Situated at the north eastern part of Panay Island, the province of Capiz may be considered to be one of the few places that any Filipino would be willing to visit for a holiday. Much of this has to do with the local legend that the province is infested with vampire-like witch ghoul called the “Aswang” which figures prominently in Filipino folklore.
Thus, it is not uncommon for natives of Capiz to be always asked the question, “Are the stories of the aswang true? Are there really lots of aswang in Capiz?” Although it may sound offensive and unpleasant, most of them do not take it seriously and would often just laugh it off. Perhaps such myths has persisted for so long that Capiz natives have gotten used to it, no matter how unfair these stories may be.
But there is more to Capiz than just these Aswang myths. The province is actually rich not just in culture but also in history.
A visit to the Roxas City Museum or Panublion, situated at the heart of the provincial capital, provides a very interesting and enlightening experience for anyone who is willing to learn more about Capiz beyond the usual tales of the Aswang and its lore.
The Museum, although small by common standards, has a rich collection of priceless artifacts that date back to the pre-colonial, Spanish, American, Japanese and post-colonial periods. Exhibits of traditional costumes as well as a replica of a hut belonging to a “binukot” (secluded women whose role is to memorize and chant epics) reveal the fecundity of local Capiz culture that Filipinos should learn about and appreciate.
It must be noted that the “binukot” became popular to many Filipino television audiences via the GMA Network primetime teleserye, “Amaya”, which was aired a couple of years ago.
Visitors to the museum may also view a documentary, “The Aswang Phenomenon,” produced by Jordan Clark and Cheryl Anne del Rosario of High Banks Entertainment, Ltd in 2011. The more than hour long presentation does not only provide a very enlightening exposition of the nature of the Aswang myth but also its origins and its evolution.
The documentary also explains why Capiz has become so much identified with this dreaded nocturnal creature that has made the province both famous and infamous to Filipinos and even foreigners alike. The fact that the museum encourages visitors to view the documentary seems that Capiz has learned to embrace its reputation while at the same time yearns to let people understand the truth about the myth which has become inextricably attached to its name.
Moreover, the city used to hold an “Aswang Festival” until it was eventually stopped by city officials following a protest from local church officials.