We went to the Dakak Resort in Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte last Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday 2016 for our family reunion. Members of the Lo Kong Ka Clan from Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao converged.
There were six SUVs from Bacolod that went via Dumaguete City, then took the barge to Dipolog City port. Another four SUVs carried relatives from the cities of Iligan and Cagayan de Oro. Members from Manila and Cebu took the plane to Dipolog. Since my husband, two kids, and I were already in Manila, we went straight to Dipolog as well on a Cebu Pacific flight.
At the airport, we were greeted by a welcome party from Dakak Resort who gave us all leis. Then we were ushered to the company bus that awaited us at the parking lot. It took about a 45-minute drive from Dipolog City to where Dakak is in Dapitan. When we reached the resort, they offered us welcome drinks, a respite from the heat, as we were really parched from the road trip.
Dakak Beach Resort is breathtaking. The white sand beach is long, it has plenty of lodging for the budget as well as the premium traveler, water activities, sports activities, and lots of restaurants. They have kept the area pristine and the forests intact. The only problem is, it is a big property. I am not sure how big the land area of the entire island is, but yes, it is an island, so there are long distances between the lodges, the restaurants, the beach, the pools, and the recreational areas. Be prepared for long walks while you are there because walking is a requirement.
The term, “Dakak”, was coined from the phrase “Dagkong Kakahoyan“, which literally means “big trees”. And the place did not disappoint. It was full of big trees and many plants. And they keep on planting, too. Some had dried up though because of the heat of the summer sun, especially the Bermuda grass, but I believe that during the rainy months, the place is verdant and beautiful.
Most of our party stayed at Dakak for four days and three nights. We occupied 12 individual rooms and one family pavilion (with 16 occupants). On the first day, we spent it swimming or just sight seeing then in the evening, we went to the Gloria’s Fantasyland, an entertainment theme park at the Gloria de Dapitan Complex. It came free with our accommodations.
About Gloria’s Fantasyland
Shows start at 09:30 PM
Joie De Vivre (Joy of Life)
Fire and Thunder Show
Festival of Colors/Parade of Cultures
Ticket Information: Php1000/person
*Includes unlimited access to all Rides and Attractions and Various Shows.
Note: Rate is subject to change without prior notice. If your entrance is free because your hotel accommodation, don’t ever lose the ticket stub that they issue upon check in otherwise, they would not honor your free admission.
4:00 P.M. to 12:00 M.N. – Tuesday to Sunday (Closed on Mondays)
Dakak Attractions and Activities
You will never run out of something to do when in Dakak. They have so many amenities to check out and so many activities to try. They have something for everyone, so no one gets bored. But in some of the activities, separate fees apply. The only thing that’s free with the accommodations is swimming in the beach and in the three different pools. Of course, you are free to sun bathe on the many sun beds scattered all over the place or just relax under the shade of the big trees and just enjoy the scenery. Their many beds, tables, and chairs are free of charge.
Three (3) tennis courts
Billiards and bowling alley
All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV)
War Game (Airsoft)
Side trips When in Dapitan
When you are already in Dapitan, don’t miss a stop at the Rizal Landing Place and the Rizal Shrine (where Rizal used to live during his exile). You can also visit the Pasalubong depot in Dapitan or Dipolog and get a sampling of their famous Spanish sardines and bagoong (shrimp paste). Another experience that you should not miss is the Dapitan River Cruise where you are treated to an hour and a half of a scenic lunch along Dapitan River. But don’t go there for the lunch, go there for the cruise.
Hands down, Dakak Beach Resort is beautiful to say the least. They have been in operation for the last 20 years (or so I was told) and they maintained the resort well. But since it is a big place, I’ve got to warn you again that you need to walk long distance and go and up down a steep hill when going back between stops. Make sure that you have brought everything you need when you go to the beach, the pool, or the restaurant, because you will surely curse under your breath when you have to go back to your room and climb the steep way.
Their service also needs a lot of improvement. We went there as a big group and keeping everything and everyone together is a mean task already. Our secretariat had a hard time coordinating our requirements with the front office staff, as they kept missing instructions. For example, we went to the Dapitan River Cruise with instructions that the bus will only take us to the starting point, as we have cars that can take us around the city. They also told us that the end of the cruise is a different area than where we started. But we ended up in the same place and the bus was still there.
For our reunion dinner, they would not accommodate our dinner and party at the function room. They said that we can only rent their function room at the Tai for P1,000 per hour for our party but they could not serve food. So that means the rent is not consumable and we had to take our dinner at their beach buffet that costs P600 per pax and paid an additional P4,000 for our function room use. But we still agreed as we need a place to gather, but when we got there at 7:50pm (our reservation was for 8pm to 12mn), the aircon was not yet on and there was nobody to assist us. The aircon was turned on around 8:25pm so we had to endure the heat in the area while waiting for their staff to arrice. That is a real shortchange considering that we paid for the venue specifically. There was no apology whatsoever, we were just told, “Mao jud na sya” or “That’s just how things are.
Our secretariat, who are very detailed people, found it difficult to deal with the Dakak Staff. We were expecting much better service considering that they have been in business for so long. One cousin said that the staff and management don’t seem to care about their clients, after all, they are already established and probably don’t need the money anymore. He added that it “would be our first and last in Dakak.” So I guess that just about sums it up.
Actually, while I was at the lobby, a couple also had some valid complaints but they found it hard to convey it to the front office staff. In the end, they also had to accept the explanation, “That’s just how it is.” Yeah, they are not very flexible in catering to their clients.
Food at Dakak was not very good either, except at their Italian Restaurant. We ate at their different restaurants and we were not happy with the taste of their food. This is especially true at their seafood restaurant where the food choices were soooo limited. On our first night, we had tinolang isda, grilled fish, fish kinilaw, and grilled squid because they didn’t serve anything else. At first, we thought that maybe that’s just how food tastes in Zamboanga del Norte because of regional differences, but when we had dinner at a restaurant at the Gloria de Dapitan and it was sooo good! The food at the resort really needs much improvement.
And lastly, there is no hot water. Among all our rooms (12 individual and 1 barkada), only one room had hot water. There was nothing they could do about it either. Water supply is also intermittent, so there are times of the day that you cannot take baths nor flush the toilet.
The food at the Beachside Buffet was not that good, but at least we got to enjoy their presentation about Zamboanga del Norte.
Dakak Park Beach Resort
Barangay Taguilon, Dapitan City
Zamboanga del Norte, 7101
Phone Number: +63-65-2136813
How to Get to Dakak
From Manila, we took the only Cebu Pacific flight to Dipolog City at 1:35pm where the Dakak Resort bus picked us up. Our fare for four pax was around P13k with 20 kg of baggage allowance. Since the flight was delayed (and it always is), there was not really much left of our day except to rest a bit and have dinner. If you want an earlier arrival, get on the Philippine Airlines flight, but I believe it is usually more expensive.
From the Visayas, you can take a plane from Cebu. But from where we are in Negros Occidental, we took the Roro. We drove to Dumaguete City and got on the barge managed by Aleson Shipping. Fare was P450 for a full paying adult, P360 for a senior citizen, and P230 (half fare) for kids. Car’s passage fee was P3,200 per vehicle. There are other lines plying the same route, but I am not aware of the difference.