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The Fabulous People of Roxas City Nov 25-27, 2012

The Fabulous People of Roxas City

The Lift, Breakfast and Birthday Party Invite
After an overnight boat trip from Tablas, Romblon to Culasi, Roxas City, I finally reached the Iloilo harbour. I benignly asked a fellow passenger, Nick Bartolome, how I get to Iloilo City from the pier. What followed was an engaging conversation where he offered to give me a lift to town. We stopped by his house first and I was introduced to his lovely wife, Ms. Rems, and to the rest of this family. Apparently, both are active in local politics. I was invtied to join them for breakfast, and was again unexpectedly invited to join them to celebrate the 77th birthday party of Rems' Dad in Sisabsaban in Quartero - a good ride away from the city. Of course I said yes, curious to see how things are done in the interior of the province.

Birthday Party Fiesta
It wasn't just a birthday party. All the who's who in the community were there - the mayor, vice mayor, the army (doing a medical/dental/haircut mission), the entire barrio people were there. There was food, fun and games for everyone - hitting the clay pot, chasing the baby pig, catching the chicken, climbing up the greased bamboo pole, etc. I also got to meet the extended family of Ms. Rems. I am touched by the fact that they remain strongly rooted to their values and ways and thankful for their accomplishments. They've spanned a broad spectrum indeed.

Igang Cave
Following the party was a stop-over to Igang Cave, not too far away. It was a magnificent cave with huge and multiple entrance points at different elevations. Furthermore, much of the cave remains unexplored. I wonder how they were able to keep this cave a secret, given today's technology when a simple blog or compelling picture can go viral on the internet. I was envious of them. As kids, this was their playground. Now, as parents, they take their kids here to show them what playtime is all about without the Play Stations and virtual games.

What I like about the people here is their sense of humor about their macabre folklore. Superstition has it that Capiz has aswangs - people who disengage the upper half of their bodies and fly off in search of blood and fetuses. Well, that's how the mainstream media fed the public through tv and movies. I was indifferent to that, but the aswang issue came from them...not just from one person, but a few. They brought up the aswang issue and gave it a loud laugh - not at all what you might expect where you have to walk on eggshells when the topic is brought up. I asked them that if that was indeed true, that I would like to be introduced to one. I was serious.

At that point, we were at Panit-an, the supposed aswang capital of Capiz. With my curiosity, I was introduced to a woman who grew up in the area. She knew all about the folklore and the culture. So, I asked, "Is there really such a thing as aswang? And if so, can I meet one?" Her answer was candid. She said that she believes in aswang and most of the town people do. But none of them have ever seen one. She talked about people being sick from an aswang spell, but then again, it can't be proven. She mentioned that in any neighborhood, there is always a suspected aswang family, but again, it's heresay. And in the province, it's easy to start a damaging rumor - in fact, it's a national pastime. So, at the end of the day, I didn't come up with anything new about aswangs except that they are no different from the mythical stories passed around by the elders through generations across the entire country - mangkukulam, tikbalang, duwende, etc. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed. I really wanted to meet a real aswang to hava a one-on-one conversation with. But from what I've heard, the likelihood of a real aswang is the same as the likelihood of having a real Santa Claus.

Panulce Cakes and Pastries
The following day, I stopped by a bake shop for coffee and pastries - Panulce. Later on, I got to talk to the owner, Yeyeng Angon. She was fun to talk to and quite animated - even offered me her house specialties. She called up her friend, Angel, who was running special events for Roxas, and told me she wanted me to him. Soon after, Angel showed up at Panulce and the 3 of us had the most engaging conversation. I was really getting stoked about Roxas.

Aswang Festival
One of the things Angel mentioned was to capitalize on the folklore and organize an Aswang Festival. I thought it was genius! I've seen it happen in Siquijor, another place suffering from such a misplaced stigma. Siquijor now hosts a witchcraft festival that draws-in tourism dollars. Not only were they able to monetize the folklore, but even de-mystified it. Now, it's even cool to be in Siquijor and buy the love potions, specifically crafted by the 'sorcerrers'. Unfortunately for Roxas, the all-powerful Catholic church did not approve of it, claiming it only perpetuates the stereotype. Well, I beg to disagree, but I'm just one passing tourist in a city steeped in tradition.

