Capiz is a small province located in Western Visayas, Philippines. Usually, this place is not among the first destination in your mind whenever you visit the country. But what you don’t know is that, despite being small, there are still loads and exciting things that you can do here.
There were a lot of misconceptions before, that tagged the province as home to the aswangs (mythical creatures), but the real reason why Capiz is getting the attention of people is due to its abundant marine life, which is why Roxas City (Capital City of Capiz) is dubbed as the “Seafood Capital of the Philippines.”
When I married Tep, a trip to Capiz (particularly in Roxas City) atleast once a year should not be missed, because this is the place where he grew up and where his family still resides. During our vacation here last August, I thought of listing some activities that you can enjoy, so you can consider visiting Roxas City on your next trip to Visayas.
1. Hang out at Baybay Beach
Baybay Beach is a seven kilometer stretch of fine and dark colored sand. Located just a few minute drive from the city proper, this place is a favorite among locals and tourists. Some activities that you can do here are to swim, relax, hang out with families and friends, watch the sunset or eat fresh seafoods from the various restaurants located along the beach.
Baybay Beach (Photo by: Dr. Adrian Buensalido)
Sunset at Baybay Beach (Photo by: Dr. Adrian Buensalido)
I was surprised to learn that these are the only good photos of Baybay Beach that we have on our file. Sometimes if you are already used to a place, you forget to take pictures. Thanks to my brother in law for letting me use his beautiful photos.
2. Indulge in Seafoods
A visit to Roxas City wont be complete without trying its freshest and tastiest seafoods. There are a lot of varieties that you can choose from, but one of the most unique seafoods that can be found here is a shellfish called Diwal or Angel Wings. It is called as such because once you opened it, the shell looks like the wings of an angel. Sadly, we didn’t get to try it when we were there last August since it was not the season of Diwal.
There are many restaurants all over Roxas City that offers seafoods, but the best place where you can indulge on it is at Baybay Beach. There’s a strip of restaurants and stalls along the beach that offers “paluto”, wherein you will buy the seafoods fresh and it will be cooked right away depending on the dish that you like.
Talaba (oysters), shrimps and scallops. These are the foods that we ordered when we dined at Reese’s Restaurant (located at Baybay Beach).
If you like crabs, then you should not miss the one from Roxas.
3. Stroll the City Center
Just like in any other province in the Philippines, the city center of Roxas is mainly comprised of a Church, City Hall, Plaza, Museum, Hospitals, Schools and Market. Points of interest that you should see and visit includes:
- Immaculate Conception Metropolitan Cathedral – one of the oldest Churches in the country.
- Panublion – a small museum (used to be a water tank) that houses some important artifacts and documents regarding how Roxas City was before, at present and its vision for the future.
- City Bridge – built during 1910, this bridge crosses the Panay River. It connects the commercial center of the city to the main plaza.
Photo taken from Capiz Provincial Press Bureau.
4. Visit the Shrine of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Completed during 2015 and situated at the top of a hill, the gigantic statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, measuring 132 feet, is presumed to be the tallest of its kind in the Philippines.
A Church can be found right at the foot of the statue where visitors can pray, reflect, light candles or attend the ordinary and healing mass. One can also relax, walk around and feel the breeze as the place is surrounded by hills and trees. The place also offers a breathtaking view of the city.
This religious attraction can be reached by riding a car or bigger vehicles, as the road leading here is rough and a bit steep. Tricycles might have a hard time getting through it. I’ve seen some visitors who managed to walk up the hill just to see the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue.
Inside the Church
5. Enjoy the Scenic View while Dining at Cafe Terraza
Just a few kilometer drive from the Shrine of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, is a hilltop dining destination called Cafe Terraza. A restaurant that does not only offer great and delicious foods, but also the perfect ambiance and scenic view that will complete your dining experience.
Before dining, you may also opt to try the zipline, which is located just beside the restaurant. It may not be longest and highest zipline I’ve seen, but I guess it would still give you a bit of excitement.
You can opt to seat in Nipa Huts like this or in umbrella covered tables.
Foods that we ordered L-R: Pomelo Salad with Coconut Bagoong Dressing, Salt and Pepper Squid and Baked Scallops. We went here around 4:00pm and we were not yet hungry that time, so we just had these light meals.
Within the area of the restaurant, you can also see the I love Capiz sign (left) and this beautiful landscape (right).
Cafe Terraza is located in Pueblo de Panay, a newly developed area that offers commercial, residential, religious and tourism oriented facilities.
The Zipline (right) and Circulo Convention Center (left) are located just beside the restaurant.
6. River cruise at Palina Greenbelt Ecopark
Palina Greenbelt Ecopark is an attraction located at Brgy. Cagay, which is a few minute drive from the city proper. It offers a scenic and relaxing cruise along the clean water of Palina River where you can see the mangroves along the side as well as some fish ponds.
While on board the river cruise, you can also avail other services such as foot spa, manicure/pedicure or you can request some meals to be served, but this should be requested in advance.
We didn’t get to do this during our last trip in Roxas. These pictures were taken in 2014 when we first tried it. I have no idea how much it costs now, but you may call them at (036) 621-5918 / 09481314147 / 09106097475 for more accurate information on the rates.
Palina Greenbelt Ecopark
Fishing boat and right across is the fishing village
7. See the Biggest Bell in Asia at Sta. Monica Church
Sta. Monica Church is a Baroque style Church built from coral stones. It is actually located in Pan-ay, another municipality of Capiz. Though not situated in Roxas City, I have included it on the list because it is just a short drive from there, plus this is where Tep’s clan originated. Apart from that, the Church also houses the biggest Christian bell in Asia, which I believe is a must see if you are visiting the province.
The bell, also known as Dako nga Lingganay, is made from 70 sacks of gold coins donated by the people of Pan-ay. It measures 7 feet in diameter, 5 feet in height and weighs 10,400 kilograms. When it rings, the sound can be heard several kilometers away.
In order to see the bell, you must climb a steep flight of stairs. But for those who cannot make it, then you can just check out the replica located at the side of the Church.
Note: It is necessary that you book a guided tour from the Parish Office before heading to the bell. It is entirely free, but I suggest you to give some tip (if you can) to the tour guide. The timings are:
- Monday to Saturday – 8:00 to 11:00 AM and 1:00 to 4:00 PM
- Sunday – 10:00 AM to 12:00 Noon and 1:00 to 4:00 PM
- No guided tours will be conducted if there is an ongoing Mass inside the Church.
The facade and interiors of Sta. Monica Church.
The Big Bell, along with the other 8 small bells.
Left: Two people can’t even embrace the bell. The guide said that 10 people can fit inside it. Right: The steep flight of stairs.
The view of the Pan-ay from the Belfry.
The replica of the bell and the Museum (close as of the moment) are located beside the Church.
How to get to these places? Tricycle is the usual mode of public transportation in Roxas City. You can either do single trips or you can hire them for one whole day and just negotiate the fare with the driver.
There are also Travel Agencies that offer tours around Roxas City and Capiz. I kept on reading great reviews about Las Islas Travel and Tours, if you are interested on checking them out, click on this link.
Where to stay in Roxas City? We don’t stay in hotels whenever we visit Roxas City. But some of the most recommended places to stay are San Antonio Resort, Roxas President’s Inn and Espacio Verde Resort. You may also check out the list provided by the Roxas City Government on this site.
Have you been to Capiz? Let me know the places that you have visited on the comment section below.
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