Zamboanga del Norte is a province of the Philippines located in the Zamboanga Peninsula region in Mindanao. Its capital is Dipolog City and the province borders Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay to the south and Misamis Occidental to east. The Sulu Sea lies to the northwest of Zamboanga del Norte.
Zamboanga del Norte has a population of 823,130 according to the 2000 census. Its population density is 124/km2. It is ranked 27th among the provinces both in terms of population and population density.
About half of the province’s land area is devoted to agriculture. Corn, coconut, and rice are major crops. The province being rich in marine and mineral sources, its fish production has accelerated through the development of fishponds. Commercial fishing has likewise steadily increased through the years, with the yellow fin tuna as the primary species.
In a recent study by the National Statistics Coordination Board (NSCB), Zamboanga del Norte was found to be the Philippines’ poorest province with a poverty incidence rate of 64.6% in 2003, an increase from 47% in 2000.
Zamboanga del Norte is subdivided into 25 municipalities and 2 cities. These are further subdivided into 69 barangays, and clustered into 3 congressional districts.
Zamboanga del Norte comprises the northern portion of Zamboanga Peninsula. It is bounded on the north and west by the Sulu Sea, on the east by Misamis Occidental, and on the south by Zamboanga del Sur.
The province occupies a total land area of 6,816 square kilometers. It has an average elevation of 243.8 meters, with the Mt. Dabiak in Katipunan as the highest peak at 2,600 meters. Other parts, near the coastlines, are plains. The province’s irregular runs 400 kilometers from the north to south.
Zamboanga del Norte has a mild and moderate climate due to evenly distributed rainfall throughout the year. Its southern portion has a longer dry season.
The early history of Zamboanga del Norte is shared with that of Zamboanga City, which had been the center of the entire Mindanao area, most notably during the American Era. When Zamboanga City became a chartered city on October 12, 1936, it encompassed the southern tip of the Zamboanga Peninsula and the island of Basilan, making it the largest city in the world in terms of land area. This is all changed in 1948 when Basilan was made into a separate province, and further, when Republic Act No. 711, issued on June 6, 1952, created two more province out of Zamboanga City. One of these provinces was Zamboanga del Norte.