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Monday, December 28, 2009

Calamities In The 19th Century

The latter half of the 19th century can be described as literally disastrous in the history of Alimodian. Many natural disturbances came to stir the serenity of life in the quiet town causing damage to property and loss of life.

In December 1851 rain and gusty winds ravaged the community for one week. The rivers were flooded and large trees were uprooted and found their way from the banks of the river to the plains below. There was no official record as to the number of casualties.

In May 1866 another typhoon found its way to Alimodian and surrounding towns. This typhoon was assured a place in the town’s history as it was during its full blast when a lightning struck the giant cross on top of the belfry of the newly built church, thus toppling it to the ground. On June 29, 1869 a strong tremor jolted the church. As it was the feast day of St. Peter and St. Paul, the pious had flocked to the church at the 7:00 o’clock mass. In the commotion that ensued many suffered broken limbs.

On April 25, 1877, 17 houses of bamboos were razed to the ground at about 1:00 pm. An old woman was caught in the fire and several families were rendered homeless.
July and August 1877 proved to be typhoon-infested months. Many trees were uprooted when the river was flooded with turbulent waters from upper regions.
The rains in these months exhausted nature’s supply because from September 1877 to May 1878, not a drop fell from the heavens. The people suffered nearly ten months of arid climate and searing heat and all crops withered. No harvest came in 1878. The year was a year of hunger, disease and death.

At eight in the evening of March 1, 1878, a conflagration razed 180 houses in Balud and Dawis (now Libo-on and Rodriguez Streets) just near the town plaza. This further dampened the already low morale of the people.

The first batch of raindrops fell in June so the people sowed corn and rice hoping that the drought had finally ended. But indeed, when misfortunes come, they come in throngs. Just when the rains started coming, so did the infesting locusts and other insects. They gnawed at the newly-sown seeds thus hunger persisted.

The months from August to December were remembered as the dreaded months as many got sick and perished because the resistance of the citizens was very low due to deficient food intake. Anemia and gastroenteritis were the cause of the early death. Almost 3,000 elderly citizens and children died. Because of this casualty, many opted to leave the town to seek fortune in other places were life was less harsh.

The next year 1879, it rained sufficiently, so that the harvest was comparatively better. But more bad times were yet to come.

Pestilence again struck in August 1882 and continued up to October. According to the official count as listed in the Libro de Entiero the number of deaths reached 900. This number, though, did not include those who perished in far away barrios whose bodies were not interred in the municipal cemetery in the Poblacion. The most tragic days were those from August 13-20. According to the accounts, an average of 90 people lost their lives everyday during that fateful week. It was said that some bodies did not see burial because sometimes entire families died together. The neighbors who attended the burial of a kin often found themselves the object of the funeral rites the next day.

From September to November of that year, a lone star with a projecting hair (could be a comet) appeared in the sky from 3:00 to 6:00 o’clock every morning. Some superstitious people interpreted this as an ominous sign from supernatural spirits.

The plague did not recognize barriers in economic and social position. While most victims belonged to the lower class, some who succumbed to the lethal plague were respected public officials. Some of them were Don Celedonio Almira, Don Belarmino Albeza, Don Isidro Allones, Don Placido Almira, Juez de Sementera Don Fausto Tolentino, Cabeza de Barangay Don Ciriaco Amargo, Don Julian Algallar, Don Patricio Guerrero and Guardia Civil Francisco Enriquez.

Many more tragedies occurred in the succeeding years, but the residents who survived the August to November onslaught of scourge would always remember it as the worst in their lives. Many even wondered how they survived.

On February 2, 1887 a strong earthquake rocked the town causing the stone image of St. Augustine, which was on top of the main door of the church, to fall. The cross on top of the belfry also crumbled down.

Six days later 48 more suffered the same fate in Barrio Gines.

After hundreds of years of Spanish domination, the Filipinos became weary of the Spanish rule as they were very cruel and oppressive. There were schools built but they were only for the Spaniards and Spanish mestizos. It shut its doors to the Filipinos. Since the Filipinos were ignorant, the colonizers maltreated and exploited them to the extent that they could no longer tolerate it.

