Component City

Dapitan City Government Center (City Hall of Dapitan)

Nickname(s): Shrine City of the Philippines; Historic City of the South; Amusement Capital of the South; Rizal City of the South
Motto: Abante Kaayo Dapitanon (Forward More Dapitanon)

Map of Zamboanga del Norte with Dapitan highlighted

Location within the Philippines

Coordinates: 08°39′N 123°25′E / 8.650°N 123.417°E / 8.650; 123.417Coordinates: 08°39′N 123°25′E / 8.650°N 123.417°E / 8.650; 123.417
Country Philippines
Region Zamboanga Peninsula (Region IX)
Province Zamboanga del Norte
Legislative district 1st District, Zamboanga del Norte
Founded 1629
Barangays 50
  Mayor Rosalina G. Jalosjos
  Total 390.53 km2 (150.78 sq mi)
Population (2015)[3]
  Total 82,418
  Density 210/km2 (550/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Dapitanon
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ZIP code 7101
Dialing code +63(0)65
Income class 3rd class
Website www.dapitancity.gov.ph

Dapitan, officially the City of Dapitan (Subanon: Gembagel G'benwa Dapitan/Bagbenwa Dapitan; Cebuano: Dakbayan sa Dapitan; Filipino: Lungsod ng Dapitan; Chavacano/Spanish: Ciudad de Dapitan), is a third-class city in the province of Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines on the island of Mindanao. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 82,418 inhabitants.[3]

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." The city is also home to 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.

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.


Population census of Dapitan
YearPop.±% p.a.
1990 59,046    
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%


Dapitan City is politically subdivided into 50 barangays.[2] In 1955, the sitios of Sipalok, Barcelona, and Potungan were converted into barrios.[4]

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


Main article: Taguilon, Dapitan

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 interest

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.[5] 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 the late 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.


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.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Dapitan is twinned with:


  1. "Official City/Municipal 2013 Election Results". Intramuros, Manila, Philippines: Commission on Elections (COMELEC). 1 July 2013. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  2. 1 2 "Province: ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  3. 1 2 "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010" (PDF). 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  4. "An Act Converting into Barrios Certain Sitios in the Province of Zamboanga Del Norte". LawPH.com. Retrieved 2011-04-11.
  5. "Liwasan ng Dapitan: Dapitan City Plaza". June 18, 2010. Retrieved September 4, 2014.

External links

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