City Within a City
In the evening, Angel invited me to join him and his friend, Kat Aguirre, for an ocular on a wedding reception and later on for dinner. They picked me up at Gaisano after I watched the Bond film, Skyfall for a cool P65. Kat was equally animated and fun. We headed out to Roxas City's most ambitious project, Pueblo de Panay. The Ong family is developing not just a subdivision but an entire city within the city of Roxas. I heard from someone that the Ongs are largely responsible for the booming economic trend shaping up the city. Part of the 300-hectare project is already completed - Veronica Hotel, Urban Manor Hotel, Event Pavillion resting on a hilltop. When fully done, it would have a housing complex, a mall and even my alma matter, the University of the Philippines!

Beachfront Dinner at Coco Veranda
For dinner, they took me to Coco Veranda, a seaside alfresco eating place located along Baybayin - a popular string of restaurants lining up the coastal road between the city and the airport. So, there we were, laughing and sharing stories, sumptuously savoring its seafood offering on the elevated beachfront veranda on a moonlit evening. I was thinking, "it doesn't get any better than this".

Ending Thoughts
Like my Romblon experience, I still didn't want to leave, but I had to pack up and catch my flight from Iloilo to Gen San. I thought I would briefly pass by Roxas City and it'll just be a blur after. But in the 2 days I was there, being my first time ever, not knowing anyone or anything about the place, I got invited to a hearty prawn breakfast with the wholesome Bartolome family, tagged along to a birthday party that resembled a town fiesta, explored a magnificent cave, had engaging conversations at Panulce bake shop, stood on the hilltop of the Pueblo de Panay and had a beachside dinner on an elevated alfresco veranda. Whoa! Was this all for real? That was quite intense! As lovely and charming as Roxas City is, it is only upstaged by the warmth and the hospitality of the charming people who call it home. Thank you Nick, Rems, Yeyeng, Angel and Kat! I heart the fabulous people of Roxas City!

--- TheLoneRider

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Google Map Roxas City, Philippines

tourist attractions in Roxas City tourist attractions
  • Cadimahan-Libotong River in Roxas City Cadimahan-Libotong River - river cruise while savoring seafood specialties
  • People's Park in Roxas City Baybay - a long stretch of beach area lined-up with restaurants serving seafood and meat dishes
  • People's Park in Roxas City People's Park - green space by the beach connected to Baybay. Restos serve grilled seafood and meat
hotels in Roxas City hotel shopping in Roxas City malls / shopping
  • Gaisano Marketplace Gaisano Marketplace
  • CityMall CityMall
  • Robinsons Place Roxas Robinsons Place Roxas
  • Gaisano Boulevard Gaisano Boulevard

How to Get to Roxas City

  1. from Odiongan, Tablas, Romblon - by sea, this is a newly opened route by Super Shuttle Roro 2, arriving via Culasi. Departs Odiongan Port 1am, Wed/Fri/Sun, 7 hours, P655
  2. from Kalibo, Aklan - by white van at City Mall terminal, 2 hours, P120. Note - there seems to be a white van mafia in Kalibo restricting Ceres buses to ply to Roxas City from Kalibo. You are forced to take the white van where they squeeze everything and everyone into what space is available. They'll fit 4 people + luggage into a row for 3 people! If you cannot take that, then take the Ceres bus for Passi City and tell the driver to get you off the junction for Roxas City - you take 2 bus rides. You will be dropped-off at the bus terminal in Roxas City where you take a jeep bound for Lawaan / Capitol to get you to city center, P8, 15 mins

How to Get to Iloilo from Roxas City

  1. Ceres Bus leaves Roxas City to bus terminal in Iloilo P158, 3 hours. To Iloilo Airport from SM, take van P70 to airport 25 mins.
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Roxas City Blogs by TheLoneRider

