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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Alluring Aklan

Places of Interest in Aklan 

Sampaguita Gardens, New Washington, Aklan 

New Washington, Aklan 

Ibajay, Aklan 

Jawili Falls, Tangalan 

Ignito Cave, Buruanga, Aklan 

Ariel Point, Buruanga, Aklan         

          The road to Aklan is a long winding series of ups and downs, zigzag and turns making it one of the bumpy and exciting places to visit. The first town in Aklan upon entering the province from Capiz is Altavas.
          Traversing through a rough sandy-clay road, one can reach Batan a small coastan town northwest of Altavas. Trekking towards a winding upward trail, one can reach a breath-taking panorama overlooking a wide, silvery-white lake. This the "tinagong dagat" (hidden sea) of Batan, a hidden sea of around 8 kilometers long and 4 kilometers wide, lying between Altavas and Batan and partly hidden from Batan Bay by two small islands. This beautiful sea-lake is protected from the destructive instinct and indiscriminate intrusion of man by a fringe of mangrove, thick undergrowth and rocky cliffs. This unique sea-lake is an ideal place for swimming, boating, and water skiing, especially during summer, if one prefers to have privacy and pleasure. This is also a rich fishing ground especially during the northeast monsoon when the Sibuyan Sea is rough. 
           There is an old school converted into a museum in Batan where a marker stood in front of the building with the following inscription: "This marks the place where the seat of government of Rajah Bendahara Kalantiaw III, the third chief of Panay, famous lawgiver and author of the famous Code of Kalantiaw, was established." Inside the museum, is a well-arranged display of various antiques. In one corner is a glass-encased shelf which contained the original copy of the manuscript on which is written the Code of Kalantiaw. In the opposite corner is another shelf with pictures and biographies of our great national heroes. Barangay Songcolan, which is four kilometers east of Batan, is where the famous Ob-ob Hill is found. One can trek the hundred-meter length of shady, climbing trail until you reach the hilltop consisting mostly of rocks some with moss and young vines. This is Ob-ob Hill of Batan with a lighthouse. It stands like an unmanned, unlighted lighthouse facing the Sibuyan Sea welcoming the lost and tempest-ridden seafarers. Ob-ob Beach is around 200 meters below this hill. 
          The next town is Balete. There is a winding trail to reach a beautiful hill - the famous Agtawagon Hill, the pride of Balete. It is seven kilometers away from the poblacion or town proper and located at the southeastern part of Barangay Morales. One can notice some dugouts and small pits on the hilltop. Those are the foxholes of our soldiers during the Second World War. During the Philippine Revolution of 1896, this hill was used by our Filipino patriots as their last line of defense against the Spanish soldiers. During the Second World War, this was the operation camp of the Filipino soldiers and guerillas.
          Next is the town of Madalag. Large and tall Balete trees alternated by bamboo and coconuts shaded the concrete road towards the town proper. Following a narrow, not graveled barangay road sheltered occasionally by the thick foliage of the tall mahogany and wild cherry trees grown along the sides of the road until one can reach a rock-strewn river bank where a crystal-clear rushing water edged its way over big and small boulders. Pushing you way forward following the river bank, one can be awed at the sight to behold -Tindog Falls which continuously flows to the main river below. You can sit among the smooth boulders jutting out of the thick shrubs alongside the waterfalls. Tindog Falls of Madalag is a unique waterfall noted for having its basins at the top rather than at the bottom. Observe the row of gradually ascending, nature-carved stones. They were nature-carved into stair-like shapes by the cascades from the top of this fall. Just take a look also at the play of colors formed into an iridescent rainbow by the straight shaft of sunlight.
           The town of Libacao has their own famous Manimpa Falls. Walking through a grassy surface atop a verdant slope and northward on a limestone path slightly covered with a thin moss until one can reach the 50-foot Manimpa Falls whose cascades crashed with tremendous force down its rocky walls. Manimpa Falls, which is a part of Barangay Caa-awan is the pride of Libacao. This waterfall has its basins located both at the top and at the bottom through which the waters of this falls pour in. The clear, silvery-white water is unceasingly pouring and spraying against the rocks to the main river below. 
            After Libacao, the next town is Banga where the Aklan State College of Agriculture is located. The school has a total land area of 69 hectares but only 6 hectares are occupied by school buildings and its other facilities. The school has an orchard planted with durian, mangosteen, rambutan and lanzones among so other fruits. Some other parts of the 69 hectare areas are rice fields while the rest are pasture or grazing land located over the famous Manduyog Hill. Manduyog Hill is a 500 foot high hill with life size images and statues depicting the 14 Stations of the Cross erected beside the ascending stairway. Upon reaching the summit, one can see a nicely built concrete chapel where anyone can find comfort and solace for few minutes. The hill was named after Datu Manduyog, the successor of Datu Kalantiaw III, the famous lawmaker. This is a religious place at the same time a tourist attraction for pilgrims and other tourists.
