Roxas City is the capital of Roxas province, a part of Panay Island where Miguel Lopez de Legaspi settled when he arrived in Cebu. In 1746, Capiz was made the seat of the politico-military government although it was still ecclesiastically controlled by the Bishopric of Cebu until May 31, 1837 when a Royal Decree made the province into an alcaldia. It was once known was the Municipality of Capiz and it became a chartered city on May 12, 1951 by virtue of Republic Act No. 603, otherwise known as the City Charter, with the late Hon. Lorenzo Arnaldo as the first City Mayor. Capiz town was renamed "Roxas City" in honor of its illustrious son, the first President of the Republic of the Philippines, President Manuel Acu˝a Roxas.
Capiz is one of the five provinces in Region VI, Western Visayas. Found in the Island of Panay, it is situated at the heart of the Philippine archipelago. It is composed of 16 municipalities and one chartered city and 472 barangays. Roxas City is the seat of the provincial and city governments and center of trade. The province is divided into two districts: the first district covering the municipalities of Pan-ay, Pontevedra, Panit-an, Maayon, President Roxas, Pilar and including Roxas City; the second district comprising 10 municipalities namely Ivisan, Sigma, Dao, Cuartero, Dumalag, Dumarao, Tapaz, Mambusao, Sapi-an and Jamindan. Six of these municipalities plus Roxas City are along the coast, while the rest are inland plains or in mountainous area.
The province is bounded by the Sibuyan Sea on the north, the province of Aklan on the northwest, Antique on the west and province of Iloilo on the south. It is located 375 miles southwest of Manila, 136 kilometers northwest of Iloilo City, and 86 kilometers east of Kalibo, Aklan.
As to its provincial topography, Capiz varies from rolling lands and hills to mountain peaks and ranges. Its highest elevation is 1,728 meters above sea level while its lowest portion is 4 meters above sea level. A mountain range runs along the Capiz-Antique border. Prominent among these mountains are: Mt. Baloy, Magsalom, Toctocan, Tinayuga and Mansang.
The province has a third type of climate, seasonal changes are not pronounced. Rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year. However, it is relatively dry from November to April and wet during the months of May to October. This province is seldom visited by strong typhoons, the average one in twelve years and the most recent is the typhoon Undang in 1984.
The economy is basically agriculture. Palay is the major product covering 36 % of the total land area (93.622); 7,100 hectares planted to corn; 7,093 devoted to coconut; 3,298 to vegetables; 13,739 hectares to sugarcane and the rest of the cultivated area devoted to fishponds, livestock and other minor crops.
Capiz province is noted for its caves, ancient churches, historical sites and cultural events such as the Mundo Dance and the Halaran provincial fiesta. The coastal areas are characterized by wide beaches, isolated coves and white sand. Tourist accommodations are available in Roxas City along with restaurants and night spots.
Birthplace of Manuel Roxas - Located in the city proper is a two-storey hardwood and stone house where Roxas was born on January 1, 1892. Renovation of the house to include a storage of all personal belongings of the late first President of the Philippine Republic has been proposed by the city's cultural research foundation. The house, which was awarded a historical marker in 1949, is now a national shrine.
Moro Towers - They are the vivid souls of the past. Half-torn stone structures, 7 feet square, 10 feet high. Before they were destroyed, they were twice their present height. One tower is atop the hill in sitio Nipa. The other one is near Roxas City airport. Towers are made of black pebbles and are gradually eroding. These towers were built in 1814 in order to repel the invading Moors and Portuguese colonizers.
Ang Panublion (Roxas City Museum) - Located right at the center of Roxas city. The building used to be a water tank constructed in 1910 by Presidente Pastor Alcazar, third president of the Town of Capiz to provide water during the dry months. The exhibits includes memorabilia of illustrious sons and daughters of Roxas City like President Manuel Roxas and Jovita Fuentes. The museum is managed by the Gerry Roxas Foundation.
Mundo Dance in Tapaz - This is the dance of the mountain tribe known as Mundo, vanishing remnants of pre-Malayan Indonesian immigrants to Panay who now inhabit the island's forested vastness. The dance retains to this day the original choreography arranged around ancient Indonesian fertility rites. Like most other similar ancient dances in the Orient, the dancers follow steps and erotic body motions of the rooster and hen at courtship. That is the dance called Sinulog. The male of the pair performs the active role, while the female postures in languid passivity that in its own subtle nuances indicate as much commitment to courtship as the male. Animal skin drums and brass gongs provide background music. A performance of this dance has to be arranged for weeks in advance as dancers have to be sought among the tribe deep in the forest of Tapaz and persuaded with gifts to come to the town to dance the Sinulog.
