Capital: Roxas

No. of towns: 16

Land area: 2,633.2 sq. kms.

Location. Occupies the northeastern part of Panay Island. Bounded on the north by Sibuyan Sea and Aklan, on the east Visayan Sea, on the west by Antique and on the south by Iloilo.

Brief description. Capiz is another province whose name possesses a rather interesting etymology. It was named based on the story that when the Spaniards came to Capiz in 1570, it was the time when Datu Bankaya's wife of the Aklan district gave birth to twin daughters. Twin is "Kapid" in the local dialect, so the Spaniards adopted the name Capiz (Kapid) as inadvertently miscommunicated to them by the natives.

Capiz, known as Aklan in pre-Spanish times, was one of the early settlements of the Malayas, centuries before the coming of the Spaniards to the Philippines. It was part of the Confederation of Madjaas, formed after the purchase of Panay by the Bornean datus from the Negrito king named Marikudo.

It ranks as the second largest province among the four provinces of Panay Island. It is also the birthplace of Manuel A. Roxas, the First President of the Republic of the Philippines, after whom the provincial capital, Roxas City, was named.

Access to Roxas City, which is located in the northern portion of the province, includes a railway from Iloilo City and a high way and Second class roads from the capitals of the other Panay provinces. The airport in Roxas City also makes travel to Capiz much faster.

Among the municipalities in Capiz, accommodations are best in the provincial capital where lodging places include the Halaran Hotel and Capiz Resort Hotel. Air-conditioned rooms and private baths are common conveniences among these hotels.

Roxas City also boasts of two Sugar Centrals and seven commercial banks. There is a shopping mall on Roxas Avenue where locally produced handicrafts are sold at reasonable prices.

Economy. The economy is basically agriculture. Palay is the major product followed by corn, coconut and vegetables. Fishponds, livestocks and other minor agricultural crops are also among the income-generating industries in Capiz.

Coconut plantations are found along the coasts and hemp is grown along the river banks and mountain slopes. Much of the cottage industries rely on weaving of fiber fabric known by the names of the towns from which they come from. The authentic buri hats, slippers, mats and household adornments are woven in looms found in almost every Capizeño's home.

Capiz has also a potential for the production of minerals and non metallic deposits. These are found in eleven municipalities. Considerable amount of other mineral deposits like zinc, aluminium, gold, iron, purite and copper are distributed in these municipalities in safe quantity.

Climate. Capize belongs to the third type of climate, i.e., 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.

Points of interest

Pilar Caves. These caves are one-and-a-half kilometers from the poblacion, over rough roads by jeepneys, tricycles and cars. Located in a small mountain in Pilar, these could be reached through six entrances. They seem to be connected with each other; you enter through one entrance and you go out through any of the 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 mountain top reach the caves through small holes. Water from a source on top of the mountain continuously drips to the cave floor in some chambers.

The side of the mountain where the caves are, is a spectacular sight. It is grayish-black rock shooting 200 feet towards the sky. Plants, orchids, among them, hang from the cliffs, blooming in the summer and filling the air with exotic fragrance. The caves may be reached in five minutes by jeep from the poblacion.

Casanayan (Pilar). Except for what the barrio people intend for a living, fishing that is, Casanayan seems to appear like a community pushed to the edge of the sea. But this need does not mean that Casanayan offers limited farming and other means of livelihood to its people.

While negotiating the 3 kms. road from the highway to this place, one finds vast fields of sugarcane, rice and corn. Casanayan is not an ordinary barrio. It also has a market where fresh and dried fish, vegetables and other accessories are sold. It has a complete elementary and barrio high school. A sleepy barrio though, Casanayan exists under the prevasively cool shade of tall coconut trees lining beneat mazy streets that wander through like scattered rivulets. Since Casanayan is a fishing village, patis and ginamos are made in some homes there. At the shore front, one is enthralled by a beautiful, 3-km. stretch of fine gray sand beach fringed with palm trees, that neatly line the village as haven for those who seek refuge from the city hustles.

Casanayan is a barrio gifted with a bizzare phenomenon - a woman's dead body that refuses to decay. Maria Basañes died at the age of 47 from a hearth attack way back in 1929. When her body was exhumated then years after her death, it was found still intact and preserved which was surprising because the injections received by the body were only good enough to preserve it 3 days. Now, the dead body stands inside a small hand-me-down, brownish black, light and hard as wood, a skin peeled off from her forehead which is believed to have been stolen by men who believed such possess charm in fishing.

Birthplace of Manuel A. Roxas. Located in the city proper of Roxas City 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 later first President of the Philippine Republic has been proposed by the city's cultural research foundation. The house which was awarded in 1949 is now a national shrine.

