To travel Dapitan, Zamboanga (Philippines) and vice versa, you can go three ways: by air, land and sea.
The safest option is, of course, via air. But as there’s no available direct flight from Zamboanga to Dipolog (but feel free to correct me if I’m wrong), you would have to fly from Zamboanga to Cebu, then Cebu to Dipolog via Cebu Pacific. From Dipolog airport (do a little bit of shopping in Dipolog if you need to, you won’t be able to do it in Dapitan), you can take a tricycle straight to your destination in Dapitan for an exorbitant fee of Php150. Alternatively, you can walk to the street right outside of the airport, flag down a passing (not waiting) tricycle and get a ride to the bus terminal for only Php7. Then get on an Evergood bus and it will take you to Dapitan for Php20.
If you choose to go via sea, make sure it’s not the rainy season (August – December) because boats tend to capsize around this time of the year. If you have to, bring a vest and a snorkel. (I’m not kidding.) A little ferry from GP Lines travels from Zamboanga to Dapitan and vice versa, and costs less than Php1000 per passenger. The length of the trip is usually around 24 hours. From the port of Dapitan, you can take a tricycle to your destination for some exorbitant fee like Php200 (make sure to haggle heavily to lower the price!).
The most common option for people traveling from Zamboanga to Dapitan is to take the bus. A one-way trip from Zamboanga to Dipolog on an airconditioned bus costs about Php400, while a non-AC bus costs Php300. From the Dipolog bus terminal, switch to the Evergood bus which will take you to Dapitan.
The crazy and lifethreatening way to travel from Zamboanga to Dapitan is by motorcycle. It’s a four hour trip to the “nearby” city of Ipil, then another five hours to Dapitan. And that’s if you don’t stop periodically along the way because your butt is hurting so bad you want to kill your boyfriend for ever suggesting the trip as a “joyride”.
However, there are some nice spots along the way that you just have to stop and take a picture of, because. Like, for example, a rainbow over the ocean. Sometimes, a rainbow is just a rainbow. But when you have travelled for over two hours in the pouring rain on a motorcycle wearing a bright pink plastic trashbag that you bought for twenty pesos from a fisherman, got mud splattered all over your favorite green cottonskinned backpack and staining your pretty blue rubber shoes, and are carrying a large duffel bag about 10 kilos worth of rainsoaked garments on one side, your laptop and your backpack hanging from your aching back that hasn’t rested for seven hours running, plus your camera on the other side…. Sometimes a rainbow is not just a rainbow. Sometimes a rainbow is a sign from God telling you that murder is not the answer, and that this too shall pass.
Not that I ever endured those things because my mother specifically told me that I should be taking the bus to Dipolog, and she even mandated earlier I should take an airplane even if she had to pay my fare but I lipbitingly declined because I really shouldn’t be taking her money and instead should be responsible for my own expenses. So… I was. Via… erm… bus. Not via my newly bought refurbished Honda XL named Bastian (because I sold Pao a long time ago, and he wouldn’t have survived the trip anyways) that my boyfriend drove to Dapitan in both hours under the pouring rain and hours under the burning sun that scalded my skin and soaked all my clothes. Nope, ohno she didn’t.
P.S. The waves were wonderful.