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More discoveries in Capiz

Just when I thought I've explored Capiz enough, I'm finding captivating places off the beaten track. Some of these sites hit me with nostalgia like the ruins of the approach to a railway bridge while others took me completely by surprise (La Playa Beach and Marugo Lake). These new discoveries inspire me to wander down dusty roads and hunt for more local color.
These hardwood pylons supported the approach to a railway bridge in Duyoc, Dao. This was constructed in 1910 and the railway extended for 117 kilometers from Capiz to Iloilo. Passenger service operations ended in 1985. Buses and private utility vehicles (PUV) now ply the highway between these two provinces. These ruins are on McKinley Street in Duyoc, Dao.
There are so many beaches in Capiz but La Playa stands out for its serene surroundings. It's far from the noise and crowds of the city. If you appreciate a quiet time and a beach to yourself, this is the place to go.
Pilar is an hour by private car from Roxas City and…

Celebrating Thanksgiving in the Philippines

Far away from California and longing to celebrate Thanksgiving, I decided to invite a few close friends and family to my Thanksgiving luncheon. I had never had a boodle fight meal and had wanted to experience it so I decided to have a boodle fight on the beach at Bitoy's. It was so nice of them to accommodate my group with less than 24 hours’ notice before the event. And the result was everything I could have hoped for.

I had reserved for 10 people and this is how much food we got.  It sure was a table of plenty. We had oysters, shrimp, milkfish, chicken, eggplant, okra, fried banana, green mango, tomatoes, shrimp paste and rice. I had also brought with me the alimasag (baby crab) we bought at the beach in Ivisan the day before. Guests brought several kinds of dessert including guinataan*, brazo de Mercedes and various kinds of Philippine kakanin (delicacies). Needless to say, we lingered over lunch and slowly savored what was on the table before us.
The simple protocol of boodle fi…

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Pan-ay

Christmas arrives early in the Philippines. When the months end in ber, Christmas songs are heard at malls and over the radio. In October, the TV stations start the countdown to Christmas and stores start displaying Christmas trees. And in November, the Christmas decorations are installed in town plazas such as this one in Pan-ay, Capiz. 
Santa Monica Church is a National Historical Landmark.
When the temperatures dip a couple degrees, Christmas has truly arrived. Pan-ay, a 20-minute ride by car or public transportation from Roxas, is ready to usher in one of the biggest celebrations in the country. 
There is a famous Pilipino Christmas carol that you'll hear a lot, Ang Pasko ay sumapit. It goes,
Ang pasko ay sumapit Tayo ay mangagsi-awit Ng magagandang himig Dahil sa Diyos ay pag-ibig Christmas is here Let us sing Beautiful melodies Because Christ is love.
This bell is a replica of one of the biggest bells in Southeast Asia. Many visitors visit Pan-ay to see its huge bell in the campanile wh…

Little Free Library launched in Capiz

It's a beautiful evening

It's a beauteous evening, calm and free
The holy time is quiet as a nun Breathless with adoration, the broad sun Is sinking down in its tranquility
The gentleness of heaven broods o'er sea Excerpt from It's a beauteous evening by William Wordsworth

Let's go to Mantalinga Island

Mantalinga Island or Good Luck Island beckons from across the sea. Just under 20 minutes from Baybay beach in Roxas City, it's rocky shores, tidal pools and sweeping view of Baybay are enough reasons to make the short crossing. 
   Mantalinga Island

5 Fun Things to Do in Pan-ay, Capiz

1. Visit Santa Monica Parish Church, a National Historical Landmark. 2. Try "puso", a specialty of Holy Grounds Coffee Shop located in front of the Church. 3. Go to Buntod Beach which has a commanding view of Olotayan Island. 4. Visit a heritage house, Balay ni Nanay Lording, and try their choriwich with thick hot chocolate. 5. Order pica-pica at Dante's Taberna on Friday and Saturday nights then dance the night away.

Recent publications

Baybay Beach
Two of my travel articles about Capiz were published recently. Check them out at the links provided below.
7 of the Best Things to do in Capiz https://waytogo.cebupacificair.com/things-to-do-capiz/
10 Reasons why you should visit Capiz http://www.sunstar.com.ph/iloilo/lifestyle/2016/11/03/10-reasons-why-you-should-visit-capiz-506932
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Image by Charie


10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Capiz

Sorry to disappoint you but there are no aswang in Capiz. If there were, the airlines would lose money since we could probably get promo fares more frequently on the back of an aswang. Seriously though, release your fear. Come to Capiz. Wear a garlic bracelet, if you must. But do come and experience our world. 
1. Life is simpler in flip flops

Baybay Beach and Mantalinga Island

When in Ivisan

"I've traveled far and wide to explore new horizons only to find that there's so much to see right here in my own backyard." TravelswithCharie

The Natural Beauty of Pilar

The Battle of Balisong Hills (Ang Away sa Balisong) was fought between Capiznon Revolucionarios and Spanish soldiers in Pilar in 1887. The local fighters bravely defended their town's freedom against the Spanish troops whom they routed.

Sunrise to Sunset in Capiz

Waking up to this.

Santa Monica Parish Church

Church of Pan-ay or Santa Monica Church
The original church in Pan-ay was first established in 1774. A little over a century later, in 1875, a typhoon devastated that structure. It was reconstructed in 1884 and that is the church we see today. It is a fine example of the colonial Baroque style of architecture. Its walls of coral stone are three meters thick (about 9.84 feet). Renovations have been made in recent years to the roof and belfry which have suffered from termites and the ravages of time. Santa Monica Parish Church has been declared a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.
Main altar
In the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in 2013, the church was damaged once again. The patches on the walls that you see in these images are part of the repairs made to make the structure safe and sound.

