Roxas City is known as the Seafood Capital of the Philippines due to the abundance of marine life. It is also the birthplace to Manuel Acuna Roxas, fifth president of the Philippines. But many do not know that this city also has a rich cultural history and interesting places worth exploring. Listed below are the top 10 things to do when you travel to this medium-sized city in Panay Island. The expenses for this activities are very minimal and most of them are free.
1. Explore the Capiz Provincial Capitol
The three-storey Capiz Provincial Capitol Building located at the heart of Roxas City was built in 1915 by American architect, William Parsons. This heritage building has a “Californian style” inspired from the Californian missions. The windows are made of Capiz shells, a manifestation of a product the province has been known for. The building is a manifestation of the 19th century Filipino=Spanish architecture. The Hall of Governors is a well-preserved function hall located in the third floor of the building. From here, visitors can see an overview of the city.
2. Hear Mass at the Immaculate Conception Metropolitan Cathedral
A visit to this city would not be complete without hearing mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral, just a few steps from the provincial capitol. The church originally built in the 16th century seemed ordinary on one look and do not resemble any feature of churches built during the Spanish era. This can be attributed to the fact that the church suffered the same fate as other religious buildings built by the Spaniards. It has gone several renovations after being destroyed by a typhoon in 1698 and heavily damaged by an earthquake on 1787. The current structure, painted in earth colors was rebuilt in 1954 has a post-American look.
3. Discover the the Capiznon Legacy at the Paniblu-on Museum
Fifty meters from the church is the Paniblu-on Museum, which houses memorabilia of how the city looked in the past. “Panublion,” is a Hiligaynon term that means guardian of precious things. The circular-shaped museum, constructed in 1910 used to be a water tank and served the local residents for more than three decades. It was spared during the second world war and was completely hidden when offices were built around it. In 1993 these office were demolished and the old water tank was again seen. The citizens came up with an idea to convert it into a museum since the city already has a new water system making. I found several items in the museum that used to belong to the residents of this city and well as pictures of the history of the province.
4. Pay Tribute to our National Hero and to Roxas City’s Son
The Rizal Monument standing in front of the Capiz Provincial Building is one of few that are over a hundred years old. It was built in June 19, 1911 and originally located in the left side of the building but was later moved upfront of the capitol in March 15,1926 after renovations. The monument features our national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal clad in the familiar overcoat image with his right hand clenched at waist level. This monument is part of Capiz’ rich history even after the Spanish era.
Another statue featuring the fifth president of the Philippines Manuel Acuna Roxas was also built in honor of Roxas City’s son. It is located along Halaran Plaza just beside the Paniblu-on Museum
5. Check out the Roxas President’s Inn
This is the only hotel in the Philippines with the rooms named after previous presidents. The hotel is quite old already but the rooms still look elegant and has a certain nostalgia in them. A lot of personalities have stayed here, the most popular and recent was Kris Aquino. One of the rooms actually was named 2016. Who would it probably be?
6. Visit the Ancestral House of the late President Manuel Roxas
The ancestral house of the the former President Manuel Acuna Roxas is well maintained by the Roxas clan. It just a mere five minutes walk from Roxas President’s Inn. Read separate article here.
7. Ride the Capiznon Tricycle
Some cities and towns in the Philippines have a unique mode of transportation and even if they were the same, there still are some variations. There are no cabs in Roxas City. There are also only a few jeepney routes plying within the city. Most of the jeepney and buses are bound for neighboring towns and provinces. The mode of transportations here is via a tricycle. This is the only tricycle that I have seen (so far) where commuter stand in the back side or sit on top of a plank just above the extension wheels. I have seen a lot of foreign tourist enjoy their tricycle ride in Roxas City.
8. Watch the process of making dried fish
Roxas City is one of the top suppliers of dried fish all over the country. Watch how the fish are cleanse and salted in Barangay Dumolog, located in the seaside part of the city. One can find varieties of fish being dried up under the heat of the sun in the Dumolog Fish Drying Area.
9. Embrace the biggest bell in Asia
Sta Monica Church is the oldest church in Panay Island and is home to the largest bell in Asia. Dakong Lingganay was made from seventy sacks of gold coins donated by the townspeople. The bell which measures 7 feet in diameter and 5 feet in height weighs more than 10 metric tons. It was finished in 1878. Look for Randy, the resident guide for Sta. Monica before you climb the belfry.
10. Indulge at Fresh Seafood at the People’s Park Plaza
There is no better way to end a day tour in Roxas City than eating seafood. Seafood Court at People’s Park Plaza is located in Baybay Beach and hosts independent stalls offering fresh seafood at very affordable prices. Have them cooked in any way you want and indulge!
There are other activities in Roxas City including a trip to Mantalinga and Olotoyan Islands. There are also a number of waterfalls and caves outside the city for the adventurous souls. Several heritage churches can also be found in the other towns of the province of Capiz.
Enjoy your trip in the seafood capital of the Philippines.