[In transition: I am fortunate enough for having friends here in Roxas City. Wils & Flora with their beautiful daughter Khalila. Wils fetch me last night at the bus terminal and treated me Mang Inasal (rice all you can, asking ‘bakit mas malaki yung manok dito compared sa Manila?’). I’m been friends with them since 2003 and they are generous enough for allowing me to stay in their cozy home. Thanks for the treat and the fun!]
After having my chocolate coffee and pancakes, Flora and I went to Pan-ay Church to see what makes this simple town proud – The Biggest Bell in Asia.
[On our way to the church Flora, a native of Capiz, confessed to me that this was only her 2nd time to visit this famous church and bell. Her first was during a field-trip in her high school years. I think we Filipinos should really start exploring our backyard.]
Before going up to the belfry I took the liberty to take as many pictures of this3 century-old Church of Sta.Monica. I was thankful for the fine weather replete with blue skies. As I was capturing in my lenses this church, I realized that I’m the one who was captured by its simple beauty. I realized that through the centuries, this church and her bell has became the “la voz de Dios” or God’s voice not only to this town but to the surrounding areas too. I will have to write another post about the Panay bell and the “kampanero,” Mr.Isidro Bendehas. For now, I want to describe the how it feels to just bask in the surroundings, the mountains, the rich vegetation because I learned that in the olden days when the river overflows the water even riches the church’s altar. That I believe made the soil rich as the waters from the river deposits minerals as it is dries again. Panay actually means “mouth of the river.”
Roxas City, Capiz’ Capital, known to be The Seafood Capital of the Philippines and I will not leave this place without tasting what this province can offer. We then went to Baybay (seashore) and were welcomed with a long stretch of barbecue stands offering everything from seafoods, pork & chicken inasal and everything that can be grilled. I should never forget the “Diwal Shells” (or angel wing clam) that is only available here in Roxas City. It is already illegal to harvest this shell unless you have your own culture. But because this is too expensive (PhP150/serving) for me knowing my budget of Php250 a day I wasn’t able to taste it. No problem I will return to Roxas just to taste Diwal.
Flora ordered 2 bucket-full (not beer) of oyster for only P75, some chicken wings and heart plus grilled squid. That was more than enough for the three of us, Wils met us for lunch. Feasting “kamayan-stye” (eating with your bare hands) on these blessings while the sea breeze kissed our happy faces.
The rest of the afternoon was spent walking on the Boulevard and People’s Park then some Kayaking at a private Resort- San Antonio Resort.
We had a long day and I’m thankful because I saved a lot this day.
Day 10 Expenses in Philippine Peso:
P16 Tricycle (House – Capitol)
P16 Tricycle (Capitol – Jeepney Terminal going Pan-ay)
P32 Tricycle (Terminal – Baybay)
P18 Internet (to transfer photos and update FB status/twitter)
P24 Tricycle (Gaisano – Boulevard)
P40 Kayak Rental (1hour)
Php 146 (US$3.17 or €2.27)
Important Note: Most of the fares are paid by my host, breakfast, lunch and dinner was a welcome treat too! That means I can spend more than Php250 when I get to Boracay. Yet somehow the adventure of spending within your budget lessens because you have free accommodation and food. Anyway, I just tell myself that is still part of the journey- you really can’t do it your own. Friends are there to be of help and make this challenge a success! Again, my heartfelt thanks Wilson and Flora, please give my hugs to Khalila. Four days to go. Would I survive the challenge?