Captivated in Roxas City and Capiz

The last time I visited Roxas City in Capiz was in grade school. I still remember hanging out at my cousins’ house, running around Baybay Beach, and indulging in loads of seafood. My recent 3 day visit to Roxas City was definitely a major dose of nostalgia since it made me reminisce those fun memories when I was a kid. Thankfully, our busy schedule had distracted me from dwelling too much into emo mode. During the trip, I was with Junelle, JunJunn, Eric, Sheila and a few college classmates living in Roxas City. Our main agenda was witnessing the Western Visayas Tourism Assembly (WVTA) 2009 and touring Roxas City and Pan-ay.

Day 1

The Drive to Roxas City

I woke up early during the first day to meet Junelle and Junjunn. Fortunately, Junelle brought her car for the trip, which made it so much convenient for us to go to Roxas and tour the city and nearby Pan-ay town.

We drove from Iloilo City to Roxas City for around 2 hours. The road was acceptable except for the usual awful roads in Passi City and a section in Pototan and a few towns in Capiz.

Kangaroo Inn

After Arriving in Roxas City we went straight to Kangaroo Inn in Tambis St., Brgy. Tiza. Kangaroo Inn was actually a recommendation from Rex, who lives in Roxas City.

We were very satisfied with Kangaroo Inn since we only paid P690 for our (air conditioned) room good for 4 and it was near the venue (Villareal Stadium).

The only drawback is that (if you don’t have your own ride) it’s a bit far from the main road so you have to walk a bit to get a tricycle and it’s also not near the main commercial center / downtown of Roxas City.

Tourism Booths in Villareal Stadium

The Western Visayas Tourism Assembly is an annual gathering of all provinces and cities in the region. Villareal Stadium was the main venue of the event where the tourism booths, trade/product fairs, can be found. During our visit, we saw an exhibit of different houses of indigenous peoples in the Philippines.

I reckon it was built for the Indigenous Peoples Festival last month. We spent some time here to visit the booths and wait for Eric.

Capiz Shell Crafts

Lunch in Gaisano City Roxas Mall

Our first meal in Roxas was a quick snack in Jollibee Gaisano City. I was already very excited for a seafood binge that time :( but the parade was already going to start after lunch.

Roxas City Plaza

The Roxas City Plaza was the assembly area of the Parade of Festivals. It is the center of Roxas City with landmarks such as:

Roxas City Fountain

Capiz Provincial Capitol

Roxas City Bridge

Roxas City Hall

Immaculate Concepcion Metropolitan Cathedral

Ang Panubli-on, the Roxas City Museum

Balay Kapisnon

Parade of Festivals – Western Visayas Tourism Assembly

We were treated with the unique opportunity of seeing some of the best festivals in Western Visayas in just one afternoon. The street dance parade started from the city plaza all the way to Villareal Stadium, where they performed their  spectacular 5 to 10 minute choreographed dances.

View more pictures of the Western Visayas Tourism Assembly 2009

Dinner in Beng’s Seafood Restaurant in Baybay

Roxas City is known for being the “Seafood Capital of the Philippines.” A trip to this city wouldn’t be complete without eating in one of the seafood restaurants along Baybay. We actually didn’t know what restaurant the locals preferred to eat in so we surveyed the whole row and asked for their prices. A tip I learned in picking restaurants is to choose the one the most crowded one. This ensures that the food is good and always fresh. That time, Beng’s Seafood looked like the best choice.

The food was soooo good! You should try their grilled diwal (sold for P8 per piece), it is just heavenly … coincidentally, diwal is also known as “Angel Wings” because of the shape and color of its shell. We ate Grilled Blue Marlin, Grilled Scallops (P5 per piece!), Steamed Talaba / Oyster (P25 per serving), Dried Squid (P25 per stick), and Grilled Pantat / Catfish.

Day 2

Breakfast at Dante’s

Dante’s is located infront of Gaisano Marketplace (Roxas City has two Gaisano Malls). We had our breakfast here consisting of the usual Filipino breakfast meals like Tocino, Eggs, Beef Tapa, Meat Loaf, and Corned Beff (that’s what it says in their menu). I ordered Tocino with Eggs and Rice for P85. It’s quite overpriced but they had free WIFI (and they entertained us with their misprint) so it was okay.

Tour of Culajao Eco Park in Brgy. Culajao, Roxas City

The 4.6-hectare Culajao ecological park is a community-based project home to 19 mangrove tree species and 7 kinds of birds, 23 shellfishes, 10 molluscs, 7 fishes, and 8 insects. It is best for educational tours, family outings and group fellowships.

