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Dapitan, officially the City of Dapitan (Cebuano: Dakbayan sa Dapitan; Subanon: Gembagel G'benwa Dapitan/Bagbenwa Dapitan) or simply referred to as Dapitan City, is a 3rd class city in the province of Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 82,418 people.[3]

City of Dapitan
City Hall
City Hall
Official seal of Dapitan
  • Capital of Mindanao
  • Shrine City of the Philippines
  • Historic City of the South
  • Rizal City of the South
Abante Kaayo Dapitanon (Forward More Dapitanon)
Map of Zamboanga del Norte with Dapitan highlighted
Map of Zamboanga del Norte with Dapitan highlighted
Dapitan is located in Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 8°39′18″N 123°25′27″E / 8.6549°N 123.4243°E / 8.6549; 123.4243Coordinates: 8°39′18″N 123°25′27″E / 8.6549°N 123.4243°E / 8.6549; 123.4243
Country Philippines
RegionZamboanga Peninsula (Region IX)
ProvinceZamboanga del Norte
District1st District
CityhoodJune 22, 1963
Barangays50 (see Barangays)
 • TypeSangguniang Panlungsod
 • MayorRosalina G. Jalosjos
 • Vice MayorJimmy Patrick Israel B. Chan
 • CongressmanRomeo M. Jalosjos Jr.
 • Electorate57,434 voters (2019)
 • Total390.53 km2 (150.78 sq mi)
 (2015 census)[3]
 • Total82,418
 • Density210/km2 (550/sq mi)
 • Income class3rd city income class
 • Poverty incidence36.14% (2015)[4]
 • Revenue (₱)540,006,232.83 (2016)
Time zoneUTC+8 (PST)
ZIP code
IDD:area code+63 (0)65
Climate typetropical climate
Native languagesSubanon language

It is historically significant as the place where José Rizal was exiled by the Spaniards for his revolutionary activities. He is considered a national hero, and this is known as the "Shrine City in the Philippines." It is also often considered the capital of Mindanao Island. The city is also home to Gloria's Fantasyland, the first amusement park in Mindanao.


The beginnings of the settlement now known as the city of Dapitan predates the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores on the island of Mindanao. The Subanens, a nomadic tribe of Indo-Malayan stock, were the earliest known settlers who lived along river banks or "suba", from which word they received their present tribal identity as Subanen. However, it is believed that the timid Subanens were forced to move further into the hinterlands of the Zamboanga peninsula out of fear that pirates may seek shelter during foul weather in the natural harbors of Dapitan’s irregular coastlines. They are now mainly found in the mountainous areas of Zamboanga del Sur and Misamis Occidental.

In 1564, Datu Pagbuaya of the Kedatuan of Dapitan (formerly located in present-day Tagbilaran of Bohol) arrived in Mindanao after the Kedatuan of Dapitan in Bohol was destroyed by the Sultanate of Ternate in 1563. Datu Pagbuaya took the responsibility of taking care of his brother Dailisan's surviving subjects and made an exodus to Mindanao, after the latter was killed during the war with the Muslim Ternateans and their Portuguese allies masquerading as Spaniards.

Pagbuaya then re-established the Kedatuan of Dapitan in Mindanao upon arrival. Subanens were then driven out from their traditional lands and submitted to their new Boholano overlords, supplying them timber, honey, beeswax, and exotic animals for export to other countries such as the Ming China and Tokugawa Japan.

It was believed that after Pagbuaya sided with the Spaniards he introduced the Conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi to the Rajah Sikatuna of Bohol. Pagbuaya was succeeded by his son Datu Mano-ok after his death in 1564, and after his contact with Legazpi's party, eventually incorporating the re-established Kedatuan of Dapitan to the Spanish Empire. Datu Mano-ok converted to Christianity, and was baptized as Don Pedro Manooc.

Early cartographers of the Philippines showed Dapitan’s location in their maps of Mindanao using a variety of names by which they had known the settlement, such as “Dapito” in Kaerius’ map of 1598, “Dapite” in Dudley’s map of 1646, “Dapyto” in Sanson’s map of 1652, and “Dapitan” in Moll’s map of the East Indies of 1729 and in Murillo Velarde’s map of 1734.

There are two versions of how Dapitan got its name. The first, from an account attributed to Fr. Urdaneta, infers that the name evolved from the original reference to it as "Daquepitan", which later became "Dacpitan" and finally "Dapitan" to make it easier to pronounce.

