Zamboanga Day in the Philippines Date in the current year: February 26, 2024

Zamboanga Day in the Philippines Zamboanga Day (Día de Zamboanga, Araw ng Zamboanga) is a special non-working holiday in the City of Zamboanga, Philippines. It is celebrated on February 26 to commemorate the day when Zamboanga was officially inaugurated as a city.

Zamboanga City, officially the City of Zamboanga, is a highly urbanized city in Zamboanga Peninsula. With a population of over 970,000 people, it is the fifth-most populous city of the Philippines after Quezon City, Manila, Davao City, and Caloocan. Zamboanga City is independent from all three provinces on Zamboanga Peninsula, but it is grouped with Zamboanga del Sur for statistical purposes even though it is located closer to Zamboanga Sibugay.

The name Zamboanga is believed to derive from the Sinama word Samboangan, which means “mooring place”; Zamboanga is its hispanicized version. The history of Zamboanga as a city can be traced back to 1635, when the Spanish began the construction of a fort in the area. Originally called Real Fuerte de San José, it was later renamed Real Fuerte de Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Zaragoza, or Fort Pilar for short. The cornerstone of the fort was laid on June 23, 1635, which is regarded as the official founding date of the city.

The Spanish, except for the Jesuits living in Zamboanga, temporarily abandoned the area in 1662, but returned in 1718 and began rebuilding the fort, which became one of their main strongholds in Minandao. In 1831, Zamboanga became the main port for trade of some goods and direct communication with most of Europe, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.

In 1899, the Spanish government officially ceded Zamboanga (together with the rest of the Philippines) to the United States under the Treaty of Paris of 1898. In response, General Vicente Álvarez proclaimed the Republic of Zamboanga. The short-lived republic became an American protectorate several months later and was dissolved in 1903.

Following the dissolution of the republic, Zamboanga (as a municipality) was designated as the capital of Moro Province and established itself as an important center of government and commerce on the island of Minandao. In 1914, Moro Province was replaced by the Department of Minandao and Sulu, with Zamboanga as its capital. After the dissolution of the department in 1920, Zamboanga became the capital of Zamboanga Province.

Following the establishment of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, Zamboanga was converted from a municipality into a city. A Commonwealth act making Zamboanga a chartered city was passed on September 23, 1936 and signed by the president on October 12. The date of the signing was chosen for its symbolism because it is the feast day of Our Lady of the Pillar (Nuestra Señora del Pilar), the city’s patron saint. However, the official inauguration ceremony wasn’t held until February 26, 1937.

Zamboanga Day, also known as Zamboanga City Day, is celebrated annually on February 26 to commemorate the city’s inauguration anniversary. It is a special non-working holiday marked by a grand parade, various competitions, food and film festivals, photo exhibitions, and other events and activities.

Zamboanga Day should not be confused with Zamboanga Sibugay Day. The latter is celebrated on February 24 in the province of Zamboanga Sibugay to commemorate its formation in 2001.

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Zamboanga Day in the Philippines, holidays in the Philippines, local observances, special non-working holidays