The Roman Catholic Church is one of the edifices that serves as a monument of Spanish control in the islands which was constructed with the use of forced labor.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Alimodian During The Spanish Regime

pre-war Municipal Hall

Alimodian as an Arrabal of Ogtong
                    The system of government in the town of Alimodian changed with the coming of the Spaniards whose aim was to colonize and Christianize the Filipinos.
                It was over 200 years after the coming of Magellan in the Philippines when the town was really governed by the Spaniards. Starting in 1753 Spanish influence and control were felt in Alimodian. It was a small community and it was under the jurisdiction of Oton.
                But ambitious, adventurous and far-sighted for the early Alimodiananons, a rudimentary government was not adequate to serve their wants and needs. The status of Alimodian then was not a full-fledged municipality but only a visita or a territorial colony under the jurisdiction of a mother town, Ogtong (presently the town of Oton).
                This type of political structure was quite inconvenient to the Alimodian populace. The municipal government was centered in Ogtong poblacion, so municipal regulations were implemented in far-flung places like the Alimodian visita with great difficulty. Most of all, the people of Alimodian who had strong affinity to the church, found it exasperating to travel mostly by foot all the way to Ogtong to attend mass. Furthermore, the execution of the Christian duties and their application for death, marriage and baptismal and other religious and legal certificates and requirements were greatly hampered by the distance between the two places.

Plans and Establishment of the Town Site

                 In 1753, the leaders of Buhay and Bagumbayan (which today form the northern and southern boundaries of the poblacion) and other barangays met,  ostensibly to ready plans for the formation of a municipality separate and independent from Ogtong.
                The leader of the meeting of elders was a Bagumbayan delegate, Agustin Magtanong. Magtanong had earlier made his mark as a leader in Bagumbayan. From the hills, he moved southward with his men nearer the river to the present site of Bagumbayan where Agustin emerged as a leader in no time. Through this dynamic leadership, Bagumbayan experienced an economic boom commendable enough during those times.
                Though noble were the aims of its propositionists, the meeting was a dismal failure. Though the men recognized that basic to the founding of a municipality was the building of an ermita, tribunal or municipio (municipal hall) and an escuelahan (school), they did not agree as to where to construct these structures.
                Regionalistic tendencies of the elders took their toll when they failed to decide the site of the poblacion (town central administrative area and plaza). The delegates from Bagumbayan wanted the town to rise in Balua, Ubodan which was near their place. But those from the southern end of the visita were not amenable to this. They would like the poblacion to be constructed somewhere in the vicinity of their homes in Buhay, as they advanced the reason that the place was near Oton and they could easily consult matters pertaining to the church and state. A compromise was not reached between the two factions, so the meeting was adjourned without anything concrete agreed upon.
                But all hopes were not extinguished by the failure of the first round of talks. The next year,  1754, the leaders decided to give the issue another try.
                Credit it, to the ingenuity of the early Alimodiananons and their burning desire to attain political sovereignty, the people did not remain idle during the interval of the two meetings. They deemed it wise that although no decision had yet been made as to exact location of the Poblacion, they should be ready in time being with the logs needed for the construction. So, the strong men in the visita cut timber in the Island  of Enampulangan, part of Guimaras and towed them for storage in the beaches of Ogtong. By the time the second meeting of elders was convened by Agustin Magtanong in 1754, a sizeable pile of big, durable logs was waiting to serve as foundation for the Municipality of Alimodian.
                At the start of the meeting, the two groups presented the same proposals they made during the first meeting. And again, a compromise was not yet in sight.
                Then a bright idea struck the mind of Agustin Magtanong. So that the place where the town would stand would be finalized without any accusation of bias from either party, Magtanong proposed that they choose the biggest log from the pile in Ogtong and have the log carry by two carabaos from there to the proposed site. Wherever within that site the cable would snap and break, there would the Poblacion. After several moments of pondering, the motion was carried almost unanimously.
               Excitement was rife among the men and women who followed the trail of the carabaos on foot from Ogtong. When the burdened beasts neared Buhay with the rope showing nary a sign of breaking, the people from the place lost all hopes of having the poblacion in their place. But the rope did snap just at the bank of the Cabudian Creek where the town plaza is now located.
               Although this incident pleased neither of the contending parties as the rope broke off almost midway between Buhay and Bagumbayan, members of the present generation with interest in the town’s history regard it as a  fortunate event. Firstly, because, being near neither Buhay nor Bagumbayan, no faction triumphed so none was disappointed either. Had the cable given way to pressure adjacent to any of the two, one would have been alienated in the “victory” of another, thus spawning rivalry and apathy between the two. Secondly, the place was considered desirable for a community to thrive in, because of its proximity to a creek and a river, water being a basic requirement of human life.
               The site for the Poblacion having been determined by the workings of non-human force, the people of Alimodian embarked on the herculean task of founding a town. Prime consideration then for a certain place to apply for an independent municipality status was the presence of a church, a convent, a municipal building and a school.
               Labor for the erection of these structures was provided free, mainly by the civic-spirited men and women who pooled their resources together for the common cause of putting a town all of their own. Due to lack of funds to finance construction of more enduring buildings, materials used for the structure were mostly bamboos, cogons and logs. After months of dedicated work, a town, complete with the requirements set up by the Spanish royalty, came into being.
               During the year 1755, the populace petitioned for the installation of a teniente absoluto for the visita of Alimodian. And who could fill this office more appropriately than the dynamic Agustin Magtanong, the architect of the separatist move?
               As the church and convent were all ready to receive the pious and the penitent, the Alimodiananons clamored for a parish priest who would administer to their religious ceremonies and come to help in their spiritual predicaments. As Spanish culture and beliefs had heavily saturated the minds of Filipinos during that time, it was of general conviction that the best place to teach children manners was the church. So the demand intensified further.
               The people’s clamor was answered when Fray Vicente del Campo came and ministered to the spiritual needs of his wards. Official separation from Ogtong was on August 20, 1756. Fray Vicente took office as the first parish priest of the visita of Alimodian on January 25, 1755 and served in that position for more than four years. The formal separation of Alimodian from Ogtong was written in Spanish.
               Completing the roster of barangay leaders who attended the 1753 conference were Lorenzo Tunao, Tomas Andaya, Agustin Calintang, Juan Balinas, Clemente Tomnog, Nicolas Estavillo, Agustin Daay, Lorenzo Ysug and Francisco Sarmiento.
               But the people knew that these were not enough. Although they were granted a teniente absoluto (absolute power) and a cura paroco (parish priest), the status of the town was still a visita.

