The plan was to take a breather in Roxas City, check some historic landmarks, and jump to an island-hopping adventure in Carles. We had less than a day to get a glimpse of this place, which I have long overlooked in my travel plans.
Capiz, sandwiched between the more popular Kalibo and Iloilo, is the “Seafood Capital of the Philippines”. The title is much-deserved. The province boasts 80 kilometers of rich coastline and large-scale fishing grounds. Even from our plane seat, it was easy to notice that a vast area of its land is dense with fishponds and waterways. What a first impression! As if to say hey this is how to be seafood capital.
After settling down at Roxas President’s Inn, we didn’t waste any time to get to a seafood restaurant. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, of course. We headed to the popular Baybay Beach, a short ride from the town center. Ask the locals where to chill and get a taste of fresh seafood, you’ll see that all roads lead to Baybay. Here, you can stroll on the baywalk while enjoying the sunset before sitting on the table to feast on fresh catch.
Coco Veranda: The Ultimate Seafood Resto
This restaurant has been around since 2007 and is perhaps the most-recommended and most-reviewed seafood restaurant in Roxas City. Cool ambiance. The open-air setup provides guests a good view of the beach. They have large wooden tables for group dining and family gatherings. (Come in groups because one serving can be too much for just one or two folks.)
There’s a wide range of options—from fish to prawns and squid and shells, all priced per 100 grams. Dining at Coco Veranda gives you the flexibility on what to eat. They have mainstay dishes in their menu, but you can always choose from the available catch and decide on how you want them cooked—grilled, buttered, baked, with soup. It’s all up to you. The restaurant charges a small amount for the preparation of your food.
Here’s what we got when we dined at Coco Veranda:
- Kagaykay soup—It’s a clear soup of sea shell with the rich flavor of ginger, lemongrass, and onion. It’s simple but tasty, a good starter for your meal.
- Special Fried Rice—It looks like this fried rice has been given much time to prepare, making sure the ingredients blend well to give that rich flavor of egg, vegetables, and spices. And the presentation, it’s a winner!
- Kinilaw Na Shrimp–Kinilaw is raw seafood dish. It’s fresh shrimps “cooked” in high quality vinegar, topped with salted egg, onions, tomatoes, and chili.
- Baked Oyster—This was one of my favorites that night, creamy oyster with a hint of lemon and herbs.
- Chili Crab in Coconut–Meaty crabs well-cooked in coconut milk.
- Bangus with Coco Cream–I also loved this dish. Bangus, which is known for its creamy taste, was made more adorable by stuffing it with onions, tomatoes, and other spices and then wrapping it in cabbage before it’s cooked in rich coconut milk.
- Sizzling Stuffed Squid–Fresh squid stuffed with grilled pork and spices grilled to a perfect seafood delight.
- Crunchy Pig Head—This was a surprise. Beyond seafood, Coco Veranda cooks this crunchy pig head, a dish similar to lechon kawali and crispy pata.
- Bihon with Seafood–The ultimate noodle dish for big groups.
And some desserts and refreshments….
How to Get There
Roxas City, the capital of Capiz, is in Panay Island at the central part of the Philippines. It’s a short flight away from key cities around the country, and is very close to Iloilo and Boracay.
Both Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines have daily trips to Roxas. From Manila, the trip lasts for 60 minutes. From Cebu City, about 50 minutes. Airfare costs as low as P800 and as high as P4000, depending on seat sales and availability. On some days, Philippine Airlines doesn’t have a direct trip from Cebu to Roxas, it will need a connecting flight to Manila which is way farther and more expensive. From Iloilo City, getting to Roxas can take 2 hours by van and 3 hours by bus. The fare ranges from P150 to P200.
Once in Roxas, you can flag a tricycle to the seafood restaurants in Baybay. Coco Veranda is about 3 kilometers from the airport, about 10 minutes by tricycle.
Coco Veranda Grill and Bar Restaurant
Lawis, Baybay, Roxas City
Capiz Province, Philippines
(036) 621 6185, 0918 930 9087
Opens daily, 10 AM-11 PM