Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Walk in the City of Roxas, Capiz

When we talk about the Panay Island, the first places that come to mind are Aklan (Boracay) and Iloilo. These two provinces are more popular than the province of Capiz and it's capital, Roxas City. So when I told my officemates that my husband and I were going to Roxas City, their reply was "Where is that?" I said "It's in Capiz." and their next reply was "San ba ang Capiz? Bat ka pupunta dun?" Anong meron don?" (Where is Capiz? Why would you go there? What's in Capiz?)

Before our trip, I only knew two things about Capiz: it was the birthplace of Manuel Roxas (former president of the Philippines), and Roxas City is considered the Seafood Capital of the country. With a thirst to visit new places, we were excited to learn more about Capiz especially about Roxas City even though we knew little of it.

To get to know Roxas City better, a decided to tour the city on foot. Coming from Pan-ay town, we rode a non-aircon van (fare was 15php/person) back to Banicad, and then a tricycle (fare was 8php/person) back to the city hall of Roxas. It was already 4PM, a perfect time to walk and explore the city.

Located across the city hall, the Ang Panubli-on was our first stop. The Panubli-on was once a water tank and turned into a museum so expect a ‘round’ hall inside. Panubli-on is a Hiligaynon term which means “guardian of all previous things”, thus making the word a perfect name for the city’s museum. 

Luckily, it was opened when we came. A sign on the door is posted telling visitors to just enter anytime. There was no security guard manning the door suggesting that Roxas City is safe. The door was sort of an antique brass door so we really had a hard time opening and closing it. Loud clanking of metal bars deafened the interior of the “tank”. The noise was loud enough for the museum attendant to hear us who was at the backroom office. He turned on the other lights and the television set where a documentary was being shown. A large logbook can be found near the door where we signed our names. It is sad to note that we were the first visitors for the day (and maybe the last), and that less than 10 people came to visit the previous day. It is depressing how people/tourists nowadays never bother visiting museums to know more about the history of a place.

We walked along the circumference of the “tank” where various memorabilia, artifacts and historical pieces of the city and of Panay Island are exhibited. The collection is not huge but if you love history, the Panubli-on is worth the visit. We learned that Capiz was the first province in Panay Island. Ironically, Capiz has been left behind by its neighbors (Iloilo and Aklan) in terms of modernization. Nevertheless, the province has this backward appeal that any big-city dweller would choose as a place to retire once he gets tired of the city madness. 

Plaza Central Inn

After thanking the museum attendant, we walked along the mini park where we saw a group of men playing chess. It is known how Roxas City people are fond of chess. I asked them where the big chess set that was once situated in the park. They said it was moved but didn’t know where. A few steps from them are the Plaza Central Inn and Halaran Plaza. These two hotels are good options if you wanted to stay near the city hall or the provincial capitol. We didn't go inside these two hotels so I really couldn’t say anything about any of them.

Manuel Roxas' ancestral house

Between Plaza Central Inn and Halaran Plaza is Rizal Street. We walked along it going to the corner of Zamora Street, where the ancestral house of President Manuel A. Roxas is located. It was closed when we got there so we just took pictures outside.

Going back, we turned right in Halaran Plaza since we wanted to walk along the river. But along the way, we saw a small pastry store on the corner called Mamaita's House of Sweets. It really caught our attention since we could see from the glass window how appetizing the displays were. We feasted on their delicious cheesecake and buko pie for snacks. My husband loves the cheesecake and he said it was one of the best that he tasted so far. I, myself, love anything with buko, and I can say that Mamaita's buko pie was perfect. To know more about Mamaita's, check out their Facebook page Mamaita's House of Sweets.

We continued our walk going to the bridge passing the other part of the park. The area was clean and scene by the river was beautiful that I'd wish Pasig River in Metro Manila was as clean and beautiful as this. I once read that the local government of Roxas City facilitates river tours in Cadimahan River. However, we were only staying in Roxas City for just one day so we didn't have enough time for that. If you are interested to join this river tour and check out other activities that the LGU has to offer, click HERE.

We then made our way to the Capiz Capitol building and took our traditional provincial-capitol-picture-taking.

After that, we asked a tricycle driver to bring us to Roxas City Pension House near Baybay Beach. Fare was 15php per person.

Roxas City is a unique city for me. It has its own charm which is different from any other cities that I've been to. Having the city hall, the Catholic cathedral and the provincial capitol situated close to each other (just few steps ways) is something that I have seen only in Roxas City.

We have only explored a small area of the province of Capiz, and I hope to be back here next time and get to know more of this captivating province.

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