Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines · 2 hotels available
Nothing can be more exciting for history buffs than seeing their history books come alive—and Dapitan City is one of the best destinations to make it happen! Plus, there are different exciting activities and beautiful spots to add to your to-do list, too.
Dapitan City is located in the province of Zamboanga del Norte. It has become one of the most visited historical places in the Philippines because Dr. Jose Rizal, the country’s national hero, called this home for four years during his exile. Most of the locals speak Cebuano but other dialects like Ilonggo, Subano, Tagalog, Tausug, Ilocano and Chavacano are also used. Don’t worry, though, as the majority of the Dapitanons are at ease with English.
There are two major airlines that fly to Dipolog Airport — Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air. From Manila, both airlines have daily flights; from Cebu (or Mactan-Cebu International Airport), both airlines operate every Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays only.
From Dipolog Airport, take a tricycle to the city terminal where you can find mini buses and vans going to Dapitan City. Travel time is 45 minutes and the fare costs around P25.
One of the most convenient ways to travel by sea is taking the fast craft services that travel daily from Cebu to Dapitan City (about five hours with a stopover in Tagbilaran and Dumaguete City).
The city is relatively small so biking is easy. There are also tricycles and jeepneys to take you around the city proper.
A visit to the island won’t be complete without seeing the powdery white sand beaches of Dakak. It’s known not only for its amazing cove but also as a diving mecca in Mindanao. The city plaza, inspired by Dr. Rizal’s visit to Europe in his earlier days, is also a must-see site. If you want to get more intimate with the hero’s past, then you should spare some time to drop by at the Rizal National Park. Here, you’ll see a 70-hectare property which features the Mi Retiro rock, Castias Hospitales, Casa Cuadrada and his residence.
Other popular spots here are St. James church and the Relief Map of Mindanao. The church was built in 1871 in honor of St. James the Greater, Dapitan’s patron. Meanwhile, the Relief Map was among the many masterpieces that Rizal completed during his exile.
Did you know that Dapitan also has the first world-class amusement park in Mindanao? Fantasy Land at Gloria de Dapitan has tea-cup rides, a carousel, a swinger, and a lot more—perfect for kids and kids at heart.
The city offers a lot of historical sites, beaches, and other natural and man-made wonders. You can relax at the lavish Dakak Beach Resort, visit Rizal Shrine, or join a historical tour. Either way, this city promises a relaxing trip for every kind of traveler.
If you’re up for a fresh seafood buffet, then go to Kamayan ni Manay Restaurant. Everyone is raving about the food and it’s reasonably priced at less than P400, too. Some of the must-try dishes are Tinolang Isda, Ginataang Alimango, and Sizzling Tanigue.
For staple Italian food, tourists and locals like going to Il Patio. The ambiance is a bit classy so a quiet time with your Quattro Formaggio, Pizza Napolitana, Pizza Margherita, or Pizza Marinara is easily doable.
Another must-try is the Bamboo Cafe at Dakak Beach Resort. Here you can enjoy an awesome view of the beach while you dine. If you’re craving for some midnight snack, your tummy will be satisfied, as the café is also open 24 hours every day so you can go anytime.
There’s not much nightlife in Dapitan City and it’s definitely not as extravagant as those in larger cities like Manila; but you can go to Gloria De Dapitan Beehive if you want to enjoy a bottle or a glass of drink.
The accommodations in Dapitan are reasonably-priced and all Instagram-worthy. Booking a room for a couple of nights will definitely be exciting and comfortable. You can stay at Hampton Place if you’re looking for a no-fuss room that’s budget-friendly, or choose Dakak Park & Beach Resort for a scenic view of the beach and nearby mountains.
There’s also Bajamunde Pension (about P700/night) located in Sunset Boulevard and just across Dapitan Bay where you can have the best view of the sunset.