ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE:Dapitan & Dipolog City

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DAPITAN CITY: It became popular as it was regarded as the “Shrine City in the Philippines.” Dapitan is a peaceful city that seems very simple and organized. Heritage houses are still inhabited by most residents. There are a number of accommodations along Sunset Boulevard at a reasonable price. Every scenic spot is just a tricycle away and people are very welcoming.

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ST. JAMES CHURCH: What makes this landmark special? Firstly, it is a historical spot where our National hero Jose Rizal was spotted regularly attending mass while he was exiled in Dapitan. It is just across Dapitan City Plaza and a few minutes walk to another tourist spot, the Ilihan Hill (A concrete hike to the achieve a 360-degree-view of the city). Secondly, the 1827 German-European pipe organ was preserved at the choir platform of the church. Thirdly, unlike most baroque style churches in the Philippines, the ceiling is truly captivating. The apex of the central dome is hypnotic.

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RIZAL NATIONAL PARK: Interesting finds include, Jose Rizal’s house while he was in exile for four years between 1892-1896. The entire place was preserved and declared as the José Rizal Memorial Protected Landscape. His works where kept in a museum just within the vicinity. You can freely read his letters which are now laminated and projected on the wall. From Sunset Boulevard, tricycle will take around 10 minutes to reach this elevation, located at Talisay facing Dapitan Bay.

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DAKAK BEACH RESORT: You will love the beach front and white sand beach. For day trip, entrance is 1000 Php/head. For overnight, it ranges more or less 5,000-20,000 Php depending on your villa. This place is perfect for couples and large families who want to engage in activities such as diving, kayaking, zipline and so on.

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FANTASY LAND/GLORIA DE DAPITAN: If you miss the city, head on to the nearest theme park. It consists of more than 30 rides and food stalls. They have a rollercoaster for the extremes and a classic carousel but the highlight is their 5D shows similar to Hong Kong’s Disneyland. This is the perfect place to do grocery shopping too.

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RIZAL’S LANDING SITE: Also known as “Punto de Dissembarco De Rizal en Dapitan”. Perhaps this is the most famous landmark in Dapitan as it is found along Sunset Boulevard. The former landing site became a hang out spot for the locals and tourists. You will see a lot of people gathered to watch the sunset by Sta. Cruz Beach while others are feasting on grilled meat and seafood.

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OTHER PLACES TO VISIT:

  • Heritage Houses
  • Aliguay Island
  • Restaurants along Sunset Boulevard

DIPOLOG CITY: It is the home of the most delicious spanish sardines! Everytime I set foot on this city, I take home quite a few bottles. The “Bottled Sardines Capital of the Philippines” has flavors in oil, tomato and chilli. Aside from that, the price is half lower compared to the groceries we find in Luzon. Dipolog is the “Gateway to Western Mindanao” making it the capital of Zamboanga del Norte.

IMG_0339.JPGST.VINCENT: It is said to be designed by Jose Rizal during his stay in Dapitan. His former professor urged him to conceptualize the church’s total look. The ceiling has remarkable details carved from wood. Just across is the main park of the city where you can see giant cartoon and movie characters.

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OTHER PLACES TO VISIT:

  • Hike at Linabo peak Sitio Dinginan, Brgy. Lugdungan to for a 360-degree-view of Dapitan, Dipolog and parts of Zamboanga del Norte.
  • Visit Plaza Magsaysay at Herrera Street
  • Trek and swim at Sungkilaw Falls at Barangay Diwan
  • Cliff dive at Sicayab Cliffs in Sicayab-Bucana
  • Spelunking in Libuton Cave at Manukan, Dipolog

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  • GOODTIMES CAFE: It is an artists’ guild mosaic themed cafe located at C. P. Garcia St. Cor. Lopez Jaena St. Biasong, Dipolog City. Visit early for better lighting and bring insect reppelants.

See Related travel post: ZAMBOANGA CITY

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“If we were meant to stay in one place, we would have roots not feet.”

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LEYTE: Kalanggaman Island

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sunset boatride to Kalanggaman Island

On a related post: _________ We crossed the Camotes group of Islands in Cebu to Palompon, Leyte. However on a normal basis, you can take a ferry from Cebu City at Pier 1 and head to Ormoc, Leyte. Travel will be around 2 hours. You may take a van for an hour or so (100-150Php) or bus (50-60). Alight at the Tourism office of Palompon. It won’t be hard to find since it is a tourist spot. Pay the necessary boat registration and entrance fee. Travel will be an hour or less. Rates depend on the status of visitor. Non-local foreign visitors are charged higher. For students, bring your ID for discount.

KALANGGAMAN ISLAND: It is ranked as the 9th longest sandbar in the Philippines. The island is shaped like a bird or letter “V”. It would be best to fly a drone to perfectly get that shot. The sand isn’t powdery white nor fine so it would be best to bring scuba shoes especially if you are planning to walk the long sandbar.

