|Calajao Mangrove Eco-Park|
Capiz is one of the component provinces in the Western Visayas Region. The province is located in the northeastern portion of Panay Island, bordering Aklan and Antique to the west, and Iloilo to the south. It faces the Sibuyan Sea to the north. Capiz is dubbed as the “Seafood Capital of the Philippines.” It boasts its 80-kilometer coastline and wide expanse of swampy lands which are easily converted into fishponds. Capiz is subdivided into 16 municipalities and 1 city. Roxas City is the provincial capital.
Capiz, which was part of Aklan in pre-Spanish times, was one of the early settlements of the Malays, centuries before the coming of the Spaniards to the Philippines. When the Spaniards led by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi came to Panay from Cebu in 1569, they found people with tattoos, and so they called it Isla de los Pintados. Capiz became the second Spanish settlement after Cebu. Aklan and Capiz were united under one province until April 25, 1956, when President Ramon Magsaysay signed into law Republic Act 1414 separating the two entities.
Capiz is known for its mother-of-pearl shells called the Capiz shell which is used in making windows, lanterns, decorations, vases, etc. Farming and fishing are the primary sources of income of the people. Primary agricultural products of the province are rice, corn, coconut, sugarcane, banana and cut flower. Capiz holds one of the richest fishing grounds and a major contributor in the aquamarine industry of the Philippines. It is a major supplier of prawn and milk fish of the country. Other agro-industrial harvests include blue marlin, squid, oysters, shrimp, seaweed and angel wings.
The early inhabitants of the province believed in many gods and spirits. Among these are the Bulalakaw, a bird which looked like a peacock and could cause illness and Manunubo was the good spirit of the sea. Others are kama-kama or dwarfs living in earth mounds; tamawu/taglugar are spirits that can be either friendly or evil; agta which is a very dark and hairy person living in the forest and amaranhig is a dead person who has returned to life. Hiwit or barang is a ritual that gives power to inflict pain on an enemy.
On October 29 to 30, 2004, Capiz inaugurated the Aswang Festival, organized by a non-governmental group. It was a Halloween-like fiesta celebrated as a prelude to All Souls Day and All Saints Day festivals. It was, however, condemned by the Catholic hierarchy and some local officials, as an act of adoring the devil.
Life in Capiz is simple and peaceful. It is an ideal refuge for those who wish to escape the fast-paced life in modern cities. Explore the rolling hills, mountain peaks and ranges. Enjoy daytime excursions at the province’s wide beaches and isolated coves. Visit local gardens, historical sites, old Spanish churches and Southeast Asia’s largest bell at Pan-ay Church.