Island Summer: Revisiting Capiz

Capiz, Then And Now

Lots of twisted cone-shaped shells are washed to shore everyday. These are used as materials for Art and Crafts like making a mermaid shell. Capiz is also known for the famous, “Capiz shells” which are made into decorative ball ornaments, lamps , chandeliers, wind chymes, windows and picture frames. So, every Capiz shell product is more than just a commodity. It is a real place, with real people.

I hardly recognize the coastal town I grew up with after being away for 10 years. What used to be a wide stretch of vacant beach lots now stands houses and restaurants that blocks the view of the beautiful beach that gave me so much wonderful memories.

I remember riding the tricycle with my classmates still in our school uniform heading towards the beach after our Friday class session. We would simply take off our shirts and jump into the water wearing our school pants. It was fun and exciting. Life was simpler.

Rows of bamboo stands in from of the church. These stands are used to dry and salt fishes. Capiz is known as the seafood capital of the country which still holds true until today.

The day I arrived after almost 2 days of flight from Houston, Texas to the Philippines, I asked my dad to bring me to the beach with my wife and son. We drove from end to end, covering pretty much the entire beach which locals fondly called as “Baybay.” Perhaps I was tired but on the first day of my visit, I felt a bit of sadness. Most of what’s familiar to me as a child were almost gone. Change and modernism erased a lot of the physical structures that my memories always find comforting.

Imagine having to wake up each day with the same smell of drying fish. Sounds awful at first, even yucky but not to those who lived in these areas for so many years. The stench becomes as normal as the air itself. As for fried salted dried fish with rice…just delicious!

A few days after, I started spotting a few remnants of the beautiful past. Just after Sunrise, I saw a group of fishermen, pulling a net to gather the catch of the day. I remember how excited I was and my sisters whenever we see one. We would wait until the catch has arrived. We would run with excitement as we watched the different sizes, shapes and colors of fishes being hauled inside a big net towards the shore. I remember how fascinated I was seeing a small hammerhead shark or a puffy bloat fish. My mom would buy some fish as well as clams called “Kagay-kay” or “Diwal” and cook a mouth-watering seafood medley for dinner.

Fishermen catching fish the traditional way. I can’t believe that I was still able to see one but I’m glad that I did.

These are more that just a pile of assorted fish. They are a symbol of a pile of hope and dreams. Sometimes we get to catch several of them while on other occasions, we missed a few. In the end, what matters is we tried our best.

On my first dinner of 4 years away from home, my mom made sure I get to taste my favorites. She prepared broiled crabs and shrimps, “Kagay-kay” clam soup with green veggies, grilled fish and more. Once again, I felt like a kid having a feast of delicious seafood medley. To savor the taste and make the entire eating experience unforgettable, I used my bare hands. Of course, I washed them first for 15 seconds!

Dipped in salted vinegar with lime, these crabs tasted divine. After the meal, I felt guilty about my cholesterol level. Oh well, it was just one night! Hmm…

The soup broth of “Kagay-kay” tasted sweet with a hint of sea salt. Every sip reminds me of a wonderful memory by the sea.

There were a few developments which I thought were totally cool such as the “People’s Park.” It lies at the center of the beach front overlooking the Island of Mantalinga. There was a time when I would ride a kayak and get to the island in 15 minutes all by myself and without a life vest. I was young and stupid not realizing that there were sharks at the back of the island and it led to an open dark blue sea. Oh, well I did find it fun and exciting. I probably would do it again but this time with a life vest and a kayak buddy.

Lovers, sharing a dream at People’s Park. Hmm, reminds me of how I was when I was in college.

It’s Always Summer In Capiz

Summer is my favorite season. In America, there are four seasons but in Capiz, it’s mostly Summer all year round with abundant golden sunshine and clear blue skies. Yes, there’s the rainy season but in between the rain showers and possible typhoon visits, it’s back to the warm, radiant sunny day filled with fun, happiness, calmness and island dreams.

Every weekend, trucks of people from different towns, all the way from mountainous parts of the province would flock at the beach. Children would play , swim, build sand castles, ride tubings and catch sand crabs all day long. It’s like having a “Fiesta” complete with balloons , ice cream and cotton candies. People can smell grilled food from miles away.