The second version, which is more widely accepted according to folklore, says that the name derives from the Cebuano word “Dapit”, which means “to invite”. Local tradition tells of the early settlers from Panglao in Bohol who were invited over by Datu Pagbuaya, the acknowledged founder of Dapitan, to join him in "Dakung Yuta", or literally the big land that is Mindanao. The invitation or pag-dapit that he extended to Boholanos is said to be how Dapitan got its name.

Various historical accounts also indicate that trading voyages and commercial relations existed with the nascent but thriving settlement of Dapitan. This interaction with traders from the different cultures in the region may have had some influence on the cultural evolution of Dapitan itself. The influence of the Spaniards, the Americans, the Japanese, and the different Visayan ethnolinguistic groups that settled here could not also be discounted in their contributions toward the evolution and emergence of a distinctly Dapitanon culture.


On June 22, 1963, President Diosdado Macapagal signed R.A. 3811 which converted Dapitan into a chartered city. It is officially renowned as the “Shrine City of the Philippines.”

The earliest settlers of Dapitan were the Subanens, a nomadic tribe of Indonesian stock known to have settled and lived along the banks of the river or “suba” out of which their present-day tribal identity originated.


YearPop.±% p.a.
1903 8,086—    
1918 12,866+3.14%
1939 28,295+3.82%
1948 37,984+3.33%
1960 27,517−2.65%
1970 37,781+3.22%
1975 46,261+4.14%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1980 54,694+3.40%
1990 59,046+0.77%
1995 62,997+1.22%
2000 68,178+1.71%
2007 72,792+0.91%
2010 77,441+2.28%
2015 82,418+1.19%
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority[3][5][6][7]


Dapitan City is politically subdivided into 50 barangays, of which 8 barangays are urban, 27 are interior, 13 are coastal, and 2 are island barangays.[8] In 1955, the sitios of Sipalok, Barcelona, and Potungan were converted into barrios.[9]

  • Aliguay (island barangay)
  • Antipolo (interior)
  • Aseniero (interior)
  • Ba-ao (interior)
  • Bagting (urban)
  • Banbanan (coastal)
  • Banonong (urban)
  • Barcelona (interior)
  • Baylimango (coastal)
  • Burgos (interior)
  • Canlucani (coastal)
  • Carang (coastal)
  • Cawa-cawa (urban)
  • Dampalan (interior)
  • Daro (interior)
  • Dawo (urban)
  • Diwa-an (interior)
  • Guimputlan (coastal)
  • Hilltop (interior)
  • Ilaya (interior)
  • Kauswagan (interior)
  • Larayan (interior)
  • Linabo (urban)
  • Liyang (interior)
  • Maria Cristina (interior)
  • Maria Uray (interior)
  • Masidlakon (interior)
  • Napo (coastal)
  • Opao (interior)
  • Oro (coastal)
  • Owaon (interior)
  • Oyan (interior)
  • Polo (coastal)
  • Potol (urban)
  • Potungan (interior)
  • San Francisco (interior)
  • San Nicolas (interior)
  • San Pedro (coastal)
  • San Vicente (coastal)
  • Santa Cruz (urban)
  • Santo Niño (interior)
  • Sicayab Bocana (coastal)
  • Sigayan (interior)
  • Silinog (island barangay)
  • Sinonoc (interior)
  • Sulangon (interior)
  • Tag-olo (coastal)
  • Taguilon (coastal)
  • Talisay (Urban)
  • Tamion (interior)


Dakak Beach Resort

Taguilon is home to the Dakak Park and Beach Resort. It is a producer of coconut and agar (based on sea weed) as well as a fishing port. The pier in Taguilon is a secondary/alternate port to the main passenger/cargo port in Dapitan City. Additionally, during severe storms at sea, ferries and other ships find shelter in the Taguilon cove. One can find the mount Lalab overlooking the islets of Silinog and part of Balyangaw.


Talisay is a seaside barangay where José Rizal spent four years in exile. A park and shrine honoring the Philippine national hero can be found in the José Rizal Memorial Protected Landscape, a protected area declared in 2000, located in the old Rizal farm site in the barangay.

