Dubbed as the "Seafood Capital of the Philippines," Roxas City is now fast becoming one of the top tourist destinations in Western Visayas. What to do, where to eat and what not to miss in Roxas City? Check out this interview we had with Francis Gabrien Varon, a local travel blogger and resident of Roxas City. He shares some of the best-kept secrets and gives travel tips when traveling to Roxas City for the first time.
A Local's Guide to Roxas City: 8 Tips and Tricks for First-Timers
1. Best places to stay?Hotel Veronica (located inside Pueblo de Panay Township - the emerging commercial business district of Roxas City) and Sky Garden Hotel. These hotels are equipped with modern facilities, plus they are strategically located at the heart of the city and lastly, gives the best value of your money.
2. Where to eat?Being dubbed as "The Seafood Capital of the Philippines", I highly recommend restaurants located nearby the Baybay beach. Coco Veranda is one of the restaurants that serves delectable seafood delights. They are also serving Asian and Western cuisines aside from their seafood and traditional Filipino dishes. However, if you're on a tight budget one can still opt to eat seafoods on a minimal cost, Seafood Court at the People's Park offers "pili and paluto" or the "choose then cook style." Another restaurant that I highly recommend is the Cafe Terraza. It is located in Pueblo de Panay Township and it is famous for its scenic hilltop dining because it is perched on a hill with backdrop of rolling greens and endless blue skies. Their must-try dishes includes: Seafood Kare-kare, Baked and the Native Pinapisikang Manok.
3. Places to visit?Roxas City and the province itself - Capiz are rich in history and culture so if you're into it, this place is right for you. Top of the list is roaming around the city itself. Several must-see spots includes: the ancestral house and birthplace of Pres. Manuel A. Roxas, the city's plaza wherein Capiz Provincial Capitol (Hailed to be one of the most beautiful provincial capitols in the country), Ang Panubli-on Museum which houses the province's artifacts and historial things (originally built as a water tank) and Roxas City Bridge who remained firm and strong after it was built in 1910.
Along the outskirts of Roxas City, you may visit Talon Adventure Park for some outdoor adventures including the beach. Olotayan Island is also a must-see destination when in Roxas and according to the folklore it is relatively related to the islands of Islas de Gigantes in Iloilo.
Additional: The Sta. Monica Church of Pan-ay, Capiz which houses the biggest church bell in Asia.
4. Must-do activities?If you're into seafoods, this is a haven for you. Seafood trip is the number one must-do activity here in Roxas City. Visit the basic recommended tourist destination (Coordinate with the Provincial Tourism Office).
5. Secret spots?Not popular to many, a must-visit in Roxas City is the Moro Tower which was built during Spanish era to protect the town from invading Moros and Portuguese colonizers. This is located in Sitio Nipa, Brgy. Culasi.
Another secret spot is the tribe of Panay Bukidnon. They are indigenous tribe who happened to be the last indigenous group left around Panay Island. What makes these indigenous tribe extra special is their practice of raising a "binukot".
Binukot is a princess, who is supposed to be very beautiful and fair skinned, the best among the best. From childhood, parents choose their most beautiful and intelligent daughter to be the binukot. Binukot is kept from the eye of the public and ONLY immediate family is allowed to see her and if she is needed for social functions she wears veil and carried in a hammock.
6. How to get around?The basic mode of transportation here in Roxas is tricycle and jeepney but tricycles are dominant around city's downtown and take note fare starts from 8php. A friend of mine said, you will never be late when in Roxas because aside from a minimal traffic, you'll arrive from one destination to another destination within 5 - 10 minutes as tourist spots are close to each other in terms of proximity.
7. Where to shop?Check out Teodoro Arcenas Trade Center - Roxas City's wet market for the wide variety of dried fish that you can bring back home to your family and friends.
8. What are the best pasalubong to bring back home?For the seafoods (including dried fish) you can buy at Teodoro Arcenas Trade Center - Roxas City's wet market. For biscottini, Panulce have satellite branches around the malls in Roxas (Robinsons and Gaisano Boulevard). Also, bring home Sans Rival from Tracy's Cakes and Pastries, located along McKinley Street.
Get more tips from Francis by visiting his blog www.coyxxx.blogspot.com or by following him on his Twitter and Instagram accounts @coyxxx.
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