ZAMBOANGA CITY -- It was a kaleidoscope of colors and smiles as Zamboanga City celebrated the Zamboanga Hermosa Festival, the oldest and grandest festival in the Southern part of the Philippines.
“Hermosa,” which means beautiful in both Spanish and the local creole language of Chavacano, perfectly describes the visually dazzling event.
The festival kicked off with the highly anticipated Regatta de Zamboanga, a fluvial race of vintas or native sea boats. The colorful sails of the traditional sea vessels symbolize the multicultural identity of the city. Its Christian, Muslim and Lumad residents have long lived closely with and by the sea.
This year, 273 vintas joined the race, mostly Badjao and Sama fishermen from barangays such as Sinunuc, Maasin, Labuan, Mariki, Sta. Cruz island, and other villages. A special prize was awarded to the best vinta design.
The festival kicked off with the Regatta de Zamboanga, a fluvial race of the city's iconic vinta. Kara Santos
The vinta's colorful sails symbolize the city's multicultural identity. Kara Santos
Participants of the Regatta de Zamboanga vinta race were mostly Badjao and Sama fishermen. Kara Santos
Regatta de zamboanga 2018. Kara Santos
The theme for the Mascota de Zamboanga competition was Baroque art and architecture. Kara Santos
The Mascota is an elegant terno traditionaly worn by Zamboanguenos decades ago. Kara Santos
A regional trade fair dubbed Zamboanga Peninsula Expo (ZAMPEX) showcased products of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from all over Region 9 and ARMM provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi with the special participation of neighboring country Indonesia.
Now on its fifth year, ZAMPEX 2018 featured innovative products including modern wearable items like shoes and bags made with Yakan textiles, home furnishings and decor made from recycled materials, processed foods, traditional wines and beverages.
The Mascota de Zamboanga Competition featured the elegant terno gowns traditionally worn by women in Zamboanga decades ago as interpreted by the city’s most talented designers. This year’s theme was “Baroque Art and Architecture” which fused classic elegance and modern design in a high fashion show.
The Zamboanga Hermosa Street Dance Competition and main program honored the Nuestra Senora la Virgen del Pilar, as contingents paraded through Zamboanga City’s main streets with colorful costumes to the beat of drums and trumpets.
Despite the scorching heat, dancers gave it their all at the final dance showdown at Paseo del Mar which concluded around noon last October 11. Kara Santos
The wide array of events of leading to the feast day on October 12 included a Zamboanga Art Exhibit, Wow Sardinas Grand Boodle Fight, Cosechas de Zamboanga agricultural trade fair, Dancesport comepition, Lechon festival, Original Chavacano Video Music Festival and Parade of Lights Float Competition.
The Zamboanga Hermosa Festival ran from October 1 to 12.