Province of Capiz, Philippines
The Mystic Province of Capiz
One of the provinces that composed the island of Panay in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines is Capiz. It is located on the northeastern part of the island bordering Aklan and Antique to the west, Iloilo to the south and the Sibuyan Sea to the north. The province of Capiz is famous for its mother-of-pearl shells that is commonly called Capiz shells and is being used to make ornamentations such as lampshades, accessories and even window doors among others.
During the pre-Hispanic period, both the provinces of Aklan and Capiz belong under one province. It is only in April 25, 1956 that the two provinces were separated by virtue of RA 1414 signed by then President Ramon Magsaysay. It is said in history that during the 1500’s, the wife of the Datu of Aklan district gave birth to twins which in the local dialect is “kapid.” When the Spaniards first came in the island of Panay, they landed in the town of Pan-ay and adopted the term “capiz” instead of “kapid” because it was unknowingly miscommunicated to them by the natives.
The town of Pan-ay was proclaimed as the first capital of the province though it was later moved to what is now Roxas City. Since then, it has been the seat of government of the province. With the establishment of the first Spanish settlement in the island of Panay at the mouth of the Banica River, Capiz became the second Spanish settlement in the Philippines after San Miguel, Cebu.
The province of Capiz boasts its 80-kilometer coastline and its wide and open extent of swampy lands easily converted into fishponds. Same is true that it holds one of the richest fishing grounds in the country making it as a major contributor in the aquamarine industry. Thus, Capiz is known as the “seafood capital of the Philippines. However, it’s not just all seafood there is to Capiz. Farming is another major source of income for the people. Rice, corn, coconut, sugarcane banana and cut flower are among the products of the inland. With the bountiful land and sea, Capiz sustains a vibrant food industry.
Image Credit: Mozer Smith
Capiznons, as what people from the province of Capiz is being called, are known to be happy individuals who love to celebrate the goodness of life and the abundance of its products. So just like the many provinces of the country, Capiz is host to a number of festivals and one of them is the Sinadya sa Halaran which is a joint festival of both the city of Roxas and the province of Capiz. It is celebrated every first weekend of December in commemoration of the feast of the Immaculate Concepcion, the patroness of the city.
Image Credit: Ramon Berjamin Jr.
One of the many historical landmarks that Capiznons are proud of is the Sta. Monica Church in Pan-ay where the biggest bell in Asia can be found. The church’s five-storey belfry houses the huge antique bell surrounded by eight smaller bells. The bell is believed to weigh 10.4 tons casted in 1868 by Don Juan Reina from 70 sacks of coins donated by the people. The bell was completed in 1878.
Image Credit: Jerry Lames
Visiting Capiz is all worthwhile. Not only will you be able to have a fill of a variety of seafood all year round and enjoy the colorful festivities but experience an ideal refuge brought about by its simplicity unswayed by modernization and peaceful charm that is rich in history and natural beauty.