Mindanao Road Trip Part 1: Dipolog City

My friends decided to pay me a visit in my hometown Zamboanga City. We’d been talking about this for a very long time but plans were never realized until one day, we all just sat down and booked a ticket. They scheduled a 12-day trip so I wrote an itinerary for us to explore a couple of cities in Mindanao too.

First stop: Dipolog City.

Our main purpose was to go to Dakak, but since we told ourselves this was going to be a budget trip, we opted to book accommodations in Dipolog and just travel to Dapitan for Dakak. My friends arrived on April 4, and we hopped on a Rural Transit bus to Dipolog early the next day.

I wish I had taken pictures of the Zamboanga City Bus Terminal because I was impressed. It’s very new and well-kept (except for the toilets, according to my friend). Fare from Zamboanga City to Dipolog is P475. One thing we wished we did was bring home-cooked meals. We only ate chips and cup noodles for lunch because there weren’t many options during the stopovers (I was really hoping to buy something from Jollibee Ipil but the stopover was quite far from it). The trip took about 8 hours and we arrived with just enough time to check-in, get dinner at the boulevard, and to experience our very first Dipolog sunset. Dinner consisted of isaw, balunan, and chicken barbecue which we all devoured because we were famished.

Dipolog City
Sunset at the boulevard.

Accommodation

Our options were D’Hotel Suites and Royal Farm Resort, and decided on the latter. The first time I had been to Dipolog, I stayed at D’Hotel, so I thought it would be better to stay at Royal Farm this time. I regretted this decision as soon as we arrived because the location was quite far from the town proper and our room smelled of paint. But the service was okay and the staff were friendly. We didn’t get the chance to try the food and the other amenities because we were rarely there. We only spent the nights to sleep and rest.

Royal Farm Resort has a few swimming pools, a karaoke bar, and have rooms you can book to celebrate an event. If you’re local, it’s a great place to spend with your friends and family for some weekend fun. If you’re a tourist visiting Dipolog and would want to explore the city, D’Hotel is a safer bet.

Royal Farm Resort
Royal Farm Resort

Transportation

When we arrived at the Dipolog bus terminal, the usual flock of barkers were there to greet us and offer us their transportation services. We were unfamiliar with the place and didn’t know where the location of our hotel was so, when we were told that no multicabs (tricycle) could go there because the place was uphill, we believed them and took the “sing-gol” (or single – a motorcycle ride). We paid P100 each. We later found out that we could’ve taken a multicab and paid just P20 each to get to our destination. I would’ve been extra pissed had I not enjoyed the motorcycle ride. But we all did, so we let it go. The motorcycle drivers wanted to take us to Dapitan the next day, but we didn’t contact them again.

Food

My friends are from Luzon, so when I told them that the Jollibee in Mindanao serves pork-free spaghetti, they were curious. Jollibee was our go-to fastfood for this entire trip. We probably had 4 meals in Jollibee in the duration of our stay in Dipolog.

Chapters

One of the highlights of our Dipolog stay was this cute cafe by the boulevard. We went kind of a little early, so there wasn’t food yet (their cook arrives at 11am). We settled for waffles and coffee, and because we stayed a bit longer, we also had lunch there.

Chapters: A Book Cafe
Upside Down!
Chapters: A Book Cafe
Hi, Kat and Reena!
Chapters: A Book Cafe
Pretty Interior.

This is just a short post as we didn’t really spend a lot of time in Dipolog. I hope you enjoy the (very few) pictures and I’ll see you in Part 2: Dapitan City!