           Kalibo, the capital of the province of Aklan, is just 9 kilometers northwest of Banga. One interesting place in Kalibo worth mentioning is the famed Tigayon Hill. The path to Tigayon Hill is one dampy, pebbled trail, partly shaded by tall acacia tree lined along the way until one can reach a cavern. One can enter the dark cave with a lamp or any lighting equipment and notice that the cave is wide and airy with its dome-shaped ceiling. While on the floor, one can see a stockpile of stalagmites. Although the wall were not as grotesque-looking as they should be, still it was eerie due to the pervading darkness, coldness and humid atmosphere of the cave. Outside the cave, there is a cave-like grotto with a nature-carved arched entrance. Inside the grotto, there is a smooth, flat-top rock which looked like a table at the center. The table-like rock is used by the priest when holding a mass here. At the side, two rocks are used as benches by the people attending the said mass, or by any visitor who wishes to rest. One can wander through the hill until you reach a winding rocky steps going uphill to its plane but rocky treeless summit overlooking the vast stretch of plains consisting of rice fields and other croplands. The wide plains are irrigated by the waters of Aklan River, Aklan's largest river, which you can clearly see from that vantage point. Somewhere in Kalibo, travel across a sandy access road to a scenic beach fringed with shady palm trees called Lambingan beach with cottages of various sizes while you enjoy the soft fine sand beach. Another one is Bougainvillea beach another popular beach of Kalibo. It has shady coconut trees and icy cold water and is a spectacular sight during sunset.
           Next is the antique-laden Museo It Akean or the Aklan Museum where one can find rich collections of various antiques, relics and artifacts taken allegedly from the various diggings in Aklan.There also artistic display of various works of arts by the famous artists of Aklan. The articles and pictures are modestly arranged and carefully chosen, thus, giving a real atmosphere of arts and culture.
           There is also a Freedom Shrine in Kalibo which display a war monument,  mortars, and other armament of World War II, signifying the heroic stand of the Aklanons. There is also a 19 Martyrs Marker erected on a street intersection named after it. The historical marker marks a significant event in Philippine History enumerating the names of the nineteen (19) Aklanons who gave up their lives to set free the Filipinos from the enslavement of the Spanish regime.
           Next to Kalibo is New Washington, a coastal town east of Kalibo, is a fishing village as shown by the flurry of customers and vendors buying and selling fresh fish, crabs, shrimps and lobsters on the makeshift stalls placed under the shady coconut trees. Pink Sisters Convent in New Washington is also another place of interest. The main building and everything around it were painted in pink - the convent facade, the concrete wall fence, the convent walls, and the study benches under the shady mahogany and acacia trees. Even the nun's habits were pink. The wild flower garden were planted with pink roses and lined with potted pink-flowered plants using pink flower pots placed in pink pot-holders. The chapel has pink pews, pink altar decors and pink walls. All were pink except the images of the crucified Christ and some saints. Even the clothes of the Blessed Virgin and other saints were all pink. Floripon Point Beach is another spectacular attraction in New Washington. Anyone can be dazzled by its expansive, fine sandy beach  and clear blue waters from Sibuyan Sea. Beyond the horizon, the misty shapes of distant islands could be seen occasionally obstructed from view by the crisscrossing sailboats, ferry boats and pump boats. Cottages of various sizes and shapes dotted the verdant lawns under the rows of coconut trees.
          New Washington has a notable place of interest which can be distinctively recognized as a popular New Washington destination - Sampaguita Gardens. Sampaguita Gardens is  14 hectare resort with Christmas and children as its theme. It is built for everyone's enjoyment especially for children and child like people and especially during Christmas when everything in this resort is well lighted and well decorated to have a holiday feel. There are lots of attractions in this resort and park garden. Among the attractions are the Butterfly Garden where several species of butterfly happily roaming around the plants, Children's museum, Adoration Chapel, a Spa, Aquariums, Children's playground, two swimming pools one for kids and another for adults and The Toy House which is the most prominent building of all contains lots of dolls, toys and collectibles items all for sale and a spectacular view of the Sibuyan Sea most especially during the sunset. One travel to New Washington is not complete without visiting Sampaguita Gardens.
          After New Washington, the next town is Numancia. The twin beaches of Navitas and Camanci are located four (4) kilometers from the poblacion of Numancia. This twin beach resort is excellent for picnics and excursions for there are stores and food stalls to cater to the needs of the picnickers and excursionists. The beach is also excellent for water skiing, boating and other sports. p.
