Capiz is a province of the Philippines located in the Western Visayas region. Its capital is Roxas City and is located at the northeastern portion of Panay Island, bordering Aklan and Antique to the west, and Iloilo to the south. Capiz faces the Sibuyan Sea to the north. Capiz is known for its mother-of-pearl shells that have the same name and are used for decoration, making lampshades, trays, window doors, etc.. Capiz is known for a popular local myth of Aswang, a generic name for ghouls, monsters and witches.
Historians and ethnologists narrowed down to three, the types of people known to have inhabited Capiz. Negritos popularly known as Ati; Indonesians descendants of the Mundo tribe in central Panay; and the Malays.
There are main version on how Capiz got its name:1) 'Akean' and 'Kapid'(meaning) which Balingangan, Datu Bangkaya's eldest son, names his territories in honor of his twin daughters.(2) When the Spaniards established a settlement, they found an abundance of a mollusk called 'pios' or 'kapid', the old native name which has also come to known as Capiz.
Capiz became the second Spanish settlement after Cebu when Captain Diego de Artienda, sent by Legaspi landed in the town of Pan-ay and proclaimed it the capital of the province. The capital was then moved to the present location of Roxas City.
Folk history recorded in the Maragtas by Pedro Monteclaro says ten Bornean datus landed at a site now known as San Joaquin town in Iloilo province. They purchased Panay Island from the Aeta, cultivated the land, and renamed the island Madya-as. They divided it into three communities: Irong-irong, Akean (which includes the Capiz area), and Hamtik.
It is said that in Capiz in 1570, the Datu Bankaya’s wife of the Aklan district gave birth to twin daughters. Twin is "Kapid" in the local dialect, so the Spaniards adopted the name Capiz (Kapid) as inadvertently miscommunicated to them by the natives.
Capiz, which was part of Aklan in pre-Spanish times, was one of the early settlements of the Malays, centuries before the coming of the Spaniards to the Philippines. It was part of the Confederation of Madjaas, formed after the purchase of Panay by the Bornean datus from the Negrito king named Marikudo.
When the Spaniards led by Miguel López de Legazpi came to Panay from Cebu in 1569, they found people with tattoos, and so they called it Isla de los Pintados. How the island itself came to be called Panay is uncertain. The Aeta called it Aninipay, after a plant that abounded in the island. Legend has it that López de Legazpi and his men, in search of food, exclaimed upon the island, pan hay en esta isla!. So they established their first settlement in the island at the mouth of the Banica River in Capiz and called it Pan-ay. This was the second Spanish settlement in the Philippines, the first being San Miguel, Cebu.
In the same year of 1569 Captain ('Capitan') Diego de Artieda who was sent by Legaspi landed in the Town of Panay and proclaimed it as the capital of the province. Later, they moved the Capital to its present site upon discovering the town of Capiz (not the province, and now Roxas City) which was near the sea and provided docking facilities.
In 1942, the region was occupied by the Japanese troops. In 1945, the region was liberated by the joint Filipino and American troops with Filipino guerrillas from the defeated Japanese Imperial forces during Second World War.
Capiz is known for the brilliant Capiz shell produced here, it is used in making windows, lanterns, decorations, vases, etc. The Capiz shell has a luster similar to mother of pearl shells.
Myths, Folklore, Superstitious Beliefs and Practices
The early Panayanon believed in many gods. Bulalakaw, a bird which looked like a peacock and could cause illness, was said to live in the island's sacred mountain called Madya-as. A chief goddess was believed to reside in the mountain of the nearby island of Negros Occidental. She was called Laon, after whom Mt. Kanlaon is named. Mediators to the gods, also said to be the first priests, were: Bangutbanwa, who prayed for good harvests and an orderly universe; Mangindalon, who interceded for sick persons and prayed for the punishment of enemies; and Soliran and Solian, who performed marriage ceremonies. Manunubo was the good spirit of the sea.
The kama-kama are dwarves living in earth mounds, and are lazy and fun loving. The tamawu/taglugar are spirits that can be either friendly or evil. They live in resplendent palaces that look like mere boulders to the human eye. When they find a human being attractive, they entice the person to join them; this peculiar act of courtship is called yanggaw. The dwindi is a dwarf residing in a mount of earth. The lulid sa bungsud has a big head, but a small torso and limbs. One who disturbs the mound where it resides falls ill. The agta is a very dark, hairy person living in the forest. Although a trickster, it is helpful to people. The amamanhig is a dead person who has returned to life and simply echoes everything that mortals say; it has lost the power to think. Hiwit or barang is a ritual that gives one of the power to inflict pain on an enemy.
On October 29 to 30, 2004, Capiz inaugurated the Aswang Festival, organized by a nongovernmental group Dugo Capiznon, Incorporated. It was a Halloween-like Fiesta as a prelude to All Souls Day and All Saints Day festivals. It was, however, condemned by the Catholic hierarchy and some local officials, as an act of adoring the devil. When former Capiz Gov. Vicente Bermejo assumed as mayor of Roxas City in July 2007, the controversial festival was stopped.
Canada's High Banks Entertainment Ltd.’s filmmaker Jordan Clark, 36, traveled to Capiz to film a documentary entitled ‘Aswang: A Journey Into Myth.’ (shot entirely in Victoria, British Columbia’s downtown). The Docu-Movie/suspense film stars Filipina-Canadian stage actress Janice Santos Valdez, with a special appearance of Maricel Soriano. The documentary's proceeds will help raise funds to help restore power in Olotayan Island, Roxas City and support patients of dystonia parkinsonism in Capiz. Capiz has the highest prevalence at 21.94/100,000 cases, which translates to one for every 4,000 men. Aklan has the next highest rate at 7.72/100,000. The figures suggest that XDP is endemic in Panay, particularly in Capiz.