Napti Island. This small island is near the bigger Olutayan Island. It is a 20-minute ride by pumpboats from Roxas City. It is about three to four hectares in size. 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 all the year round. The sand is white and has an abundance of empty shells used in making shell necklaces. A small cave, about 100 meters long, winds several feet below the surface across Napti Island. It has also stalactites and stalagmites. The top of Napti Island is flat and green and is covered with fine swards of grass resembling Bermuda grass. It commands a breath-taking view of Roxas City and Pan-ay. Fishing enthusiasts and gourmets will have a wonderful time here for fish and lobster are plentiful.

Bontod Beach. On a bright summer day, Bontod Beach with its fine black sand is a welcome sight. It is 3 kilometers long and is located far from the inhabited section of Pan-ay; hence it is one of the cleanest beaches in Capiz. It is protected on one side by Napti Island and on the other side by the mountains of Pilar. The beach is free of jellyfish all the year round, and its water is cool and clear. It is ideal for swimming and sunbathing. Bontod Beach is 8 km. from the town proper over fairly good roads. It is approximately 10-minute ride by jeepneys, cars and tricycles. It is also accessible by speedboats or pumpboats from any point.

Baybay Beach (Roxas City). Three (3) kilometers from Roxas City proper, this clean black sand beach has beach houses, motorboats for boating and fishing and is a good place for water skiing.

Olutayan Island. The island is a 30-minute ride by motorboat from Banica terminal, Roxas City. The water around is 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 Quipot Cave is found in Bo, Burias, Mambusao. It is about 3 kms. from the Mambusao Agricultural and Technical College, or 8 kms. from the town proper or a 30-minute ride over rough roads. It is accessible by jeepneys, cars and tricycles. Wild birds, deer and wild duck abound in the place. Near the cave is a stream. The cave consists of many chambers each at a level of different from those of other chambers. In certain sections one has to crawl because the space between the roof and the floor is just two to three feet. There are also sections looking like dead-ends, except for small holes through which only one person can crawl. These holes lead to a chamber as big as a ballroom of a hotel which is why some tourists call it the Quipot Hilton. There are plenty of stalactites and stalagmites. The Quipot Cave is cool inside.

Tucad Reef of Pilar. This is a submarine islet of seashell and corals with thin layers of sand on top. Four hectares in area, it is 10 kms. 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, saffron, pink and mauve - are exposed. 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 Island can be seen. Tucad Reef can be reached by a pumpboat or on foot during low tides.

Suhot Cave (Dumalag). It is only 300 meters away from the provincial road. The hill's facade is honeycombed with caverns of different sizes. At the cave's arched entrance is a swimming hole. The water here is ice-cold because its source is an underground stream gushing through the cave. Inside the mountain are chambers of varying sizes wearing curtains of stalagmites and stalactites.

Suhot is believed to have a connecting tunnel to the Badiang Cave, Dumarao, since both caves are found in the same mountain only 6 kilometers apart from each other. Badiang's elevation is higher than that of Suhot.

On the other hand, entrance to the Badiang is hidden by jungle trees, undergrowths and vines. In pre-war days, phosphate was said to have been extracted from the cave, but it was a short lived effort. Nearby the cave are clear streams of crystal water spurting out from the ground under the cool shade of the trees. Near the streams a crack in the rocks can be found where sulfuric water flows out.

Igang Cave (Maayon). A limestone cave found in Tapulang, Maayon. It has several entrances at different levels which lead to a central chamber, and fan out again to different passages. Big stairlike structures connect upper portions to the central chamber which is well lighted and well ventilated. A gradually sloping passage, 7 feet wide and a foot high takes one to a lower chamber, which, unlike the upper and central chambers, is dark. The floor here is covered with guano, which towns-people use as fertilizer. The Igang Cave is laced with stalactites and stalagmites of various sizes. The whole cave, including its chambers and tunnel system, is some three hectares. It is 7 kms. away from the poblacion or 15 minutes ride by car and jeepney.

Pan-ay Church. This awe-inspiring monument to a past Spanish grandeur in Pan-ay town is about 250 feet long and 80 feet wide. Its 9 ft. thick walls are of coral blocks. The floor is of colored marble which shine in subdued tone under 2 misty lights. The central altar is elaborately sculptured retablos of silver and hardwood in the florid style of Baroque art. The church's five-storey belfry shelters an antique huge bell which is surrounded by 8 smaller bells. The huge bell holds a fascinating truth. It was casted 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 7 feet in diameter and 10,400 kgms. in weight. In fact, it is estimated to be the largest bell in Southeast Asia and the largest in the world.

