Dipolog and Dapitan: The Twin Cities of Zamboanga del Norte

If excitement was a threat to one’s existence, then I have died right there and then that my itinerary of travel to Dipolog City was settled. Even during the planning stage, I could not stop myself from thinking about the sardines that I could buy.. well, not the ordinary sardines, but the “spanish sardines.” And knowing that Dapitan is just an hour away by commuting, I could not contain myself. I felt my flesh and blood oozed out of my humanity when the head crew announced, “We welcome you to Dipolog.”

The first noticeable thing with Dipolog is its clean streets. It did not bother me that our hotel was right at the heart of a busy intersection. The tricycles were muted too. A Dipolog tricycle, by the way, has a day-off (serves as coding system) printed in its front and/or back side(s). The beach is not as white as that of other world-famous beaches but it is clean and no unpleasant smell. You can sit on one of the installed concrete benches and either you watch people jog, join a Zumba session, walk and eat street foods or view the glorious sunset.

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If you are looking for something that you can take home from Dipolog City, then go to Montaño Sardines. It is recognised as the best spanish sardines on this side of the planet. It is affordable and its taste is better than most branded sardines in the metro.

Then, after a day in the city, we travelled to Dapitan City, where our national hero, Jose Rizal, was exiled. The place is also known because of another site – the Dakak Park and Beach Resort.

This resort is expensive, but they offer promotional rates for day and night tours. We were quoted with an 8,000-peso accommodation, complete with food and use of facilities and attractions inside. I do not know if that includes the zipline. Pretty over-rated, I think. If you are a Manileño, its price is way over the top. We were offered a very affordable room rate of 1,000 pesos good for two pax, but it did not have any other inclusion. The beach is clean and free from seaweeds or any litter. But the scenery of white sand was ruined by the sight of tire marks.

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Downs: If your package does not come with a free transportation, then you have to endure a slightly long drive in two sets. From Dipolog City, you have to take two rides. And when you are already inside, there is no other way to go out. You are forced to take their vehicle service for 250 pesos. Expensive.

Ups: They have cultural show. Yes! Very entertaining (but beware of the sound of the bamboos when they hit the floor, kinda deafening!). Food is good, but a bit pricey.

Dakak Cultural Show. I forgot the name of the instrument made of bamboo.

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