         The next town is Lezo, known for pottery making. One can notice an attractive display of potwares and earthen wares of various shapes and sizes along the road and streets of Lezo. There is a life size bronze statue of our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal incredibly erected in a small town like Lezo and it was marvelous and costly at those times. Another town is Malinao where you can travel to a rough, dusty road to an ascending and winding trail leading to Fatima Hill. Fatima Hill is located at Barangay Bulabod in Malinao. Its peak can be reached through a one kilometer flight of rocky stairways. Fourteen (14) Stations of the Cross are constructed beside each step towards the step . This area is used by pilgrims for prayers, meditation and reflection during the Holy Week. At the peak is a marvelous marble chapel entirely made up of marbles. It is so astonishing to look at the smooth shiny gloss marble walls and floors at the immaculately clean chapel at the top of the hill. Even statues and images of the saints in the chapel were all made of marble. The chapel can accommodate at least 100 to 200 persons. It has a high, whitewashed ceiling with a half-closed and half-open sacristy behind the altar. In front of the chapel, one can see the breath-taking view of the scenery before them. The soft mountain breeze and the scenery helped much to relieve someones exhaustion and fatigue caused by the long climb. 
         Barangay Tigpalas still in Malinao is proud of its Mampahon Falls. It can be reached through a rough, dusty road shaded by tall narra and lawa-an trees and with a narrow winding trail beneath the rocky bank of a river. Mampahon Falls is forty (40) feet high and has an eight (8) feet deep basin on top and 6-foot deep basin below. Its waters remain crystal clear and cool whole year round. A significant giant cross was erected in Sition Agbunsud in Barangay San Dimas, Malinao by the former parish priest of Malinao. It also marked the boundary between the towns of Malinao and Lezo. During the Philippine Revolution, the Filipino revolutionarios mounted their cannons on the hill in Sitio Agbunsud. 
          Next is the town of Tangalan after passing the town of Makato. Following the half-forested rocky trail, one can reach the marvelous Jawili Falls. Jawili Falls is the pride of Tangalan being the most beautiful waterfall in Aklan. It has seven basins arranged in series by nature, one basin cascading its waters down the next until it reaches the last one at the bottom. Each basin is a veritable swimming pool from 130 square feet to 540 square feet. The first basin is 40 x 60 feet in size, holding a 12-foot deep clear water. The other basins vary in sizes from 130 to 240 square feet. with 8 - 10 feet deep of clear water. The sixth basin, however, is the largest, with a swimming area of 540 square feet. All the seven basins have oval shapes and arranged in tiers at a regular distance of at least  20 feet high from each other. The highest basin has a height of 100 feet. There are small rest houses around reserve for visitors who wants to refresh themselves and stay for awhile while enjoying the falls. You can feast your eyes on the sparkling, dancing cascades crystal clear waters glinting at the strike of the rays of the sun. The huge, smooth boulders seems to be naturally arranged. The verdant background, accentuated by varied ferns and vines clinging to the moss-covered trunks of trees beneath the falls whose lower branches bow so low as to almost touch the rushing waters of the cascades, complete the final touch of the picturesque scenery.
          Afga Beach in Tangalan is a 2-kilometer stretch of soft white sand that could rival those of Boracay. The cool sea breeze brought here by the vast, open Sibuyan Sea could make a soothing effect on your tired muscle. The clear, dark blue, serene waters make the place for swimming, boating or water skiing. The regularly spaced rows of tall coconut trees giving shade to many cottages add to the pervading coolness of the place. The reforestation area of Campo Verde, which borders the towns of Tangalan and Ibajay around 28 kilometers west of Kalibo, is a mountainous area with a total altitude of 3,700 feet high above sea level. The numerous and varied trees planted and conserved in this camp contributed much to the preservation of the ecosystem in its environment.
          Tulingon Cave of Barangay Libertad in the town of Nabas is another interesting place to visit to adventure seekers and not just spelunkers. The entrance of the cave resembles the mouth of a whale shark. It is partly covered by tall grasses and reeds together with the thick, long vines creeping over its rocky mouth's edge. This cave is said to be one of the longest caves in the Philippines with a dark tunnel that stretches up to 20 kilometers to its exit in Barangay Patria of Pandan, Antique. Inside the cave, caverns of various sizes can be seen and the inner portion was blocked by stockpiles of stalagmites while the whole ceiling of a huge cavern was studded with a cluster of hanging stalactites. The whole floor of a mammoth cavern is fully covered by an enormous deposit of guano.p. 180
          The trail to Basang Cave was a little bit shorter and easier that it only take a short time for someone to reach it. The cave's entrance is less frightening because it's wider and faintly covered by short grasses and ferns. The attraction here is the flowing stream coming out of the cave's mouth with its crystal clear, cold water.  Taking a rock-strewn path beside the cave's wall, one should carefully plod on to the interior of the cave until one can reach a cavernous hall slightly lighted with sunlight coming through a tiny hole of the cave's wall. You will be astonished to see a wide,  round shaped natural basin full of cold, clear water which flowed out of the cave winding its way through canals until it went through the mouth of the cave. Going further, you will see another natural basin of bigger size but similarly shaped whose similarly cold and clear water followed a different course but finally joined the other stream at a portion near the mouth of the cave and came out as one bigger stream flowing into the main body of Gibon River below. These two basins inside Basang Cave can be used for swimming.
