About 75 kilometes away from Dumaguete City to the south is situated a once sleepy town named Dapitan. It is also called the Shrine City of the Philippines because it is where our national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal was exiled by the Spaniards. Educational tours/trips, Jose Rizal being the national hero, was a good reason to visit the place. Of course, there is Dakak Resort. Other than that, the only compelling reason to go was to visit relatives.
By evening Dapitan is already asleep. It was difficult to find places to eat and sleep. Even when some locals had guests, other than Dakak, finding a good accommodation and meals was hard. This was because there was a very limited number of restaurants and pension houses.
One factor that contributes to the rise of tourism in Dapitan City is Fantasyland. It is a park comparable to the enchanted kingdom. It is known as the biggest theme park outside of Luzon. The Gloria fantasyland is the first of its kind in the whole of Mindanao. The theme park can be fully enjoyed during nighttime because of its glittering and glimmering lights. Before the establishment of Gloria de Dapitan, Dapitan city had virtually zero nightlife.
Dapitan is fast becoming the premiere entertainment center of Mindanao and Gloria de Dapitan is just situated about twenty minutes away from the Dapitan port with easy access to transportation due to the fact that the tourism in Dapitan is rising. But now even until dawn you can still find tourists and locals enjoying at the bars inside Gloria, and even outside along the sunset boulevard were you can find lots of restaurants and bars.
It not only provided amusement/entertainment to people but has likewise provided opportunities to working students. This is an admirable scheme of not just generating economic gain from the customers and patrons of its services but likewise applying the principle of social responsibility by employing the underprivileged so they can have a better future.
It took the visionary in the person of the former two-time Congressman of the first district of ZANORTE, Hon. Romeo Jalosjos, to transform the once quiet and slow- paced city to become vibrant and alive that it is today. According to primary sources he is known as the “Father of Tourism” in ZANORTE. He was instrumental in developing the city. Life in the city has never been as alive with the brisk influx of local and international tourists. The tourism boom, generated such impact as more employment opportunities for the local people, better educational opportunities for students, more business investments especially pension houses and resorts, restaurants and other businesses.
Today Dapitan City is one of the favorite tourist destinations in the Philippines.