Dipolog is a relatively small city that can be explored in a day. This third class city is the capital of Zamboanga del Norte and serves as gateway to Zamboanga Peninsula and the rest of Western Mindanao. Dipolog is famous for its wild orchids as well as its bottled sardines that’s why it is known as the ‘Bottled Sardines Capital of the Philippines’.
Dipolog City Airport. Terminal Fee is now 75 pesos
Dipolog can be accessed from Manila the fastest way via airplane. The airport is currently undergoing improvement constructions. Upon arrival, tricycles and habal-habal going to downtown are already waiting outside the airport. Fare usually is 60 pesos per ride for the habal-habal and 10 pesos per person if you choose the tricycle with a capacity of 6 persons, or you could just pay the full amount for special trip.
The Restless Pinoy Traveler Tip: Bottled sardines and the likes, the usual pasalubong from Dipolog, are not allowed to be hand carried in the airplane.
The downtown area is best explored by walking. You can start with the Our lady of the Holy Rosary Cathedral or the Dipolog Cathedral, which its altar was designed by Jose Rizal himself. Pattern was based on that of San Ignacio Church in Manila. Waiting for guests outside the church, is the Plaza Magsaysay located in the heart of Dipolog.
Our lady of the Holy Rosary Cathedral or the Dipolog Cathedral
The church interior
The church altar that Jose Rizal designed
Stories about mambabarang or mangkukulam, kapre, aswang, black spells and the likes are almost always associated with the provinces of Capiz, Antique and Siquijor. I have no idea how these stories originated but let us explore one of these provinces and will try to unravel the secrets of the Island Province of Siquijor.
The mystic island was once part of its neighboring province, Negros Oriental, and is considered the third smallest province in the country in terms of population, next to Camiguin and Batanes. Originally, my plan was to stay overnight but because of the odd stories I encountered while planning my itinerary, I opted to do a day tour instead. It is still better to be safe than sorry. And besides, the whole island can be toured in a day.
Prior to my actual visit, I already booked the services of one of the best, if not the best, tour guide in Siquijor, Kuya Joel Aso. This man really is a true son of Siquijor, not just because he was born and raised there but because of his advocacies and mindset. During the tour, I felt his sincerity and how passionate he is with his vision for the province. Aside from being a tour guide, he also sells products from organic peanuts and coconut sugar which also help his fellow Siquijodnons by providing work.
Now back to the adventure, I booked the first trip from Dumaguete City to Siquijor via a ferry. Usually, the earliest trip is at around 5:30 in the morning but since it was a Saturday, the earliest is at nine in the morning. Almost two hours after sailing, I finally had my first glimpse of this enchanting haven.