Tuesday, October 18, 2016

10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Capiz

Sorry to disappoint you but there are no aswang in Capiz. If there were, the airlines would lose money since we could probably get promo fares more frequently on the back of an aswang. Seriously though, release your fear. Come to Capiz. Wear a garlic bracelet, if you must. But do come and experience our world. 

1. Life is simpler in flip flops

Baybay Beach and Mantalinga Island

Baybay Beach in Roxas City is the choice of denizens for its proximity to the city center and its seafood restaurants. It's easy to slough off the calories gained from an indulgent lunch with a walk on the beach. If you crave variety, we have more beaches for you to comb in Ivisan, Olotayan, Pan-ay and Pilar. 

http://www.travelswithcharie.blogspot.com/2006/05/hello-baybay-beach.html

2.  Baby let's cruise 

Palina Greenbelt Ecotour
The Palina Greenbelt ecotour is a good introduction toward understanding the negative effects of fish pens in our waters. It wasn't long ago when Palina River was badly silted and marine life was profoundly affected. Convincing the fisherfolk to let go of the pens upon which their livelihood depended was the biggest challenge on the table. Today the waterways are healthier and mangroves are thriving. The fisherfolk who were disenfranchised by the loss of their fish pens now manage the ecotours. They also maintain a fish farm nearby where they breed lapu-lapu. It's a win-win situation.

http://travelswithcharie.blogspot.com/2013/04/palina-greenbelt-ecotour.html

3.  On Angel's Wings

Diwal or Angel Wings

A plateful of oysters could set you back P40/serving. Wait, what? Yes sir! So go ahead and order another plate of this confirmed aphrodisiac. Try the diwal too (in season). This is what's great about dining in the seafood capital of the Philippines. There's a wealth of choices. May I suggest locon (sweet prawns), grilled scallops and ceviche? Bon appetit! 

http://travelswithcharie.blogspot.com/2011/07/in-seafood-capital-of-philippines.html

4.  It's not just about the bell

Retablo from Santa Monica Parish Church
Do go up the narrow stairs to the belfry and examine up close the biggest bell in Southeast Asia. It's made from thousands of coins which were donated by the faithful. There's also a panoramic view of Pan-ay from the tower. After you've satisfied your curiosity, enter the church through a side door and observe the three-meter thick coral walls. In the cool interior of Santa Monica, let your eyes rest on the beautiful and intricately carved retablos found in the side chapels. I find these to be the true treasures of this storied church. Before leaving, notice the statues of St. Augustine and St. Thomas on either side of the front portal. There's more to discover at Santa Monica beyond the bell. 

http://travelswithcharie.blogspot.com/2015/05/santa-monica-parish-church.html

5. Stretch your comfort zone

Olotayan Island
There are no fancy hotels on this white sand fringed island. Only a few no frills cottages if you wish to stay overnight. It's a forty-five minute ride by motorized outrigger from Banica to Olotayan through mangrove and across the deep blue sea where the outrigger rolls with the waves. So why go? Perhaps it's time to step outside your comfort zone. 

https://travelswithcharie.blogspot.com/2011/07/olotayan-island.html

6.  Walk the historical trail


Puting Bato
Most visitors go to Pilar to pray at the shrine of Our Lady of Agtalin. It's a steep climb to the top of the hill where the 80-foot statue of our Lady stands above the countryside. But the young ones will gleefully run up the stairs. A special mass is offered at the shrine on the first Saturday of the month so expect a lot of people then. Just a short drive from Agtalin are beaches, caves, waterfalls, karst formations and a mummy. There's something for every traveler's interest including the historyaholic who will appreciate the story of the Battle of Balisong Hills.

http://travelswithcharie.blogspot.com/2016/03/the-natural-beauty-of-pilar.html

7. When in Ivisan

Talaba Farm
When in Ivisan you must do the following: burrow your feet in the white sand beaches of Basiao and Ayagao, check out how they breed oysters at the talaba farm, go island hopping to Pulo Gamay and Pulo Maba-ay, climb up the hill to the statue of Christ the Redeemer, get a selfie in front of their tricycle with its precariously wide black roof, pick up virgin coconut oil products for cooking, bath and massage essentials at the Co-op then buy some goodies like otap and ugoy ugoy from Mayden Bakery. Ivisan is full of surprises!

https://travelswithcharie.blogspot.com/2016/10/ivisan.html

8.  Communing with nature in a military camp

Malinamon Falls*
Camp Macario Peralta in Jamindan is a sprawling 33,000-hectare army camp. It's heavily forested and abounds in natural beauty. For starters, there are two waterfalls within the property, Malinamon and Kalikasan. There's also a golf course, a swimming pool, a grotto with a commanding view of the lush surroundings and challenging trails for hiking and biking. You can even stay overnight in an air conditioned room for P100.00. It's a cool escape to reconnect with Mother Nature.

