Jose Rizal surely knows how to pick a place for exile. I was imagining how the place must have looked like in his time. How forested that piece of land facing the sea must have been. And how conducive it must have been to romance . . . Josephine Bracken was then there.
His house looked simple, and had separate structures for the kitchen, for the toilet, for storage, and he had other huts that served as his clinic, and huts that served as quarters for his pupils.
Dapitan today has Rizal’s Shrine as its top tourist draw, with Dakak probably second, and Sunset Boulevard as the third top tourist draw.
Dakak has seen better days. The building where they have billiards, darts, and bowling look like no guest has used the facility for ages. There are signs of decay, or poor maintenance everywhere. A local even said that Dakak now just looks good on the website.
I did not stay in Dakak, after the initial excitement. I felt like there was nothing to do there, and the place is not even something close to fantastic. Alright, it is still the best in the area, but having seen the place, I don’t think I will ever book myself there.
The first encounter was bad. My friends and I were touring Dapitan prior to a Tanduay First Five Concert in Dipolog at night. We thought we’ll check out the famous Dakak, and even thought that maybe Tanduay can do a company outing, or business planning or something. We wanted to see the place and how it could be a venue for anything. We did not have food, drinks, nor clothes. Then the guards at the entrance said we needed to pay P200 per head. We said we were there just for a look-see. Besides, we needed to go back to Dipolog pronto. But the guards insisted we must pay P200 per head, even if we will just be inside for a minute. So we paid, walked around for less than 20 minutes, and left. There goes our P200 per head. Maybe business for the decaying resort has turned bad, that any other income will help. Good bye Dakak, and never again. Not even for a minute.
Dakak was the only thing that spoiled my Dapitan experience. Lunch when we got to Dapitan was good, at Erlinda’s, along Sunset Boulevard. Cheap and very good, how can you lose.
As always, there is never enough time to spend in one place, no matter how beautiful. We left Dapitan for nearby Dipolog to attend to my former company’s client’s business of mounting the free Tanduay concert that night.