Thursday, September 16, 2010

Zamboanga del Norte: Dakak Park Beach Resort in Dapitan

When flying to Dipolog, make sure to include Dakak Park Beach Resort in your itinerary. In fact, most tourists fly there to visit Dakak, a really popular beach resort which has maintained its quaint 1980s charm. Their representative picks you up at the Dipolog Airport which is about 45 minutes away from Dakak and conveniently ferries you to the resort in an air-conditioned van.

After checking in, we had to walk a small distance to get to our villa room. The resort is sprawling! They have swimming pools in the resort. But I personally liked the privacy of the beach at Dakak. You can just spend the whole afternoon on the lounge chairs for a relaxing nap. Or visit some of the nearby islands.

The afternoon we arrived, we went around the historic center of Dapitan which is full of memories of Jose Rizal's exile there. But I'll talk about that in another entry.

We went back to Dakak to try their popular dinner buffet. I've heard a lot of good stuff about their dinner buffets and I wasn't disappointed. But more than the food, it's the cultural performances which make the dining experience at Dakak complete. In fact, it was a showcase of Filipino songs and dances, including local Bisaya songs. The next night, it was a Hawaiian-themed cultural performance and they do it quite well.

From Dakak, there are package tours available including city tours such as visits to Gloria de Dapitan and Gloria's Fantasyland, a cove hopping tour, visits to Aliguay and Selinog Island and the Dampa and Burgos River Cruise (take note that this boat leaves only at 11 a.m. and prior reservation is needed since there is a minimum of 10 people) similar to the one of the Loboc River in Bohol.

Dakak Park Beach Resort also has an Aqua Sports Facilities Center where you can rent boats, kayaks, hobbie cats, jetskis, go water skiing or take a banana boat ride. You can also rent scuba diving equipment and even go night diving! Other recreational activities include golf, bowling, billiards, horseback riding, tennis and mountain bike riding around the park among others.

Dakak Park Beach Resort
Taguilon, Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte
(0919) 7959416 / (0915) 3185238 / (065) 2136813
Manila: (02) 7241461 / 7247375
Cebu: (032) 2310200

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Introduction to UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Philippines

The Philippines has five UNESCO World Heritage inscriptions in 11 cities and municipalities around the country. These are the Tubbataha Reef in Cagayancillo, Palawan, Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan, Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (Batad and Bangaan in Banaue, Nagacadan in Kiangan, Hungduan and Mayoyao all in Ifugao), Historic Center of Vigan in Ilocos Sur, and the Baroque Churches of the Philippines (Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte, Sta. Maria Church in Ilocos Sur, San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila, and Miag-ao Church in Iloilo).

Here is a documentary called Legacy: Philippine World Heritage Sites narrated by Architect Augusto F. Villalon which gives a good introduction to all these sites. I had to divide it into four parts due to length. Part 1 introduces the UNESCO World Heritage List and talks about Tubbataha Reef.

Part 2 discusses the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park and the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras.

Part 3 discusses the Historic Center of Vigan and the Baroque Churches of the Philippines.

Finally, Part 4 talks about conservation challenges that each site is faced with and a conclusion for the whole documentary.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Boracay: Long weekend at Diniwid and White Beach

I spent the long-weekend in Boracay since I accompanied the winners of the SEAIR and Microtel Boracay Bloggers Tour. Of course, we took SEAIR's fast flights and are enjoying Microtel Boracay's comfortable chiropractic. We ate at several restaurants this weekend including Mama's Fish House in Microtel Boracay, Fishbar in D'Mall, and Zuzuni, the most authentic Greek restaurant in Boracay. Plus I was rejuvenated by the spa treatment and exemplary service at Mandala Spa, the best spa in Boracay.

During the trip, I made sure to get my very own personalized Boracay sandcastle. I had to wake up early to have this commissioned since they only allow it when there are no crowds. Details of the Boracay trip in future posts. In the meantime, I still have more Zamboanga posts so stay tuned!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Zamboanga Sibugay: Around Ipil

Ipil is the provincial capital of Zamboanga Sibugay. I only had a few minutes in Ipil since I had to catch the bus back to Zamboanga City that same afternoon. So I visited the Zamboanga Sibugay Provincial Capitol which I saw on top of a hill.

It turns out when I got there that the capitol was still under construction. But once finished, I'm sure it will become a new landmark since the architecture is quite unique, not the ugly four walls and a roof which typifies government buildings in the country.

Our government engineers should start being creative because they're churning out some of the ugliest infrastructure in the world! Good thing Zamboanga Sibugay's capitol looks like it has some character. From the same hill, visitors are afforded a very nice view of Ipil and its environs.

According to the Department of Tourism, Zamboanga Sibugay is known for its natural attractions. Unfortunately, it will take at least a day or two to visit most of them. There's Tantanan Bay, Sibuguey Bay, and Takushari in Talusan which are fish sanctuaries endowed with several corals reefs that are ideal for snorkeling and diving.

On my wish list is Pandilusan Island in Payao, and Litayon Island in Alicia which has notable white sand beaches. The province also has several caves in Tungawan and Talusan, and Moalboal Cave in Titay. Waterfalls include Tagbilat, Dalisay, Tugop Muslim, Cobacob, Go-otoc, Malagandis, Basay and Palina Falls in Ipil.

Introduction to Philippine architecture and heritage

Here is an introduction to Philippine architecture and heritage from the Heritage Conservation Society. This is actually an old audio-visual presentation of the HCS entitled Here Today, Here Tomorrow? which obviously needs some updating. But it's a must watch for those who want to learn some basic information on our architectural heritage. It features the history of architecture in the Philippines, significant built heritage and prominent architects of various periods in our history.
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