I once was one of these kids. Just having a great time at the beach without worries. My only worry then was the sun settling down which means it was time to go home.

My son, discovering one of the beaches in Capiz. He was thrilled to hit the waves. He looked so happy.

Thrill, surprises, laughter, a joyful moment with friends and family as well as long days of  peace and quiet, all these are part of the endless Summer events in my town. Never a dull moment. Only an almost infinite possibilities. How these possibilities can lead to wonderful adventures is up to those who discovers them.

One of my five sisters who showed me that inner beauty comes from a pure, gentle, loving and generous heart. Till today, together with my wife they remind me of the simple joys in life.

Under a tree sharing a dream or a story.

The biggest hat there is. A perfect way to protect oneself from sunburn. Kidding aside, this is a “Banig” sleeping mat. Yep, a lot still sleeps without any mattress or soft cushion. This is the only thing that separate the person from the floor.

The Colorful Sunday Street Market

The city’s main bridge leading to the river walkway where the Sunday market vendors sell their produce.The church is the main structure of the town square. All the city’s main festivities and celebrations are held in this place called locally as the “Plaza.”

This is one of the most touching scenes of the market. A little boy, just older than my son helping his mom and dad prepare the produce they were selling. I could see that he was doing it out of love and eagerness to help his parents. His dad would pat his shoulder and smile as if saying, “Thank you for helping. Great job. We’re proud of you.” The next Sunday, they were still on the same spot. He was sleeping on a mat and woke up as soon as the customers started checking their goods. My mom bought a lot of vegetables from them. I’m glad she did.

Every Sunday, we would go by the street market that starts at the river walkway all the way down to the next block as well as inside the wet market. It has been a tradition for so many years that on Sundays, farmers and live stock growers from all over the province would bring their produce from native chickens to the most exotic fruit for the city dwellers to enjoy. And enjoy we did.

Heading the market adventure was my mom who is a veteran market buyer. She can tell which fish is fresh to what fruit is ripe and ready for eating. Her skills are amazing. After buying the goods, we would treat ourselves with the sweet rice cakes or “Bibinka” cooked in a traditional oven made of aluminum steel baked to perfection with native dried wood.

Catching Sand Crabs And Building New Memories

My last weekend before returning back to Houston, my parents brought me and my son back to the beach. I missed the sunrise so we decided to go lunchtime. While waiting for the food, my son and the twins went playing by the beach. I was wondering what they were chasing back and forth. Then I saw these tiny grayish-white crabs running on top of the sand. Oh, my gosh! I used to do this as a kid. Now it is was my son and his cousins. For a moment, I went back in time and saw myself running like crazy, happy without a care in the world. It was beautiful.

No Goodbyes, Just New Beginnings

The hardest part of any beautiful journey is saying goodbyes. No matter how I psyched myself that I won’t feel sad, I can’t help but feel a deep longing and void as I watched the faces of the family who welcomed me with love and open arms slowly disappear from my blurry vision as the car moved further away from my parent’s house.

Cherish every moment you spend with your family. Hang on to their love and keep that happiness in your heart for as long as you can. One day, when you have to go somewhere without them, that love and happiness will give you the strength to endure anything.

So, on my last trip, I told my folks and sisters, “This time, no goodbyes. I will be back before you know it.” I kissed and hugged them for as long as I can. Then I rode the bus trying my best not to look back. I was silent for a long time. I simply looked at the sky, closed my eyes and told myself, “You are stronger than you think.”

How can I forget?

This is my Island Summer. I may seem to talk about it like it’s in the present but in my heart, that’s how I want it to be. You can never forget a happy and beautiful memory nor images that makes you still believe that dreams can come true. People ask me sometimes, “Why would like to go back?” My answer without a doubt, “Why not?” They say home is where you are the happiest the most. Me, my wife and son agrees that one day, the tides will lead us back where island dreams do happen. This time, for good. As to when, only destiny can tell. Till then, I will patiently wait and rekindle my Island Summer of 2012. I could always revisit them in my dreams and memories.

Where is home? Home is where you are happiest the most. Home is a place, even a state of mind where time seems to be on a stand still and all you hear is your heart beating with joy. A joy you can’t fully describe.

