Intro

UJ Almocera vinta
Colorful vintas participate during the annual Regatta de Zamboanga.

I am UJ Almoccera, a blogger and social media influencer who writes about Zamboanga during my non-working hours.

Ask your mom to name places that she will forbid you to go and I’m sure Zamboanga will be top 3 on the list. Ask your mom what are the top three words that comes into her mind about Zamboanga. I’m also sure that she will answer bombing, kidnapping and the Zamboanga siege in no particular order. But for someone who lives in this wonderful city, I know Zamboanga in three ways.

 

1. Zamboanga is a booming tourist destination because of the pink sands of Sta Cruz Island and the majestic Merloquet Falls. The city has a lot of other tourist destinations that are worth visiting which makes it popular on a travelers bucket list.
2. Zamboanga is now known as Asia’s Latin City. The Chabacano Culture is influenced by the Spaniards who inhabited Zamboanga during the Spanish era. The Spanish heritage can still be felt in century old structures like the Fortaleza del Pilar, and the romantic sounding local dialect of Zamboanga- the Chabacano.
3. Zamboanga is also known as the Sardines Capital of the Philippines. Barangay Ayala, Zamboanga City is home to eleven canning factories which supplies the most of the sardines in our country and employs thousands of workers.

Fort Pilar Uj Almocera
The court yard inside Fort Pilar museum. Open on weekdays, 8am-5pm (except holidays)

About this blog
This blog is about the beauty and the incredible tapestry of culture in my beloved city. I will try to encapsulate all the good things in Zamboanga, put them in letters and words in order to paint the real picture of Zamboanga sans the sugar coating. I am also aware (and most of the time reactive) of the numerous times that Zamboanga became the headlines on tv and trended on social media. Trust me, Zamboanga is more than the things you hear from the news.

UJ Almocera Yakan Weaver
One of the master weavers of the yakan Village in Barangay Sinunuc.

Zamboanga is the gateway to the Basilan-Sulu-Tawi-tawi archipelago and the center of commerce of the Zamboanga Peninsula (Del Sur, Del Norte and Sibugay). It is also the third largest city in the Philippines. This wonderful city is also the meeting point of different ethnicities. Try to walk our streets, ride our jeepneys and talk to locals, you will be confused with the different dialects that you will hear from people.
This blog will be a cornucopia of the spots you can visit, important events, different flavors and everything I love about Zamboanga, I hope you will love them too.

 

UJ Almocera Vingta Selfie
Under the scorching heat of the sun and surrounded by colorful vintas.

I am a frustrated traveler and writer. I cannot call myself as a writer because I have no experience and formal training in journalism. My skills are below average and this blog will surely give grammar nazzi’s a headache. But I am very open for improvement. You can even help me proof read and edit my blog if you are willing to do it for free.
I am a very talkative person. I can talk all day and never get tired. But at some point, repetitive story telling can exhaust me and I may forget some details, that’s why I will start to write them on this blog. I don’t have a particular writing style. I will write this blog the same way I would tell my stories over a cup of coffee or a bottle of beer.
I am a Registered Nurse by profession but I already said goodbye to hospital routines three years ago. I have a very strange career path. From a clinical instructor to an executive assistant, I am now involved in humanitarian work while trying to finish my law degree. Yes, I am a very busy person, both work and law school restricts me from traveling, hence, I am also a frustrated backpacker. Writing this blog will surely be a breather for me.
I write whatever comes into my mind. I am not a fan of censorship and holding back. I am friendly in person and often times misconstrued to be overconfident. But no, I just spend each day as if it’s my last. So many things to do, so little time, I’m a mess but this fuels me.

 

Vinta Uj Almocera Race
Zamboanga’s iconic vinta during the annual Regatta de Zamboanga

Travels
I had an eye for traveling since I was a kid. I love to watch travel shows and traveling is a very elusive dream until now. But I don’t give up that easily. In order to compensate for my frustration, I help out backpackers who visit Zamboanga City. I also tour them around if my schedule allows. I help tourists with their itineraries so that they can really explore Zamboanga in the most time efficient manner. If you are a traveler who wants to have a better itinerary in Zamboanga and the rest of the region, just send me a message on my instagram and facebook accounts. I can also help arrange your accommodations. I am not an official tour guide of the city and I am doing all of this for fun. The stories that I hear and the tips that I learn from backpackers are my greatest reward which fuels my dream for traveling. I have been with numerous groups of travelers and each group gives me a different experience. I will set on my own adventure someday and this is part of my preparation.

 

Fort Pilar Uj Almocera
The Fort Pilar Shrine at night.

I am a foreigner in my own City. I have not yet covered all the tourist spots here in Zamboanga. Since leaving Zamboanga is not very convenient for me, I will try my best to go around Zamboanga and write about my experience.

 

curacha uj almocera
Fresh sea food and Zamboanga’s famous Alavar sauce.

This blog will also feature travel tips and itineraries for the backpackers who want to have quality time in Zamboanga. I want tourists and backpackers to have a different experience. After their trips, most tourists will brag that they have survived Zamboanga. I want to change that. Zamboanga is not a battle ground and a tour around the city is not a challenge which would require a lot of courage. We don’t dodge bullets in Zamboanga on a daily basis. I want every visitor to love their experience in Zamboanga and see my City the way I see it— a city that can be enjoyed despite the negative images you watch on tv, a city of happy people who are quite as normal as other Filipino’s all over the country, a city to love. I want every tourist and backpacker to love Zamboanga.

 

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Team Lost in the Philippines.
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Team Pabebe
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Team Pastillas
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Team No Direction.
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Team JustGoMindanao

My accounts:
Instagram: @ujalmocera
Facebook: Ulysses John P. Almocera

Facebook page: JustGoPilipinas

5 thoughts on “Intro

  1. I just discovered your blog and I’m really amazed by your writing and photography skills. Please continue to post often!
    Sincerely,
    A French girl who used to live in the Philippines and loved it so much

    1. Hi! Thanks for the compliments. Unfortunately I can only post one to three articles a month. I hope you will follow my next articles. You can follow our page on face book: JustGoPilipinas

  2. Hi! sir nice gayot este page/blog dituyu…deberasan gayot vale el zamboanga y bonito el mga lugar que pwede visita mga tourista, cino el otro ta chene miedo bisita este lugar porqausa na mga mal hente or mal elemento ta destrosa kunel de aton pais…hehe..

  3. Hello UJ,

    I’m more than happy that I found your blog, I will be visiting the Zamboanga Peninsula end of this month. I hope you would be able to help me. I almost cried reading your Intro, I was guilty since i was really planning to post I survive Zamboanga in one of my future post.

    See you the soonest.

    Thank you,

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