Dapitan City | The Shrine City of the Philippines
Dapitan City is synonymous to two awesome names: Jose Rizal & Dakak Park and Beach Resort. The national hero spent 4 years in exile here & Dakak, one of the pioneers in all-inclusive getaway in the country.
Yoking between the memoirs of Rizal & the changes in the face of modernity, Dapitan City beautifully teeters in its seaside charm. Here, silhouettes of colonial-time splendour shadow the allures of its bustling cityscapes. Expressly, the endless lapping waves of the sea hushes the grinding sound of modern-day hustle.
Dapitan City: Zamboanga del Norte’s Heritage City
Yes, walking in town is like being trapped in a time-warp. In fact, the city neatly keeps the characteristics of 18th century colonial pueblos where the iglesia, escuela, municipio & heritage houses surround the town plaza.
At the heart of its heritage district is the cathedral of St. James the Greater, an 1871 legacy of the Jesuit mission. Beside it is a 17th century parochial school.
Across the church is the huge relief map sculpted by Dr. Jose Rizal & Father Francisco Paula de Sanchez in 1892. Declared as a National Cultural Treasure, he used this as a tool in teaching geography & history to the locals.
Beside it is the town plaza outlined by centennial acacia trees. It provides shade to an afternoon game of dama. Or simply to laze around snacking on irresistibly delicious cassava chips.
Around the town center is a maze of heritage homes beautifully kept in time. Huge Capiz shell windows, elaborate transom designs, ventanillas & stately azoteas narrate the opulence of the bygone era.
For a panoramic view of the town, climb up Ilihan Hill.
Memoirs of a Hero
The life & works of Jose Rizal is celebrated in the everyday lives of every Dapitanon. Significantly, the Handuraw Festival commemorates his contribution to the history of the city. A huge sculpture along Sunset Boulevard immortalizes his arrival on the shores of Sta. Cruz Beach in July 17, 1892.
Outside the walls of Fort Santiago in Intramuros, the Rizal Shrine in Dapitan City is the most visited on the Rizal Heritage Trail. This 15-hectare preserved memorial is home to replicas of his house, the Casa Redonda (clinic) & Casa Cuadrada (dormitory & classroom).
Also, the Love Rock, is the perhaps the most trivial part of the museum. It was here where he & Josephine Bracken, his dulce estranjera, stood & professed their love for each other.
The Rizaliana Museum showcases the various memorabilia of how he spent his years in exile like healing the sick, teaching the locals as well as building the community through his inventions.
Dakak: A Seduction and a Half
Oh well, no one comes to Dapitan City without visiting the famous Dakak Park and Beach Resort nestled in Taguilon Cove. Find your vacation fantasies in one destination offering a white sand beach, exciting adventure activities & excellent dining.
Villa Angelina: Redefining Luxury in Zanorte
Villa Angelina is the most striking change there is to Dakak. This side of the 15-hectare leisure property is an ultra-luxe cliff-top development catering to guests with sophisticated holiday preferences.
More Beachy Goodness
Indeed, Dapitan City will spoil you with beautiful beaches fringed with sparkling white sand. Here, they live by the saying, life’s a beach! And yes, comes with its beaches are the dramas of firey sunsets over well-chilled sundowners.
Choose a River Cruise
Take your vacation in Dapitan City to a chill level on board a river cruise that also plates up a delicious seafood lunch & all the shebang of floating entertainment.
Gloria de Dapitan
Dapitan City isn’t only about tranquility & heritage overload. It is also about decibel-breaking fun at Gloria de Dapitan and Gloria’s Fantasyland. One of the very few A-Ok amusement & theme parks outside Manila, this spot gathers family & friends over fun rides & spectacular shows.
While anytime is always a good time to visit Dapitan City, the month of July kicks the city a bit wilder when it celebrates Kinabayo Festival. Come by for fun street dancing, parades, parties & lots of food!
Truly, Daquepitan, as it was once called, may be a dusty relic of its colonial past. But it is also blossoming into a forward-thinking city every heritage town can learn from. It is what blending the old & the new is all about — without losing the integrity of each characteristic.
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Betwixt and between the arthritic 40 and a horrendous body mass index of positive 30, escapism and yummyeology are my real-life double post-graduate degrees conferred with the highest honors. I lived nearly half of my life in fancy suitcases, jetsetting between reality and fantasy... read more