Zambo, Trece Martires ink sister-city pact
by Vic Larato
Zamboanga City (27 February) -- In bid to strengthen cultural ties and governance information sharing between the two cities, Zamboanga and Trece Martires formally forge a sister-city agreement in fitting ceremonies on Feb. 25 in City Hall.
Zamboanga City Mayor Celso L. Lobregat and Trece Martires City Mayor Melencio L. De Sagun Jr., by authority of their respective legislatures, signed the agreement attested by the vice mayors of both cities, Mannix Dalipe and Alvin S. Mojica, and witnessed by members of both City Councils and other officials.
Part of Trece Martires delegation, aside from Mayor De Sagun and VM Mojica, were City Councilors Alexander C. Lubigan, Romeo A. De Sagun, Remigio G. Dilag, Arvin F. Bago, Noel A. Panganiban, Josefo B. Lubigan, Francisco P. Cunanan Jr., Nicanor L. Comia, Ruperto C. Garcia, Melandres G. De Sagun, ABC president, and Melandro G. De Sagun, president of the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation. The group also includes 10 chairmen of the city's 13 barangays.
Zamboanga City becomes Trece Martires' 37th sister-city. The rest includes New Jersey, USA, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan and Korea.
"This is to facilitate exchange of ideas, best practices and innovations of local governance between and among sister-cities," said VM Mojica, who initiated the forging of Trece Martires' sister-cities in the country and abroad.
For his part, Mayor Sagun said they chose to tie-up with Zamboanga City because "it is very famous." "We have heard a lot about Zamboanga City since our childhood," he added.
The City of Trece Martires is the provincial capital (and component city) of Cavite, about 45 kilometers from Metro Manila, 25 kilometers from Cavite City and 23 kilometers from Tagaytay City.
While Zamboanga is considered one of the country's oldest cities having been established in 1635, Trece Martites is a young city established in 1954 under Republic Act No. 981 issued by then President Ramon Magsaysay.
Before its declaration as a city, Trece Martires used to be a remote barrio of Tanza called Quintana, which was a friar land of the Santa Cruz de Malabon Estate. It was settled in the early 19th century by families from Indang, Amadeo, General Trias, Tanza and Batangas.
Zamboanga, on the other hand, is one of the first charted cities and the sixth largest in the country. It is also one of several cities in the Philippines that are independent of any province.
The word Zamboanga is an evolution of the original Subanon word – Bahasa Sug jambangan, which means garden.
Philippine Commonwealth Act. 39 of 1936 signed by then President Manuel L. Quezon on October 12, 1936 in Malacañang Palace created and established Zamboanga as a chartered city. It has been known variously as "El Orgullo de Mindanao" (The Pride of Mindanao), nicknamed the "City of Flowers," and affectionately called by Zamboangueños as "Zamboanga Hermosa" (Chavacano/Spanish for "Beautiful Zamboanga).
Today, the city is commercially branded for tourism by the city government as "Asia's Latin City," a clear reference to Zamboanga's identification with the Hispanized cultures of "Latin America" or the USA's "Latino" subculture. The City was formerly a part of the Commonwealth Era Moro Province of Mindanao. Its ancient inhabitants were vassals of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo.
Zamboanga City is one of the oldest cities in the country and is the most Hispanized. It is also one of the largest cities in the world in terms of area, with over 1,480 km², including its 28 surrounding islands. Its recorded population in 2007 was 774,407.
The cities Zamboanga and Trece Martires may differ to a certain degree in terms of topography and demography, economy and traditions. But one thing both cities have in common is their history, having been colonized by the Spaniards.
In fact, Trece Martires is named after Cavite's thirteen martyrs who were executed by the Spanish soldiers at the height of the Philippine Revolt against Spain in the late 19th century.
The presence of Spanish culture is evident, too, in Zamboanga City. One proof of this is the shrine of the miraculous Lady of the Pillar built by the Spanish army. People of both cities speak and understand Chabacano, a creole of the Sapanish language. Zamboanga though is much popular of its language spoken by majority of its people on a day-to-day basis.
Zamboanga has so far forged sister-city agreements with Zaragozza, Spain; Dipolog; Dagupan and Sorsogon. (CIO PIA ZC) [top]