Time out for Capiztahan

By Nathalie Tomada
(The Philippine Star/April 22, 2012)

MANILA, Philippines - Yes, it’s more fun to eat seafood in Roxas City. That we happily discovered and experienced during the Capiztahan celebration held at the capital of Capiz last April 13 to 15.

Roxas City is being touted as the seafood capital of the Philippines, being home to one of the richest fishing grounds in the country.

Roxas City’s newly-restored fountain in front of the cathedral. Photos by Ver Paulino

Even the hotel menus are more seafood-oriented. There’s a place called Baybay (which also means seashore), a three-kilometer ride from the city proper, where there’s an array of restaurants serving fresh seafood cooked in many a delectable way. You have oysters, shrimps, crabs, tuna and even catfish on a stick.

Vendors on banca, selling fruits and vegetables

But the seafood, showcased in a fair, was just among the highlights of the three-day Capiztahan, which also celebrated the 111th Foundation Day of the province of Capiz, and the 64th Death Anniversary of the province’s most illustrious son, the late President Manuel Roxas.

Capiztahan, which marked its second year, was a team effort of the Provincial Government of Capiz under Gov. Victor Tanco, the City Government of Roxas under Mayor Angel Celino, the Capiz First District Congressional Office under Rep. Antonio del Rosario and the ONE Capiz Foundation, Inc., led by Judy Araneta-Roxas.

DOTC Sec. Mar Roxas with wife, broadcaster
Korina Sanchez
“Capiztahan last year saw the effective public-private partnership when the celebration was simulated in Araneta Center through the launching of Fiesta-cular Philippines (March of last year), and later the staging of the actual festivity in Capiz in April of last year,” according to Mayor Celino.

This year, ONE Capiz Foundation executive director Melanie Arancillo said that the “activities are more and are really grander, and Capiztahan is really a big hit! It has all the elements of a barrio fiesta.”

Other events that enhanced the festive air included the one-of-a-kind Parade of Lights, which featured electric floats depicting marine creatures. The event was a certified crowd-drawer, attracting more than 25,000 revelers based on police estimates.

The renovated Panublion museum located in the city plaza was also unveiled, with its management and operation transferred to the ONE Capiz Foundation, Inc.

Meanwhile, the People’s Park fronting Baybay beach was also inaugurated. This will be further developed by the Roxas family, led by Araneta-Roxas and son, Transportation Sec. Mar Roxas, in partnership with ONE Capiz and the City government.

The newly-restored historical Geyser fountain by the plaza was also unveiled, with a 100-voice choir lending excitement to the affair.

The STAR also joined the inaugural trip of the Panay River Cruise, the new tourist attraction of Roxas. The relaxing cruise onboard bamboo rafts pulled by motored banca passed through six barangays before winding up at the back of the plaza.

On the way there, what welcomed us were scenic views of mangroves and the silhouette of hills. The riverbanks were also lined with multi-color bougainvilleas. One impressed VIP guest had to comment it was the most underrated river cruise.

There were also docking areas with vendors selling goods, fruits and souvenir items. The cruise would also drop by the fisherman’s village in Barangay Libas where guests get a feel and look at the fisherfolk’s lifestyle, the fish cages and cultured oysters.

Vice Mayor Ronnie Dadivas, chair of the committee on tourism, said that they hoped that through the cruise, Panay River’s potentials in tourism, trade and commerce are explored and maximized.

While you’re in Roxas, be sure to make that side trip to the town of Panay (a 15-minute drive) to visit its history-laden Santa Monica church and museum wherein the biggest bell in Asia can be found. Standing at 7-ft. tall and weighing over 10 tons, it was created in the year 1878 out of the 70 sacks of coins that came from the residents.

DOT Sec. Ramon Jimenez Jr. with ONE Capiz Foundation chair Judy Araneta-Roxas
Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. praised the efforts of Capiz. He also noted that tourism in the area holds much promise. “It is growing but there’s much more to do. There is much more growth to be had. It is growing at different rates... But Capiz is far more prepared than everybody else and as you know with tourism, if the local government unit is very active, it’s impossible not to be successful.”
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About Capiz Provincial Press Bureau

Capiz Provincial Press Bureau works hand in hand with the TANCO Administration to appropriately disseminate the accomplishments/achievements of the provincial government.
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