           Caticlan is a barangay or coastal community which is a part of the town of Malay. Here in the coastal barangay of Caticlan where pump boats, ferry boats and other sea crafts anchored and wait for the passengers going to Boracay or any other island off the waters of Malay. One can ride a pump boat to reach the Tigwati-an Island (now Laurel Island and more popularly called Crystal Cove) where one can see a breath taking view of the islands. Tigwati-an Island,  a nearby island of the famed Boracay Island, is a small island lying northeast of Sitio Tabon, a part of Caticlan. The white sand beach of Tigwati-an Island is thinly covered with tiny pieces of white and colored shells of varying sizes and shapes. There is a small, round cave on the rocky cliff off the island's eastern shore. Inside is a slightly lighted grotto like cavern, one will be astonished to find along its walls some slick stones nature-carved into varied shapes and forms of humans and animals.
            Boracay, dubbed as the "Paradise Island," is one of the top tourist destination in the country where over 2 million visitors from around the world flock annually to relax and have a vacation on this clay soft white sand beach regarded by many as the softest beach in the world while some others stay permanently because they fell in love by the beauty of the island. It has been named the best beach in the world by Travel and Leisure Magazine recently. It has lots of amenities, facilities, activities, establishments and businesses and commerce in the area that is why it has attracted a lot of tourists. It has roughly the shape of a dumb-bell with 7 kilometers long and almost 1 kilometer wide at its narrowest portion. As a barangay belonging to the the municipality of Malay, it has its own three barangays or community, Yapak in the north, Balabag in the center, and Manok-manok in the south. Yapak is noted for its various white pebbles and white shiny Puka shells which are fashioned into jewelry. It is where the name Puka Beach came from. The best known beach in the Philippines, some tourists claimed it to be the best in Asia, is White Beach or Long Beach for the natives, which is situated between the villages of Balabag and Angol. Manok-Manok has two beautiful sand beaches with tourist facilities, the Manok-manok and Cagban Beach. You will find some more interesting things about Boracay when you visit the place. By the way, the island paradise have its electricity starting in 1991. Diniwid beach is a white sand beach part of Boracay where its hills are nestled with luxurious mansions and resorts for tourists to stay. The tiny Balinghai beach is enclosed by steep rocky walls with some luxurious resort hotels and apartments cradle over its hills. Puka Beach, the farthest northernmost part of Boracay, is a long stretch of beach thickly covered with white sand equally mixed with glittering mantle of white and shiny puka shells of varied shapes and sizes. 
          Across Boracay and going back to Caticlan where you can find Agnaga Falls, another breath taking sight to behold. The falls has a crystal clear, chilly waters in the stream and one can dive into the basin's foaming water and enjoy its surging rapids.
          Nabaoy Reforestation Area in Malay is another place of interest where the verdant landscape is lined with tall trees. It is several hundred feet above sea level which has caused the chilling coldness of the air and pollution free atmosphere. 
           The last town after Malay is Buruanga, the farthest town in Aklan located in the northwest of the province. The far town of Buruanga will not be the last in showcasing their wonderful town and can proud of its Wasak-wasak Falls, Tigis Falls, and Ingus-Ingus Hill. The bulging and elevated mass of rocks of Ingus-ingus Hill is only two kilometers from the town proper or poblacion of Buruanga. This hill serves as a natural border making the exits of the Buruanga River which separates Barangay Alegria from the poblacion of Buruanga. Overlooking the hill, you can see the view of the sea on three sides. This hill was used as a watchtower to guard or spy on the approaching vintas of the Moro pirates who use to maraud this place during the Spanish times. Underneath this hill is a cave which was used as a hiding place or rendezvous of English pirates or buccaneers who used to prey on Spanish Galleons loaded with precious cargoes from Mexico. While the place gives a panoramic view of the lands, the edge of the hill also serves as an ideal roosting place for brigands, bandits and other criminals in hatching their evil plans to whatever took their fancy in their nefarious activities during the colonial period.
             Tigis Falls has a cascade whose clear water is comparable to any beautiful waterfalls in Aklan. Due to its remote location, there is an abundance of different species of birds flying around now and then. The thickly grown tall trees surrounding the waterfall added stillness and serenity to the place. The falls would be an ideal place for swimmers who prefer privacy during the hot summer months.
              Wasak-wasak Falls is a majestic fall revealing a huge column of roaring cascade which dropped with bubbling intensity at the huge receiving basin below. One can truly admire the scenery that only the poets could aptly describe and artists could clearly paint.

