Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Visit to the Town of Pan-ay and the Largest Bell in Asia

Pan-ay Church

After lunch in Zabroso in Roxas City, we asked a tricycle to bring us to the jeepney terminal in Barangay Banicad in Roxas City. Tricycle fare was 10php per person. In the jeepney terminal, we had to wait for the jeepney to get full, and I mean overflowing with people. Don’t get surprised when there could be 3 passengers in front (excluding the driver) and more passengers sitting in the provided stools along the jeepney aisles. Fare from Banicad to Pan-ay town is 12php.

We passed by the Banicad Dried Fish Market but due to the lack of time, we decided not the drop by there anymore. But if your exit point is Roxas City, visit Banicad Dried Fish Market before the flight and buy dried fish as pasalubong at a cheaper price compared to the ones sold in Manila. Along the way to Pan-ay, one could see various sized of fishponds so enjoy the scenery during the jeepney ride.

We arrived at Pan-ay town after 20 minutes and were astonished by the magnificent old church of Sta. Monica and the silence of the town compared to the city. Pan-ay church of the Sta. Monica church is the house of the largest bell in Asia and the third largest in the world. A replica can be seen outside the church but the original one is still on top of the church belfry and is still used during masses. 

Replica of the Largest Bell in Asia
While waiting for the “kampanero” (we were told he was still entertaining other tourists on the belfry), we decided to look around the church first. Entering the church, I had this eerily feeling again whenever I am inside centuries old churches. The church choir was practicing at that time so it was like angles were singing once we entered and gave our short prayers. 

Now, it was our turn for a quick tour to the top of the belfry. We were with three other tourists. The ‘kampanero’ who also served as the tour guide (Sorry, I forgot to get his name) was so friendly and really knows a lot about the church and its history. He also has talent on photography (he knows how to use any type of camera) and didn’t hesitate to get our cameras and knows where the best spots are to take pictures. We were so happy that we gave him a tip.

The 'kampanero' slash tour guide slash photographer.

The original bell on top of the belfry.

Inside the bell

The largest bell is with another smaller bells on top of the belfry.

View of the town from the belfry.

View of the other side of Pan-ay town

Across the church is the Centro Turismo de Panay. We were so glad that it was opened so we could finally buy our Capiz souvenir. We bought 2 ref magnets worth 30php and 1 key chain worth 15php. These would be nice additions to our collections at home. The tourism office also have a coffee vending machine so we enjoyed a cup of coffee (5php per cup) while waiting for a jeepney to pass by back to Roxas City. 

Centro Turismo de Panay

After a while, one jeepney passed by but we were looking at the opposite direction so we weren’t able to flag it down. There were lots of tricycle drivers and some were ever asking us if we wanted a ride back to the city. Since we didn’t want to spend much on fares, we declined their offers and waited for other jeepneys. A non-aircon passenger van came, and we asked the driver how much the fare was to Roxas. The answer was 15php, 2php more than the jeepney. Sorry, I didn’t ask for the price for an air-conditioned van. 

The drive with the van took faster than the jeepney. We were back at Banicad terminal after 10 minutes. Tricycles are available at the terminal to bring you back to the city center. We asked one driver to bring us to the city hall. Fare was 8php per person and the drive took less than 5 minutes. The nice things about the drivers here was that they didn’t ask for a higher price even if they noticed that we were tourists.

During the van and tricycle ride, my husband and I were still talking about the cute little town of Pan-ay and its history. It was nice a lovely town, one that would be included in our list of places that we are willing to get settled in. 

View of the town's plaza and municipal hall

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