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Dapitan City


Dapitan City lies on the northwestern coast of the island of Mindanao with approximate geographical coordinates of 8o 50 North latitude and 123o 30 East longitude. It is about 404 nautical miles (or 650 kilometers) southwest of Metropolitan Manila.

It is a double wedge-shaped mass of land bounded on the north by the Sulu Sea and link on the south by the Municipalities of Mutia and La Libertad, on the east by the Municipalities of Sibutad and Rizal, on the west by Dipolog City and the Municipalities of Polanco, Sibutad, La Libertad and Rizal, all of the province of Zamboanga del Norte.

It is described as level to rolling. The interior is hilly and mountainous with elevation ranging from 200 to 400 feet above sea level. Coastal areas are generally plain except for some hilly terrains along northern coastlines.

The city has four (4) main soil types: the Hydrosol, Maligaya Clayloam, Rockland and San Manuel Sandy Loam. The most prevalent soil type is the Maligaya Clayloam which is suited to the cultivation of coconut. This is the main reason that the major agricultural product of the city is copra. On the other hand San Manuel sandy loam is found in the lowlands, including certain parts of the poblacion area where rice is mostly grown. The swampy areas surrounding the poblacion island is Hydrosol type and in the upland barangays the Rockland soil type.

The poblacion island is surrounded by Liboran River, one of two major rivers in the City. A large potion of swamps and marshes along both sides of the river have been developed into productive fishponds. On the southern section is the Dapitan River which traverses the interior barangays spilling towards Dapitan Bay on the north.

The City has a total land area of 29,521 hectares or 29.521 square kilometers. There are 50 barangays of which seven (7) barangays are in the poblacion island. There are 13 coastal barangays and two (2) island barangays. The poblacion has a total land area of 193 hectares representing 1.33 percent of the entire land area.

The climate of Dapitan is dependent mainly on local air currents which are caused by various thermal conditions. Local air currents from the month of November to April are northern or the northeastern monsoon but from May to October, the air currents are variable with the southwest monsoon slightly predominant. Dapitan's climate is characterized by rainfall more or less evenly distributed throughout the year. Warm months are April and May while cold months are December, January, and February. Rainiest months are January, June, July, October, November, and December.

About ninety nine (99%) of the population speak the Cebuano (Visayan) dialect. Other dialects spoken include Ilonggo, Subano, Tagalog, Tausog, Ilocano and Chavacano. Local Chinese still use Mandarin and Cantonese. A majority of the Dapitanons are at ease with the English language

Dapitan is one of the homes of Christianity in the Philippines. More than 95.0% of its people embrace Roman Catholicism, the oldest and most dominant religion in the city. Other Christian churches found in the city are the Seventh Day Adventist, United Church of Christ in the Philippines, The Church of Latter Day Saints, Assembly of God, Iglesia sa Dios Espiritu Santo, Iglesia ni Kristo and other evangelical and missionary churches.

The Kinabayo Festival occurs from June 12 to July 25 of every year, with centerpiece events happening from the 16th to the 25th of July, and culminating with the annual feast of St. James, the Greater, Dapitan patron saint. Traditionally, this festival is a re-enactment of the Battle of Covadonga, where the Spanish forces under Pelagio took their last stand against the Saracens and were only able to reverse the tide of war with the miraculous apparition of St. James, the Greater. Every June 22 (City Charterís Day) Dapitan City marks the signing of its charter on June 22,1963 by then President Diosdado Macapagal with fitting activities manifesting pride in its becoming the first Shrine City of the country. Rizal's Death Anniversary (Handuraw Festival) December 30 is declared a national holiday. Dapitan City, which served as Dr. Jose Rizal's home for 4 years in exile, highlights this occasion every year with activities that focus on his life, works, and ideas.

Dapitan "It is located on a beautiful bay which looks towards the west on a kind of island especially made it, as if to isolate it from the vulgar world, a beautiful river which to accommodate it, has gladly consented to divide itself into two silvery arms, encircling it and bringing it towards the sea as an offering, for being the most beautiful thing that it could find in its tortuous and undulating pilgrimage through mountains and valleys through woodlands and plains


Origin of the Name
The origin of the word "Dapitan" is history itself. It tells of Datu Pagbuaya who left his realm in the island of Panglao, Bohol with 800 families to escape the Ternatans at whose hands his brother Dailisan met an untimely end. Uncertain about their destination when asked about the exodus, the followers simply replied: Didto sa Pagadapitan. "Dapit" in Visayan means "to invite."

They crossed the sea to northern Mindanao or the so-called "Dakuyang Yuta" (literally "big land"), and after several days of travel, came upon a bay with a picturesque hill beyond and decided to settle there. Thus, the historic settlement of Dapitan.

Brief History
The permanent Dapitan mission was founded in 1629 , headed by a Jesuit missionary Fr. Pedro Gutierrez. The Spanish authorities adopted the local form of government that was already existing then.

Dapitan remained a part of the Zamboanga until 1952 when it was divided into two provinces: Zamboangas del Norteand del Sur.
Dapitan became a chartered city on June 22,1963 by virtue of R.A. 3811 signed by President Diosdado Macapagal. Formally organized on November 12, 1963, Dapitan became the first chartered city in Zamboanga del Norte. Officially called the Shrine City of the Philippines, Dapitan City holds a special place in history as it once sheltered national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal while on exile July 17, 1892 to July 31, 1896.

Geography/Political Subdivisions
Dapitan City lies on the Northwestern coast of the island of Mindanao. It is a double wedge-shaped mass of land bounded on the north by the Sulu Sea, and linked on the south by the municipalities of La Libertad and Mutia, on the east by the municipalities of Sibutad and Rizal, and on the west by Dipolog City and the municipality of Polanco. The city has a total land area of 29,521 hectares and is 14 kilometers from Dipolog City. The 50 stars on its official seal represent its 50 barangays.

Dapitan's population by August, 2007 was estimated at 72,792.

Languages/Dialects Spoken
Ninety percent of the total population speaks Cebuano while the remaining 10% speaks Subanon, Bicolano, Hiligaynon or llonggo, and Chabacano. Because of high literacy, local residents speak English and Filipino. The older generation can speak Spanish.

Major Industries
The economy of Dapitan is fundamentally agricultural. The five leading crops are coconut, palay, corn, and fruit trees such as bananas. Fish and marine products include sardines, anchovies, round scads, yellowfin tuna, prawns, crabs, milkfish, seaweeds.


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