I knew my mom was born in Zamboanga and that she spoke something like Spanish but didn't try to know any more. I knew my siblings and I would get excited when my cousin and Uncle would visit from Zamboanga for the summer. That also meant Pan Monggo time. Other than these, I didn't know anything from Zamboanga and we didn't visit any relatives there during summer so I really didn't consider it our province.
My dad, on the other hand, was born in Baguio City but had always said that we were from Bulacan. It was so near Manila and we weren't visiting and meeting any relatives from there so I also didn't consider Bulacan, much more Baguio, our province.
I was province-less and I hated it.
My classmates were from Cavite, Bacolod, Pampanga, Bicol, Nueva Ecija, among others, and I was from, well, Manila.
But then our Tita Ruth treated me, my sister and some of our cousins to a trip to Zamboanga (plus Basilan and Jolo) one summer (thanks again for that, Tita!). We met some relatives and also ate some of the local food. I was in college and was more interested in drinking with my older cousins than appreciating what Zamboanga had to offer. I just didn't feel at home there then.
Then the Schuck reunion happened in 2006 (our great great grandfather, Herman Schuck, was a German captain who happened to dock in Jolo, Sulu and forged a friendship with the Sultanate).
Hundreds of Schucks from all over, including Manila (us), Jolo and even some cousins (or aunts and uncles) from Germany attended. It was such a surreal and fun event!
We met our second cousins John (and his wife Nelle) and his brother Fahd there and they were just so kind and took us in like we knew each other from birth. We were surprised, but most of all very very happy. We felt the love.
Anyway, fast forward to several visits there to our latest visit.
This was the wife's first visit to Zamboanga and I was so happy and excited!
So after being warned about the Samsung Note 7 by the Cebu Pacific purser and wrestling knees with my seatmate (he won), we were off!
Highlights of the trip were:
Here's a short video of our trip:
Thank you again Auntie Tiny, primos and primas John, Nelle, Fahd, Pet, Bas, Tong and our beatiful and pogi pamangkins Tiffy, Baby "Go Away" Naya, Iya and Mayhem Mace for the generosity and for going out of your busy "party party" (yes primo Fahd, that's you hahaha) schedules to entertain us.
Now, I have a province I can be proud of.
Now, I feel at home.
Jolo, here we come!