Visit to Pan-ay Church and Bell

Perhaps the most popular attraction in the whole of Capiz. Pan-ay Church is a stunning centuries old Spanish colonial church of baroque architecture. It is best known for its massive bell said to be the largest in Asia and third largest in the World. Actually the whole town Poblacion of Pan-ay is scattered with a good collections of finely preserved heritage buildings.

The failed trip to Olotayan Island

We went to Banaca River Wharf hoping to find boatmen willing to tour us in Olotayan Island the next day. Olotayan Island is an hour away from Roxas City by pumpboat and has some beautiful white sand beaches. Of course I’ve only seen it in pictures, which is why I was so excited to see it in my own eyes. We asked the coast guard in Banaca wharf if he knows someone who could take us to Olotayan. His answer was most discouraging. He told us that none of the pumpboats there can take us to Olotayan since they are fishing boats and not for passengers. We then asked him about the passenger boats in Olotayan and he said that there are no passenger boats to the island and he will not permit the fishing boats to take passengers because they don’t have life vests. I was already on edge since our possibility of going to Olotayan has dimmed tremendously at that point. He finally added that Olotayan is UGLY you should go to Boracay or Carles instead. Despite being frustrated and upset at the coast guard said, I politely told him that we’ve known about Olotayan because it’s a destination promoted by the City Government of Capiz, its white sand beach and blue waters wouldn’t be on the cover of the brochure handed out by the tourism office of Capiz if it was ugly. We left Banica wharf defeated by that rude coast guard. We’re still going to return to Roxas in February for “One Visayas,” so we’ll have ample to find a way to go to Olotayan Island.

La Playa de Roxas  / People’s Park

Dinner at Alma’s Seafood Restaurant in Baybay

We spent our second night in BayBay beach once again. This time I was with some classmates in college. They recommended us to eat at Alma’s Seafood since it was a local favorite. We waited for a little more than an hour for our food, the other customers who came later than us were even served first, which really ticked us off. The food was delicious too, I have a soft spot for seafoods :) But I found the food at Beng’s tastier and it’s a bit cheaper to boot. I also didn’t enjoy the diwal at Alma’s since they didn’t grill it in garlic like the one we had the first night in Beng’s.

A nightout in Grandville

We were particularly surprised when we saw Soul Superclub. It’s very hip and classy for a small city, kudos to Roxas for this! Soul Superclub is located in Grandville … sounds like Smallville in Iloilo city, right? Grandville is the newest entertainment and nightlife center of Roxas City with a couple of restaurants, coffee shops, and bars. We didn’t get to go in Soul since only brought slippers for the trip (If I only findout about Soul earlier, sigh). Anyways, we hung out of a while in the bar across Soul. It wasn’t very good so we decided to go someplace else. My classmate told me that Dante’s also serves beer at night. If only we had known about it earlier, it would have been a better place to hangout since the place is quite relaxing and they have WIFI! Anyways, when we got to Dante’s it was already closed to we decided to grab a few bottles in the food fest near the plaza instead.

Day 3

Breakfast in Pat Pat’s Kansi House

We were surprised to find out that there’s a branch of Pat Pat’s Kansi in Baybay Beach, Roxas City. We only knew that it originated in Iloilo City and has two branches in Makati. Pat Pat’s Kansi also serves seafood and other dishes aside from Kansi – the Ilonggo counterpart of the Bulalo of Bulacan.

Ford’s Point in Brgy. Culasi, Roxas City

We only saw this in the Roxas City Tourism Brochure and decided to visit it instead of Olotayan Island. We asked our friends and were only told that it’s located in Brgy. Culasi. When we got there, the locals didn’t seem to be familiar with “Ford’s Point” so we showed them the picture and fortunately, one of the locals recognized it and pointed us to the right direction.

They know of it as “Donya Maria” not Ford’s Point. The look out point affords a great view of the lowlands and seascapes of Roxas City, there’s even a ruins of a 17th century moro watchtower nearby.

Sun Drying Area in Brgy. Dumolog

The sun drying area in Bry. Dumolog was featured in trip na the Trip TV show, so that how we knew about it.

Tracy’s and Panulce Pasalubong Shops

Before heading back to Iloilo City, we had a quick snack in Panulce. Junelle bought some cakes from Tracy’s to bring back home as pasalubong.

The drive back to Iloilo

Along the way, we made a quick stop in Passi City and Dingle, Iloilo. It’ll post about it later so watchout for that.

Next week, I’ll be spending one night in Guimaras Island. If our plans push through, me and my friends will be able to visit Yato Island in Nueva Valencia town.