Places of interestEdit

Liwasan ng Dapitan (Dapitan City Plaza)
Liwasan ng Dapitan (Dapitan City Plaza)
Dapitan City Plaza (“Liwasan ng Dapitan”) also known as the City Square is the plaza which Dr. Jose P. Rizal beautified and developed during his exile. With the assistance of Spanish Politico-Military Governor of Dapitan, Gov. Ricardo Carnicero, Rizal made the Dapitan City Plaza comparable to the ones he saw in Europe.[10] It has an area of one (1) hectare more or less. This was developed by Dr. Jose P. Rizal with the help of Gov. Ricardo Carnicero, a politico military of Dapitan City.
Punto del Desembarco de Rizal
Punto del Desembarco de Rizal
The site where Rizal disembarked from the steamer "Cebu" in 1565 with the arrival of Miguel Lopez de Legaspi. A 20-foot cross was erected to symbolize the propagation of Christianity in the locality of Dapitan.
Rizal Shrine
Rizal Park and Shrine
This is a major historical landmark of Dapitan City. In August 1892, Dr. Jose P. Rizal together with Gov. Carnicero and Francisco Equilor, a Spaniard living in Dipolog, luckily won a lotto bet which financially enabled Dr. Rizal to buy a 10 hectares piece of land from Lucia Pagbangon. In March 1893, Rizal then transferred to this place in barangay Talisay. Later on, his mother Doña Teodora Alonso, his sisters, and some relatives from Calamba, Laguna came and lived with him in Talisay until 1896. The National Historical Commission of the Philippines affected Republic Act No. 4363 which was approved on June 19, 1965. The Rizal Shrine was then declared as one of the National Shrines through Presidential Decree No. 105 issued by then president Ferdinand E. Marcos on January 24, 1973.
Casa Real
Dr. Jose P. Rizal stayed here in Casa Real with Governor Ricardo Carnicero from his arrival until he moved to Rizal Shrine at barangay Talisay in March 1893. The looks of Casa Real is the same as the old City Hall with bamboo on each side, the upper portion is made up of woods. A replica of Casa Real will soon rise near its marker.
St. James the Greater Church
This church was built in 1871 in honor of St. James the Greater, Dapita's patron saint. The design of the interior walls is more or less 1 meter thick and still original except for the furnishing. The altar and the interior hane undergone several renovations. Inside is a historical spot where Dr. Jose P. Rizal, Philippines' National Hero, stood while hearing mass every Sunday. At the mezzanine is the priceless heritage organ that bears a year in the making - year 1827 at the choir loft. It was brought to Dapitan by the Agustinian Recollect fathers. A German made with European pipes. It is a manual pipe organ.
Cotta de Dapitan
Establish in 1761, the fort was made to monitor the waters of northern Zamboanga. The fort was made on top of the sacred Ilihan hill. Currently, the fort is in dire need of conservation.


Dapitan City has launched a diversified fiesta celebration of its Patron St. James or Señor Santiago for the locals through a three-in-one affair, combining religious, cultural and sports events in its Kinabayo Festival 2009.

The Kinabayo Festival kicks off July 16 and culminates on July 31 with various events taking place within the Shrine City of the Philippines.



Port of Pulauan

Dapitan is served by the Port of Pulauan in barangay San Vicente (albeit ferry schedules often list the destination as Port of Dipolog, a neighboring city). There are daily ferries from/to Dumaguete and from/to Cebu City.


Dapitan is catered by Dipolog City Airport through Phil. Air, Cebu Pacific and 2Go Airline. From Dipolog take a shuttle bus to Dapitan which is 20–30 minutes ride, that's 12 kilometers from the airport to the City proper of Dapitan.

Notable peopleEdit

International relationsEdit

Twin towns — Sister citiesEdit

Dapitan is twinned with:


  1. ^ "City". Quezon City, Philippines: Department of the Interior and Local Government. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  2. ^ "Province: Zamboanga del Norte". PSGC Interactive. Quezon City, Philippines: Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Census of Population (2015). "Region IX (Zamboanga Peninsula)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. PSA. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  4. ^ "PSA releases the 2015 Municipal and City Level Poverty Estimates". Quezon City, Philippines. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  5. ^ Census of Population and Housing (2010). "Region IX (Zamboanga Peninsula)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. NSO. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  6. ^ Censuses of Population (1903–2007). "Region IX (Zamboanga Peninsula)". Table 1. Population Enumerated in Various Censuses by Province/Highly Urbanized City: 1903 to 2007. NSO.
  7. ^ "Province of Zamboanga del Norte". Municipality Population Data. Local Water Utilities Administration Research Division. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  8. ^ "Barangays". Dapitan City Official Website. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  9. ^ "An Act Converting into Barrios Certain Sitios in the Province of Zamboanga Del Norte". Archived from the original on 2012-07-14. Retrieved 2011-04-11.
  10. ^ "Liwasan ng Dapitan: Dapitan City Plaza". June 18, 2010. Retrieved September 4, 2014.

External linksEdit