Zamboanga del Norte

This was once home to Jose Rizal, the Philippine national hero. He spent four years of exile here.  As long as you’re in Dapitan, you’ll find reminders of this past everywhere you go.

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 a 16-hectare property. This plot of land is now The Rizal Shrine Park. Stop by to enjoy the park’s tranquil atmosphere, and learn more about this Filipino icon.

The Dakak Beach Resort welcomes weary travelers with a white sand beach about 800 meters long. For a more local feel, you can choose to stay in a bahay kubo (native hut).

For kids and kids at heart, there’s Gloria de Dapitan Amusement Park – also known as Gloria Fantasy Land. This guilty pleasure is the largest theme park outside Manila, with over 30 rides.

Rock climbers looking for a more natural high can scale the Sicayab Cliffs.