Dipolog City: A Guide on the Best Things to Do and the Best Places to See
The Gateway to Western Mindanao. The Orchid City. Bottled Sardines Capital of the Philippines.
These names belong to Dipolog City, the capital city of Zamboanga del Norte. For me, however, Dipolog City is a place called home.
And home is what visitors feel the moment they arrive in my beloved hometown. With that, allow me to take you on a tour around the treasures of my city.
Welcome to Dipolog City
Places in Dipolog City
My Dipolog holds a charming blend of a traditional city and the wit of a progressive town. A refreshing gasp of clean air and that natural bucolic vibe await her visitors. Dipolog may be a small city but it is laden with history and culture.
Start your adventure at the heart of the city. The Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral is a magnificent structure built in 1894 and holds a touch of national history as its original altar was designed by no less than our national hero, Doctor Jose Rizal. Make sure you take a stroll around the Plaza Magsaysay and the Dipolog City Hall, too.
(Left) The façade of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral. (Right) The calming view of the Dipolog Sunset Boulevard at mid-afternoon.
Your next stop would be the Santa Cruz Marker or “Punta Corro”, a tall cross commemorating the arrival of the early Boholano settlers in the city and located almost two kilometers straight from the Cathedral. The Marker is conveniently located at the Dipolog Sunset Boulevard where Dipolognons love to spend their afternoons. Be there in the late afternoon and catch the glorious sunset unfold its beauty before you.
For an eagle’s view of the city, go to the Linabo Peak where the challenge of taking 3,003 steps awaits. The climb will be worth it, though; at the peak, the view of Dipolog is truly breathtaking. Pun intended.
If you have an adventurous soul, schedule a trek at Cogon Ecotourism Park, as well. Enjoy communing with nature and take splash at Sungkilaw Falls while you’re at it!
The Food in Dipolog City
After the long stroll, a feast should be your worthy reward. For that, restaurants abound in the city. There’s Big Joe’s Cafe, for your choice of Filipino, Chinese or Western meals. Their Baby Back Ribs is a personal favorite – sweet and tender, and worth every bite. Then there’s Mooon Cafe for your fix of Mexican delicacies. Tacos and burritos, anyone? If you fancy going Italian, though, then UrChoice Bistro Cafe should be your choice for the best pizza and pasta in the city. The Green Kitchen, on the other hand, will soothe your appetite for both taste and nutrition.
Decade interiors serve as ambiance at Big Joe’s Cafe.
Big Joe’s Baby Back Ribs – a must-try!
The Night Life in Dipolog City
At night, the humble city transforms into a vibrant capital. The boulevard in particular becomes lively with acoustic sounds. Dine at our local version of McDo*, queues of food stalls for grilled and barbecue dishes. Chill at Karryl’s Grille or enjoy the company of friends and beer at Balai Resto Bar. And finally, add rhythm to the night and stomp to the club beats at the energetic Fat Cat.
You’ll never expect Dipolog could be such a lively spectacle at night.
*Mcdo or magdoko-doko, which means leaning the head closer to the plate while eating with bare hands
Sweet Souvenirs from Dipolog City
The experience of your Dipolog visit is simply a sweet memory. For you to remember this, indulging in some delectable treats is a sinless pleasure.
If there’s one pasalubong synonymous with the city, it would certainly be Montaño’s Sardines. These Spanish Style Sardines in corn oil are a traveler’s must-have. Bring home other varieties as well, like the Spanish Style Sardines in Olive Oil or in Tomato Sauce and Corn Oil, Milkfish in Olive Oil and White Wine, and Ginisang Bagoong (fermented anchovies).
A bottle is not enough. Bring home a box (or two) of Montaño’s Sardines.
Add to your itinerary Cathy’s Kitchen, with their assortment of pastries and cake – their creamy tarts are a bestseller. And Classic Bakeshop, too. Their cupcakes are fluffy, cheesy and, as a friend would describe it, unlike any other.
Travel Tips for Dipolog City
- Flights from Manila arrive daily. Purchase your tickets in advance to avail of low fare promos.
- Going around Dipolog is budget-friendly. Normal fare is eight pesos per person. But for a tour around the city, hire a pedicab driver as your personal tourist guide. Just haggle with him for the price. Every tour comes with tidbits about our place, the way we live and why we always find a reason to smile.
This sturdy pedicab could be your means of cruising around the city
- For your accommodation, stay at Top Plaza Hotel, the Ariana Hotel, Hotel Camila, or at D’Hotel and Suites.
- Best to travel during the month of May for the Pagsalabuk Festival and the Feast in honor of Saint Vincent Ferrer. The Pagsalabuk or “Get Together” is a cultural feast celebrating the diversity of ethnicities not only in Dipolog but also the whole of Zamboanga del Norte.
- Maximize your vacation by visiting Dipolog’s twin sister, Dapitan City, and explore Jose Rizal’s haven during his exile. Dapitan City is a mere fifteen minutes away from Dipolog.
Schedule a trip for two days or three in wonderful Dipolog, the Gateway to Western Mindanao, or should I say, the gateway to your new experience. Who knows You might even consider my hometown as your new residence. And why not? Make Dipolog City your Hometown in the Philippines.
Other Wonderful Places to Visit in Mindanao: