It has become a tradition of sorts for my family to take a stroll around the city on Christmas day. The first stop is always the shrine in Fort Pilar, a 17th-century military fort, also known as Real Fuerza de Nuestra Señora La Virgen del Pilar de Zaragoza, now converted to a religious landmark. We go here to pray and light candles as an offering.
Adjacent to the shrine is the Paseo del Mar, a seaside park. It was full of people; many came to gawk at and throw coins to Badjao kids waiting on boats lined along the seawall. After a short walk along the shop-lined boulevard, we went to Lantaka by the Sea, a seaside hotel and a Zamboanga landmark, to get refreshments. Lantaka has undergone a revival of sorts lately, now getting a spruced up facade and facilities.
Now well rested, we walked along the historic Valderozza Street to reach the City Hall to see the brightly-lit building, richly decorated with Christmas-y stuff, and has now added a "snow" machine (a large machine that spew soap bubbles among the throng) to its attractions. Like in Fort Pilar and Paseo, the street in front of the city hall is full of onlookers, both Christians and Muslims alike, enjoying the view.
pics, from top: the shrine in Fort Pilar, the seaside facade of Lantaka hotel, the neon-lit City Hall