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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, December 6, 2018
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Discovering Dapitan

Ninfa Leonardia

It was the calm after the storm, a sunny afternoon as I took my first trip to Dipolog from Cebu. The sky was clear, we were up when I looked down and saw the chocolate hills, then there was a rainbow below. A beautiful scene that only happens once in a blue moon, how I wish I just turned my phone on flight mode. It was almost an hour ride to Dipolog on a small plane. The moment we landed, I saw the beach, a cove and this place just looked like Dumaguete City.

Apple Angolong, tourism officer of Dapitan, met me at the airport. It was a short drive, in about 15 minutes we were already in Dapitan City. We went to the heritage house where the City Tourism holds office. At the second floor, this little guy seated on a bike was waiting for me, according to his father. Twenty-five year old Junrey Balawing is the shortest living man in the world, as awarded by the Guinness World Records on June 12, 2011. They now live at the heritage house.

It was a bit late in the afternoon when I checked in at the Dakak Park and Beach Resort. Dakak is such a huge property. You have to pass through two gates with security personnel before you go in. It is best if you book for your stay ahead of time.

Dakak is really a nice place. They offer banana boat rides, parasailing, water ski, snorkelling, stand up paddle boards, and a Dakak bay cruise. They even have red and yellow flags, an international sign that tells people where the swimming area is, and lifeguards.

I came to take part in the Ginoong Dapitan as chair of the board of judges; it was the fastest pageant ever yet with a class held at Gloria’s Fantasyland, a theme park with rides and an evening show great for family, especially kids. This month, they will be featuring Nia and Anwar and the whale shark tale musical purely Filipino that Dapitan is indeed proud of, Agolong said. It is directed by Daniel Cabrera and produced by Romeo Jalosjos. A must-visit place, indeed.

Highlight of my tour is the Rizal Shrine, a place where national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, was exiled. At the shrine, you will see statues of Rizal, his house, a replica of the square house, a sculpture of Josephine Bracken seating by the window, and a museum showing his clothes. Reading each display will take you to the 1800s and the life and works of Jose Rizal, from the moment he arrived in Dapitan at around seven in the evening on July 17, 1892, and his letter to Blumentritt in 1893. He contributed a lot in Dapitan, including a water works system in Talisay, Dapitan. There is a sculpture of his friend, Dr. Pio Valenzuela, who visited him while he was on exile. A mini-replica of Colon, a boat that brought back Rizal to Manila on October, 1896, is displayed in the museum, with the holes on the side of the boat designed to show the different places and events in his life.

Indeed, this would make one appreciate our national hero and the beauty of the City of Dapitan, where nature, culture, and history is rolled into one.*

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