Attractions In or Near Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan 

Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan 

White Beach, Boracay 

Puka Beach, Boracay 

Puka Beach, Boracay 

Tigwati-an Island now called Laurel Island or popularly called Crystal Cove is just few minutes away southwest of Boracay and already near the main islands of the Aklan province. Tigwati-an Islands and Boracay Island is separated from the main Panay Island by Sibuyan Sea on northwest and Sulu Sea on the southeast. Regular island hopping is offered by local tours provided by Boracay, Malay Tourism council and other tour groups. You can search for the map of Boracay and Crystal Cove online. 

Crystal Cove also known as Laurel Island and formerly called Tigwati-an Islands. It is called formerly Tigwati-an Island because there was an abundance of the local bird called Tigwati in the islands before. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Captivating Capiz

Some Attractions in Capiz 

Suhot Cave With Suhotan Springs In Front or At the mouth of the cave. Suhot which means "to crawl inside" in English is in the town of Dumalag. 

Pan-ay Bells in the town of Panay is the largest bell in the Philippines and said to be the largest in Southeast Asia. 

Badiang Cave in Dumarao is rich in Phosphates minerals.     

         The name Capiz was based on a popular legend that when the Spaniards came to Capiz,  it was the time when Datu Bangkaya's wife gave birth to twin daughters. Twin is called "kapid" in local dialect. So the Spaniards  adopted the name Capiz instead kapid as a misspelled and mispronounced communication between them and the natives.
         First stop would be the caves situated on a small grassy plain near the foot of a hill overlooking the poblacion proper of the town of Pilar and Roxas City. The caves can be explored through six entrances but you might get lost in its labyrinth if you explore it by yourself. The cave chambers vary in size - some are small some are as big as a chapel.. There are vines from mountain top reached the caves through its openings. The water from a spring on top of this mountain is continuously dripping to the cave floor of this chamber. In the late 1980s, some people discovered some earthen pots with intricate designs from these caves. It was believed that these caves must have been the burial sites of Pre-Spanish Filipinos. In the Balisong caves, a cannon used by the Filipino revolutionaries during the Philippine Revolution, was found which was displayed in front of the town hall. Thus, it was believed that this cave was the hideout of the artillery of the revolutionary forces during the Philippine revolution.
         Next is the Tucad Reef in the town of Pilar which has a span of four hectares, This famous reef is actually an islet composed of seashells and corals with only a thin layer of sand in it. The corals are beautiful with varying gleaming colors of green, red, blue, saffron, pink and mauve and be thrilled by its aesthetic effect. From that vantage point, mountains of Masbate can be seen from afar. From the Tucad Reef, one can go to the fishing village of Casanayan still in Pilar town with a welcoming surrounding that makes you calm and relax - smoothly curved roads with protective palms of the shady coconut trees along its hazy streets. This village is noted for its home made patis and ginamos (bagoong or shrimp paste). What made this village very much well known was the bizarre if not miraculous phenomenon which happened many years ago but still believed by many people up to now.
         In 1929, a woman named Maria Basanes died of a heart attack at the age of 47. Ten years later, when her body was exhumed, it was found out that it was still intact and preserved. Many people, out of curiosity, flocked to this place just to see for themselves this rare phenomenon. Others came because of religious fanaticism on the belief that by praying before the preserved cadaver or touching any part of it may cure any of their ailments. Still others came on their superstitious believe that even just a pick of the smallest part of the body will serve as an amulet of good luck charm.
         Igang Cave in Barangay Tapulang of the town of Maayon has several entrance carved suitably at different levels. These different entrances, however will ultimately lead to the only one large chamber. Therefore, even if you decide to enter the cave through the entrance down below, at the middle, or at the upper level, you may still arrive at the same chamber with those who opted to enter the cave through the entrance at different levels. This huge chamber is located at the core of this cave. The whole cave including its chamber and tunnel system is as large as around 3 hectares of rice land. Inside the cave, trickles of water were regularly dripping from the source above the ceiling, forming a shallow creek which winds its way into a bigger river a few meters away from the cave's mouth.
         Next is the town of Pan-ay (written as Panay) with its famous church as its local attraction. Pan-ay Church is one of the oldest churches in Capiz if not in the whole island of Panay. In fact this town has the distinction as the only town to challenge Dumangas town (Iloilo) as the first town to receive the Catholic faith. According to history, Father Martin de Rada was said to have  been the first to preach the gospel in 1566 by the banks of the river of the town of Bamban (now Panay) before he proceeded to Dumangas.
          Pan-ay Church belfry is five-storey high with the topmost concealing its treasured relic - a huge antique bell. The belfry nine-foot thick walls is made of white coral blocks taken from the surrounding beaches of Pan-ay as ordered by the Spanish authorities.
          Pan-ay church floors are made of colored marbles taken from the far mountains of Romblon. The whole interior of the church is shaped like a cross with all the walls and crevices, especially in the side and central altars, richly decorated with silver decors and trinkets while the sculptured statues of the saints were aesthetically dressed in the richly woven fabric adorned with various jewels. The altar platforms and panels were all made of hardwood. There is an arched door leading to the winding stairways to the top. On the belfry, a massive antique bell is hanging on a thick, sturdy truss made of hardwood being held tightly to it by a coil of big, strong and compact steel rope. This old, gigantic bell was made in the 18th century from the 76 sacks of coins donated by the cooperative people of Panay. This bell measures 7 feet in diameter and weighs around 10, 400 kilogram. It is believed to be the biggest bell in the Philippines and many considered it to be the largest bell in Asia! Around it are eight smaller bells which were hanged on smaller hardwood by the same kind of steel rope.
