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Angel on Dapitan's hill |


Angel on Dapitan's hill

RENDEZVOUs - Christine Dayrit - The Philippine Star
Angel on Dapitan's hill
Where the azure sea meets the sky above.

The sea, once it casts its spell,” French oceanographer Jacques Yves Cousteau once said, “holds one in its net of wonder.”

High above the craggy cliffs, overlooking the ethereal expanse of the ocean to the left and caramel sand to the right, lies the epitome of luxury and class. Known as the pride and paradise of the illustrious Jalosjos family, Villa Angelina Luxury Suites, named after the matriarch of the Jalosjos clan, features over 50 amazing villas strewn impressively on the cliff-side of the famous Dakak Beach Resort.

Dakak Park and Resort, located in Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte, has long been one of the premier travel destinations in our country.  Villa Angelina Luxury Suites, the newest addition to the property, is characterized by vinta-shaped roofs and thatched inner ceilings masterfully designed. Walking around the lush foliage and verdant landscapes, one is lavishly chauffeured on trusty golf carts maneuvered by courteous staff.  Over this same expanse, one can embark on an exciting and challenging zip-line experience.

Savor the sumptuous Korean BBQ with a scintillating view of the isles and the sea.

As we entered our villa and gently opened the cream-colored curtains, our sights were welcomed by the calm waters of the Sulu Sea, with a couple of jet skis traversing the emerald waters. Outside our deck was a whirlpool bathtub replete with a huge bottle of bubble bath. The immaculate froth of bubbles made us smile with glee as we posed for photos for posterity.

A few steps from our villa was a winding pathway to Sunrise Cove, where we had delightful fruit shakes of avocado, pineapple and watermelon. Light snacks to dinner fare can be enjoyed here. Netted flooring, like a suspended hammock, was hanging over the edge of the dock, just above the waters, making for Instagrammable posts.

Nearby is their Mexican restaurant, Sabores del Mar, with a view of the mountains surrounded by dramatic orange and pink clouds resembling the Aurora Australis. We clinked our glasses of Chocolate Baileys Mudslides and Mango Margaritas as we savored delicious quesadillas and tacos. Life is good and perhaps doesn’t get better than this, my best friends Büm Tenorio, Rita Trinidad and I exclaimed!

Dapitan, where Rizal was exiled, is fast becoming a cultural haven of the country. Its desire to bring to the consciousness of its people arts and culture became prevalent when it hosted two National Artists, Ryan Cayabyab (music) and Alice Reyes (dance).

“It’s pure wonder. I’m in awe! I’m in awe that it happened here,” said National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes after the successful launch last year of her new dance company Alice Reyes Dance Philippines (ARDP) in Dapitan.

The ARDP opened the Revisatamos Dapitan 1892 heritage night at the Rizal shrine in Dapitan. The Revisitamos celebrated the 13th anniversary of Jose Rizal’s arrival on the island. And how beautifully the ARDP displayed their talents that night.

Lana Jalosjos, a formidable cultural figure of Dapitan, performed an intermission of Minsan Ang Minahal Ako, an excerpt from “Katy!” whose music was composed by National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab.

Former CCP artistic director Chris Millado, my friend and colleague at the Cinema Evaluation Board, was also responsible for all the revivifying of arts and culture in Dapitan. So involved is he that you would think he was a native of the town.

Chris brought us to Balai Hamoy, the ancestral home of the Hamoys, who were known to be the business partners of Jose Rizal’s family. Kat Uyehara Hamoy, a direct descendant of Don Mariano Hamoy, graciously took us on a tour of the impeccably restored home with an impressive showcase of art and memorabilia.

The elegant Angelina Luxury Suites is fit for royalty.

A trip to Dapitan wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Rizal Park, where Jose Rizal made his home for four years while in exile. We went inside his home made of bamboo, and his clinic where he treated ailments and performed eye surgery.  Interesting to note, the men’s and women’s wards are separate from each other. With engineering and architectural skills, Rizal also built a dam and waterworks within the premises. Rizal’s romantic seaside residence features a huge rock, fronting the sea where Rizal and Josephine Bracken, his beautiful Irish love, spent special moments. This is also where he wrote his longest Spanish poem, Mi Ultimo Adios.

On the last day of our stay in this paradise in Zamboanga del Norte, Rita, Büm and I watched the glorious sunrise slowly emerging from behind the majestic mountain-scape. We admired how the pencil strokes of the sun’s rays cast their shadow on the gentle azure waves. It was then we truly felt how the sea here casts its spell, embracing us in the net of tropical wonder.

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For more information on Villa Angelina Luxury Suites, visit

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