My husband and I live in the UAE, and it was time to go for a vacation in the Philippines. After a short stay with his family in Cebu, we decided to take a ferry to Dapitan City, then take a bus to Zamboanga City.
We booked tickets for the trip a day before. Unlike plane tickets, passenger ship tickets don’t change by the minute, so it’s actually okay to even buy the tickets on the same day, as long as it’s not fully booked. We booked ours for PhP 950 apiece with Cokaliong Shipping Lines in the Tourist class. For your reference, here’s the chart of rates from Cokaliong Shipping Lines’ website.
And for your convenience, here’s the chart for their Cebu-Dapitan voyages.
We took the MV Filipinas Dumaguete since it had the shortest travel time. If you want to stop by Dumaguete and do a little sightseeing at night, you can take the MV Filipinas Dinagat or MV Filipinas Dapitan. The Dumaguete Boulevard is a nice place to hang out at night. And you can walk by Silliman University too. I haven’t been there in the past 10 years, but I still remember how it gave me a feeling of being at home. (Probably because we have a boulevard in Zamboanga too.)
When we arrived at the port, we hired a tricycle to take us to the inn. While I was getting the baggage settled on the tricycle, the driver struck a deal with my husband. They settled on PhP 250, even though it was just supposed to be less than PhP 150. We missed the sign on the entrance arch which said that the fare to Dapitan should be PhP 50 per person and PhP 20 per baggage. We should have been charged PhP 140 total. Buuut, we were in a good mood, and it was a good morning, so we didn’t let the extra PhP 110 bother us.
Moving on, we stayed at Travelbee Heritage Inn. We arrived too early for check-in, and was informed that we had to pay an extra PhP 200 if we wanted to get our stuff in. We booked the room in advance with Agoda for about PhP 900 a night.
We were pretty famished from the ferry, so we decided to just get on with the day. We showered, and walked around the neighbourhood, looking for a place that was open. If I would have to describe Dapitan City, sleepy is the word. We made it to the Boulevard and walked around some more and found a tapsilogan. The tapsilog wasn’t really appealing to our taste, because I think I tasted butter in it, instead of vegetable oil, so we didn’t ask for another serving despite our hunger. I guess people in Dapitan like the taste, because we chanced upon a second branch of the tapsilogan on the same road.
The buko juice was GREAT, though. But still not as good as the fresh buko we pick from our coconut tree at home.
After filling our bellies, we rode another tricycle to the Jose Rizal Memorial Protected Landscape, or better known as the Rizal Park and Shrine. Jeepneys are well-known for being used as public transportation in the Philippines, but Dapitan has tricycles.The fare is regulated at PhP 8 per person, and the driver can pick up more passengers, as long as it’s not full yet.
There was no entrance fee to the Shrine, and visitors are allowed to stay for as long as they want. It was just drizzling when we were on our way, but it turned into a downpour as soon as we walked up the stairs to the museum. We checked the museum out and took photos, of course.
When the rain finally stopped, we finally got out of the museum and walked around the property. There was a team taking pre-nuptial photos on the first house, so we couldn’t see that hut. We moved on to the main house. We walked around more, took more photos, and decided that we had to get a move on.
The next item on our itinerary was to have lunch. And we chose to have lunch at Dakak Park and Beach Resort. We hired a habal-habal to take us to Dakak and to pick us up later. We made a deal for PhP 500, and gave him PhP 200 as partial payment.
The entrance to the resort cost PhP 1,000 per person and can be used to pay for the attractions and at the restaurant. A van picked us up from the entrance lobby and took us to the main lobby. Since we weren’t checking in at a room, we asked the driver to take us down to the restaurant instead. The table that we picked faced the beachfront, and the food was actually really tasty. There was a little stray cat that I kept giving scraps to, which wasn’t exactly something you should be doing while at a restaurant.
After a very satisfying meal, we got picked up for a ride to the top of the resort, where we went ATV riding and flew down the hill on a zipline. Riding the ATVs and zipline cost us a total of PhP 1,900. They’ll serve you fresh buko before zipping down, too. The staff will take your photos while you are coming down the zipline and costs PhP 150 per person.
We went back to the beach and asked the staff to sign us up to play with the jetskis. Well, jetski, because we didn’t want to pay for two. Half an hour on the jetski costs PhP 2,200, and we didn’t want to stay at the resort for too long. We only paid for the Day rate and if we stayed until 6pm, it might get too dark to get back on a habal-habal, and end up paying for the Night rate.
You could actually do a lot more on the resort, but we were just taking things easy. When our driver picked us up from the resort and dropped us off at the inn, we rested up a bit and had some street food.
After a short rest, we hopped on another tricycle and asked the driver to take us to Gloria’s Fantasyland. It was place that had eateries, a stage, a department store, and a theme park inside. We were a little too tired from frolicking at the beach to see the theme park and I wasn’t about to pay PhP 1,000 just to get in.
So we decided to sit down at a cafe, have some coffee, share a sandwich, and some ice cream. We decided to sit out front since I recognized Romeo Jaloslos sitting at one of the tables and seemed to be discussing something important with other people.
We finally turned in for the night and got our stuff ready for tomorrow’s bus trip to Zamboanga City.
The next morning, we slept in a little bit more and got things ready for the trip. But before we checked out, we went out to look for some place to eat. We ended up at another branch of the tapsilogan we ate at yesterday. Needless to say, we had to eat the same butter-fried tapa and egg. The good thing about it though, is that even if we missed some items on our itinerary yesterday, we got to visit the Rizal Landing Site on the Sunset Boulevard. This was supposed to be on yesterday afternoon’s itinerary, but since we were busy playing at Dakak, we just pushed this off of the itinerary, along with Ilihan Hill, the City Hall, St. James Cathedral, the Town Plaza, and even the River Cruise.
After checking out, we got on a tricycle and went to the bus station. The trip to Dipolog cost PhP 20 per person and PhP 10 per cargo. When we got to the Dipolog bus terminal, we hopped on an airconditioned bus, since I expected the ride to be long and arduous. The last time I rode a bus from Dipolog to Dapitan was more than ten years ago and I had body pains after. The trip was supposed to take 8 hours, but we arrived almost 10 hours later. Unfortunately, I forgot to take down how much the fare was. But I think it was around PhP 550 per person. If you know how much it actually is, comment below.
Here’s a breakdown of our expenses.
Well, that was a long read! I hope this helps. Thanks for sticking out until the end. If you have any questions about our trip, let me know in the comments section.