          Another popular attraction in Panay town is Bontod beach which is one of the cleanest beach in Capiz due to the fact that it is situated in the unpopulated area of the town.  All year round this beach is free from any jellyfish which is quite unusual for most beaches. Naptis Island is popular for its crystal-clear and chillingly cold waters giving one a spine-tingling sensation aside from its white sand beach. The island is immaculately clean and not a speck of debris, animal or human waste, nor a glimpse of  the dangerous jellyfish or sea urchin could be found floating on the waters surrounding the island. On the white sand beach one can see an abundant supply of small empty white shells which are excellent materials for making beautiful shell necklaces. On top of the island one can see the breath taking view of Roxas City, the capital of Capiz and Panay town. Opposite the island is a small cave which is another tourist hot spot waiting to be explored. It is a dark, cold and damp cave teeming with some exotic cave dwelling animals makes an eerie feeling for someone. On the outskirts of the Panay town, is a barangay called Culasi, a coastal community which is already a part of Roxas City. Its port serves both as a docking facility and as a commercial port of Roxas City. Direct trade and commerce between Capiz and other provinces or cities are carried out here. The port boast not only as a docking facility but also as a tourist spot with its breath-taking view of the surrounding islands including the hazy image of the mountains of Romblon.
           Olotayan Island near Roxas City is another popular destination which tiny, smooth, white and shiny crusted shells locals called "cascaho." These shells have great commercial value as they are excellent material for a shell craft industry. They could be made into necklaces, lampshades, chandeliers, wall and table decors which foreign and local tourists are fond of. The nature-carved rocks which seemed to hang precariously over the northern shore are formed and exquisitely carved by the combined forces of nature stood like mute sentinels over the clear blue waters of the islands.
           A Spanish colonial mansion located at Zamora Street in Roxas City is the birthplace of the 5th President of the Philippines, last President of the Commonwealth Period and 1st President of the Third Republic, Manuel A. Roxas. There is a bronze historical marker by the National Historical Commission in front of the house to make it easy for other people to recognize. The house was recognized as a national shrine as indicated by the marker. Inside shows the lifestyle of the early Filipino ilustrado and inteligentias as shown by the decorative balustrade of stylish design which served as the railing of a wide staircase leading to the second floor. The reception room was composed of furniture which were mostly carved. The interior walls and partitions were all decorated with elaborate lace-like carvings which matched with the other panelings. On a corner of the sala was a large portrait of President Roxas placed on a low narra shelf close to a framed biographical sketch about him. On the opposite side was a picture of him and his family, placed on a larger frame. There is a large library - study room where one could easily notice a ten foot high book  shelf filled up with the rows of books - mostly law books and memorabilia of the former President. Through this room, one could get out to the second floor balcony with overhanging railings made of intricately carved balusters. From this veranda one could relax even for a brief moment while taking a breath of fresh air and viewing the scene below.
           Next town outside Roxas City is Ivisan another coastal town. Entering the town is a half-torn, old stone structure that measures around seven foot square wide and ten feet high. It is a stone fortress called "Moro Tower." It was built in 1814 by the Spanish authorities as a watch tower to protect the towns and villages from the deliberate attacks of the marauding Moro pirates and the pillaging Portuguese invaders. This ruined structure is but a mute testimony to our living past. 
            The town of Ivisan has a famous cove in Balaring, a barangay or village in Ivisan. The white sand beach of Balaring cove was made up of  clear, dark blue waters with its waves gently lapping the white sand beach on the shore. Some hovering seagulls deftly touching their wings to the swaying waves added a gentle touch to a romantic atmosphere.  
            Across the cove is a small island of Baslao. It is as beautiful as Balaring with the same clear, dark blue waters and white sand beach as that of Balaring. The 250-meter long stretch of the white sand beach is noted for being spotlessly clean with no signs of debris, sharp rocks, dangerous sea urchins or jellyfish  to despoil its pristine environment. The white sand beach of the cove also has plenty of stone sculptures intricately carved into strange forms and shapes by the incessant forces of nature abounds in different nooks and corners of the island. The crystal clear water revealed the multi-colored fish swimming in the shallow waters of the cove. On a partly secluded beach by the eastern portion of the cove, a thick carpet of tiny white, shiny seashells of varied shapes and sizes covered the whole stretch of the beach. The beautiful scenery, the cleanliness of the place, the calmness of the waters and its environs, and the gentle sea breeze swaying the shady coconut trees of the cove all contributed to make the place for enjoyment and relaxation.
           After Ivisan town is Dao en route to Cuartero. There is a famous lake in Cuartero called Agpayao Lake but before that here is a small background history of Cuartero.
            The town of Cuartero has had several names. First, it was named as Binudhian, the place where the natives were robbed and treacherously killed by strange people. But the name has bad connotations, thus it was changed to Mapanag, a creek which once was one of its natural boundaries. But the name did not last long when an influential businessman from Dumarao who became a permanent resident of the place conferred with the local leaders and agreed to change its name to Fonda. The present name of the town was adopted in honor of His Excellency Mariano Cuartero, Bishop of Jaro, who during his pastoral visit, officiated the first mass in the town during the inauguration of its church in 1880.  
           Travelers can be astounded by the beautiful sight of a lake before them with its shiny, clear sky-blue waters which looked so peaceful, quiet and calm like a sleeping lady in the midst of her sweetest dream. This is Agpayao Lake, the pride of Cuartero town. This lake embraces around seven hectares in land area. This lake is formed by many rivulets, creeks and other tributaries upstream somewhere in the mountains and hills of Cuartero. The waters of the lake maintained its depth and cleanliness because the place is uninhabited. The area surrounding it is covered with thick foliage of the large shady tree, and the mountain springs, being the main source of the waters of the lake, are protectively covered with enough virgin forests.