Dumalag Church. It is 200 feet long and 50 feet wide. The walls are 3 feet thick and made of yellow sandstones. It has two doors at its sides and one main door-way in front. There are six arched windows at each side with columns between the reaching to the roof. There are also small buttresses at the sides. The facade is decorated with small columns attached to the wall. At front left side of the church is the 5-storey belfry containing 5 bells of 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 Dumalag.

Agpayao (Man-Made Lake) - Cuartero. Almost a kilometer from the poblacion, Agpayao Lake can be reached through all kinds of transport, also on foot, over a fairly good road. The entrance to this lake is wide, therefore, can accommodate doubtlessly all kinds of transport. The lake embraces a 7 hectare area, falls thirty feed deep down below.

A L-shaped lake, Agpayao is surrounded by lush forested hills. Different species of plants, butterflies, birds and trees thrive in abundance. Apparently enough, it has everything, - from hobby pursuit to nature loving, probably from bird watching to butterfly catching, from wading to snorkeling, from fishing to canoeing, and from sunbathing to reflective soliloquy with nature.

Mussel Farm (Sapi-an). Ten kms. north of Sapi-an's commercial hub, out in the sea, this mussel farm patiently limns a silent picture of a thousand erected bamboo stilts, steadfastly punched an array 6 feet apart into the brinewater where they embrace an impressive 20 hectare area. At a distance, such mussel farm though not looking actually like one, looms in every angle like a sea camp or fortress that momentarily awes one with a feeling of grandeur and sheer excitement. Yet, fortress or no fortress, these bamboo poles which allow such bivalves to barnacle, grow and mature upon them, bring in tons of mussels who gluttingly go for seafoods. One bamboo pole alone, buried right through the sea floor - 6 to 7 feet deep, when pulled out carries with it hundreds of fat dark green mussels that, stubbornly clinging, are hard to shake off, and in a fascinating way, neatly arranged like dark distended leaves sprouting heavily on top of the others.

One gets to this sea farm by means of pumpboats or dugouts and rafts. So, from Sitio Angkin, one pulls away north through murky Sapi-an River, up to the vast stretch of the blue sea, where this mussel farm lies, organized and unperturbed.


Halaran - Roxas City. Halaran, which is celebrated every first weekend of October, depicts the colorful history and culture of the Capizeños back to pre-Spanish times, particularly the landing and settlement of the Bornean datus.

"Halaran", which came from the Visayan word, "halad" meaning gift or offer is aimed not to unfold the charms and beauty of the Capiz province but recapture the color and romance of 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 the colorful halaran celebration highlighted by eating, drinking and dancing to the exotic beat of drums in bacchanalian atmosphere.

Halaran is street dancing, lissome Capizeños and "Babaylanes" with their offerings to the spirits. It is also a glimpse of the Capizeños, a feast of mangoes, melons, suman, puto and other.

Mundo Dance (Sinulog) - Tapaz. This is a dance of the mountain tribe known as Mundo, vanishing remnants of Pre-Malayan Indonesian immigrants into Panay who now inhabit the island's forested vastness. The dance retains to this day the original choreography arranged around the ancient Indonesian fertility rites. Like most other similar ancient dances in the Orient, the dancers follow the steps and erotic body motions of the rooster and hen at courtship. That is why the dance is called Sinulog. The male of the pair performs the active role while the female postures a 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.

Balintawak Festival - Pontevedra. Balintawak which is celebrated every 15th of May, is a simple gathering mostly of senior citizens of Pontevedra, Capiz who were sentimentally bound together to an unwritten commitment to preserve a simple tradition which began on the 31st December long before the outbreak of the Second World War. Every December 31st thereafter, except during the war, people are drawn to the town's public market to partake of the celebration expressed largely in the form of "Binayle" proclamation and coronation of the Festival Queen. The festivl, as most thought it was, is capped with a Spanish dance called "Rigodon de Honor". However, as its permanent feature, the Filipino costume called "Balintawak" has been carried on as the official attire of the womenfolk partaking of the affair. Balintawak, as the tradition is now popularly known, is derived from the Filipina dress or costume the womenfolk wear during the historic night and which has become the official attire. As part of the recollection, it is said that the ladies should wear Balintawak with the men either in "Barong Filipino" or at least, Camisa Chino. The tradition, therefore, is not the affair per se but the attire "Balintawak" that gives it the singular distinction from other festivals.

How to get there. One can reach Capiz after a 50 minutes flight via Philippine Airlines, which has daily flight to the capital, Roxas City.
By sea, shipping lines, like Go Thong, have trips direct to Roxas City every Saturday at 6:00 P.M.. Travel time is 18 hours from Manila.