Joining the Capiztahan Revelry in Roxas City | Capiz


Contemporary and traditional elements fuse together during Roxas City's Capiztahan Festival. The streets come alive with colorful dances and parades that pay homage to the province's illustrious past and the city’s most notable son. Amidst the celebrations, both residents and tourists enjoy an array of cultures, seafood specialties, and the everlasting joie de vivre the Capiznons are known for.

Levy Amosin
The province of Capiz's folk dances takes centerstage during the Capiztahan

Capiztahan began as a lively tribute to Manuel A. Roxas, the first Filipino president of the Third Republic. The province bursts into life from beginning on the 15th — the date of Roxas' death, with "CAPIZtahan"—which adjoins the province name with the word "kapistahan" that means "festival". This festivity marks the beginning of the celebration of Roxas's legacy and the province’s culture and lasts towards the end of the month. 

Not only that, cultural dances from other regions such as this one from Mindanao was also performed

Together with the Tourism Promotions Board of the Philippines, we arrived on Roxas City just as the celebrations gets underway. Colorful street banners and a slew of performers adorned in colorful garbs amplifies the already festive mood.

We were fortunate to chanced upon this cultural dance showcase in the Plaza

The festival is already nearing its end, having completed a slew of activities such as the Maragtas Sang Capisnon Cultural Show, the boodle treat Surambaw Seafood Fest, the National Pyromusical Competition, and dozens of cultural, musical, and sporting competitions.

More cultural dances

We did, however, arrive in time to see the closing festivities, which included the Unity Dance where a record number of participants from various schools paraded the streets of Roxas City performing a choreographed waltz. More dancing ensued during the "Saot Capiz", a Capisnon folk dance showcase in which performers from 16 municipalities —plus a component city — showcased the province's published folk dances.

Krisma Rodriguez
Indak, Galaw, and Sayaw, the grand closing event of Capiztahan

On our last night in Roxas City before traveling to Masbate the next day, we witnessed the Capiztahan’s curtain drop affair, the Indak, Galaw, and Sayaw, which was curated and organized by the NCCA (National Commission for Culture and the Arts).

Attractions in and around Roxas City

In-between covering the many fun events of the Capiztahan, we ventured outside of the city to pay a few religious and pilgrimage sites a visit, including the Sacred Heart monument in Roxas City's Pueblo de Panay, St. Martin de Tours church in Dumalag, Christ the Redeemer in Ivisan, and the Healing Chapel at Meditation Hills in Sapian. 

Thea Ifurung
Giant statue of Jesus Christ in Roxas City's Pueblo de Panay

Since everybody knows by now on what one should do in the seafood capital of the Philippines, we made sure to have a memorable lunch while on a relaxing cruise down the Cadimahan River by indulging on fresh seafood.

Krisma Rodriguez
St. Martin de Tours church in Dumalag

The province of Capiz is also famous for its windowpane oysters, which have a flat, semi-transparent shell that shimmers with an iridescent sheen.. These shells have since been referred to as Capiz shells.

Krisma Rodriguez
Christ the Redeemer in Ivisan

At a tiny backyard Capiz-shell factory in Roxas City called Kapis ATBP., we witnessed the sizing, sorting, cutting, washing, binding, and shaping processes that go into creating exquisite Capiz shell decorative pieces.

Krisma Rodriguez
Cadimahan River cruise seafood feast

Because of their longevity and translucent nature, Capiz shells were commonly used for windows in older homes, including as I recall, my late grandparents' house in Bulacan.

Cadimahan River cruise

This community-based tourism program was started in 2008 and is managed by members of the local community. Many of them are former fisherman who have found a secure income through this program. 

Krisma Rodriguez
A Capiz-shell maker in Roxas City

We also dropped by the Sta.Monica Parish Church in Pan-ay, Capiz which is home to the Asia’s biggest church bell. The "Dakong Lingganay," as the bell is known locally, dangles from the 5-story bell tower. When the bell is rung, you may hear it from up to eight kilometers away.

Krisma Rodriguez
Underneath the Dakong Lingganay

Legend has it that 70 sacks of smelted coins were contributed by local people after a typhoon destroyed the first 1770s-built church in 1875. These coins were supposedly used to cast Dakong Lingganay during the 1884 construction of the present church.

Krisma Rodriguez
Inside the house where former President Manuel A. Roxas was born

Our city tour concluded with pit stops on Ang Panublion Museum and the Pres. Manuel A. Roxas Ancestral House located not far from each other near Roxas City Hall and the Capiz Provincial Capitol.

Roxas City: A Charming Coastal Destination

Despite a few prior visits witnessing the Sinadya sa Hilaran Festival and going on a seafood fix a number of years ago, I still welcome the chance to return to this idyllic seaside city for a variety of reasons namely; food of course, history, local culture and the relaxed pace of life.

The crowd joined the other dancers to bookend the Capiztahan

As our small group of travel writers (with me barely breaking a move) attempt to dance with hundreds others during the closing part of the Indak, Galaw, and Sayaw, I regale at the sight of a crowd of people celebrating not just the 122nd anniversary of the city's civil administration, but also the local culture that has been passed down through the years with great joy and celebration.