Visiting the lost fortress of Dapitan: Ilihan Hill

I had a quick visit to my hometown, Dapitan city, last July, and got the chance to visit one of the places where we secretly go to, without telling our parents — most of the kids were never allowed to climb Ilihan hill to avoid accidents. Ilihan hill, commonly known as Ilihan by Dapitanons, is situated at the center of the city, a good strategical place where a fortress was established last 1762 by the Spanish government to protect the early settlers from Pirates.


Dapitan city has always been rich with historical culture but Ilihan always stay on the background. An environmental fee of Php 5.00 is collected to everyone who’s interested to visit. The entrance is  located in Brgy. Potol, just a quick walk from Dapitan city plaza.  You can ask any locals and they can easily tell you where to find it. Concrete stairs were already there ever since I can remember , with a total of 209 steps.


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Before reaching the top, you can see the ruins of the old fortress, it doesn’t look like one anymore, it’s not much, just a wall covered with wild plants. No indication that it was a historical structure. It’s so sad, there so much possibilities to develop the place by the local government. The treatment is not close with the other fortress I have visited. Two of the cannons were placed at Dapitan city plaza before, but I didn’t see it the last time I visited.

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The place is surrounded with young mahogany trees and some old mango trees,  which provided shades for those who wanted to climb and see the 360 view of the city. It’s like looking at a gigantic showroom that showcases the simple life of Dapitanons.  DSC00780


I guess it’s safe to say, the place did stay the same as I remember it. It can be a good thing, given that the authenticity of Ilihan remains the same, like an untouched gem not abused by tourists, however, I know there’s still potential to make it even better, develop the place and make it more trivial than just a normal hill situated at the center of the city. That’s my two cents. 🙂

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  • Reply
    September 22, 2016 at 6:17 am

    Dapitan. Jose Rizal was there for three years where he was exiled… yes? I agree with you, the lack of maintenance and understanding of the need to preserve has proven to be the demise of what could have been an important and must see destination when in Dapitan. I suspect one person who would refuse to go there though would be Kung Fu Panda… he hates stairs. LOL! #AmazingLifeDaily

    • Reply
      September 22, 2016 at 10:08 am

      Along with several accomplishments the local govertment made, there still have several opportunities to let Dapitan show its fullest potential as a historical city. Thanks for pointing the stairs out. Haha! The stairs for me is tolerable, though you’ll be cathimg your breath for a couple of minutes after reaching the peak.

  • Reply
    Kareen Liez
    September 22, 2016 at 6:05 am

    It is really nice to visit places like this where we get to enjoy the beauty of nature. It is refreshing and it also helps us de-stress as well. I love the pictures you took! They are all stunning!

    • Reply
      September 22, 2016 at 10:09 am

      Thanks, Kareen! ????

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