Note: Because this is a military camp, you will need to make arrangements of your visit at the visitor's office in Camp Peralta prior to your arrival. 

*Image by Bernadith Barrientos

9. Spelunking 101

Igang Cave
If this is your first spelunking adventure, then you're in for a treat at Igang cave in Maayon, a forty minute drive from Roxas City. The cave is easy to scale though some of the chambers are mere crawlspaces. There are bats, of course, but they cling to the higher ceiling among the stalactites. Capiz has a lot to offer the caving enthusiast including Suhoton cave in Jamindan, Kipot in Mambusao, Balisong in Pilar and Suhot in Dumalag.  

10. Eat, pray, relax 

The Carrying of the Cross on Baybay Beach
Combine rest and relaxation with religious activities during Holy Week. Discover our century old churches in Dao, Dumalag and Roxas City during your Visita Iglesia. Then join our Good Friday procession in Roxas City. You'll be surprised to see the number of exquisitely ornamented carroza chronicling the journey to Calvary. Spend Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday celebrating a getaway well spent in Capiz at one of our laid back seaside restaurants. Cheers!

Need more convincing? Here you go:

11.  "Create an auspicious condition"

Meditation Hills
"The masters say that if you create an auspicious condition in your body and your environment, then meditation and realization will automatically arise." Soqyal Rinpoche

Though Yolanda denuded the carefully planted foliage and blew away the cross which stood on top of the hill, the green-swept landscape has returned. It's best to visit the Hills early in the morning or late afternoon when the heat is less oppressive. You'll have more energy to climb up to the grotto and cross or if you prefer, sit still in the chapel or under the shade of a palm tree for some quiet introspection. 

http://www.travelswithcharie.blogspot.com/2015/03/meditation-hills.html

12. Food trip
Dumolog - dried fish
Dao - balut
Dumalag - biscuits from Cake Lovers
Ivisan - ugoy ugoy from Mayden Bakery, organic coconut oil products from Co-op
Pan-ay - ibus soaked in tuba and choriwich with hot chocolate from Balay ni Lola Lording
Sapian - mussels from the mussels farm
Tapaz - buy bananas from roadside stalls beside a banana plantation

See you soon in Capiz.

Eats:
Anot's - 2 locations. One in Baybay across from the beach and another on Washington Street in the city center. Try their crispy kangkong, grilled mangagat, and binakol.
Bitoy's Balay Barbekyuhan - On Baybay Beach. They are famous for their pork barbecue. I always order their camaron rebosado, chicken sotanghon and chop suey.
Coco Veranda - On Baybay Beach. Have you eaten lato salad yet? Order it here. My favorite is the sizzling tangigue.
Café Felisa - At San Antonio Resort across from Baybay beach. When the Thai chef is in house, order her chicken pandan and catfish with green mango. So good. 
Espacio Verde - In Dayao. The restaurant by the pool serves tasty chicken inubaran. 
Café Terraza - In Pueblo de Panay. It's all about the view. 

Treats:
Jacque's Coffee and Chills - on Baybay Beach. Sangria tea and any of their melt-in-your-mouth cakes and muffins.
Spanggo - on Rizal Street. They're famous for their buko pie.
Panulce - 2 locations at Robinson's and Magallanes Street. The diet cake lulls you into believing that these are calorie free.

Sleeps:**
San Antonio Resort, BayBay Beach - www.thesanantonioresort.com/ 
Grand Gazebo Dormitel, BayBay Beach (Particularly suitable for groups and families) -  grandgazebodormitel@gmail.com 
Urban Manor Hotel, Pueblo de Panay - http://urbanmanorhotel.yolasite.com/  
Espacio Verde Villas, a luxury hotel in Dayao - info@espacioverde-resort.com, 63-36-522-8383 
Emmanuelasa by the Sea, a bed and breakfast in Cogon - 63-999-881-4491
**I've personally inspected these hotels.

Getting there:
By Air: 3 flights daily from Manila via Cebu Pacific and PAL
By Air from Cebu: Cebu Pacific is launching this flight in November 2016
By Sea: Ro-ro buses from Cubao, Quezon City
By bus from Iloilo: Air conditioned and non-air conditioned buses and Public Utility Vehicles (PUVs) leave Iloilo for Roxas City every hour. Passengers are dropped off at the Punta Dulog Terminal. Take a tricycle to the city center or to your hotel from the terminal.
By bus from Kalibo: Ceres Bus Liner and PUVs link Kalibo with Roxas City. 

Getting around:
From the airport to the beach or to the city center: by taxi or tricycle. Hotels listed here have their own shuttle services. Check with your hotel for sightseeing tours in Capiz. 

Capiz Tourism and Cultural Affairs
Capiz Provincial Capital
Roxas City
Hours: M-F 8am to 5pm

*****

Images by TravelswithCharie, except for Malinamon Falls which was contributed by Bernadith Barrientos.



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