Dapitan City in Zamboanga del Norte is known as the “Shrine City in the Philippines”. It has also been the National Hero Jose Rizal’s sanctuary when he was exiled in the city.
Here is a brief on what to do, where to go, where to eat, where to stay, and how to get to Dapitan City.
Where to Go and What To Do:
1. Rizal Shrine
What is a Dapitan City visit without visiting the shrine in honor of its most popular resident exile, Philippines National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal?
Retrace his steps as he went about his daily life from his house, to his clinic, to his “school”, the rock where he used to watch sunsets from, and get acquainted with his life and works at the museum dedicated to him.
Lessons can be learned on how he made his life worthwhile and other people’s lives better even far away from his home.
2. Visit Dakak/Villa Angelina
Dakak Park and Beach Resort is the most popular beach resort this side of Zamboanga del Norte with its lush green forest, adventures of zipline, parasailing, ATV, beautiful private 750-meter beach cove, underwater wonders through scuba diving and snorkeling, good food at its restaurants, and now the posh Villa Angelina Luxury Suites.
(Dakak Daytour PhP1,000 consumable PhP800)/Villa Angelina PhP1,500)
3. Visit in July for the Kinabayo Festival or the Feast of Dapitan’s Patron Saint, Saint James.
Every 25th of July is a special day for Dapitanons as they parade on the streets with the statue of Saint James astride a horse. A reenactment of the Sapanish Moorish War is staged to show the victory of the Spanish because of Saint James’ intercession.
4. Say a prayer, light a candle at Saint James the Greater Church and visit the original Mama Mary of Pilar
Say your prayer of thanksgiving and ask for the intercession of Saint James and Mama Mary for your wishes to come true.
5. Take a Road trip on the Beaches on the Dapitan Coastal Highway
If you’re going as a group or barkada, rent a van at the Gloria de Dapitan Complex and take a road trip on the coastal highway. If you are going alone, rent a motorbike or a habal-habal with a driver.
Marvelous views of the sea and mangroves plus beautiful stretches of white sand beaches from Tag-ulo to Napo.
6. Tamion Hanging Bridge
The oldest hanging bridge in Dapitan City has survived years of use and even motorcycles can cross with sacks of agricultural produce!
7. Aliguay Island
Ride a boat from Dakak to Aliguay island and enjoy the whole island to yourselves. It has friendly residents that would welcome you to their home.
8. Dapitan River Cruise
Dapitan River’s clean and green water lets you peak into the verdant mangrove reserve of the city. It also allows you to have an hour and a half serenity with a delicious meal to boot.
9. Sunset Cruise- Taguilon Dapitan Bay
Taguilon-Dapitan Bay has stunning sunsets that leave you in awe of nature’s beautiful colors. Book the cruise in Dakak and you will have a delicious array of pica-pica with wine. This is a must-do when the weather permits.
10. Gloria de Dapitan/Fantasyland
Mindanao’s only theme park is the Gloria Fantasyland in Dapitan. Watch live performances of a fire show, song and dance, a parade of light and colors, go inside the horror house, ride on the Zimmerman, carousel, Ferris wheel, be amazed at the 5D theatre and enjoy the whole happy fantasyland experience.
11. Punto de Disembarco and the Heritage Walk
Rich in history and culture, take a walk along the boulevard, on the heritage houses, to the Punto de Disembarco or where the National Hero Jose Rizal landed for his exile.
Where to Eat:
Dapitanons serve the freshest seafood in a variety of ways. Have oysters, prawns, crabs, fish at these restaurants:
1. Inato Lang in Dampa
2. Sugba Sugba at the Gloria Fantasyland Complex
3. Fresh Harvest at the Gloria Fantasyland Complex
4. Bamboo Restaurant in Dakak
They also serve pork, beef, and chicken dishes aside from the seafood.
Where to Stay:
From high-end to comfortable accommodations:
1. Dakak/Villa Angelina
2. Dapitan Resort Hotel (PhP1680-5,000)
What to Bring Home:
1. Cassava Chips, Banana, Chips, Deboned Tamban Tuyo from Livelihood Center at City Hall
Dapitan City Livelihood Coordinator Susan Empeynado has helped create the crispiest cassava and banana chips, deboned tamban dried fish, corn and rice grits mix, and adlai grits for healthier snacks.
The products are from local farmers and processed by farmers and women cooperatives.
Thank you, Dapitan City Mayor Rosalina Garcia Jalosjos, City Administrator Wilberth G. Magallanes, City Tourism Officer Apple Marie A. Agolong, Ms. Erna, Kuya Kit, Ms. Malou, Ms. Susan Empeynado, Sir RJ.
How to get to Dapitan:
Major airlines (PAL and CebPac) fly daily to Dipolog City from Manila and from Cebu (CebPac).
Dapitan is just 30 minutes away from the Dipolog airport. Ride a tricycle from the airport to Dipolog bus terminal and then take the bus to Dapitan.
Tricycles ply the streets of Dapitan to get you from one point to another.