I hope you enjoyed my “Summer” entry in this week’s Travel Theme. Thank you for sharing my Island Summer adventures. Summer has just began and so are the stories and new beginnings that are about to unfold. Get ready for all the fun under the Sun.

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About Island Traveler

A devoted husband and father who tries to make a positive difference in the lives of his family and friends. A person who finds inspiration and strength on those he loves and who loved him in all aspects of his life.
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93 Responses to Island Summer: Revisiting Capiz

  1. misswhiplash says:

    the pictures were wonderful and the life seems to calm and serene…I am surprised that you have stayed away so long..but i guess you have your reasons and that they are good reasons..Bless you my dear friend..may God be with you on your life journey

    • Thanks Patrecia. Life was tough before I left. There we so much politically unrest and I wanted to help my family. So, I decided to migrate in the U.S. I didn’t realize that one day, I get to join the million of Filipnos who left their homeland in the hope for a better financial future. I didn’t realize how hard it is to be away from everything you love and familiar with until I did myself. I still pray that one day I get to go home. God has his own reasons for bringing us to certain places and I know that he has the best of intentions. Where my faith brings me, I’ll just follow.

  2. thanks for the like……capiz looks very cool…………i think life is still as simple for those kids in the pics as i was for you…its only us adults that forget what real life is about…..great memories for you there…………

    • That’s true. Adulthood tend to take away the simplicity of life and happiness that we all experienced as kids. It takes a child or stories like this to remind us that we can feel that way once again if we want to. Thank you.

  3. ailsapm says:

    I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this post. I read it through once, eager to see all the wonderful moments you offered up, and then went back to the top and took my time to really absorb your summer experiences. The way the past and present intermingle is so lovely. I hope you have many more summers like this one, my Island Traveler friend.

    • Thank you for sharing generously. For some reason I can’t let go of the past. Who can’t let go of a beautiful and happy memory. Of times and moments that brought me so much inspiration. My past guided me to present and they too interconnected in so many ways. I believe that my future would be a mixture of these two time zones. I wish us all wonderful and meaningful Summers. Summers that we will celebrate always.

  4. gelaikuting says:

    wow! I enjoyed reading this post. Di pa ako nkakapunta ng Capiz, love the pictures! Upon reading this I remember this song… I don’t know if you know this song… :)

    • Thank you for sharing and for the lyrics. I’m not familiar with the song although somehow I can so relate with words such as, “Pana-panahon ang pagkakataon
      Maibabalik ba ang kahapon.” We may not go back to the past physically but in a way we can through our memories. Every now and then we get lucky and get to go back to those places and familiar faces to relive a beautiful past. As they say, we can’t escape the past. We can pretent that did not happen but in reality it really did. I wish you get to see Capiz one day and make sure you get to taste the “seafood” delicacies.

  5. cocomino says:

    Sounds really fun. The sea includes many treasure such as memory, food and love.
    Great post.

    • The sea does hold a lot of treasures, some we can physically measure whereas others we cherish in our memories as events that made us truly happy. Thanks cocomino.

  6. Jepiner says:

    When I was in Singapore, I used to crave for seafood especially crabs. Crabs in SG were very expensive so when I went home for vacation, my Dad served crabs and prawns. It was heavenly to eat those food again. :)

    I also remembered my childhood with your reminiscing. :) The difference is that I grew up in the farm unlike you who grew up in the beach. The farm then was my solitude. Whenever my grandparents (I lived with my grandparents when I was a child.) scold me, I would run in the middle of the farm and cry. At least I would feel peaceful.after by just seeing the sun and the rice fields.

    And those grayish crabs with long legs…aawww…I also chased those when I was little whenever we would go to the beach. A few years ago, my friends and I tried to sleep near the seashore at night. We had a few drinks until we all fell asleep on the sand. And my friends were asking me why I was covering my ears all through the night. I was scared little crabs might get inside my ears. hehe

    And as for leaving your loved ones behind, I guess it’s always like that. YOu have to leave important persons in your life behind to go and chase your dream. :)

    Nice post as usual! :)

    • Thank you my friend. That is one beautiful story. Our childhood memories gives us a sense of comfort when we want to reconnect with the past. They also make us feel young all over again, like kids chasing those tiny crabs with joy and excitement. My dad used to bring us to the farm and prawn ponds which was about an hour away from our house. It is fun during day time but at night we get scared of the so called “Aswangs” from the stories we heard but never in my life have I seen one. And you’re right, to chase a dream, we sadly live behind important persons like siblings or parents. Seems like we can’t have everything. Take care.