Separation From Ogtong

               With the help of M.R. Fray Jacinto del Puno, Vicar General of the Agustinian Fathers, they appealed to the provincial government of Governor Manuel Salazar de los Monteros to appoint a captain or gobernadorcillo for the visita so it would be recognized as a full-fledged municipality.
               The governor arrived in Ogtong on January 8, 1757 to choose the future gobernadorcillo. Once again, Agustin Magtanong filled this position and it was largely for this feat that Magtanong earned the distinction of being the founder of Alimodian. His appointment was endorsed by the principales and the parish priest, Fray Francisco Calsetas. It may be significant to recall at this point that during those years, officials in the government were not elected as we do now, but were not nominated by high officials in the government.
               In 1849, the Spanish Crown passed the Claveria Decree, named after its proponent, stating that the family names of the people must be changed. The scheme was that the family names must carry the first letter of the town’s name. Thus the people of Leon (formerly Camando) were surnamed Cambronero, Camposano, Cabalfin, etc.; San Miguel – Sale, Sales, Salapantan; and Alimodian – Alvior, Amparo, Altura. Exception, however, was granted to officials who were privileged to select whether to change their family names or to retain them.
              For the orderly flow of transportation facilities and for the convenience of the people, streets began to be constructed in the 1850’s. Many of the streets still ran through the same places they are now, although the names may have undergone several revisions. Most of the names of the streets were those of saints and many of them are still retained up to this time.

The Construction of the Roman Catholic Church

             A more permanent church to serve better the religious demands of the pious Alimodian folks was also erected. On December 5, 1859, the cornerstone of the permanent church was laid with the Spanish dignitaries from Manila, Cebu and Iloilo in attendance. The gobernadorcillo (town mayor) during that time was Don Timoteo Amarra. The parish priest was Fr. Florencio Martin.
              The building of churches may be singled out as an oppressive undertaking of the Spanish Crown during its rule. Forced labor was utilized throughout the entire construction period and the case of Alimodian was no exception. The tabla (wood)  used in the walls and floor of the religious shrine came from Camando, now the town of Leon, more or less 8 kilometers away. The men had to carry the tabla manually or had them carried by weak-emaciated animals. Tisa or bricks were made from clay through long tedious process that the residents had to contend with because they could do nothing else.
              The long painful task of building the house of God finally ended five years later. The Alimodian parish church stood majestically at its formal opening to the public on December 22, 1864 with impressive ceremonies. But never to be forgotten are the dozens of men who lost their lives that their brothers and sisters would have a refuge for their spiritual longings.
              In 1882, some 18 years later, the roof of the church was replaced with galvanized iron roofing. The gobernadorcillo who was responsible for the alteration was Don Solomon Algallar y Tolentino and the parish priest was Fr. Serapio Gonzales.
              In July 1863 the concept of Economic Year was introduced by the Spanish authorities. An economic year corresponded to the time starting from the planting of the crops up to the time of harvest. As decreed, the Economic Year would start on July 1 and end on June 30 of the next year. Corollary to this, it was also ruled that all gobernadorcillos  and town officials from that time should serve the term of two economic years.  The first to enjoy this privilege was Gobernadorcillo Pedro Amparo.
             The first permanent municipal hall to house the government personnel and facilities was constructed in 1872, 118 years since the founding of the town. The first municipal hall was erected during the incumbency of Capitan Jacinto Almonte about a century before. This was ought to be temporary, the first structure served its purpose for almost 100 years. The new hall was finished in 1873 and inaugurated the next year during the term of Capitan Marcelo Tolentino y Alger. The total cost of the government house ran to 300 pesos, a sizeable amount during that time.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pre-Spanish Alimodian

