Dapitan City became a chartered city in June 22, 1963, thru Republic Act 3811 signed by President Diosdado Macapagal converting Dapitan into a chartered city and officially known as the “Shrine City of the Philippines.”
If other cities have to comply with the requirements on population, land area and economy, Dapitan City became a city simply because of its historic value. Thanks to the national hero Jose Rizal.
Dapitan City is historically significant as being the place where Rizal was exiled by the Spaniards. Thus it is not surprising to find Rizal’s mark in many places in Dapitan.
Among those that have the indisputable Rizal mark are the Punto del Disembarco de Rizal in Dapitan’s Sta. Cruz beach along the famous sunset boulevard. This is where Rizal landed at 7:00 o’clock p.m. of July 17, 1892 to begin the life of an exile in Dapitan.
He was with his guardia civil, Captain Deglras, and three artillerymen as they walked through Sta. Cruz with a “Farol de Combate” to the Casa Real where he was presented to Don Ricardo Carnicero, then Spanish Military Governor of the District.
The St. James Church also has its share of a Rizal mark. Rizal made a map of Mindanao composed of shells during his exile. The map is located right infront of the church and still exists until now. The shells were however replaced now by grass.
But the major historical landmark of Dapitan City on Rizal is his 16-hectare estate which he purchased in Barangay Talisay now known as the Rizal Shrine. Rizal won P6,200 in a lottery and used his winnings in buying the estate.
In March 1893, Rizal transferred to Talisay. Later on, his mother Doña Teodora Alonso, his sisters, some relatives and neighbors from Calamba, Laguna came and lived with him in Talisay until 1896.
Until today, the hut where Rizal reside, as well as the other huts where he cooks, where he practices medicine and where he spends time with his girlfriends are still preserved.
Also preserved are Rizal’s trousers, coats and other personal belongings.
But Dapitan is not just all about Rizal and its rich history. Dapitan is also home to the biggest and only theme park in the Visayas and Mindanao — Gloria de Dapitan’s Fantasyland.
Thrill rides, horror house, fun rides, and other entertainment shows are available to guests and visitors for a fee. Bars and restaurants also abound in the area.
For those who want to while away time and enjoy good nature and good food, the Dapitan River cruise is a must. For one hour and a half cruise, guests are treated to a sumptuous meal and good music. And one also gets to enjoy clean air and the great river scenery at the side.
But if you want to enjoy the sand, sun and the sea, then head off to the famous Dakak Beach Resort. Dakak offers the best amenities for the beach lovers. They offer aqua sports, have two huge swimming pools, bars and several restaurants in their 15-hectare resort.