           The lake boasts not only of its beautiful scenery but also of its water teeming with fish. The lake could adequately support the people of the town a supply of fresh-water fish for a long time. The lake, however, is not suitable for swimming especially for those wanna be swimmers because it is thirty feet deep at its deepest depth. 
            Dumalag town has a unique cemetery because it is uniquely located on both sides of the road facing each other. The one at the right side has a chapel with a circular-shaped wall while that at the left has a rectangular-shaped wall. The chapel with a circular shape is 40 meters in diameter while the one with a rectangular shape is no longer in use for it was built in the 1880s yet. The mountain of Dumalag is famous for its Suhot Cave (Suhot in English means crawl inside). There is a pool of water at the entrance of the cave. That's a swimming hole formed by the water gushing out from an underground stream found inside the cave. Try dipping your feet on it and you will feel that it's icy cold. The inner chamber of the cave has some water dripping from the dark ceiling of the cave. The waters forming from the underground stream inside this cave and flowing out to the swimming hole outside actually originates from the Panhira-on Mountain comprising this cave and the Badiang Cave in the town of Dumarao, Capiz. These waters flowed from the mountain springs then through the subterranean passage until it emptied through the small opening found at various points on top of this cave. The source of these waters are mineral springs. Thus, swimming on these waters has both a relaxing and a curative effect. The cave also has many small and huge chambers branching out into different directions. In one of those cavernous chambers, they found curtains of stalactites and stockpiles of stalagmites shaped like grotesque forms of human figures and objects. These rock formation dropping from the ceiling are called stalactites while those rising from the ground are stalagmites.
            Another  place of interest in Dumalag town is Miss Ford's Museum. Doña Maria Ford, as Mrs. Maria Garcia Ford was fondly called  by most Dumalag local residents, has an only daughter named Miss Mary Ford who died single. Miss Ford was noted for her humanitarian, philanthropic and charitable deeds, one of which is the founding of this museum which everybody in Dumalag could be proud of. Now her museum stands as a living legacy she has bequeathed to the fortunate people of Dumalag. The museum was formerly a Spanish-American mansion, formerly the residence of Miss Ford and now a museum. The second floor of the building houses rich collection of antiques which dated as far back as the Ming Dynasty period. On a corner, in a glass-encased shelf, lies a neatly piled manuscripts of Pre-Spanish times attesting to the existence of the ancient civilization in Panay long before the Spaniards came. On the other corner is a high rectangular-shaped glass encasement filled with priceless assortment of collector's items as swords, alabaster, wood statues, antique jewelry, stuffed animals and various artifacts like crude tools and implements of the Mastodonic Era taken out of the archeological diggings. In one of the rooms stood an eight foot high book shelf with rows of neatly piled books dealing with topics from politics to horticulture, archeology and anthropology. p. 159
           The town of Jamindan is an inland town northwest of Dumalag. It could be reached, more or less, in two hours from Roxas City and precisely within the same time period from this town going back to Roxas City.  Jamindan boasts of tourist attractions comparable with if not surpassing those found in other places in the country. One of those widely known is the Suhot Cave which is similar to if not the same cave found in Dumalag tunneling through the same mountain range separating the municipalities of Jamindan and Dumalag. This Suhot Cave (Suhoton in some articles) is located in the forested hill of Barangay Agcagay, the barangay or village known as the "home of the vegetables," in Jamindan, Capiz. This cave, which is approximately two to three kilometers away from the poblacion or town proper of Jamindan, consists of 40 other chambers of different sizes where stalactites and stalagmites marvel visitors with their grotesque human-like formation. The sound of nocturnal bats "kabugs" makes the cool, dark caves even more eerie but its ton of guano dung are useful as fertilizers by farmers not only of the said municipality but also of other municipalities of the province. Outside the cave different kinds of bird could be found.
           There are two waterfalls also found in Jamindan. These waterfalls are located in Barangay Lucero. These falls are called Lucero Falls and Cabalalan Lerong Falls.  
           Dumarao, on the other hand, is proud of its Badiang Cave as its tourist attraction. During the pre-war days, phosphate was extracted from this cave. However, because of the Second World War, the mining operations were stopped and until now the operations never resumed although phosphate deposits are still plenty there. Badiang Cave is believed to have a connecting tunnel to Suhot Cave of Dumalag because both are found at the opposite sides of the same mountain. Badiang Cave's elevation is higher than that of Suhot. The entrance of the cave is hidden by big trees, undergrowth and vine thus giving the place a jungle like atmosphere so invitingly cool. Near the cave are streams of crystal-clear water spurting from the ground under the cool shade of the trees. Near those streams is a small crack in the rocks where sulfuric water gushes out.
           Another town with an interesting tourist attraction is Mambusao with its Quipot cave as its main tourist hotspot. Before one can enter the cave, one has to cross the small stream in front of its entrance. This cave, like any other caves, has many chambers at different levels. There are numerous chambers inside in varied sizes. In a certain portion, one has to crawl because the space between the ceiling and the floor is just two to three feet. There are also portions which look like dead ends except for a small hole where only one person can fit in. This leads to a larger chamber as big as a ballroom of a hotel. The atmosphere inside the cave is very cool and just like any other cave, it has also plenty of stalactites and stalagmites. As one go further through these labyrinths of caverns and chambers, one can went out to the other side of the cave where one can see wild birds and wild ducks soaring over the sky.   


