Roxas City, Capiz is known as the Seafood Capital of the Philippines. Located in Western Visayas, Roxas City is 3 hours away from Iloilo City and an hour and a half way from Kalibo, Aklan.
I was very excited to visit Roxas City. As usual, having no concrete plans makes the adventure more exciting. After touring Iloilo City and the town of Miag-ao in Iloilo, I was ready to visit the seafood capital of the Philippines!
Aside from eating sea foods, here are the 5 things to do if you are backpacking in Roxas City, Capiz:
1. Night strolling at Roxas City proper
I was looking for a hotel in the heart of Roxas City. Luckily, I landed in Roxas President’s Inn which is just few meters away from the city center.
Surprisingly enough, Roxas City is beautiful especially at night. With the absence of high-rises and modern structures, the city is very simple yet looks very elegant.
Late night strolling at Roxas city bridge. It was fascinating that you get this Spanish-colonial mood by merely walking around the city proper.
Was first built in 1698, Immaculate Concepcion Metropolitan cathedral was destroyed by a typhoon and was rebuilt in 1728.
Capiz Provincial capitol. This Spanish-Filipino architecture was built in 1915.
The iconic landmark of Roxas City. This fountain forming a rotunda was built-in 1925.
I enjoyed my night strolling at the city proper. The place is relatively small and you can actually walk around the city center and check out the old structures in 20 minutes. The entire place is safe too.
2. Visit Roxas City People’s Park (Baybay)
This is another surprise as I did not expect that there is a park by the bay in Roxas city. Like the city proper, the park itself is simple but truly a must visit if you want to simply relax and breathe fresh air.
Roxas City People’s park is Capiz’ version of Manila Bay. Well, except the fact that this park is undoubtedy cleaner and the bay is unpolluted.
It was fun to watch Capiznons enjoying the bay. Baybay beach water may not be as clear as Sarangani’s, nonetheless it is very clean and abundant of marine life.
There is a long walkway by the bay and there are also benches in the area for the park visitors.
This is my favorite spot in Baybay. In fact, I visited here 3 times during my 3 day visit in Roxas city. Aside from the fresh sea breeze, Roxas City People’s Park or Baybay is also known for its seafood restaurants. Please visit my separate post – where to eat in Roxas City, Seaffod Capital of the Philippines.
How to get to Capiz People’s Park or Baybay
From the city proper, ride a tricycle and ask the driver To bring you to Baybay. A special tricycle trip costs 40-50 Php. Travel time from the city proper to Baybay is approximately 5 minutes.
3. Visit Panay Church and See the Largest Catholic bell church in Asia
Santa Monica Parish church or popularly known as Panay church or Pan-ay church is actually located in the town of Panay in Capiz and is only 30 minute tricycle ride from Roxas City proper.
Panay church is a popular Roxas City tourist spot as it is the home of the largest Catholic bell church in Asia.
Built in 1774, Panay church has a 5 storey belfry where the largest Catholic bell church in Asia can be found. Made up of white coral stone, Panay church is built-in a colonial baroque with neo-classical influence architecture.
It was a Sunday when I visited Pan-ay and I arrived few minutes before the last morning mass ended.
When I arrived inside the church, I started looking for the entrance of the belfry. I asked a local how do I get upstairs to see the gigantic bell and I was pointed to the admin office where a guide was waiting.
According to Ariel, the tour guide, the belfry used to be open for public but the church admin had to keep it locked to secure the bells. He unlocked the gate of the belfry and we started climbing to the top.
With Ariel, Panay church tour guide
I was stunned to see the gigantic bell being sorrounded by smaller bells. According to Ariel, the largest bell is made up of 70 sacks of gold and silver coins donated by the locals. It was built in 1878 and measured 7 feet in diameter, 5 feet in height and weighs 400 Kilograms.
Apart from the largest bell, the belfry is also home of the 8 smaller bells. According to the guide, each bell is used for different occasions and events. For instance, a particular bell is used for when a wedding ceremony is being held.
How to get to Pan-ay Church?
From Roxas city proper, ride a tricycle and inform the driver to bring you to Panay church. Travel time is approximately 30 minutes. Fare is approximately 200 Php to 400 Php for one way trip.
4. Visit Weny’s Garden
After visiting Pan-ay church and seeing its bells, I asked the tricycle driver to bring me to Weny’s butterfy garden. The garden is 5 minute tricycle ride away from Pan-ay church.
When we arrived, I was greeted by sir Weny, the owner of the garden. He looked very happy and delighted to see someone visiting his garden.
“Taga saan ka sir”, he asked. I immediately replied, “From Manila po”. “Buti nagvisit ka dito sa Capiz. Di ka ba natatakot sa aswang?” he said jokingly. I replied in a soft voice, “meron po ba?”. He actually did not respond as he was hurriedly directing me inside his butterfly garden.
Instead of feeling scared, I felt sad for Capiz. Tourists and travelers avoid this beautiful province due to its reputation. I just realized it by merely looking at sir Weny, he was very happy that someone from Manila came to visit his garden. I asked him how often he gets visitors to his garden. He said that he gets maximum of 4 visits a week and not all visitors are from outside Capiz.
Sir Weny was very accommodating. All throughout the tour, he kept on sharing facts and information about the butterflies and plants in the garden. I didn’t know that butterflies have a short lifespan and can only live up to a month.
Sir Weny also provided a quick lecture about the life stages of a butterfly. I already forgot my science back in elementary school.lol
There are actually many species of butterflies in the garden and this is only the good shot I got.
Apart from the butterflies, Sir Weny also has a wide array of plants and flowers in his garden.
5. Visit President Manual Roxas’ Ancestral Home
Apart from being the seafood capital of the Philippines, Roxas city is also known as the hometown of Manuel Roxas, the 5th president of the Republic of the Philippines.
For some reason, the ancestral house was closed when I made a visit. I tried asking locals around but no one can tell why it was closed. Nonetheless, from the outside, the Roxas ancestral home looks well-preserved. I’ll definitely visit this place the next time I travel to Roxas City.
Overall, I enjoyed my stay in Roxas city. I know there are still many places to explore not just in the city but in the entire Capiz province. If you are visiting Roxas City, I would recommend Roxas President’s Inn hotel. Alternatively, you may check other Roxas City hotels here.