Baybay Beach, Roxas City - Three kilometers from the city proper, this clean bkack sand beach has beach houses, motorboats for boating and fishing. Also a good place for water skiing.
Olutayan Island - The island is a 30-minute ride by pumpboat from Banica Terminal, Roxas City. The waters are crystal clear. Thirty feet below, multi-colored fishes cavort in flashes of blue, yellow and red colors sliding through colorful seaweeds. The island's beach is carpeted with tiny crushed shells called cascaho.
Quipot Cave, Mambusao - the cave is found in Ba. Burias, Mambusao. A 30 minute ride over rough roads, it is about 3 kms from the Mambusao Agricultural and Technical College or around 9 kms from the town proper. It is accessible by jeepneys, cars and tricycles. Wild birds, deer and wild ducks abound the place. Near the cave is a stream. The cave consists of many chambers each at a level different from other chambers. In certain sections, one has to crawl because the space between the roof and cave floor is just two or three feet. There are also sections that seem like dead ends, except for small openings through which only one person can crawl. These holes lead to a chamber as big as a hotel ballroom which is why it is dubbed "Quipot Hilton." There are plenty of stalactites and stalagmites. The cave is cool inside.
Napti Island, Pan-ay - This small island is near the bigger Olutayan Island and is about three to four hectares big. The island is rocky on one side and sandy on the other. Napti is not inhabited hence it is clean. The beach is inviting. The water is cool and clear and free of troublesome jellyfish the whole year round. The sand is white and has an abundance of shells used for necklaces. A small cave, about 100 meters longs, winds several feet below the surface across the island. It has also stalactites and stalagmites. The top of the island is flat and green and is covered with fine swaths of what look like Bermuda grass. It commands a breathtaking view of Roxas City and Pan-ay. Fishing enthusiast and gourmets have a wonderful time here for the plentiful fish and lobster.
Buntod Beach, Pan-ay - On a bright summer's day, Buntod Beach with its fine black sand is a welcome sight. It is about a kilometer long and is located far from the inhabited section of Pan-ay; hence it is one of the cleanest beach in Capiz. It is protected on one side by Napti Island and on the other side by the mountains of Pilar.
Pilar Cave, Pilar - Located in a small mountain in Pilar, these caves are one and a half kms away from the poblacion by jeepyneys, tricycles and cars over rough roads. There are 6 entrances leaeding to each other - you enter through one entrance and you go out through any of several others on the opposite side. Cave chambers vary in size. Some are very small, others as big as chapels. In some of them, vines from the mountaintop reach the caves through small holes. Water from a source on top of the mountain continuously drips to the cave floor in some chambers.
Casanayan, Pilar - A fishing village for those who are not in a hurry. It has a market where fresh and dried fish, vegetables and a complete elementary and barrio high school. Along the shore, one is enthralled by a beautiful 3 km stretch of the fine gray sand beach fringed with palm trees that neatly line the village as haven for those who seek refuge from the city hassles. Casanayan is a barrio gifted with a bizarre phenomenon - a woman's dead body that refuses to decay. Maria Basanes died at the age of 47 from a heart attack way back in 1829. When her body was exhumed ten years after her death, it was found intact and well-preserved which was surprising because her embalming was supposedly good for only 3 days. Now, the dead body, brownish black and light and hard as wood, stands inside a small hand-me-down. Her forehead has a portion of where it was skin peeled off surreptitiously by men who believed it could be a lucky charm in fishing.
Tucad Reef, Pilar - This is a submarine islet of seashell and corals with thin layers of sand on top. Four hectares in area, it is 10 kilometers from the Pilar shoreline. When the tide is low, the whole island emerges and with it, shells and corals of different colors - green, red, blue, pink and mauve. Even when the tide is high, shells and corals can still be seen under the clear water. From this marine garden, the mountains of Masbate can be seen. Tucad Reef is accessible by pumpboat or on foot during low tides.
