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Religious Excursion At The Fort and A Local Dessert Worth The Wait

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April 24, 2014 / Filipino / By
I Eat Because I Wanna

Beginning A Religious Excursion At the Fort...

While the rest of the city was busy on that hot Saturday afternoon, I decided to take a walk to the oldest part of town. 

In 1635, Spanish forces built the Fort in defence against pirate attacks and raiders coming from sultans of Jolo and other parts of Mindanao. The fort was originally called Real Fuerza de San Jose or the Royal Fort of Saint Joseph and was laid by a Jesuit priest-engineer known as Melchor de Vera.

Because manpower at that time was scarce, labourers were imported from the regions of Cebu, Bohol and Cavite to assist in the Fort’s construction. With no common language among the labourers plus the only instructions distributed were in formal Spanish, the labourers communicated in broken Spanish, thus serving as a pidgin and developing into a creole language, generations later.

This is where Chavacano de Zamboanga, our local dialect was born.

It was in 1734 when the relief of Our Lady of the Pillar was installed above the eastern wall of the fort for the pilgrims of the saint. The Virgin Mary has made three noted apparitions. On December 6, 1734 at the gate of the city, a soldier stopped a woman who insisted on entering. Upon recognizing her, he fell down on his knees.

On September 21, 1897, a strong earthquake struck the western region of the island of Mindanao. Again, the patroness appeared in mid-air over Basilan Strait, signalling for the waves to stop, saving the entire city from a tsunami.

On September 2013 during the city’s siege by a group of 200 rebels, a woman was seen crying and rushing towards the burned houses of the area, the soldiers reported that she had the robes similar to the patroness. 

At the Fort, locals and pilgrims alike pay their respects to La Nuestra Senora La Virgen del Pilar for the blessings and protection she has bestowed upon the people.

...Ended with a Local Dessert Worth the Wait 

It’s my personal itinerary to end the walk with a local dessert known as the Knickerrbocker Glory in a collection of food stalls known as the Paseo del Mar. For only Php 60 ($1.5), you get a tall glass (it comes in only one size) and it’s a perfect way to cool down during hot, humid days.

The glass is a mixture of jello, watermelon, bananas and mangoes topped with vanilla and strawberry ice cream. It's the best prescription for those who are near-suffering from the heat. If I were mayor of my town, I'd go around promoting this local dessert to help boost tourism in the old part of town. But that's just my personal itinerary again. 

But if you find yourself in Zamboanga City, try it out. Tell your friends what you think. I have no idea who invented this local dessert or how it was inspired, but it's just one of those "blessings", if I may. 

Raisa is a lifestyle blogger and technical writer by profession. She can market and haggle for fresh ingredients in three local dialects and is a lover of ice cream and pastries. Her writing life is defined by coffee-with a separate tab about the coffee she’s consumed in her blog

Paseo del Mar, Zamboanga City

Country: Philippines

Province/State: Zamboanga

City: Zamboanga City

Address: N/A

Zip/Post Code: 7000

Location Tips: Fort Pilar

Phone: N/A

Website:N/A

Price Guide:$ (What's this?) N/A = home cooked meal,etc
$ = street food, fast food,etc
$$ = bistro, cafe, pub, bar,etc
$$$ = fine dining,etc

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