. Rizal Park
Located in front of the municipal hall.
4 days is not enough to explore this beautiful small city in Mindanao. I still haven’t been to the pink sand beach – Santa Cruz Island and I am coming back soon!