There are a lot of things Zamboanga City may be known for. As a country formerly under Spanish colonization, Zamboanga City is a remnant of the Spanish influence in the country and is thus known as the “Asia’s Latin City” primarily because of its Chabacano dialect resulting from such influence that was developed dating as far back as 1600s and is heavily embedded within the Zamboangeño culture.
Of the many reasons to visit the booming city of Zamboanga, none is probably more common than to do so in one of its events such as the multicolored Hermosa Festival (or Zamboanga La Hermosa Festival), a month-long celebration which is conducted throughout October every year.
The event is said to be a tribute to the Our Lady of the Pillar, or otherwise known as the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is said to be the patroness of Zamboanga City believed to be a cultural symbol of the unity of its people.
Knowing the idea of fun, the Hermosa Festival has many underlying activities in its celebration:
Parade of Lights (Float Parade Competition)
In lieu of the common Floral Parade Contest, recent Hermosa Festival were conducted with the Parade of Lights, basically a show of many illuminated and floating huge lanterns. Each float is designed and patterned with Zamboanga City in mind—such as a landmark, legends, symbol, stories, or products—whose event were joined by known business companies and locals of Zamboanga.
Zamboanga Hermosa Street Dance
Showcasing the local talents of Zamboanga city, the Hermosa Festival now also features street dancing competitions for anyone who are interested to join and show their street dancing talents and gain popularity in public.
Regatta de Zamboanga
Possibly the best highlight of any of the activities in Hermosa Festival is the Regatta de Zamboanga where a boat race is held among vinta owners while competing for the grand prize. Around 180 vinta owners participate in the competition this year. This is no ordinary boat race, however, as it features the colorful boats of the Philippine vintas, unique in Zamboanga.
Mascota de Zamboanga
Yet another highlight of the Hermosa Festival is the Mascota de Zamboanga, a gala event which showcases the best of Zamboanga’s gowns referred locally as “mascota” as designed by its local artists.