The floor of the church consists of terra cotta tiles accented by white marble and black slate tiles. The black and white accent on the cente…

Meditation Hills

Halfway between Roxas City and Kalibo is the town of Sapian, Capiz which is the home of the lush gardens of Meditation Hills. Yes, it is a great place to meditate amidst nature's beauty and bounty.

What I like best about the Healing Chapel is its location halfway up the hill. It has a commanding view of the surrounding countryside and the hills across the road below. 

This uphill path leads to the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. I didn't venture the climb as we were there at midday and it was really too hot and the sun had sapped away my energy. All I wanted to do was take a nap. The best time to attempt this climb would be early morning or late afternoon. Bring a hat or parasol and suntan lotion. 

The grounds are well manicured and the trees seem to have grown and recovered easily after the devastation of the super typhoon, Yolanda.  Above the grotto and many more steps to hurdle is a big white cross which can be seen for miles around. That cross was damaged by Yolanda's f…

Advocacy: Balay ni Charie

Lacaron Elementary School
Continuing with our school distribution program, we went to Lacaron Elementary School in Dao, Capiz last July and reached out to approximately 240 children. The last time we were in Lacaron was in December 2011. It was really nice to be able to revisit Lacaron this year. 

Typical of July weather, it was a hot and humid day and we stayed outdoors under the UNICEF donated tent classroom. With the school principal, Milagros Jore Derayo, we gave each of the children notebooks, pens and pencils. Some kids took home prizes like crayons, toys, pencil cases, coloring books and more school supplies for giving the correct answer to our math, spelling and history questions. Here are the young students raising their hands to answer a particular question we posed to them.


The little ones are sometimes shy but generally eager to answer our questions. They are always excited to receive a prize. Everyone gets involved including teachers and parents who prod their children along…

Advocacy: Balay ni Charie

First Grade classroom, Agsilab Elementary School
February was a hectic month for Balay ni Charie. We distributed school supplies in four elementary schools in Capiz. Our first stop was in Sapian at Agsilab Elementary School. 300 students received notebooks, pens and pencils from Balay ni Charie. At Agsilab, we saw first hand the damages wrought by super typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. In one building, three different grades had to share the same room. Blackboards were used to separate one class from the other. The ceiling was gouged out. In another classroom, a red plastic tarp keeps the children dry from the rains. The kindergarten and day care kids were installed at the barangay hall across the street as there were no classrooms available for them. The good thing is that all the children were able to continue with their studies. And maybe the buildings will be repaired during the summer break.
Agsilab Elementary School
Our next stop was at AgohoElementary School in Pan-ay which is right on the…

Balay ni Charie Foundation

Garcia Elementary School students in Tapaz, Capiz
Balay ni Charie Foundation is a grassroots organization I created in 2006 that provides school supplies to children in Capiz, Philippines. On its first year, 20 children from ConradoBarriosElementary School in RoxasCity received school supplies. With the support of family, friends, and another charitable group, Balay ni Charie now distributes school provisions to several hundred grade school children in various towns in Capiz.
Students at San Antonio Elementary School in Cuartero, Capiz
This year, we visited the schools of GarciaElementary in Tapaz, Capiz where 146 children received notebooks, pens and pencils. We also gave school supplies to 220 students at San AntonioElementary School in Cuartero, Capiz.
 The road to San Antonio Elementary School
It is not easy to get to some of these schools. We needed a 4 x 4 to take us to the hinterlands of Cuartero because the roads were deeply potholed and impassable from recent rains. Two years …

Palina Greenbelt Ecotour

Touring can be both fun and educational. And so it is with the Palina Greenbelt Ecotour that takes students and visitors out into the waters off of Barangay Cagay in RoxasCity to appreciate the reclamation of the PalinaRiver after it was silted up from the excessive number of fish pens in the area. This tour is conducted by the fisherfolk who sacrificed their own fish pens and livelihood in order to save the river. And now they are our guides on this barge trip as they unravel the story of the rehabilitation of this river and the rich mangroves that were planted to stem floodwaters and nurture fish, bird and plant life.
Bamboo Raft
We were towed by an outrigger to the open waters while two able bodied men navigated our bamboo barge with their bamboo poles, steering us forward or sideways with their muscles and then turning the barge into the narrow passage leading to the Panay River where a huge surambaw commandeered a big slice of the corridor and we had to gingerly edge our way ar…

Anot's Restaurant

New to the beachside restaurant scene is Anot's with its fresh and innovative menu. When we had lunch there recently, my friend, Clay, requested the chef to serve us his top favorite dishes from the menu. Here's what we got.


For starters, we had fried, crispy kangkong which was a complete surprise. Never knew kangkong could be this good. It wasn't oily at all and every delicious leaf was crispy. I didn't even need the extra mayonnaise dip to add flavor. This is an appetizer you can't put down.


Prawns are a personal favorite especially the sweet variety only found in the seafood capital of the Philippines. But this dish was a little too spicy for my palate.


Eating squid is an acquired taste, I think. It's meat is thick and chewy. Didn't score highly with me but I'm not an adventurous eater either.


Mangagat fish is in a neck to neck race with bangus (milkfish) on many local menus. This mangagat is prepared with tiny scallops and a special secret sauce. …