Located on the western part of Mindanao, Dipolog City – dubbed as the Orchid City – is a surprising mix of the antiquated and the contemporary, of the quaint and the urbane, and of the peculiar and the generic. And although it still exudes that charming provincial vibe, Dipolog City is by no means your archetypal provincial capital. (Image: DipologCity.Gov)
More than the uncomplicated lifestyle and the laidback atmosphere, the real jewel of Dipolog is its people – the Dipolognons. And although the Dipolog that we know today is a far cry from the sleepy town that it once was, Dipolognons have managed to preserve the unhurried pace and the unpretentious charisma that endear the city to locals and tourists alike. And coupled with the flexing of its tourism and economic muscles brought about by the influx of visitors and the resurgence of businesses, Dipolog is one of the most attractive places to visit – both for business and for the pleasure.
Here’s my list of the Top 10 Things to Do in Dipolog City. And because I believe that it order to fully appreciate the beauty of a place, every tourist has to experience the many simple things that Dipolog has to offer.
10. Catch the magnificent sunset at the Dipolog City Boulevard. The city is blessed with one of the most beautiful sunsets, and this can be experienced while taking a stroll along the boulevard. (Image: Author's own)
9. Hear mass at the Holy Rosary Cathedral. Dipolognons are a fairly religious bunch, and one testament to this is the always-packed Cathedral on Sundays when the parishioners spill out onto the street fronting this dazzling church. Oh, and the main altar was designed by Jose Rizal himself. So, it’s not just visually appealing, but the church has some historical value as well. (Image: Seth Oliver)
8. Test your endurance at the Linabo Peak. Located in Barangay Dicayas, Linabo Peak features a staircase (if you’d like to call it as that) that has approximately 3,003 steps up to the tip of the mountain. This is especially appealing to fitness buffs as this will put their endurance to the test. Plus, the view from the top will take your breath away which makes it worthy of every step. (Image: Anonimus)
7. Sample the best Halo halo in Dipolog at Lennie’s / Julie's. It’s impossible to miss this unpretentious snack joint as it’s located in the middle of all the action. Fronting the Dipolog City Hall and beside the UCCP Chuch, Julie's (formerly Lennie’s) has been around since time immemorial and it holds many childhood memories of Dipolognons around the world. Old school Halo halo at it's best. (Image: Juanderful Pinoy)
6. Shop for Fresh seafoods at the Dipolog City Public Market. The city’s market is arguably one of the cleanest public markets in the Philippines. Located at the intersection of Dipolog’s main thoroughfares – Rizal and Quezon – Dipolog Public Market is a posterchild of what every public market should be – the surroundings are always clean, vendors are always polite, and fresh seafoods are always a guarantee. (Image: Dipolog Public Market)
5. Experience Dipolog Black Sand Beaches. Of course, white sand beaches are aplenty in Zamboanga del Norte, with Dakak, Selinog, and Aliguay to name a few. But for people who wants to have a twist in their beach itineraries and for those who do not appreciate the long drive, Dipolog City boasts of several lovely black sand beaches that you can get to in less than 30 minutes. The city, after all, is a coastal town. (Image: Trip Advisor)
4. Hunting for the Best Ukay Ukay Bargain. Folks who fancy getting down and dirty in search for the biggest bargain in fashion will find Dipolog City very appealing. The entire city is dotted with different kinds of ukay-ukay joints which range from the boutique-ish sort to the usual squat-shovel-hunt varieties that will test your arm muscles and haggling skills. Ukay-ukays are a favorite hunting ground of the females in my family. But that’s not to say that men can’t also share the fun. I, for one, have scored an authentic GAP hoodie and a genuine Billabong boardshorts. How’s that for shopping at a measly fraction of the price? (Image: Jojie Alcantara)
Dipolog is a clichéd clean and green city – and it’s more than just propaganda. The city has been labeled as the antithesis of the typical town in Mindanao that you always see on television or read about in the newspapers. It’s far from the usually menacing image of Mindanao towns that’s unfairly painted in the public’s consciousness. Here is a city where everybody knows everybody else, tourists are treated like family, late night gaiety with friends are always welcome, and where one could roam the streets at 3o’clock in the morning without a care in the world.
It’s one of those places that you'd always want to go back and go home to, where memories are fonder and where life is definitely sweeter. Dipolog City - after all - is about living the good and simple life.