10 Things to do in Dapitan City

To see your history book come alive is a magical feeling especially if you’ve fallen in love with the place at first sight.  Such is the case with my trip to Dapitan City in Zamboanga del Norte, one of the special places in the country that will pass as a candidate for the best destinations to retire to.  While most cities are shrouded by soaring commercial buildings, gigantic factories and shopping malls, Dapitan remains raw, calm and very inviting despite the attention it is getting. This unruffled city is draped by mountains cloaked in thick green wilderness, rugged coastlines and historical attractions.

  (St. James Church Dapitan)

If you’re wondering what to do in Dapitan City, here’s a list of things to do to help you plan your holiday:


  • Relax at the City Plaza

Savor serenity and fresh air at Dapitan City Plaza. This public park is believed to have been beautified by Dr. Jose Rizal, taking inspiration from his visit to Europe in earlier days.  Dapitan City Plaza is dotted with gigantic acacia trees and well-manicured garden with flowering plants.  In the midst you can find a statue of the brave hero himself and nearby is the Mindanao Relief Map which he created. 

  • Visit St. James Church

This age-old church plays an important part in history, not only because it is constructed by the Jesuits sometime in 1871 but also because Jose Rizal used to stand and hear mass here during his exile in Dapitan.  It also houses an 18th century pipe organ from Germany.

How to get to St.James Church in Dapitan: If you’re staying in the city proper, it is just a few minutes walk across the city plaza. If you’re hotel is near Sunset Boulevard area, just take a tricycle. 

  • See Fort de Dapitan (Ilihan Hill)

Before the Spaniards invaded Dapitan, Ilihan Hill served as a burial ground of the original settlers here.  Then the colonizers decided to build stone walls and cannons and rename it “Fort de Dapitan”.

How to get to Fort de Dapitan : You can walk from St. James Church or hop on a tricycle to take you to the entrance at Brgy. Potol where you need to climb the stairs. 

  • Get to Know Jose Rizal 

The mere mention of Dapitan conjures images of Jose Rizal, a Filipino hero who was exiled here during the Spanish colonial era (1892-1896).  Spare some time to visit the Rizal National Park cuddled by the mountains of Brgy. Talisay and get a dose of history.  This 70 hectare property of Dr. Rizal houses Mi Retiro rock, Casitas Hospitales, Casa Cuadrada and his residence.

How to get to Rizal National Park: charter a tricycle or habal-habal (motorbike) to take you to this estate.

  • Get Beached

The turqoise beach of Dakak Beach Resort is not alone in Dapitan, you can also find equally lovely beaches perfect for family outings such as Oro Beach, Guimputlan Beach, Napo White Beach and Aliguay Island.

(Dakak Beach Resort)

  • Get Pampered in Dakak Beach Resort

Dapitan is not only synonymous to Rizal but also to Dakak Beach Resort, a posh resort heavily advertised back in the days. The opulent life in the resort is heavily contrasted by the modest way of life of the villagers thriving near the bountiful shoreline. Book a room to experience its old school charm and bask in the water activities offered here such as diving, jet skiing, sailing and kayaking. You can also opt for day tour here.

How to get to Dakak Beach Resort: If you booked a room at the resort, pick up can be arranged. But if you’re only doing a day tour, you can either commission a habal-habal (motorbike) or tricycle as transport to and from Dakak Beach Resort from the city proper.

To check rates and book a room in Dakak Beach Resort –> CLICK HERE.

  •  Shop and Play at  Gloria de Dapitan

Dapitan boasts of the first world-class amusement park in Mindanao – the lovely Fantasy Land at Gloria de Dapitan.  If you just want to go shopping, you can enter Gloria de Dapitan for free and shop at one of the stores inside or dine in at one of the cafes inside. At night, marvel at the colorful fountain here. If you want to revive you childhood fantasy, enter Fantasyland and experience the thrilling rides such as inside Apollo, galleon ship, carousel, and the swinger among others.

  • Stroll in Sta. Cruz Beach

Dapitan has a jaw dropping sunset and the best spot to watch it is at Sta.CruzBeach while taking a leisurely stroll or sitting by the shore. And oh, don’t miss the Rizal Landing Site here.

  • Explore the ancestral houses

Walk back in time and savor the nostalgic atmosphere of the street lined up with well-preserved ancestral houses.  Some of the best heritage houses here include Paje Ancestral Home, ADasa Ancestral Home, Chong Ancestral Home and Bajamundi Ancestral Home.

  • Feast on Seafood

At dusk, locals and visitors invade the Sunset Boulevard to feast on seafood sold at the seaside by some hotels.  It is a perfect place to dine while listening to the crashing of the waves.  



24264_351910964162_336201504162_3580676_6142279_nAbout the Blogger : Gael Hilotin is a travel blogger and freelance travel writer who has been to all 81 provinces in the Philippines. Her work has appeared in local and international publications and she was a solid contributor of Yahoo Southeast Asia News (Travel) from 2011-2015. She is the winner of the travel writing contest at the Blogfest Asia 2012 held in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Follow her on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram. For advertisements, sponsorship and partnerships, you may reach her at gaelhilotinblog (at) gmail (dot) com. ***********************************************************

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2 Responses

  1. Micole says:

    It has been so long since my last visit with Dakak beach. I wonder what differences it holds today! Safe travels Gael! =)

  2. Mary Cris says:

    Silinog Island also is near at dapitan. about 2hrs boat ride. Such an Amazing Island gael. Sana makapunta ka dun.

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