With a relatively long defining coastline, the province of Capiz earned the moniker as “Seafood Capital” of our nation. This gave me the interest to see and visit the province. With a whole day to squeeze in my plan, I have read chock-full of articles and blogs to find the fitting itinerary to see the less the traveled destinations of the province.
Arriving on the perennially busy and alive Terminal 3 in the wee hours of the night, we went straight to the boarding gates despite a five hour waiting time. It was past 2:00 AM and the departure area almost filled to the brim, with airport authorities giving loud warnings on keeping the bags on floor to give way for more passengers to seat – see the Pinoy “kapasawayan”? Learning our departure gate is at the farthest end, we chose gang chairs against the walls. Prepared our alarm, laid my tired neck on my travel pillow and caught few hours of snooze. Luckily, I was able to sense my alarm and woke up few minutes before boarding time. But, the usual scenario, we are delayed. This time, we flew 6 hours delayed.
We arrived almost noon time from the original 7AM arrival, and half of the schedule is already wasted. We have our plan B ready – explore the downtown area, Baybay beach and see the Biggest bell in the Philippines in Panay. Instead being angry to the airline, we consumed our left energy with positivity and excitement.
We had our lunch on an eatery inside the airport complex to save time. While waiting for our order to arrive at our table, we skimmed on the brochures we got from the arrival hall, and yes, we confirmed our destinations we can see with the remaining hours. We found a tricycle driver and chartered his service for the whole day.
We visited the Panay municipality to see the biggest bell in the Philippines. This humongous bell can be found at the main belfry of the Sta. Monica Parish Church. Arriving at the spacious frontyard, we are welcomed the marvelous brick walled facade of the church structure. We met the church administrators and instructed us to see the church museum just right beside the main building. We complied on the registration process and we are briefly toured around the museum. Learning its historical importance makes the visit more meaningful, if the walls could really speak as they say.
From the museum building, we are led inside the main church building up to the stairwell leading to the belfry. If you are afraid of heights, never look down once you have reached considerable altitude while spiraling up.
Stepping at last at the topmost deck of the belfry, we are welcome of majestic centuries old humongous bells of different sizes. Standing beside the biggest bell is really surreal. Its enormous diameter dwarfed a typical adult like me. I was imagining if I would be right there if to operate these bells, my eardrums would definitely tear. The church administrator has mentioned that the bell’s sound can be heard many kilometres away.
ROXAS CITY DOWNTOWN
My favorite spot in the city is the River Esplanade with the view of the iconic Spanish Bridge connecting the crucial sections of the city, naturally divided by the Panay River. Our chartered tricycled parked near the Immaculate Concepcion Metropolitan Cathedral. The government buildings and the church stands right beside each other. If you are to explore these, it is a mere short walking distance.
The Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral features a light cream colored facade with its single bell tower at its left side, if facing on it. The main church hall features an arched ceiling leading to the dome. The arched ceiling features geometric design with chandeliers. It has a multilevel retablo at its main elevated altar section. We are unable to visit the belltower.
Beside the cathedral is the Municipal Hall that both fronting the city plaza. The plaza features a developed esplanade lined with palm trees. There is a walkway parallel to the river with panoramic view of the city center.
The Capitol Building is located at the next block, with a typical modern facade. Fronting it is their very own iconic fountain, located at the main crossroads of the downtown.
Another interesting structure is their arch bridge, connecting the main sections of the city. During our visit, we saw young men jumping from bridge to the river below, which is complete and utter unsafe.
This beach is made famous thanks to the many seafood restaurants and eateries lining up the parallel. It is best to have your lunch or dinner here. Although the province is dubbed as the Seafood Capital, do not expect prices are really cheap here compared to its neighboring towns. It took us about 5 restaurants when we finally found where to enjoy our lunch. We tried different deep sea fish we never had before, and man, did I just forget their names. Additionally, we splurged on oysters as well and capped with a bottle of cold beer, and serenaded by the harmony of the crisp cool wind and mellows of the crashing sea waves few meters from our toes. I was lucky to have no upset stomach after that overindulgence of seafood the entire day. Enjoying the rest of our stay there, we sauntered on the nearby park before heading out.
The best dining spot if you wish to enjoy Roxas City’s panoramic view – this restaurant is located on a hilltop featuring open air dining with cabanas that can cater varying group sizes. We are unable to try their dishes, but we tried their beverages and just roamed around the restaurant and enjoyed the view of the Roxas downtown from there.
It is here where we took pictures with the huge Capiz letter standee. Before sunset, we bade goodbye to Roxas City and we hit the common terminal to travel to Aklan province.
The province of Capiz is one of the places I wish to explore more – its beaches, natural wonders and destinations. I have read a lot of tourist spots and yearning to see and experience them first hand. Truly I have missed more of its cultural and historical spots, but, this are one of my many reasons to book those flights again back to province. Can’t wait to explore again.
More photos during our visit: