Zamboanga del Norte
Zamboanga del Norte, is one of the three provinces of Region IX located in the Zamboanga Peninsula of Mindanao. It is the largest province in Region IX with 7,301.0 square kilometers. It has two component cities, Dipolog City, which is the capital, and Dapitan City, and 25 municipalities, with a total of 691 barangays, with a total population of 907,232 as per the NSO 2007 census.
Zamboanga del Norte abounds with rich natural, cultural and historical tourism resources. Dipolog City is the trading and commercial center while Dapitan City is a historical city known for having been the place where Dr. Jose Rizal, the Philippines’ National Hero, spent the last four years of his life in exile from 1892 to 1896.
Dapitan—it was Philippine national hero Jose Rizal’s home for four years, his last days in exile. The place is marked with a lot of history, some of it even told by Rizal himself. Locals say he decorated the central plaza by planting gumamela (hibiscus) and acacia trees, and helped create a relief map of Mindanao to teach locals about geography. After winning a small lottery, he built a house for his family on 16 hectares of land, now called The Rizal Shrine Park. Take a moment on your itinerary here, to see this monument to a national hero, and enjoy the park’s tranquil atmosphere.
The Dakak Beach Resort welcomes weary travelers, with a white sand beach about 800 meters long. Stay in bahay kubos (native huts)—rooms with distinct Filipino ambiance.
For the kids and kids at heart, there’s Gloria de Dapitan Amusement Park, or Glorious Fantasy Land, the largest theme park outside Manila, offering over 30 rides. Rock climbers can scale the Sicayab Cliffs for a tad more adventure. You won’t run out of things to do here.
About 85% of the land area of Zamboanga del Norte consists of hills and mountains that are rich in flora and fauna unique to the province. The diversity of marine resources within its territorial waters and the 400 km coastline are the source of seafood and fish which are popular both domestically and internationally. It also asserts itself to be the Fruit Basket of the country, with the abundance of exotic fruits such as durian, rambutan, mangosteen, marang, lansones, mangoes, bananas, papayas, pineapples, jackfruit, and many more.
The prominent cultural resource of Zamboanga del Norte is its Subanen culture, the Subanens being the original inhabitants of the province. Its historical heritage stems from the various periods of colonization starting with the pre-Spanish period followed by the Spanish, American and Japanese Regimes up to the First Philippine Republic. What sets it apart in history, however, is the role it played in the last four years Jose Rizal in exile in Dapitan.