The PTB Blog_Carnival for June 2011 honors Dr. Jose Rizal on his 150th Birth Anniversary. The theme is Rizal and Travel.
Rizal was the quintessential traveler of his time. In the Philippines, he visited towns as far north as Tarlac, all the way down to Dapitan, Dipolog and Katipunan, Zamboanga del Norte.
As an international traveler, he’s been to over 50 cities in 13 countries. A true jet-setter of his time. During my trip to Paris and Madrid in 2007, I’ve come across commemorative plaques in his honor as a National Hero who stayed in their hotel.
To take part in this celebration, I’m reposting a trip account of my visit to Dapitan on August, 2010.
Any Filipino school kid will be able to tell you that Dapitan City is where our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal was exiled during the Spanish era from 1892-1896. But where is it in the Philippines? And what’s in Dapitan?
After stuffing ourselves for 3 hours, we set-off again. It will be another 3 hours of scenic ride, in a food filled van, cruising on nice concreted road and we finally end up in Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte.
Dakak Park Beach Resort rests within a 15-hectare property of flora and fauna is our home for 2 days (rush-rush trip). It has powdery white sand beach looking over a gorgeous formation of karst. Hidden spring and water falls fill their swimming pools. It has other facilities such as casino, golf course, and water sport shop that can keep you occupied. We were here for one purpose. If you’ve visited my site a few times you can probably guess — yes, scuba dive! :)
Diving is scheduled for the next day for it was already 6pm when we arrived. And while we didn’t stopped eating while in the van, our hosts declared it’s time for dinner. Needless to say, it was another feast with the Que family in charge of food.
Gloria Fantasyland is a multi million dollar theme park in Dapitan City. As part of our accommodation in Dakak, we received a complimentary entrance to amusement park. It was a surprise to find a state of the art theme park in Mindanao. They said it was designed and developed by the group who did Enchanted Kingdom in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. Both Dakak Resort and Gloria Fantasyland are owned by former congressman Romeo Jalosjos. So instead of dessert, we rode the giant roller coaster, the swinger, and bump car. We were 10 years old for a few hours.
It was raining when we awoke the following day, but nothing is going to deter us from our “mission”. At 8am, we were geared up at the dive shop. It’s been a while since my last dive and I needed my underwater fix. We did 2 dives in Aliguay and 1 in Gitputan Sanctuary. This is why I love diving the Philippines and is not obsessed in diving in another country — Zamboanga del Norte is not famous for scuba diving like Moalboal or Apo Island. As a matter of fact, I’ve not heard of diving there until Neil’s invitation. But look how unbelievable 20-25m visibility we had during a cloudy day. I also remember the current being extremely strong and exhausting, but the fantastic view underwater more than made up for it.
Rizal Shrine is the big piece of property Rizal bought and lived in during his exile. Today it’s a famous tourist spot in Dapitan. We made a short stop over on our way back to Zamboanga City. Near the entrance is a 2 story museum that showcases Rizal’s life and a few of his belonging. It’s always an amazing experience for me to see momentos from the past. It transports me back in time. So is walking through his well kept estate.
To imagine Rizal’s life in here, read this passage from his letter to friend F. Blumentritt dated December 19, 1893.
I shall tell you how we live here. I have three houses; one square, another hexagonal, and a third octagonal, all of bamboo, wood and nipa. In the square house we live, my mother , sister Trinidad, a nephew and I; in the octagonal live my boys or some good youngsters whom I teach arithmetic, Spanish and English; and in the hexagonal live my chickens. From my house I hear the murmur of a crystal clear brook which comes from the high rocks ; I see the seashore , the sea where I have small boats, two canoes or barotos, as they say here. I have many fruit trees, mangoes, lanzones, guayabanos, baluno, nangka, etc. I have rabbits, dogs, cats,etc. I rise early – at five – visit my plants, feed the chickens, awaken my people and put them in movement. At half-past seven we breakfast with tea, pastries, cheese, sweetmeats, etc. Later I treat my poor patients who come to my land; I dress, I go to the town in my baroto, treat the people there, and return at 12 when my luncheon awaits me. Then I teach the boys until 4 P.M. and devote the after- noon to agriculture. I spend the night reading and studying.