Home to Roxas City, the fastest growing city in the Western Visayas region, the province of Capiz is much-adored due to its abundance of seafood. Hailed as the Seafood Capital of the Philippines, the province enjoys a continuous supply of diverse seafood allowing both locals and tourists the opportunity to enjoy the freshest of sea bounties any time of the year. While this is certainly front and center to Capiz, there is another side to it that is equally worthy of accolade. We had the chance to visit both Roxas City and Ivisan during our Panay tour, and a day proved to be insufficient to see everything and gorge on anything generously served to us.
|Roxas City Plaza|
“I took a pill in Ibizan [Ivisan]” – Mike Posner
Contrary to what the song connotes, the only thing we took and can’t get enough of was the warm welcome of Ivisan, Capiz. Travelling from Tibiao, Antique to Ivisan, we prepped ourselves for a cookie-cutter city tour we were set to do for the day. The plan was to go around Roxas so we were all city-tour-geared complete with our sneakers. I, in particular, completed my city-tour look with a playsuit and my capiz shell earrings. 4 hours in, we reached Ivisan and met with Mr. Rophine Visorio of Capiz Tourism and Cultural Affairs who served as our tour guide for the day. He quickly mentioned that he was relieving someone else of the part due to an urgent concern.
|View from Ivisan Municipal Hall|
Since part of this trip was coordinated with the local government, we paid a courtesy call to Mayor Jose Noel Yap who proudly told us about their sustainable seafood practices that treat Ivisanons to a year-long supply of crabs and oysters. Truth be told, the only words I heard were “year-long” and “crabs and oysters.”
|Thank you to Ivisan Mayor Jose Noel Yap for the warm welcome!|
Post courtesy call, we were given the day’s itinerary which included a (surprise!) quick island hopping. This leg of the trip was quickly proving to be a serendipitous discovery of Capiz despite the fact that I had to fish out my flip-flops and swimming essentials from my overpacked luggage stowed with other overpacked luggages. We whisked from the town hall and 20 minutes later came Patio Beach.
|What better way to cool down than to have a classic roadside pinipig crunch.|
|There’s a beach!|
A beach just by the roadside but certainly not one to be dismissed. We literally alighted from the van, went down a few flights of stairs and voila! A beach! And one of the most glorious boodle feasts I have set my eyes (and stomach) on awaited us. Mr. Mayor certainly was not overselling when he said “year-long” and “crabs and oysters.” The heat of the noonday summer sun was no match compared to the stunning beach view, great food, and amazing company that was our memorable first meal in Capiz. An hour or so of nothing but oohh’s, aahh’s, OMG’s, yumm’s, and food-appropriate expletives, we headed on out to island hop.
|Just looking at this makes me want to go back to Capiz.|
|It was nice to have finally met the famous Ivisan crabs and oysters!|
|The warm weather is a non-issue even if you’re having a hot soup as long as it is this yummy.|
Think of it as a small ala-Survivor series island and you’ll get the picture. A patch of beach against lush trees that comes with its own mini sandbar was enough for me to jump in for a quick swim. I loved the beach; the sand was good, and the water was not that salty, you can open your eyes. After a few minutes, we had to go back to Patio Beach where our van awaits.
|If not for another boat of tourists, we had the island for ourselves.|
|Sandbar in Mabaay Island.|
Cabugao, Ivisan, Capiz
0929 793 4284
Birthed in part by Typhoon Yolanda and mostly by the decision to leave Metro Manila’s rat race, CVF joins the growing agritourism industry by providing visitors a front row seat to farm life through their bed and breakfast. Adapting an eat-what-you-grow principle, organically-grown vegetables, and eggs from cage-free chickens and ducks can be harvested and bought from the farm. Various tree parts from Yolanda’s aftermath got another lease on life and have been used extensively as well. We met with the owners, Jane and Jubail, who treated us more like their long-time friends on a homecoming. It goes without saying that a lot of laughter, words of encouragement, and hugs were exchanged before we went our way.