  7. FeyGirl says:

    Such wonderful pictures… As always, brings back memories. Truly beautiful images, you capture everything perfectly! ♥

    • Thank you. Whenever I am around my family in the Philippines, everything seems perfect and surrounded by happiness. I just wish It was for a longer period of time. Although, I will always have this post to remind me of such memories.

  8. Another great read. Loved the photo of the kids jumping and how you caught all 3 off the ground. I like this too– “She can tell which fish is fresh to what fruit is ripe and ready for eating.” Wish I could do this with confidence. :)

    • You made me smile with, “Wish I could do this with confidence.” Till now, I too can’t tell. I guess some of us have a sixth sense. Ha, ha, ha. There’s always something to learn from our parents, no matter how old we are. Thanks Georgette.

  9. Patricia says:

    What a lovely post – I enjoy reading your travels.

  10. Imelda says:

    Gorgeous pictures! Thanks for posting images from home.


    • Thanks Imelda. When you’d been a part of something beautiful, more likely we wish to share that beautiful moment to others. It’s my joy to share it back.

  11. semprevento says:

    you are beautiful woman ..
    Your family….are very very sweet,,,,

  12. Nice! I love Summer, too! It’s why I moved to Florida. Beautiful photos!

    • I always wanted to experience what life is in Florida .From beaches to Disney, everything about the place spells fun. Perhaps one day. Here’s to an awesome Summer. Thanks.

  13. A most excellent post. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Gail says:

    Such a beautifully written and interesting post as always. I so enjoyed reading about your travels, childhood memories, and seeing your pictures. I felt your pain upon having to leave your parents and family. I am so glad you got so many great pictures of your “home” and were able to capture and record so many happy memories.

    • Thanks Gail.These pictures and the memories I had helps in overcoming homesickness. When I miss home, all I have to do is lookk at them and somehow I feel better. It is hard to let go of something this beautiful, atleast to me. God bless you always.

  15. Sony Fugaban says:

    Wow, that is another full of heart story which is just irresistible to leave once you started reading. You always evoke that part in us where pure joy resides through your beautiful words. For that, a million KUDOS to you. You are blessed with a beautiful place which you hold dear to your hear. Who wouldn’t in the first place … I would do the same if ever.

    I just noticed something new by the way: your wife’s face is all over the place now. Doe’s that mean you are to display you and your son’s angelic faces? :-) That must be something to look forward too.

    Anyway, thanks for making my day brighter and lighter just by your words. The pictures are so encouraging especially that one where the three young boys jumped in the air like they just don’t care … (Yeah, like in the song.)

    My dear friend, I’m sorry it took a while for me to get back to you, ACTUALLY, each of you in the blogosphere. Here’s the reason why:

    I promise to get back you to you as soon as I can.

  16. Sony Fugaban says:

    Wow, that is another full of heart story which is just irresistible to leave once you started reading. You always evoke that part in us where pure joy resides through your beautiful words. For that, a million KUDOS to you. You are blessed with a beautiful place which you hold dear to your heart. Who wouldn’t in the first place … I would do the same if ever.

    I just noticed something new by the way: your wife’s face is all over the place now. Doe’s that mean you are to display you and your son’s angelic faces? That must be something to look forward too.

    Anyway, thanks for making my day brighter and lighter just by your words. The pictures are so encouraging especially that one where the three young boys jumped in the air like they just don’t care … (Yeah, like in the song.)

    My dear friend, I’m sorry it took a while for me to get back to you, ACTUALLY, each of you in the blogosphere. Here’s the reason why:

    I promise to get back you to you as soon as I can.