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The left side of the island is rocky but a great spot for sunrise and sunset

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The sandbar is filled with dead corals so better wear scuba shoes

The Tail of the island gives a magnificent sunset view. Most of the time, the tail is busy with people so I opted to wake up early to avoid photobombers.

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THINGS TO REMEMBER:

  1. There are no ATM at the island so prepare cash.
  2. There are some stores in the island but I suggest you bring camp essentials and food.
  3. There are cottages and tents for rent but for comfort’s sake, bring your own beddings. If you are planning a day trip only, there are nearby accommodations at Palompon mainland.
  4. You may buy seafood or meat at the Palompon Market just walking distance from the Tourism office before riding the boat to the island.
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  5. Sadly, the island is congested with people during summer so be extra careful with your belongings and don’t expect deep sleep. Most campers are drinking until dawn so choose a camp site meticulously. I suggest the front part near the rockies for a more conducive sleep.

6. Bring your own water. The water source is not potable for drinking.

7. Arrange a return trip to avoid inconvenience during peak season.

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OTHER THINGS TO DO:

  • You will find fascinating obsolete-looking vehicles but are still being used. They are colorful, sturdy and pretty unique.
  • Check out the public market and find something peculiar. Try out local dishes from neighboring stalls.
  • You may plan an extended itinerary to the eastern part of Leyte connecting Samar.

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“Love the life you live and LIVE the life you love.”

-Bob Marley

PANAY ISLAND: Roxas City, Capiz to Aklan

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THINGS TO KNOW:

  • Roxas City is known as “The Seafood Capital of The Philippines”. It exports to neighboring countries as well.
  • Roxas City was honored by (DOH)Department of Health with the Red Orchid Award for being 100% tobacco free. The local government has managed tobacco control by enforcing bans, investing on public Education and promotion of pulmonary health.
  • It is the birthplace of the 5th President of The Philippines: Manuel Acuña Roxas.

A. La Playa de Roxas People’s Park: Located at Brgy. Baybay, Roxas City faces the Sibuyan Sea. It is one of the best place to watch sunset and sunrise while enjoying the best seafood. It is 3 kilometers away from the circle so I prefer to take a tricycle and stay at nearby accommodations for a couple of days.

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What I love the most is their open seafood foodcourt. Their Managat fish is the best. You may have it grilled or in soup in traditional “sinigang” way. Their scallops are fresh from Carles; no wonder they are huge. When I went to Islas de Gigantes, I ordered scallops (surprisingly 1 peso each) cooked in every way.

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B. Sta. Monica Church: It is popularly known as Panay Church. This stands in Capiz, which is just near Roxas City. This baroque style church is made from coral blocks and declared as a National Historic Landmark. Aside from that, the largest bell in the country is found here which weighs more than 10 tonnes!

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IMPORTANT LANDMARKS:

  • The Roxas City Hall
  • Capiz Provincial Capitol
  • Roxas City Bandstand
  • Manuel Roxas ancestral home (Rizal and Zamora Streets)
  • The monuments of Manuel Roxas and Jose Rizal across the Roxas City Museum
  • The Panubli-on Roxas City Museum
  • The Roxas City Fountain (dancing lights)
  • Immaculate Conception Cathedral located at Rizal Street
  • Roxas City Bridge (century old)/Spanish City Bridge

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HOW TO GET THERE?

  • From Iloilo City, take the Capiz bus at Ceres Bus terminal. Travel time is 3-4 hours though it is just 2 hours via van, the leg room is uncomfortable.
  • From Caticlan wharf (Boracay), get on a bus/van bound to Kalibo. From Kalibo transfer to another bus heading Roxas City. Total travel time is appromixately 4 hours.
  • From Kalibo to Roxas City vans and buses available. Travel time is 1-2 hours.
  • From Roxas City to Carles/ Islas de Gigantes is just 1.5 hours. See my other posts about the itinerary.

IMG_9676Capiz is known for Placuna Shells (Kapiz) that sounds like Capiz. These shells are edible but have been historically used as decoration for making lampshades, ornaments, windowpane, doors and substitute for glass due to its durable, shiny and elegant characterictics. The reason why I keep on coming back to this city is their OYSTER LANE. If you have been to several parts of Panay Island then you will definitely agree that they have the largest and fattest oysters in the Philippines. What’s more? They sell one bucket between 20 to 35 pesos at the most!

C. Barangay Tambak has an entire street of oyster-selling-stalls fronting the sea. Just take a jeep from Kalibo Rotonda heading New Washington. However, the easiest way is to ride a tricyle and stay overnight in one of the accommodations adjacent the seawall.

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Jackstones on Low Tide

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Jackstones on High Tide

These giant jackstones are placed by the shore to break the strong waves before they reach the sea wall. This is my view for two days across a humble abode & seafood haven. Glad to witness its low & high tide, sunrise & sunset of calm & raging water.💙

Check: PANAY ISLAND: Antique

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“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”

-Mark Twain