10 reasons why you should visit Capiz

SORRY to disappoint you but there are no aswangs 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

Seashells on the seashore.

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.

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.

3. On angel's wings

Diwal or Angel Wings

A plateful of oysters could set you back P40 per 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!

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 Asia. It's made from thousands of coins that 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.

5. Stretch your comfort zone

Sitio Sawang shoreline in 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 45-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.

6. Walk the historical trail

Puting Bato

Most visitors go to Pilar to pray at the shrine of the 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.

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!

8. Communing with nature in a military camp

Malinamon Falls (Photo contributed by Bernadith Barrientos)

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. 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.

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 40-minute drive from Roxas City. The cave is easy to scale though some of the chambers are mere crawl spaces. 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.

12. Food trip

Dried fish in Dumolog

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.


See the full article on TravelswithCharie blog.

(Photos by TravelswithCharie, except for Malinamon Falls, which was contributed by Bernadith Barrientos)