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.
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
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.
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…
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. …
Roxas City, with a population of approximately 157,000 (2010 projection), is a small town with a big attraction, its seafood. Dubbed as the seafood capital of the Philippines, much of its seafood is shipped to other parts of the country but there's plenty of fresh pickings left to savor at beachside restaurants.
The Immaculate Conception Metropolitan Cathedral sits in the center of the city, sandwiched between City Hall and a Catholic university. It is one of the oldest churches on Panay Island. It was recently renovated and a dome was added to it. During the feast of the Immaculate Conception (She is the patroness of the city) in December, the city comes alive with the colorful Sinadya sa Halaran parade and a fluvial parade down the Panay river which is right across from the church.
On the other side of the river is the public market which is especially busy on Sundays when it spills out onto surrounding streets. It's amazing what you can buy here. Fruit, fresh produce (most…
My Uncle had this crab plate especially prepared for me. I love crab, specifically female ones as these have "aligue" which is crab fat but which I call "red caviar". I know that this is really not healthy to eat but I only get to indulge when I'm in Roxas City where crab is on the menu in most restaurants and here at our family table. Try also rich crab fu yong.
Talaba These enormous talaba (oysters) are always in demand, especially since it's not expensive at all to order them at any of the seaside restaurants. At less than P100/plate, it's a steal. And goes down well with cold beer. But I'm not a fan. :(
The image above is of the adobo flavored talaba or cla…
Sitio Sawang shoreline
We were in Olotayan Island to distribute school supplies and slippers from Balay ni Charie to the students of Olotayan Elementary School. The kids, from Kindergarten to 6th grade, came to school on a Saturday morning to greet us and receive their school supplies. The fourth grade class received slippers thanks to the generous donation of my friend, Rose Driscoll.
4th graders at Olotayan Elementary School To get to Olotayan Island, we boarded a motorized outrigger from Banica Pier in Roxas City and cruised passed fishponds and mangrove to Punta Cogon and from there to the open sea. It took about 40 minutes on calm waters to get to the island. As we approached the island, the waves became bigger and the ride was slightly choppy. Punta Cogon They were celebrating their annual fiesta at Sitio Capaculan which is on the other side of the island from Sawang. There's a paved road that goes over the hill to the shores of Capaculan. If you're seeking a stretch of …
Kids on their way to their classroom One of the most heartwarming experiences I've had while visiting the Philippines has been meeting grade school kids through the Balay ni Charie School Supplies Program. According to Room to Read, "World change starts with educated children". And how do we keep economically disadvantaged children in school? Balay ni Charie helps children stay in school by providing them with the tools they need, namely: pencils, pens and paper. While we take these items for granted in more prosperous countries, many children in the Philippines can barely afford to buy the school kits necessary to succeed in their studies. With the generous support of friends and family, Balay ni Charie was able to reach out to 600 kids at Conrado Barrios Memorial School in Roxas City, Capiz last November. We are looking forward to helping more children for many years to come. Grade school kids at Conrado Barrios Memorial School For more on Balay ni Charie, visit http://w…
Mantalinga Island in the distance
The best time to take a walk along BayBay Beach in Roxas City is early morning when the rest of the city is still fast asleep. Except for annoying stray dogs, the beach is yours to enjoy. (The city really needs to address the burgeoning population of stray dogs as they often scare away would be strollers.)
Low tide. No fishing today? * * * Photos by Charie
As a child growing up in Capiz, I was not impervious to taunts about the nocturnal forays of fellow Capiceños. When prodded I would turn defensive and point to an obscure town in a neighboring province as the true home of the “aswang”. If I had met one, perhaps I would not be writing this article as these creatures have wings and could easily outpace their victims. According to local lore, they often travel in groups making it difficult for anyone to escape alive.
The Philippine movies have done a superb job of perpetuating the legend of the half-bodied aswang they call “manananggal” in Tagalog (it means “natatanggal sa katawan” or detaches from the body). It seems these creatures are just like you and me during the day but by night, they emerge, just torso and wings, and fly away in search of human appetizers. Like Dracula, they bite the poor victim and suck his/her blood. Then before light breaks, they return to their lower half and become whole again.
At the mall in Roxas City, the Kreyativo gallery is without peer. There are any number of unique things to choose from to furnish an elegant house. I've dreamt of owning one of their beautiful dining tables made of rich and heavy hardwood that probably weighs a ton. I can picture myself seated in one of those chairs with a straight back it seems uncomfortable but so aesthetically exquisite.
I was pleased to see a Kreyativo booth at the recently concluded 2nd Annual One Visayas Culture and Arts Festival. There were paintings and an assorment of furniture on display. The canvases were framed in Kreyativo's signature dark, distressed wood.
I wasn't able to get the names of the painters as the lunch hour attendant didn't have much information. But this can be verified at their gallery where the works of art on display have been thoughtfully selected. Kreyativo also has a factory in town where they create their unique furnishings as well as custom made orders.
Abyan (meaning friend) is the latest restaurant to open in Roxas City. Located just across from the mall, it's easy to drop in after errands and beauty salon appointments. What a balm to find the neat and austere rows of tables and chairs after a harried experience of shopping at the mall.
There is a rotating gallery of paintings and photography at Abyan. In the photo above are paintings by local artist, John Alaban. These works are for sale but at the time I visited, most of the canvases were consigned to an art gallery in Boracay which is the famous neighboring island with white sand beaches.
For lunch I had the tangigue (shown above) served with rice and atchara (fermented raw green papaya dish). While the tangigue looks brown, the inside is still a little raw and I prefer my fish well cooked. I previously had boneless bangus for dinner at Abyan and I think that was far more tasty than the tangigue. My friend enjoyed the steak and it costs about P200.00. Only one other restauran…