    • Thanks Bro. I wish you all the best on your new job. It is hard to be away from your family and from the country you are familiar with. Find strength in the love of your family. Never forget to seek God’s guidance. When loneliness and homesickness comes, he will comfort you. It is hard in the first few months but it does get better. I think blogging will help you divert your mind from homesickness. Keep us updated. By the way, that was my sister, I revised the post so people won’t get confuse . I apologize. Be safe…

      • Sony Fugaban says:

        I will remember those words, bro. Yeah, my sons and wife makes me weak at times … Thank you very much!

      • Thanks Bro, that weakness makes us feel and be sensitive of things and people. It makes us realize how much we had love. The only set back is that the more we love , the more we hurt or feel the pain when they are not around us. Be strong my friend. Your courage and faith will help you through.

  17. Gilly Gee says:

    So many fabulous photos! I love the market, seafood, boats all of them and the picture of your wife is just beautiful!

    • Thanks Gilly. I’m glad that you enjoyed my Island Summer . I tried to trim everything down but there were more amazing things that happened that one day I get to tell on a installment basis. The lady with the starfish is my sister. I actually have 5 sisters which makes me very lucky.

  18. Madhu says:

    What a beautiful post about summer! The pictures are wonderful too! Particularly love the one of your son and pretty wife :-)

    • Thanks Madhu. My son had a great time that he told his cousins he wants to live there. The lady in the photo was my sister who pretty much tag along with me during my island adventures.

  19. cazbag says:

    Wow just another place to discover. They keep mounting up! It looks truly beautiful. Thanks for liking my blog and for showing me another stunning place. C

    • There’s something beautiful about the tropics. From the soothing beaches to the colorful events of life and nature. Looks like you found paradise in Hawaii. I’m happy and excited for you. Thanks.

  20. Northern Narratives says:

    I love the market and the fact that your mom is an expert shopper at the market. Your photos are amazing :)

    • Thank you. The market is a fun place to be. It was hot but it’s a little discomfort for all the exciting things that I had experienced. And my mom, she’s great in getting bargains as well. Mommy knows best, right?

  21. Your family and your “baybay” are so beautiful. And now I’m hungry!! Thanks, island Traveler!

    • Thank you. I gained weight for obvious reasons on my 28 days of travel and leisure in the Islands. My mom and my in-laws would prepare food like it was feast everyday. Every mornning, my sister makes brewed coffee with dessert in her bakeshop while my mom prepares the daily routine of seafood galore. I felt like a king! ha,ha,ha. It’s great to be around family who loves you…I’m grateful everyday!

  22. These photos are insanely beautiful and the telling of your adventures paints another glorious picture. It’s all so colorful and warm and your blog is a peaceful place where I come to wind down. Thank you. :-)

    • Thank you my friend. Everytime I go back in remembering the past, or my recent visit, creating its story and looking at the photos, I too feel I sense of peace. That is why, making a post about it is also a way for me to go back to the happy and relaxing events and places that I’d been too.

  23. Colline says:

    You live in such a beautiful environment – a contrast to the urban city life that I live.

    • I did but then I moved to America. It’s also a city but more like being in a suburbs. It’s also quiet but not as peaceful as the coastal town I loved for 31 years. Thanks Colline.

  24. restlessjo says:

    My hopes that you will return soon to this land of memories.

  25. Huffygirl says:

    Amazing photos. Thanks for showing us where you grew up.

    • Thanks Huffygirl. There is something wonderful in all our childhood memories and the places we grew up. It helps to reconnect to this places and the people we are familiar with.

  26. What a lovely picture of summer you have painted, both of your own childhood, and revisiting it through your son. You really captured it. Thanks so much for sharing your summer with us!

    • Thanks Naomi. It is an honor and a joy to share something this beautiful. We do need to share the happy memories in our lives. In a way, it’s a way for us to thank those who made it possible.

  27. thirdeyemom says:

    Very touching and beautiful. I can feel your love for your home and your family. Thank you for hearing your story.

    • Thank you. It was more than just a vacation or travel event for me and my wife and son. It was a way for us reconnect with families we haven’t seen. It was a happy reunion. My son enjoyed every bit of his stay. It was his first visit in the tropics that he was able to appreciate and remember.

  28. ailsapm says:

    Just set a new travel theme challenge I’d love you to join in, if you have the time! Pass it on, everyone’s welcome :) xxx Ailsa

  29. likeitiz says:

    Looks like fun! I’m imagining the smelly fish and I must say, I might gag! But ive tasted it with garlic fried rice, eggs and chopped fresh tomatoes, onions and green mangoes, and YOM!!!