  1. Revisiting Roxas City Dec 22-, 2016
  2. The Fabulous People of Roxas City Nov 25-27, 2012

Suggested itinerary on the WEST coast of Panay Island from Boracay going south

  1. Boracay - most popular beach in the Philippines
  2. Malay - Nabaoy River, Pangihan Cave, Nagata Falls, Agnaga Falls, Naasug Point, Malay Ecological Park, Motag Living Museum
  3. Nabas - wind tubines, Hurom-Hurom Cold Springs
  4. Pandan - Malumpati Spring
  5. Libertad - Maanghit Cave, Ati Cave and Bungan-Bungan Spring
  6. Sebaste - Igpasungaw Waterfall
  7. Culasi - Malalison Island
  8. Tibiao - hot kawa-bath, white water river rafting, Bugtong Bato Waterfall, rice terraces, Tibiao Bakery, pottery, fish spa
  9. Anini-y - Nogas Island, scuba diving

Suggested itinerary on the EAST coast of Panay Island from Boracay going south

  1. Boracay - most popular beach in the Philippines
  2. Malay - Nabaoy River, Pangihan Cave, Nagata Falls, Agnaga Falls, Naasug Point, Malay Ecological Park, Motag Living Museum
  3. Nabas - wind tubines, Hurom-Hurom Cold Springs
  4. Kalibo - Bakhawan Eco-Park, Tigayon Hill
  5. Tambak - oysters
  6. Capiz - Roxas City
  7. Carles | Estancia - Gigantes Island Boat Tour, Lighthouse of Gigantes Island and Bakwitan Cave of Gigantes Island
  8. Iloilo - Batchoy Indulgence

Caving Blogs by TheLoneRider

  1. Canghaling Cave November 14, 2023
  2. The Return to Hinagdanan Cave Nov 5, 2017
  3. Exploring Hinagdanan Cave Oct 24, 2017
  4. Exploring Guimba and Sog-ong Caves of Loboc Oct 22, 2017
  5. Exploring Combento Cave Pool June 29, 2017
  6. Visiting Cabagnow Cave Pool of Anda Jun 28, 2017
  7. Exploring Bukilat Cave, Camotes Islands Feb 28, 2017
  8. Exploring Timubo Cave of Camotes Islands Feb 9, 2017
  9. Exploring Holy Crystal Cave of Camotes Islands Feb 9, 2017
  10. Exploring Bakwitan Cave of Gigantes Island Dec 30, 2016
  11. Visting Pangihan Cave of Malay Dec 14, 2016
  12. Exploring Maanghit Cave in Libertad Dec 9, 2016
  13. Visiting Ati Cave in Libertad Dec 9, 2016
  14. Visiting the Elephant Cave (Goa Gajah) July 9, 2016
  15. Visiting the Nam Lot and the Pha Khong Caves of Phan District May 18, 2016
  16. Visiting Batu Caves of Kuala Lumpur Feb 18, 2015
  17. Exploring Silop Cave of Surigao City Jun 22, 2013
  18. Exploring Bakwitan Cave of Tuburan, Surigao del Sur May 25, 2013
  19. Exploring Campamento Cave of Lanuza, Surigao del Sur May 17, 2013
  20. Exploring Dayao Cave of Tandag, Surigao del Sur May 12, 2013
  21. Exploring Sumalsag Cave of Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon Apr 21, 2013
  22. The Fabulous People of Roxas City (Igang Cave) Nov 25-27, 2012
  23. Exploring the Cantabon Cave of Siquijor Feb 23, 2012
  24. Marinduque with UPM's Rumble Reggae (Sawa Cave) May 29 - June 1, 2009
  25. Backpacking Cagayan de Oro (Macahambus Cave) Mar 7-9, 2009
  26. Sagada Cave Connection - Lumiang Cave to Sumaging Cave September 12, 2008
  27. Mountaineering with Lakay Kalikasan Mountaineers (Kalinawan Cave) November 25, 2007
  28. Sabang, Palawan (Underground River) November 14-21, 2007
  29. Sagada (Sumaging Cave) October 18, 2005
  30. The Cordillera - Day 5: Sagada (Sumaging Cave) May 3, 2005

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