What to do in the Philippines’ seafood capital? One item on this list seems pretty obvious, especially given my love for shrimp and seashells. Eating at the seafood stalls along Baybay Beach in Roxas City, Capiz is something that I am always excited about when I wander into this side of Panay Island.
During a recent trip there with Las Islas Travel and Tours, I initially thought exploring Roxas and its outskirts would just be a good distraction while on our way to and from Gigantes Islands. I was shocked to discover many exciting developments happening in the city. It is starting to come into its own with many fascinating tourist attractions and off-beat places to visit for curious travelers.
If ever you find yourself in Roxas City and Capiz province, here is a list of interesting things to do to inspire your itinerary:
1. Watch the sunset at Villa Visaya
This is definitely one of Roxas City’s best-kept secrets. Las Islas took us to Villa Visaya, where the owner personally toured us around the extremely beautiful property. Villa Visaya is located in Brgy. Barra of Roxas City on a hill near the mouth of the Pan-ay River.
I was awed right at the moment our van sped past the imposing yet unassuming gates and saw the scenic views from the hilltop residence. Towards the east is a view of the mighty Pan-ay River. To the west, was a view of the coast with a perfect sunset just about to happen.
The Oriental-inspired modern contemporary residence, designed by world-renowned Filipino Architect Francisco “Bobby” Mañosa, is an artistic masterpiece in itself. It has multiple dining areas and balconies that take full advantage of the sweeping coastal views and an infinity pool.
Equally engaging were the interiors filled with collections from the owner’s travels around the world. There are two casitas (guest rooms) that are open for anyone who wants to experience a unique romantic getaway.
If that’s not enough, they also have a tennis court patterned on US Open regulation, and even a ruined stone watchtower that served as WWII Japanese garrison in the 6-hectare sprawling properly.
2. Eat at the floating cottages in Palina
One of many eco-tourism areas in Roxas where you can experience a relaxing river cruise. We had lunch of fresh seafood at one of their floating cottages. Not only did they serve a delicious lunch, but I loved that it was a community-driven program that provides a livelihood to the locals.
3. Slide down Liktinon Falls
A small yet interesting waterfall in the town of President Roxas, Capiz. The jump-off point was around 30 minutes away by car from Roxas City. To get there, you have to jump over huge boulders. This is where the waterfall got its name. “Liktin” means “to jump” in the local tongue. Our hike took around 45-minutes including a stopover to quench our thirst with freshly picked buko (coconut).
4. Take a selfie under Panay Church’s huge bell
Home to the largest bell in the Philippines, and largest functioning Roman Catholic church bell in Asia. The Panay Church is one of the grandest churches this side of the country. Don’t miss going up the watchtower to see the bell and a nice overlooking view of the town.
5. Dine with a view at Cafe Terraza
Elevated on a hill with cool views of the city, Cafe Terraza is one of Roxas’ newer dining destinations. It’s just one short ride away from the bus/van terminal in Pueblo de Panay township. We ate here twice and the food was delicious on both times. We also loved enjoying our food with the relaxing overlooking view. We absolutely loved the Seafood Curry. Other must-taste dishes include the Baked Talaba (Oyster), Crispy Pata, Gambas, and Tres Leches Cake.
6. Eat Seafood at Baybay
Most seafood restaurants in the city are found along the coast of Baybay Beach. Alma’s is the go-to place among locals for fresh and delicious seafood at reasonable prices. Don’t miss their diwal (angel wings shell) grilled in butter and garlic, and grilled scallops.
Roxas City’s great-value hotels
I stayed in two great-value hotels in Roxas during this trip.
I stayed at the deluxe room priced at P1,600 per night. It’s good for two people and includes free breakfast. The price is quite a steal considering the amenities included in the room and the delicious and large servings of their breakfast meals. Hotel Veronica is located across the street from Robinsons Place Roxas mall. You may check current rates and book your room at their website (hotelveronica.com.ph) or at Agoda.
Urban Manor Hotel
This hotel is also located near Robinsons Place Roxas, but a bit farther away than Hotel Veronica. Urban Manor’s cheapest room is their Superior Room priced at P1,350 and includes breakfast for two people. You may check current rates and book your room at their website (urbanmanorhotel.yolasite.com) or at Agoda.