|Imagine waking up to this.|
|Running with ducks make for a good exercise after feasting in the Seafood Capital – one of the many ways to #CaptureCapiz.|
Palirong Tricyle Ride
The palirong is Capiz’ version of Manila’s tricycle on steroids just as Sagada’s toploader jeep is to Manila’s jeep. Rophine had us experience riding the palirong twice because you know, we had to switch places and go from riding on top to clutching for our dear lives while standing in the bumper part. The funny part was we were riding really slowly as if following some procession and yet we managed to let out a shriek or two there. I’m sure we looked silly all tensed up considering these tricycles run as normal tricycles do at 4 times the normal capacity.
|Not your ordinary tricycle ride, the Palirong can fit approximately 20 people excluding the driver – just one of the many ways to #CaptureCapiz|
(The real) Roxas City Tour
Santa Monica Parish Church and Church Bell
Also known as Panay Church, it was declared a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Institute, and a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum. You cannot go to Capiz and miss visiting the church. It was amazing to behold a structure that saw history as it unfolded real-time and stood long enough to oversee new ones come to life. Home to the biggest Catholic Church bell in Asia, made with 70 sacks of coins donated by the townspeople, I was left awestruck by the idea that I’m face-to-face with something I only got to read about in books.
|Underneath the 10.4 ton Panay Church bell. Photo by: Paola O|
Roxas City Plaza
Brimming with a rich history spanning from the Spanish to American periods, the city plaza is good for sit-down conversations to get acquainted more about Roxas. The expansive 1.5-hectare space has eight key landmarks: the Immaculate Concepcion Metropolitan Cathedral, Capiz Provincial Capitol Complex, Rizal monument, Roxas City bridge, Roxas City fountain and rotunda, gazebo, the President Manuel Roxas monument, and Ang Panublion Museum. As I mentioned earlier, we had a rather packed itinerary we were unable to spend more time here.
|This Rizal monument is the exact replica of the one in Luneta.|
|Immaculate Concepcion Metropolitan Cathedral|
Ang Panublion Museum
From a water tank in 1910 to being a panublion which is a Hiligaynon term for “the guardian of precious things,” the museum features the memorabilia of prominent Capiznons, as well as numerous artifacts and collections of cultural icons.
|Ang Panublion Museum houses the actual 1940 Fleetwood Cadillac 75 limousine used in Pres. Roxas’ inauguration on July 4, 1946|
Ancestral House of President Manuel Roxas
Too bad it was late when we arrived there, the house was closed already. It didn’t stop us though from taking a quick picture at the façade just so we can say, “We were there!”
|Photo by: Franco Ayson|
We arrived shortly before dusk and were a bit worried we won’t be able to enjoy this part of the tour. It was after all our last stop, and our senses have been consistently stimulated since that lunch in Patio Beach. Alighting from our van, we were greeted with smiles and a concerned question of “What took you so long? We have been waiting for you.” It was a mix of embarrassment and joy when we learned that they have prepared a “snack” for us and they have been waiting for quite a while. This “snack” in question, was apparently a rice meal of fresh shrimps, oysters, biko, and their local version of ginger tea onboard their bamboo raft.
|A 2018 ASEAN Sustainable Tourism Awardee, Palina Greenbelt Ecopark’s main attraction is a cruise along Palina river with a sumptuous seafood meal onboard.|
|Huge contraptions can be seen throughout the cruise as this is how they catch fish here.|
My Capiz experience was certainly serendipitous, thanks to last-minute changes in tour guide, itinerary, and even unexpectedly staying longer in one place. It still would have been a fantastic experience otherwise, but it would also mean that it may not have been this exact same one. Needless to say, my heart was full.
Our trip was made possible by a number of partners who ensured we had the best Western Visayas experience: Air Asia for our Clark-Iloilo and vice versa flights, Atty. Helen Catalbas of DOT Region 6 for our transportation during the Panay loop tour, Mayor Jose Noel Yap of Ivisan, Capiz, Capiz Tourism and Cultural Affairs, and Aph Cruz and Alex Española of Las Islas Travel and Tours.
For bookings, contact:
Punta Dulog, Pueblo de Panay, Roxas City, Capiz
(just right across the Roxas City Terminal)
About the Author
Beng Fontiveros works as an analyst for a global bank. She bonds with Excel from day to night so she loves spending her free time traveling, practicing yoga, or just lounging at home to Netflix and chill.