Other Places of Interest In Capiz 

Olotayan Island near Roxas City 

Basiao Cove in the town of Ivisan 

Ancestral Home of Manuel A. Roxas, 5th President of the Philippines, also his birthplace was made as a national shrine by the National Historical Institute.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Alimodian Barangay - Umingan


Feast Day: April 30
Patron Saint: St. Vincent Ferrer

               The story of the elderly residents about the name of the place originates from the flood. There is a great wide flood long time ago that people living in the mountain can see. There is a place which has a plate-like shape (pinggan) which was not affected by the flood. Later the people started to settle in this place and due to repetitive calling the name of the place became Umingan from the word pinggan (plate). 
                This place is blessed with cool climate and awesome nature. The barrio pride itself with Bobon-Ebo or Oyang Cave, Umingan Plateau, Ibagat Springs and the locally famous Bato Dungok tagged as the "Pico de Loro of Western Visayas", the highest point in Umingan as its attractions.   

Alimodian Barangay - Ulay Hinablan

Ulay Hinablan 

Feast Day: March 1
                  Second Week of April (Sitio Galing)
Patron Saint:  Saint Peter
                       Saint Vincent Ferrer

               According to the stories of the elderly folks, the name of the barangay came from "Ulo ka Alimodian" (head of Alimodian) and since they are also near Ulay Bugang. The place was a woodland and has a bounty of wild boars long time ago. A different version about the spinster Ulay who was a good weaver (maghabul tela) who lives in this place. Thus, the place was named Ulay Hinablan. 
               The barangay has a sitio named Galing which is also close to the town proper.     

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