Best known as national hero Jose Rizal’s place of exile, Dapitan City dangles off the northern tip of Mindanao and has long been celebrated as a historical destination. In fact, the Spanish influence in the city is still evident—remnants from centuriesold casas are found around the city, while its laidback atmosphere makes it feel very much unplugged, unhurried and unspoiled.
After a 60-minute flight from Mactan and a 20-minute drive from Dipolog, Dapitan City slowly reveals its potential as it takes its place in the global tourism arena— and one spot that helps cement its position is the Dakak Park and Beach Resort.
“This was the go-to beach place before Palawan and Boracay,” says resident manager Lani Jalosjos of the location’s lush coves and powdery white sands. “It was the ultimate destination in the late 1980s as it saw a dramatic upsurge of foreign tourist arrivals.” In fact, it was the official venue for the Miss Universe Swimsuit Competition back when the country hosted the prestigious pageant in 1994. Set beside the slant of the northern coast of the Zamboanga Peninsula, Dakak faces the Sulu Sea in the west and a mountain range to the east. Its blue waters are home to tremendous dive sites with astounding species of marine life. The property itself is 15 hectares of land, which includes a natural reservoir for native plants and animals, and a 75-meter private white sand beach.
Universe Swimsuit Competition back when the country hosted the prestigious pageant in 1994. Set beside the slant of the northern coast of the Zamboanga Peninsula, Dakak faces the Sulu Sea in the west and a mountain range to the east. Its blue waters are home to tremendous dive sites with astounding species of marine life. The property itself is 15 hectares of land, which includes a natural reservoir for native plants and animals, and a 75-meter private white sand beach.
Dakak Park and Beach Resort has been a work in progress for the past five years, with the Villa Angelina’s Cliffside Casitas being the latest addition to its accommodations. The resort’s top-ofthe-line luxury suites are seamlessly tucked into a magnificent cliff, close enough to the beach where the sound of waves and the gentle sea breeze add to the restful mood.
The rooms themselves are spacious, even with a king-sized bed, day bed and plush recliners, and a mini work station. One glass wall offers a panoramic view of the azure sea and dense greens that make up the coastline. There’s also a private veranda with a jacuzzi—we have to say, relaxing in the hot tub while enjoying Dakak’s stunning signature sunset is one of the best experiences we’ve had seaside.
When you’re in the mood for something more adventurous, Dakak never runs out of experiences to offer. Adrenaline junkies and thrill-seekers can head to the Dakak Adventure Zone, which is home to the longest dual zipline in Asia. Stretching up to 1.3 kilometers, it offers a beautiful view of the coast and the lush foliage below. The ATV Thrill Ride is open for those who want to stay on land.
The kids (and kids-at-heart) will love the fact that packages at Dakak include a visit to Gloria’s Fantasyland, the only theme park in the Philippines outside Luzon. This destination is a gem, with burgeoning outlets in the mini mall, amusement rides for both kids and adults, and a lineup of quality entertainment. The Grand Night Parade is something guests shouldn’t miss—it features a Fire and Thunder show, a parade of nations, and a stunning fireworks display to cap off the evening.
This quick sojourn to Dakak is one that has made Dapitan City more than just a place in history for me. The triumph it acquires from its storied past has brought it to where it is today, a beautiful quiet corner of the Philippines to enjoy a luxurious and fun-filled escape. It definitely warrants a second visit, so I can delve deeper into what else this quaint city has to offer.
Barangay Taguilon, Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte (065) 213 6813 www.dakakresort.com