The history of Alimodian, if one were to write with all earnestness, should start from the time when the first human being sets foot on its virgin soil. And this probably took place thousands of years ago, as relics of primitive life and other legacies of ancient life were once in a while dug up and discovered in some parts of the town and the surrounding areas. There is a scarcity of verified information regarding the ways of life of the first settlers during those ancient times.

The Coming of the Bornean Datus and the Malayan settlers

The account of the Bornean leader’s sojourn in the island of Panay first saw print in Father Tomas Santaren’s book “Maragtas” published sometime during the latter half of the 19th century. Father Santaren, an Augustinian missionary assigned in Iloilo, heard these fragments of the town’s early history from the accounts of old folks, mostly of Janiuay, Iloilo. The original manuscript was in Spanish. Enriqueta Fox translated it into English under the title “Bisayan Accounts of Early Bornean Settlements in the Philippines” by Father Santaren.

According to the “Maragtas,” the Bornean datus, along with their wives, children, subjects and material possessions braved the tumultuous seas aboard the ship, Barangay, to escape the tyranny of their king, Sultan Makatunaw. They sailed northward and by some twist of fate, landed on the shores of Panay in what is presently the town of San Joaquin, Iloilo.

On the plains of Panay, they found a thriving civilization of Aetas (Panay aborigines) headed by Datu Marikudo and his wife, Maniwantiwan. They befriended the natives and ultimately bought the island with the price of golden salakot and a necklace that was so long, it touches the ground when worn by an average woman. Marikudo and his subjects were driven to the mountains and the Bornean datus became the new masters of Panay.

They divided the land into three dominions – Hamtik in the west, Aklan in the north and Irong-irong in the southwest. The administration of Irong-irong, the biggest parcel of the three, was entrusted to the ablest ruler of the ten, Datu Paiburong.

Paiburong’s men concentrated mostly in the shoreline of Ogtong (now part of the town of Oton) where the plain is fertile and where the sea was readily available for food and adventure.
But the datus left Borneo with the aim of founding wide and rich kingdoms. So true to their goals, the subjects of Paiburong infiltrated the regions of the island. From the shore towns of Arevalo, Oton, Tigbauan, Miagao, Guimbal and San Joaquin, they ventured through the hills and virgin forests until they reached fertile patches of land which today fall within the municipal boundaries of Tubungan, Leon, San Miguel and Alimodian.

Other expeditions followed suit and they travelled even farther, reaching the mountainous terrains of Maasin, Janiuay, Lambunao and Calinog.

This odyssey of Malay descendants of ten Bornean datus and their native companions took place sometime around 1684, 482 years after the historic landings of their datu patriarchs in the beaches of San Joaquin in 1202. Majority of these land and fortune-seekers who ended up building their homes in the northwest part of Alimodian, where the first communities mushroomed, came from Ogtong, especially those near the coastal areas.

The constituents of Paiburong’s tribe reached only hundreds. Another adventurer, Datu Paibare later joined them together with a handful of tribesmen. From this small number of Malay pioneers sprang the bulk of Alimodian inhabitants today that number 22,902 as of the 1980 census.

To avoid immediate depletion of resources in a certain area, the men of Paiburong bundled themselves in smaller groups and spread across the arable portions of Irong-irong. These groups which were called barangays, probably, gave rise to the present mode of geographical grouping into barrios and sitios.

Each barangay chose from among the older folks their leaders. These leaders, with the help of the Council of Elders, ran the business of government in its crudest form, the barangay. The barangay, then, is the most primitive of all the political systems the town has ever known.

Early Beliefs of the People

The early inhabitants of Alimodian, like other early Filipinos, were very superstitious. Beliefs in the supernatural dominated all their life and actuations. In every activity that they had, they first consulted the heavenly bodies or the babaylan(local priest or priestess) and offered gifts to the diwatas(supernatural goddess).

