Asia's Latin City

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Latin Zamboanga

Philippines’ Southern Gateway Wants to Be Known as ‘Asia’s Latin City
Al Jacinto, Arab News  

ZAMBOANGA CITY, 25 September 2006 — Call it corny but “Asia’s Latin City” is what the leaders of Zamboanga City want this key southern Philippine port city to be called.

Mayor Celso Lobregat said the basis for the new name is the existence of local Chavacano dialect, a derivative of the Spanish language that in turn is an outgrowth of Latin, the old Roman tongue.

Chavacano is spoken by a majority of the people in the city, in nearby Basilan Island and other parts of the Zamboanga Peninsula.

“We are the only city in Asia that speaks the Chavacano dialect, which is derived from the Spanish language,” he said.

The city government formally launched last month the branding of Zamboanga as “Asia’s Latin City” during the opening of the 15th Mindanao Business Conference in the city.

Zamboanga has been known as the “City of Flowers,” but Lobregat said other cities in the country could be more abundant with flowers nowadays.

The beautiful mountain resort city of Baguio in the northern Philippines, for one, celebrates the Panagbenga flower festival every February.

“Zamboanga City has been variably called the ‘Convention Capital of the Country’ or the ‘Sardines Capital,’ because canning factories here provides about 70 percent of all sardines sold and consumed in the country today,” he said.

Yet, the city has what others may not have at all — Chavacano, where more than 70 percent of its vocabulary is Spanish in nature and origin.

The remaining percentage of Chavacano is picked from local dialects, according to the official Philippine News Agency. The growth of Chavacano in Zamboanga can be traced to a concentration of Spanish nationals in Zamboanga at the height of the Spanish colonization efforts in Mindanao that lasted for centuries until the late 19th century.

“The branding of Zamboanga as Asia’s Latin City is the result of the City Development Strategies program spearheaded by the League of Cities, the World Bank and the involvement of the different local sectors,” Lobregat said.

Local officials hope the new name would give the city a positive shift since it carries an international appeal and it is anchored on the rich Castilian influence.

They hope it will provide the city with a competitive global outlook instead of being compared with other cities in Mindanao. Call centers, such as G-Com, has started recruiting agents from Zamboanga because they could easily be trained to speak Spanish. Spanish is the world’s second most spoken language after English and call centers need Spanish-speaking agents to serve their clients in Central and South America and Europe.

Lobregat also unveiled on Thursday a theme logo for next month’s celebration of the Fiesta Pilar. With the theme, “Alegria! Alegria! Adelante Zamboanga,” Lobregat said the weeklong feast, held every Oct. 12, is expected to draw thousands of tourists because of the city’s rich cultural past.

Latin?  Here's the other "Latin" relative of Zamboanga, Philippines, the only metropolitan city in all Asia that speaks predominantly Creole Spanish or Chavacano de Zamboanga.  The Chavacano language is spoken by over 700,000 speakers locally, and over 2 million globally!  Wow!

Latin America

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Latin America (Portuguese and Spanish América Latina, French: Amérique Latine) is the region of the Americas where Romance languages, those derived from Latin (particularly Spanish and Portuguese), are primarily spoken. Latin America is contrasted with the lesser known term Anglo-America, that region of the Americas where English predominates.


There are several definitions of Latin America, none of them perfect or necessarily logically consistent:

bulletIn most common contemporary usage, Latin America refers only to those territories in the Americas where Spanish or Portuguese prevail: Mexico, most of Central and South America, plus Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico in the Caribbean.
bulletStrictly and technically speaking, Latin America designates all those countries and territories in the Americas where Romance languages (i.e. languages derived from Latin, and hence the name of Latin America) are spoken: Spanish, Portuguese, and their creoles. Indeed, this was the original intent when the term was coined by the French. This would then include former French colonies such as Quebec in Canada, Haiti, Martinique and Guadeloupe in the Caribbean, and French Guiana in South America.
bulletThe former Dutch colonies Suriname, the Netherlands Antilles, and Aruba are not usually considered part of Latin America, even though in the latter two, the predominantly Iberian-influenced language Papiamento is spoken by the majority of the population.
bulletSometimes, particularly in the United States, the term Latin America is used to refer to all of the Americas south of the U.S., including countries such as Belize, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Suriname where non-Romance languages prevail.
bulletIndeed, in historical terms, Latin America could be defined as all those parts of the Americas that were once part of the Spanish or Portuguese (and arguably also French) Empires. Hence much of the US Southwest plus Florida (and also French Louisiana) would be covered by this definition.
bulletFinally, it's worth noting that the distinction between Latin and Anglo America, and more generally the stress on European heritage, passes over the fact that there are many places in the Americas (e.g. highland Peru or Guatemala) where non-European cultures and languages are still important, as well as the influence of African cultures in other areas (e.g. the Caribbean, including parts of Colombia and Venezuela, and coastal Brazil)


Originally a political term, Amérique latine was coined by French emperor Napoleon III, who cited Amérique latine and Indochine as goals for expansion during his reign. While the term helped him stake a claim to those territories, it eventually came to embody those parts of the Americas that speak Romance languages initially brought by settlers from Spain, Portugal and, to a minor extent, France in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. An alternate etymology points to Michel Chevalier, who mentioned the term in 1836.[1]

In the United States, the term was not used until the 1890s, and did not become a common descriptor of the region until early in the twentieth century. Before then, Spanish America was more commonly used.[2]

Latin America has come to represent an expression equivalent to Latin Europe and implies a sense of supranationality greater than those implied by notions of statehood or nationhood. This supranational identity is expressed through common initiatives and organizations, like the Union of South American Nations. It is important to observe that the terms Latin American, Latin, Latino, and Hispanic differ from each other.

Many people in Latin America do not speak Latin-derived languages, but native ones or languages brought over by immigration. There is also the blend of Latin-derived cultures with indigenous and African ones resulting in a differentiation in relation to the Latin-derived cultures of Europe.

Quebec, other French-speaking areas in Canada and the United States like Acadia, Louisiana, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, and other places north of Mexico are traditionally excluded from the sociopolitical definition of Latin America, despite having significant or predominant populations that speak a Latin-derived language, due in part to these territories' not existing as sovereign states or being geographically separated from the rest of Latin America. French Guiana, however, is sometimes included, despite being a dependency of France and not an independent country. Some countries in the region do not speak a "Latin" language but are called "Latin American" countries, its the case of Surinam, who speaks Dutch, and the countries of Belize and Guyana, whose official language is English.

As alluded to above, the term Ibero-America is sometimes used to refer to the nations that were formerly colonies of Spain and Portugal, as these two countries are located on the Iberian peninsula. The Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI) takes this definition a step further, by including Spain and Portugal (often termed the Mother Countries of Latin America) among its member states, in addition to their Spanish and Portuguese-speaking, former colonies in America.

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