I was like a tourist guide to my colleague who hasn’t travel wide and I felt the urge to show him around even if I had been to Zamboanga only once in the 1990s. I don’t even have a recollection of that trip. My companion was a bit apprehensive about this trip given the reputation of the place. Let’s see. There were the Basilan siege carried out by members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in 2013 and the bloody Lamitan siege when members of the Abu Sayyaf took over a church and a hospital and held priests, medical staff and patients hostage and using them as human shield to escape the government forces surrounding the rebels in 2001. These and other skirmishes of various Muslim rebel groups would be forever etched in our minds. I am not surprised about my colleague’s reaction.
However, we came to Zamboanga on business and there was no choice but to conduct our business. It was a short trip, just a day. We arrived in the evening of October 7 and would be leaving the following day. Be that as it may, I would not let a trip pass by without creating memories. It helped that one knows some people from the place and I do.
As soon as we arrived, I got a text message from a new friend I met in my assessment work. I told her I am meeting her after we checked in at Garden Orchid Hotel, a stone throw away from the airport. It’s only advantage. More in my review in Use it or Ditch it.