Roxas City: History and Tourist Spot

Hey there, fellow wanderlusts! Ever heard of Roxas City? No? Well, buckle up, ’cause we’re diving headfirst into the “Seafood Capital of the Philippines”. It’s a little gem nestled in the heart of Capiz, a province known for its enchanting myths and legends. But let’s not get sidetracked, shall we? We’re here for Roxas City, a place that’s more than just a feast for your stomach, but a feast for your senses.

With the sun warming your skin and the salty ocean breeze tousling your hair, you can’t help but fall in love with the city’s charm. From the vibrant public markets filled with the freshest seafood to the centuries-old Spanish colonial structures whispering tales of the past, Roxas City is bursting with culture and history. But hey, don’t just take my word for it. Have you ever been to a place where the sea and the city intertwine so seamlessly, where the old and the new coexist in harmony?

132 ft high giant statue of the Scared Heart of Jesus located in Roxas City, Philippines made y sculptor John Alaban.
By John A. Alaban – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

History of Roxas City

In the early 16th century, Panay Island, where Roxas City is located, was first visited by Spanish explorers. At the time, the area was a collection of small settlements and fishing villages. The native people, the Ati and the Visayans, called the island Aninipay.

Fast forward to the 18th century, the settlement was then known as the Municipality of Capiz, named after the abundant shellfish in the area. In fact, the Spanish colonizers used the shells to make windowpanes for their churches and homes.

Then, the American regime dawned in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. During this time, the city underwent significant changes. Infrastructure was developed, educational systems were established, and Capiz became a hub for trade and commerce.

In 1951, a pivotal moment in the city’s history occurred. President Elpidio Quirino signed into law the bill that renamed Capiz to Roxas City, in honor of the late President Manuel Roxas, the first president of the independent Republic of the Philippines, who was born there.

Over the years, Roxas City continued to grow and develop. It became known as the “Seafood Capital of the Philippines,” due to its high production of marine products, particularly the delicious and sought-after Capiz shells. The city also hosts the “Sinadya sa Halaran” festival, a vibrant event that blends Christian and native traditions.

In the 21st century, Roxas City started to gain recognition as a tourist destination. Its beautiful beaches, historic sites, delicious seafood, and friendly locals make it a must-visit spot in the Philippine archipelago.

Today, Roxas City proudly presents its rich history and cultural heritage, while embracing modernity and looking towards a future full of promise and potential. With its roots firmly planted in its past, Roxas City continues its journey, carrying the legacy of its namesake and striving to create a prosperous and sustainable future for its people.

Culture: Immersed in Tradition and Heritage

Roxas City is a melting pot of cultural diversity, where traditions and customs are deeply rooted in the local way of life. Immerse yourself in the vibrant festivals that showcase the city’s heritage, such as the Sinadya sa Halaran Festival, a week-long celebration of thanksgiving and cultural performances. Marvel at the colorful costumes, rhythmic dances, and traditional music that fill the streets during this grand event.

Food Cuisine in Roxas City

First and foremost, seafood takes center stage in Roxas City’s cuisine. The city’s favorable location along the Sibuyan Sea provides a bountiful supply of fresh marine products. Local fishermen haul in a variety of fish, shellfish, and crustaceans daily, which chefs throughout the city expertly prepare.

The most famous dish in the city is arguably the “Diwal,” or angel wing clams. These delicate shellfish have a sweet, buttery flavor that is unique to the region. Locals usually sauté them in garlic and butter, creating a dish that is simple yet incredibly flavorful.

Additionally, Roxas City excels in preparing grilled seafood. A visit to the city’s “Baybay” area will introduce you to the bustling seafood market. Here, you can select your preferred seafood and have it cooked on the spot, often over an open flame. Grilled squid, shrimp, and fish fill the air with a mouthwatering aroma that is hard to resist.

As for traditional Filipino dishes, Roxas City also delivers. “Adobo,” a dish made from pork or chicken stewed in vinegar and soy sauce, is a comfort food staple. “Lechon,” or roasted pig, is a festive dish often served during celebrations.

However, Roxas City’s culinary delights go beyond seafood and traditional dishes. The city also has a sweet tooth. You’ll find an array of native sweets and delicacies like “Baye-Baye,” made from young coconut and either pinipig (crushed dried rice) or corn. It’s a chewy and sweet snack that perfectly ends any meal.

In recent years, Roxas City has also embraced global cuisines. Several restaurants serve a range of international dishes, from American burgers to Japanese sushi, providing a global touch to the city’s food scene.

Tourist Spots in Roxas City

Starting with natural attractions, the city takes pride in its beaches. One of the most popular is Baybay Beach, known for its black sand, clear waters, and stunning sunsets. Here, visitors can relax, swim, and enjoy fresh seafood from the nearby market.