    • I felt the same when I smelled it the first few minutes but once you cook it and have a side dish of chopped salted eggs, tomatoes, onions dipped in vinegar…Mmmm. And I tend to forget the smell afterwards. Thanks.

  30. Lisa at fLVE says:

    Beautiful photos and very touching travelogue. Thank you so much for sharing. :)

  31. The photo with crabs! I am a sea food eater and seeing those crrabs make me want to eat them!

    • Those crabs were delicious. I ate 3 atleast. I was just scared that I will stroke out or have a heart attack from the cholesterol high. ha, ha, ha. Thanks for the visit.

  32. omel07 says:

    Now that is what summer is all about. Salty air, sandy beaches, the company of your loved ones, and so much more.

    When you make the most out of your experiences, you can never have regrets.

    Excellent post. Never been to Capiz before, but the way you depicted it made me wanna visit it at least once. :)

    • I hope you get to see it one day although anywhere you go in the Phillippines, something beautiful awaits in every town or city. Indeed Summer is about, ” Salty air, sandy beaches, the company of your loved ones, and so much more. ” Have a great Summer my friend.

      • omel07 says:

        Talk about “It’s more fun in the Philippines.” :) You go and have a great summer as well. Adventure is out there! :)

  33. fgassette says:

    Great post and photos. You take us along with you and I’m glad.


  34. Pingback: I Love Summer Because… | this man's journey

  35. Sabina Brave says:

    I wish to be there… but i won’t touch sand crabs ;)

  36. Food Stories says:

    I have enjoyed reading your site so I’ve nominated you for the Illuminating Blogger Award for illuminating, informative blog content. You can check out the details at my site … … Hope you’re having a great Memorial Day weekend!

  37. Patti Kuche says:

    I want to go to Capiz!!!

  38. Debra Kolkka says:

    What a beautiful place! Beautiful beaches, beautiful people….just plain beautiful.

  39. Oh, how I love your entries! I relate to their joy and their wistfulness.

    Seeing the kids together on the beach made me excited for the possibility of my son playing with his cousin along the Oregon coast in summers to come. I actually just spent a weekend with my siblings and their new little ones, so that it was hard to come back here. Still, the more I go and come back, the more I see the visits aren’t so far apart at all.

    Reading your words and looking at your pictures makes this all the clearer. Thank you, and blessings to you and yours!

    • Thank you Deborah. I bet your son will have an amazing Summer with his cousins in Oregon. I heard how beautiful their beaches and lakes there.Family often creates a wonderful bond and memories. And I agree, it is difficult to go back and leave them behind. I wish you and your family all life’s sweet blessings.

  40. nelson RN says:

    Great post, IT! It’s amazing how the photographs are woven to the story. Thanks for sharing this part of your life with the rest of us :) Capiz is so beautiful and your photographs gave justice to it.

  41. The Hook says:

    Beautiful shots! What a life you lead…

  42. jhirzel88 says:

    I can only imagine how tough it is to see a place change so much throughout the years. I wonder what Ramstein AFB, Germany looks like since we were last there. I lived there throughout my Middle School years. Change can be good or bad for some, just like you said. Some things may have been lost or destroyed. That’s the worst part about it.

  43. starlight says:

    i totally could relate.. whenever i visit our province, it gives me joy seeing my relatives but there’s always that little sadness inside since the place is not the same as before when i was small.. gone is the beautiful clear water of the river, the mountainside is teeming with houses, ricefields turned into subdivisions, hiketrails turned into cemented roads, etc.. my kids will not experience the way it was for us when i was little.. waking up before sunset, hiking a lot of kms, my sister the youngest get to ride in “paragos” pulled by Puti the white carabao for a picnic and take a dip in the clear fresh water of the river while the oldies prepare and cook food.. Those are one of my cherished memories.

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  45. Sunshine says:

    Always a joy to visit with you…thank you! :)

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  48. Hawili Hurom says:

    sir I reposted your pics and your site on our FB Group site – DISCOVER PANAY ISLAND… madamo gid nga salamat…

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