The mere mention of Dapitan conjures images of Jose Rizal, the national hero of the Philippines who was once exiled here during the Spanish colonial period. Rizal is the superstar of Dapitan; in fact if you start a conversation with the locals about the famed hero, you will surely discover a lot of interesting things about him. Evidently, Jose Rizal is celebrated almost everywhere here!
From the Dapitan Town Plaza which he developed, to the Mindanao relief map that he created, the Rizal Landing Site in Sta. Cruz Beach, and the Rizal Shrine in Talisay where his house -the Casa Cuadrada and some of his works are on display. Other prominent structures that serves as reminders of the Spanish colonial period includes: The Parochial School, Casa Real, old heritage houses and the St. James Church that are all surrounding the town plaza.
But Dapitan is not all about Rizal, who would forget that classic commercial of Dakak Beach Resort on a famed noontime show? Dakak Beach Resort is a private white-sand beach resort bounded by mountains. It offers a wide-array of water sports like jet skiing, kayaking, sailing, and scuba diving. If you find Dakak a bit old-fashioned, head over to Aliguay Island which despite being developed still retains its natural charm. Or if you want to rough it up, visit the pristine Senilog Island, the best beach in Dapitan.
Surprisingly, the sleepy town of Dapitan comes alive at dusk. Locals flock to Sta. Cruz Beach where the Rizal Landing Site is located to watch the sunset. Eateries and restaurants by the shores offer barbecue, videoke and dinner by beach. Walk farther until you reach the Sunset Boulevard and be surprised at how modernity invaded this underrated city because of the entertainment center – Gloria De Dapitan. A dancing fountain, restaurants and shops selling souvenirs will greet you once you enter its colorful gate. The famed Fantasyland, the first major theme park in Mindanao sells tickets for ride-all-you-can at PHP500 and PHp250 for sight-seeing.
How to get to Dapitan?
Flights from Manila to Dipolog you can fly via Philippine Airlines or Cebu Pacific. From Dipolog airport, head to Dipolog Bus terminal and take a bus en route to Dapitan City.
There are ferries that from Manila to Dipolog City. These ferries often take the Port of Pulauan in Dapitan City and from there you can take a tricycle to the get to the city center or get off at the highway and ride a bus going to Dapitan city center. The Strong Republic Nautical Highway (RORO) could also be taken from Dumaguete to Dipolog.
Bed and Breakfast, Guesthouses and Hotels abound along Sunset Boulevard just before Gloria de Dapitan; just ride a tricycle to take you there.
There are restaurants inside Gloria de Dapitan and eateries along Sta.Cruz Beach.