Suhot Cave, Dumalag - This cave is situated in Dumalag, Capiz and only 300 meters away from the provincial road. It is actually a series of interconnected caverns of different sizes. At the cave's arched entrance is a pool of clear, ice-cold water fed by a rock spring from within the cave. Further on, however, is a crack in the rocks where sulfurous water comes out. Suhot is believed to have a connecting tunnel to the Badiag Cave, Dumarao since both caves are found in the same mountain only 6 km apart from each other although Badiag is on a higher elevation.
Igang, Maayon - A limestone cave found in Tapulang, Maayon, around 7 kms away from the poblacion or 15 minutes ride by cars or jeepney. It has several entrances at different levels which lead to a central chamber and fan out again to different passages, the whole cave with its chamber and tunnel system is well lighted and well ventilated. Big starlike structures connect upper portions to the central chamber.
The Coves of Ivisan - The coves are 10 kms or 30 minutes by jeepney, car or tricycle over rough roads from the town proper. These two barangays have cornered the white sand beach coves in the whole Capiz. In Basiao are the following coves: Marangcalan, Dinogmaan, Patyo and Basiao.
Pan-ay Church - this awe-inspiring church monument to a past Spanish grandeur in Pan-ay town. Almost a small fortress, it is about 250 ft long and 80 feet wide with 9-feet thick walls of coral blocks. The floor is colored marble which shine in subdued tone in misty light. The central altar is an elaborately sculptured retablo of silver and hardwood in florid Baroque style. The lateral altars have intricately carved tiers of niches for images of saints. Sta. Monica is the patron saint. The church's five story belfry shelters a huge antique bell and surrounded by 8 smaller bells. Shrouded with many enchanting tales, the huge bell holds more fascinating truth. It was cast from 76 sacks of coins believed to have been contributed by the citizens of the town. Its mammoth size holds a staggering record. It is seven feet in diameter and weights 10.4 tons. In fact, it is estimated to be the largest in Southeast Asia.
Dumalag Church - It is 200 feet long and 50 feet wide. The walls are 3 feet thick and made of yellow sandstone. It has two doors at its side and one main doorway in front. There are six arched windows at each side with columns between them reaching to the roof. These are also small buttresses at the sides. The fašade is decorated with small columns. At front left side of the church is the 5-storey belfry housing 5 bells in different sizes, all made in 1881. The church's interior is shaped like a cross. The church was finished in 1872 when Fr. Andel Abasolo was parish priest of the town.
Mussel Farm. Sapian - Ten kilometers north of the town's commercial hub out in the sea, this mussel farm patiently lies like a silent picture of a thousand bamboo stilts arrayed 6 feet apart into the briny water. However, each bamboo pole struck through the sea floor 6-7 feet deep yields hundreds of fat dark green mussels neatly arranged like dark distended leaves sprouting heavily on top of each other. One gets to this sea farm by means pumpboats, dugouts or rafts from Sitio Angkin.
Halaran, Roxas City - This festivald epicts the colorful history and culture of the Capize˝os back to pre-Spanish times particularly the landing and settlement of the Bornean datus. Halaran comes from the Visayan word, halad, meaning gift or offer is aimed not only to unfold the charms and beauty of the province but recapture the color and romance and its history. Legend has it that the Bornean Datus gave gifts to the aborigines of Panay as tokens of goodwill and friendship. This resulted in a colorful Halaran celebration highlighted by eating, drinking and dancing to the exotic beat of drums. Halaran is street dancing, lissome Capizenos and babaylans with their offerings to the spirits. It is celebrated every first weekend of October.
Sinadya, Roxas City - It is in commemoration of the feast of the Immaculate Concepcion, patroness of Roxas City. It showcases the rituals and festivities that are not only religious but culturally and genuinely Capizeno. Highlights of the affair includes the diana, fireworks display, grand dancing parade with giant paper maches, foot and fluvial processions, fair and food festival, sports exhibitions and the Capiz dance festival.
Balintawakan Festival, Pontevedra - Balintaawakan is a simple gathering, mostly of senior citizens of Pontevedra, Capiz who are sentimentally bound together to an unwritten commitment to preserve a simple tradition which began long ago and was only interrupted by WWII. Every December 31, people hold a Binayle at the town's public market. Its highlight is the search for Miss Balintawakan as the Festival Queen. The event is capped by a Rigodon de Honor. The Filipino costume called Balintaw is the official attire of the womenfolk participating in the affair. (Department of Tourism Region 6).
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