Friday, April 12, 2013

zooming in on zamboanga

For quite some years, until he croaked, my father lived on Cebu Island in the Philippines with my lovely stepmother. After some to-ing and fro-ing between Cebu and Australia visiting my father, a cousin of mine married a lovely Filipina friend of a friend of who knows who.

Cuz is not the mail-order bride type, and he and his wife now live in NE Vic where they seem more than happy.

Wifey is from Mindanao, the second largest and southernmost of the more than 7,000 islands that make up the Philippines. At the north west corner of Mindanao is the Zamboanga Peninsula.

At the southern tip of the Zamboanga Peninsula is another, somewhat small island called Basilan. At the top of this island is Isabella City.

Isabella City residents – much like the residents of the Falklands – voted against becoming part of the ARMM [Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao]. Other regions of Mindanao are also Muslim but not necessarily autonomous [yet].

Mindanao is very close to Malaysia [itself now a Muslim country]. Mindanao and Basilan play host to regular kidnappings, bombings, murders and other jihadist terrorist acts.

For example, in December 2011 an Australian resident was kidnapped in Zamboanga by Abu Sayyaf, a group with a history of using kidnappings to raise funds and known to have received support from al-Qaida. The Australian, Rodwell, was released a few weeks ago after his family negotiated a ransom of $94,000.

It should be no surprise that JJ, the Catholic adult daughter of wifey of cuz, would prefer to live in Australia than in the Basilan district just outside of Isabela City.


  1. The same goes for the south of Thailand. I don't get why people visit and live in these dangerous areas. Obviously local people don't have such choices, but why choose to?

    1. "Have you ever wanted to visit India? Or what about Vietnam? Etc" I ask TO.

      "Some of my best friends are Asians", she replies, "but I would rather take you back to Florence. I'll even let you look inside churches without complaining. I ain't goin' nowhere near any of them places."

  2. There are some places one would be wise to stay away. Loved your maps and explanation of the situation there. It cleared up a lot of my vagueness. TOH is the same as TO "I'm not going to any of those filthy places"

    1. Hi Diane... I must confess I'd be too scared to go to Bali, though I've never really had any interest in going there specifically. I'm sure I'd be busted at customs!

      Thanks about the maps, I was worried it was a bit over the top, but it's the only way I can make sense of things myself :)