How to Get in and Out of Zamboanga International Airport on Tight Budget?

Zamboanga International Airport

Zamboanga International Airport is the third busiest in Mindanao, after Davao and Lumbia-Cagayan de Oro. It is the major gateway and hub of Zamboanga City and the Zamboanga Provinces. It is also the major gateway for flights coming in and out of the Sulu Archipelago provinces such as Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. Due to its strategic location, it is also used for military purposes—because of that, she is a frequent recipient of flights coming from the United States military during RP-US Balikatan Exercises.

The airport terminal's architecture makes it unique

Looking at the tarmac

The airport started out as Moret Field (hence Canelar-Moret area in the city) and was constructed and improved by the Americans during World War 2. It had also flights coming in and out of Malaysia as part of the BIMP-EAGA open skies initiative, however it was discontinued. Today, it now serves flights from Manila, Cebu, Davao, Jolo, Tawi-Tawi, and Cagayan de Oro (soon Dipolog and Pagadian)—hence a hub in its own right.

Touchdown Zamboanga!

Pre-departure area of Zamboanga Airport (still being renovated when I was there)

Zamboanga International Airport is just a few kilometers north of the downtown area (or locally called Pueblo). Because it is within the urban area of Zamboanga City, going to the airport or out of it is as easy as a breeze, most especially the budget-stricken travelers.

Check-in Lobby of Zamboanga Airport

Here are the options when you arrive at Zamboanga Airport:

  • Jeepney. There are jeepneys that load and unload in front of the airport’s gate. These are marked as “Canelar-Airport” jeepneys. All of them go back to Pueblo (downtown) and the fare going there is just P8!
  • Tricycle. These are the taxis of Zamboanga City. Unlike its contemporaries in other Mindanao cities, they are more expensive and would take the art of haggling for fare. They may be the most convenient yet they may in turn become the most expensive option. Negotiate clearly on where is your destination and how much is your fare. At most it is P20 to P50 all the way to the city center. A tip though: If you know how to speak Bisaya or Chavacano, haggle them. Locals in Zamboanga would even advise you not to take one if you don’t like your wallet to be ripped off.
  • Taxi. There are taxis in Zamboanga City but not as plentiful as those in Davao or Gensan. They usually charge a fix rate of P200.

While waiting for the baggage to come

Arriving at Zamboanga Airport

If you’re leaving Zamboanga City, here are some tips:

  • Jeepney. Take “Canelar-Airport” jeepneys at Climaco Avenue, if you’re coming from Pueblo. It will surely pass by the gate of the airport. Fare: P8.00 only!
  • Tricycle. Again, you need to have a clear negotiating power and haggle if you may. They can get you to the airport for a price. P20 to P50 at least would be fair enough.

View Zamboanga International Airport in a larger map

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3 comments to How to Get in and Out of Zamboanga International Airport on Tight Budget?

  • mervz |

    I remember being advised by a lady in the airport not to take a tricycle as it is so expensive. Jeepney is the best alternative for budget travellers like me… hehehe!!! great post!

  • Kelangan ko talagang mag-tricycle para masubukan ang option na yun. Ayun, P50 pa-Mindpro Mall. Nung makailang beses na akong pabalik-balik sa lugar, Canelar-Airport jeep na lang sinakyan ko, hehe!

  • Renz Bulseco

    “Pasaje, por pabor, pueblo!” Hahaha Gosh I miss Zamboanga! It’s my second home! :)

    Anyway, last April, na delay flight namin pabalik ng Davao. We were already at the airport around 4.30 AM and was scheduled to leave Zamboanga around 6.30 AM. Pero we left ZAM 10 minutes before 4PM :(

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