Photo by JORGE RAMON SENECA DUQUILLO / Special to L.A. Zamboanga Times
Last year's week-long Fiesta Pilar celebrations in Zamboanga City included a parade
of colors on the city's streets.   Photo by JORGE RAMON SENECA DUQUILLO

Zamboanga City gears for October Fiesta Pilar Festival

   ZAMBOANGA CITY --- Zamboanga City gears up for a full blast celebration of Hermosa Festival 2010 in October in commemoration of the feast of Nuestra Senora de la Virgen del Pilar, patron saint of Zamboanga, Asia’s Latin City.
    With the theme “Celebracion en grande, Adelante, Zamboanga (grand celebration, forward Zamboanga)”, the city’s grandest festival highlights its unique blend of multi-
cultural heritage. It is an all encompassing and complete festival that culminates on
the 12th day of October, the feast day of the Nuestra Senora de La Virgen del Pilar,
the city’s most revered patron saint.

    Zamboanga Mayor Celso Lobregat said WOW Zamboanga, a showcase of the best
of the best of the city’s 98 barangays will be held nightly at the Paseo del Mar seaside promenade from 6 pm onwards starting on October 1 until the 8th; the trade fair and exhibit will run from Oct. 1-15 at the Plaza Pershing and an art exhibit featuring Zam-
boangueno talents will be held from Oct. 1-31 at the Garden Orchid Hotel.

    Other events include the 27th Chabacano song festival; a dance sport competition
year 8; the Wow Sardinas, Lifestyle Zamboanga; Mascota competition; the Mayor
Celso Lobregat Golf Tournament Year 6; Regatta de Zamboanga; floral float parade;  street dance competition and the main program on October 11 with Tourism Secre-
tary Albert Lim as guest of honor.

Photo by AL JACINTO / LAZT Zamboanga Bureau Chief
Among the main attractions of the festivities is the Regatta de Zamboanga at the
Roseller T. Lim Boulevard.

"Please come witness and take part in the give honor, pay our ho-
mage and extend our gratitude for the benevolence and generosity of Our Lady."

    Loberat said he was inviting Filipinos to visit Zamboanga City during the Hermosa Festival. “Please come witness and take part in the celebration, visit the booths,
hang out in the parks, watch the shows and presentations,” Loberat said. “But amid
the fun and excitement, the parties and the merriment, let us find time to reflect
and thank the Lord Almighty and Nuestra Senora La Virgen del Pilar for the many blessings and for the guidance and protection all through the years.”
    “These different events intend to give honor, pay our homage and extend our
gratitude for the benevolence and generosity of Our Lady,” Lobregat added.

    Spicing up the celebration are the different events sponsored by private groups
and individuals that include the Sarah Geronimo Concert on Oct. 1 at the Summit
Center, Miss Zamboanga Pageant, Little Miss Universe-2010 competition, Open Motocross exhibition and competition, Night Market at the La Vista del Mar from
Oct. 5-9 and many more.
   Meanwhile, former Western Mindanao Tourism Regional Director Ric San Juan announced that this year’s Hermosa Festival will include activities specially dedicated
to the Zamboangueño balikbayans, overseas workers and returning ‘compoblanos’
from other cities and provinces nationwide.
   San Juan, who is now the coordinator of the Vamos a Zamboanga group, said these
are the “Fiesta Zamboangue
ño Balikbayan Night” on October 9, 2010 at the Rigodon Ballroom of Hacienda de Palmeras, a project of Rep. Beng Climaco-Salazar, and “Va-
mos a Zambofreeport” discovery tour of the Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority on October 10.

    Lobregat said Hermosa Festival 2010 will not only be sizzling with fun-filled gimmicks this year but will also be marked as “D-day” for two exciting add-ons: the completion
of the improvement phase of the city’s most popular attraction- the Paseo del Mar
and the opening of the newest pasalubong center-the Plaza del Pilar.
     Inaugurated last July 2009, Paseo del Mar is the all-time favorite hangout, not only
for the Zamboangueños, but for domestic and international tourists and excursionists
as well. It has been a hot spot for a number of programs, concerts and merrymaking
that is continuously drawing overwhelming reception from patrons of all ages.
    This festive month of October, Paseo del Mar will be re-enforced with four addi-
tional stalls as sequel to its improvement phase, making up a total of 14 stalls with a wider variety of food-and-beverage cravings to choose from. It will also be groomed
with permanent comfort rooms and wider pavement for better paseo experience.
    Adjacent to this two-hectare recreational park is another attraction to reckon with the Plaza del Pilar. It is reputed as the first all-in-one pasalubong center with 56 stalls
to cater goodies, devotional items and souvenir merchandises that are truly Zamboangueño.
    Plaza del Pilar derived its name from the historical Fort Pilar, being the immediate significant landmark where the more than 7,000 square meters plaza is located. Its European-inspired architectural design complements the renowned fort which is
more than three hundred years old.
    Lobregat said he was optimistic in inaugurating Plaza del Pilar and other develop-
ments in Paseo del Mar during the Hermosa Festival which runs in the whole month
of October, with the 12th day as the Feast of the Nuestra Señora del Pilar. He is personally and constantly monitoring the project to fast track its operation.
    It is during his administration when sites of interest were developed and construc-
ted like Paseo del Mar and Plaza del Pilar. These accomplishments provide a rendez-
vous of excitement for Zamboangueños and other visitors even beyond the celebra-
tion of any festival that Asia’s Latin City is frenzied about. (Zamboanga City Hall PIO)