Herencia y Poder: Zamboanga City Hall
In “El Pueblo,” as the local Zamboangueños call their city center or downtown, is an edifice that is synonymous to the city and perhaps throughout the history of Mindanao. The Zamboanga City Hall stands majestic amidst the well-groomed parks of Plaza Pershing (named after the American general John “Black Jack” Pershing) and Plaza Rizal. The edifice itself became Mindanao and Sulu’s bastion of power (the capital city) for several years during the American colonial era, making Ciudad de Zamboanga the capital of the whole southern islands itself!
A lot has thought that it has incorporated the Spanish architecture, probably perhaps due to the Hispanic traditions that abound the city. However, the City Hall of Zamboanga was built in 1905 by the American colonizers and it served as the provincial capitol of the military-ruled Moro Province. Then in 1914, it became the seat of government for the Department of Mindanao and Sulu when the civilian government was restored in the colony. By the time the Commonwealth came in, Zamboanga was elevated into a city and the capitol became the city hall we all know today.
Today, Zamboanga City Hall still stands proud as a reminder of the Zamboangueño heritage, The architecture still reminisce the early days of American colonial era, and the tower itself made it unique among the neo-classical contemporaries. The tower now is where the siren is blared at certain times of the day. Currently, its a declared a national historical site by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (formerly NHI).
Every Christmas, the city hall turns into a showcase of lights as the whole plaza complex becomes a mecca of families and friends who like to spend their cool Christmas nights.
Zamboanga City Hall manifests Zamboanga’s keen interest in preserving its own unique Creole and cosmopolitan culture, that made it very unique all throughout the republic.