Capiz has been in the shadow of its more famous neighbors such as Bacolod and Boracay for quite some time now, but it is gradually gaining popularity as an alternative destination for those who want to explore the Visayas region.
Despite the misconception that Capiz is home to aswangs (mythical creatures), its actual claim to fame is its abundance of seafood—from fresh shellfish to dried fish and even the rare diwal or angel wing clam.
Capiz has been the usual destination for my summer sojourn, as my mother’s hometown is located there. But first-time visitors need not worry since there are a lot of activities to do in this place.
Explore the city center
You’ll discover more about a place when you go around its downtown area. In Roxas City, you’ll find a monument of Manuel Acuña Roxas who is the fifth President of the Republic of the Philippines—and the pride of Capiz. Just walking distance from the monument is the Museum, which has a nice dome-like structure but is currently under renovation. Across the street is the city’s old church, which was originally built in 1877 and reconstructed in 1951, and then a few steps away is the Capiz Provincial Capitol.
See the biggest church bell in Asia
Not many people know that you can find the region’s biggest church bell in Capiz. The town of Pan-ay, which is about a 30-minute drive from Roxas City, is home to the Church of Pan-ay that houses the massive bell. It is said to have been cast from 70 sacks of coins, which is five feet high, measures seven feet in diameter, and weighs around 10,400 kilograms.
In 1997, this impressive church was declared a National Historical Landmark and has now become a familiar destination for tourists. When you arrive in Pan-ay Church though, don’t be deceived by the display bell outside, as it is just a replica. The original can be found inside the church. Just inquire at the church’s office regarding the viewing time.
Hangout by the Baybay
Get relief from the heat by heading to the beach where you can go swimming or dine al fresco by the shore. Roxas City’s Baybay is just five minutes from the airport and it has a nice baywalk where you can have a leisurely stroll while enjoying the fresh air. Several restaurants and resorts line the shore, so you can simply choose where you want to hangout and maybe even get a taste of the local fare. At night, it becomes a nice place to chill out with your friends while having a bottle of local brew or two.
Shop for seafood or souvenirs
It’s customary for Filipinos to bring home some pasalubong (gift) when going back from a trip. In Capiz, the best place to go shopping is the Lipunan Market in Roxas City where you can purchase the freshest seafood and other dry goods. A visit to the wet market will give you a glimpse of the wide array of seafood on display—different kinds of fish, crustaceans, and maybe even the famed diwal, if you’re lucky. This is a good place to get affordable seafood so do bring home some, if you still have luggage space left.
In another part of the market is the dry goods area where you can shop for souvenirs such as native bags and slippers, and other handicrafts. Take time when you go from stall to stall, as something might just catch your eye.
Relax in a resort
Vacations are more fun if you stay in a nice resort. The San Antonio Resort, for instance, has a swimming pool, a lagoon, and is walking distance from the beach. Children would especially enjoy the cool pool area, while the adults go boating or kayaking in the lagoon. The resort offers a lot of accommodation choices, as well as various tour options. If you have time, go on a tour of Olotayan Island where you can explore its white sand beach and even go snorkeling to see colorful marine life.
Tours are a nice way to explore Capiz, but you can also do it on your own as well. Just chat up some locals to get insider tips on where to go and what to do, and let then your adventure start from there.
How to get there
Fly from Manila to Roxas City via Philippine Airlines or Cebu Pacific Air, which offer daily flights. The short trip will take you from the city to the province in about 45 minutes.
Another option is to travel by boat via the Super Ferry or Negros Navigation, which takes around 18 hours. There is also the RORO (roll-on roll-off) ferry service where passengers can ride a bus from Manila, which will eventually take them to Capiz the next day. –KG, GMA News