Mention “Dakak” and Gen X and millennial Filipinos would have images of fine sand and pristine waters in their heads.

This is true even for those who haven’t been to the park and beach resort in Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte. It’s been firmly etched into our collective pop culture subconsciousness.

But those looking to visit the city should consider including it in their itineraries as it has been a favorite all these decades for a reason.

Dakak Park and Beach Resort is known for its seaside and mountain vistas. Photo by Playground Films PH courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Over three decades of history

The 15-hectare resort started out as residential property on August 17, 1988.

The name “Dakak” is a portmanteau of the Visayan words “dakong kakahoyan” which means “big forest.” As recalled by some locals, the area is covered with green lush forest and big trees.. The owners of Dakak Resort have conserved the space  by allowing these naturally grown trees in the are to thrive.

Dakak first seeped into public consciousness through the regular airing of its commercials on a popular noontime show after it was launched and the hosting of the Miss Universe 1994. 

“In our 34 years in the business, we have remained as one of the most popular travel destinations on this side of the country because we always see to it that we have plenty of services for our guests to enjoy,” shares the resort’s corporate marketing manager April Vianney Laput. 

She says that management always thinks of new offerings be it newly-renovated villas, a state-of-the-art aqua facility, a new bar, restaurant, or just a menu upgrade. 

Though it has been a relatively smooth sailing three decades, Dakak’s operations, as in similar establishments, have been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We closed during the lockdown,” Laput shares, “and pushed back promotions for a reopening in June 2020.” 

She explains that they cut down on their expenses and applied a skeleton workforce to ensure the maintenance of the resort and its operations.

The resort has been in operation for over three decades making it a household name especially in Mindanao. Photo by Playground Films PH courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

With the tourism sector finally showing signs of recovery, the resort is looking forward to going full swing again. 

“With our Villa Angelina Luxury Suites expansion, Dakak Resort and Properties is now capable of catering to all types of markets: from families to adventure seekers, honeymooners to business travelers, golfers to dive enthusiasts,” says Laput. 

Of the resort’s plans, she explains that they are focused on improving their products and services and saturating the areas where they need more sales traffic. 

They are currently revisiting their partnerships with the Chinese and Korean markets to expand the resort’s reach. 

Furthermore, recognizing the trend toward sustainable tourism, the management has spearheaded initiatives such as its “Go Green” and “Grow More Trees” programs which commenced in 2019. 

“We have been taking steps to implement sustainable practices such as the use of recyclable materials and solar-powered facilities, energy and water conservation, and proper waste disposal,” Laput explains. 

She adds that their corporate social responsibility (CSR) revolves around coastal cleanliness and a plastic-free environment. 

Accommodations for couples and families 

The resort complex has 158 fully furnished rooms in native duplex bungalows made of bamboo and with capiz window panes. 

Guests can choose from a variety of accommodations from deluxe rooms to family villas. Photo by Playground Films PH courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

There are a total of 64 bungalows with 100 Deluxe Rooms; 16 Prime Deluxe Rooms; 12 Beachfront rooms; a Family Pavilion with 30 rooms; and one Presidential Suite.

Accommodations for two guests could fetch anywhere between Php7,500 for a Deluxe Room to Php10,500 for a Garden Room that has views of the Sulu Sea. Families or a barkada can book Dakak’s Family Pavilion for Php18,000 with free breakfast. 

Each room is equipped with air conditioning, cable television, intercom phone, mini bar, shower/bath with hot and cold water, and a dressing area. 

Activities from sea to summit

“When in Dakak, there are plenty of activities for guests,” Laput shares. “You can swim all day at our 750-meter white-sand beach. We also have three swimming pools in different sizes and depths.” 

The resort’s 750-meter stretch of white-sand beach is the starting point for different water activities. You can go diving with their PADI-trained divers with the surrounding waters considered one of Mindanao’s most famous dive spots. 

The resort’s white-sand beach is the jump-off point for its water-based activities like diving, snorkeling, and kayaking. Photo by Playground Films PH courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Amateur and professional divers are in for a treat as Dakak’s waters hold a rich marine ecosystem. There are coral gardens, basket sponges, sea anemones, clownfish, and even octopuses. There have also been sightings of blue spotted rays.  

If diving is not your cup of tea, you can opt to jet-ski, parasail, kayak, paddleboard, or go banana boat riding with your friends. 

If you prefer dry activities, Dakak’s Adventure Park offers rappelling, rock climbing, airsoft games, and horseback riding. They have a fleet of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) for rent and one of the longest dual ziplines in Asia.

Visitors could spend the whole day engaging in dry and wet activities in the 15-hectare resort. Photo by Playground Films PH courtesy of the Department of Tourism.

Golf enthusiasts would be happy to know that the resort’s 50-hectare,18-hole golf course was designed by renowned golfer and designer Greg Norman and has a total yardage of 6,500 yds/par 72.

The resort arranges island tours, including one where guests can go around on a “bambike” (or bamboo bike). 

They also offer island and cove hopping and a heritage tour of Dapitan. 

After all of the physical activities have left you famished, the resort has 13 restaurants that serve different kinds of cuisines from local specialties to international fares. 

If you are not staying in Dakak, a day tour costs Php1,000/adult and Php500/child. The fee includes access to the beach, dolphin and kiddie pools, Adventure Zone Area, Aquasport Center, and restaurants. 

Not included are rental fees, the golf course, and Villa Angelina. 

Getting there

Dipolog is the gateway to the province of Zamboanga del Norte. Major local airlines like Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific have direct flights to the city. There are daily buses from Zamboanga City and Dipolog to Dapitan.

For reservations and shuttle services, visit Dakak Beach Resort’s official website.

Outsource the Planning

For a seamless trip, you may leave the planning to DOT’s accredited tour operators in Region 9:

  • Itravel Tourist Lane

(062) 991-1174 / 0917-722-6410; [email protected]

  • Buenas Travel and Tours

09062087106; [email protected]

  • Travel Max Tours

(062) 990-2100; [email protected]

  • Happy Campers Tour and Leisure

09177103094; [email protected]

  • MTR Travel Specialist

0930-061-1690 / 0997-745-2957; [email protected] or [email protected]

Travel safely!

All tourist destinations in Zamboanga del Norte have health and safety protocols in place to protect locals and visitors alike. Everyone is expected to comply by wearing face masks, regularly washing their hands, and practicing physical distancing.

To check out up-to-date information regarding local destinations that are open and the safety protocols and requirements needed for each location, you may visit philippines.travel/safetrip or download the Travel Philippines app at app.philippines.travel, Apple Store, or Google Playstore.