Just off the coast, Olotayan Island is another must-visit spot. It is a serene and beautiful island with white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. Visitors often marvel at the vibrant marine life and coral reefs surrounding the island.

Nature enthusiasts also appreciate the Panay River, which flows through Roxas City. A boat tour along this river offers a chance to soak in the serene atmosphere and lush greenery.

As for historical landmarks, Roxas City houses the birthplace of the late President Manuel Roxas. Preserved and converted into a museum, the Manuel Roxas Ancestral House offers a glimpse into the life and times of the first president of the independent Republic of the Philippines, providing an excellent educational experience for history buffs.

The Immaculate Conception Metropolitan Cathedral, a grand Catholic church dating back to the Spanish colonial period, is another must-see. Its stunning architecture, intricate woodwork, and peaceful ambiance make it a favorite among tourists.

In terms of cultural attractions, the Sinadya sa Halaran Festival is one of the city’s most vibrant and exciting events. Held annually in December, it celebrates the city’s founding anniversary and the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The festival features colorful parades, traditional music and dance performances, and a lively seafood festival.

Last but not least, the Capiz Eco-Park is a testament to the city’s commitment to sustainability and nature conservation. It offers recreational activities like zip-lining, horseback riding, and bird watching, making it an ideal spot for family outings.

Festivals and Events in Roxas, Capiz

Kicking off the year, the city celebrates Sinadya Sa Halaran in January. This grand festival, whose name translates to “Joy in the Cross,” is a fusion of civic and religious celebrations. It commemorates the Christianization of the province and showcases the Capizeños’ way of life. You can expect a vibrant mix of activities, including cultural performances, parades, and sports events.

As spring arrives, the city prepares for the CAPIZtahan Festival in April. This event celebrates the founding of Capiz province, where Roxas City is the capital. It’s a time when you’ll witness the city in all its splendor. There are float parades, street dancing competitions, and seafood festivals, reflecting the city’s status as a seafood capital.

Transitioning into the mid-year, the Aswang Festival takes the spotlight in July. Contrary to what its name might suggest, this festival doesn’t honor mythical creatures but rather aims to debunk the myths and superstitions associated with them. It represents the city’s unique approach to embracing and reshaping local folklore.

In September, the Pangisdaan Festival rolls around. This event highlights Roxas City’s fishing industry, with various activities related to fishing. There are cooking contests featuring seafood dishes, fishing competitions, and exhibits showcasing various types of fishing gear and techniques.

As the year winds down, the enchanting Christmas Symbol Festival lights up the city in December. The festival showcases a competition of giant lanterns and Christmas symbols, making the city a dazzling spectacle of lights.

Activities: Experiences for Every Adventurer

For those seeking outdoor adventures, Roxas City has plenty to offer. Explore the pristine beaches of Baybay and Olotayan Island, where you can indulge in sunbathing, swimming, and snorkeling in crystal-clear waters. Take a boat tour to the nearby captivating islands of Mantalinga and Olutayan for a day of island hopping and discovering hidden coves.

Don’t miss the opportunity to savor the city’s renowned seafood. Roxas City is known as the “Seafood Capital of the Philippines,” and its fresh catch of crabs, shrimps, and oysters will tantalize your taste buds. Visit the bustling seafood market, where you can choose from an array of delectable seafood dishes prepared by skilled local chefs.

For history enthusiasts, a visit to the Panublion Museum is a must. Explore the exhibits that showcase the city’s rich history, from its humble beginnings to its role in the struggle for independence. Discover artifacts, photographs, and interactive displays that bring the past to life.

How to Get There: Your Gateway to Roxas City

Getting to Roxas City is a breeze, thanks to its accessible location. The city is served by Roxas Airport, with regular flights from Manila and other major cities in the Philippines. Alternatively, you can also reach Roxas City by land, with bus services available from Manila and nearby provinces.

Once you arrive in Roxas City, getting around is convenient and hassle-free. Tricycles, a common mode of transportation, can take you to various attractions within the city. Taxis and jeepneys are also available for longer journeys or exploring nearby towns.

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And there you have it, my friends, a sneak peek into the heart and soul of Roxas City. It’s not just a city, it’s an experience – a vibrant blend of tradition and modernity, culture and gastronomy, land and sea. It’s a place where every corner beckons you to explore, every face greets you with a smile, and every meal is a celebration of the city’s rich bounty.

So, what do you say? Are you ready to pack your bags and embark on an unforgettable journey to Roxas City? Remember, there’s more to the Philippines than the usual tourist spots. It’s in places like Roxas City where you’ll find the true heart of the nation. So, are you ready to discover the undiscovered, to experience the unexperienced? Because Roxas City is waiting, and trust me, it’s worth every mile traveled.

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