When the sun sets in the Philippines, this city, whose otherwise banal skyline is punctuated by several minarets, is one of the last places to see it go. Besides an edge-of-the-map frisson, other attractions are an excellent museum and some offshore islands. While geographically the end of the line, historically Zamboanga City has been a first step, from Islam’s arrival to the islands in the 1400s to waves of migrants from the Sulu Archipelago. Even though the city is 70% Muslim, most women don’t wear headscarves, and modern fashions are as strong here as elsewhere.
Zamboanga City has seen conflict over the years. Most significantly, a large contingent of MNLF forces laid siege to the city for three weeks in September 2013. There have been several other serious incidents, as well as foiled attacks, and caution is advised; check the latest advisories before arrival.