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.
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.
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.
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. 🙂