They believed in evil spirits like the aswang, kapri, mantiw, tamawo, bawa and the like. They also believed that there were places that were mari-it or inhabited by supernatural spirits and would cause a person’s illness once they were exploited and molested.

During that time there were no doctors and whenever someone got sick, they always attributed it to the punishment of some evil spirits. A quack doctor was called and he would sing incantations and chants to the spirits who were offered by the victim. In most cases offerings were given in the form of a pig, if the offenses were grave and chicken if the injury was not much.

In this ritual the babaylan perform a weird dance to the rhythm of the agong (an ancient percussion instrument) beaten by his assistant. A white cloth was tied around his head as he leapt over the live pig several times. When the dances were over, the babaylan slaughtered the pig and the blood was kept to be used in the next ritual.

In most cases the quack doctor’s fee was the whole of the pig’s head and one-half of the body.
In cases when the offense was slight the unong was offered by the babaylan. The unong consisted of one boiled egg, two green bananas, one alopi (a native delicacy), one rolled tobacco and one betel nut. This was usually offered to the tamawo who was offended.

The early Filipinos were also of the belief that in constructing a house they had to consult the heavens to find out the position of the bakunawa, a big dragon-like figure with a big mouth belonging forth fire. To them it was advisable to construct a house when the position of the earth was at the back of the bakunawa, but never when it was near its mouth to avoid the danger of being devoured. Once the house was finished the family had to move there when the moon was getting to the zenith of the sky or paudtuhon, and not on pahimatayon.

The early Filipinos also had the belief that the ladder should face the east to greet the rising sun and not the west which symbolized a bad omen.

It was also believed that before the family moved to the newly constructed house, the babaylan had to perform the ritual called, himalay in order to ward off the evil spirits. A pig was slaughtered if the house was big and concrete and chicken if the materials used were light.

The early Filipinos did not have the benefit of prenatal care and they relied on the advice of quack doctors or hilot, a local version of massage. Among their beliefs were: A pregnant woman must not wear necklace nor put a towel or scarf around her neck as the fetus in the womb would die of strangulation by the umbilical cord. She should not sit on the steps of the ladder if she wanted an easy delivery. She had to eat the food that she craved for during the conception or else she would have miscarriage. She would not look out of the window during an eclipse or the baby would have physical defect when born. She would not walk over the rope but step on it with both feet to insure ease in delivery.

Beliefs Relating To Childbirth

After childbirth the mother was forbidden to eat sour fruits for months. She should consume dishes rich in coconut milk so that she could have abundant milk for the baby. She could not take a bath until the ninth day or it was believed that she would have a headache or hemorrhage or bughat. The first bath after delivery should be warm water concocted with 18 kinds of medicinal herbs.
If the mother wanted to insure the health of the child she had to get the services of the babaylan to perform three rituals in their proper order: the batak-dungan, then the piso-pisoan and lastly the tagbong, which is the most expensive and laborious of all rites in the supernatural world. The old folks believed that once the child had these rites, she would be totally protected against the harm of all evil spirits.

Beliefs in Marriage

Courtship nowadays and during the ancient times is entirely different. Before, the young man did not court his lady love but parents of both parties made arrangements for their marriage with or without the consent of the young ones. The young man had to render varied services in the household of the lady such as plowing the land, chopping fuel, fetching water and doing all kinds of chores. This was called panghagad. After years of panghagad, the parents of the man went to the house of the lady to do the pamalaye. This was now the asking of the hand of the lady in marriage.
During the pre Spanish period marriage ceremony was officiated by the babaylan. After the wedding ceremony, there were merrymaking and dancing with the music furnished by the bamboo flute. The more affluent families, especially in the barrios, celebrated the marriage with the sinulog, a dance performed by two men all armed with ginunting, a long sharp-bladed bolo. To wish the newly wedded couple happiness and abundance, the babaylan threw handfuls of rice to the visitors.

Beliefs in Death and Burial

The early Filipinos had also beliefs in death and burial which are still practiced by people in this modern world. A woman in the family way had to leave the house when someone was dying or she would have a difficult labor. The family members would not dress chicken during the mourning period or the other members of the family would suffer the same fate. If someone sneezed, somebody had to pull his ears or he would be the next victim of tragedy. No one would sweep the floor with a broom. Instead the floor is wiped with a piece of cloth to remove the dust. Sweeping would cause the demise of other family members. All those who joined the funeral procession should drop by the house of the deceased person if they don’t want to get the fate of the dead man. After the dead man was lowered into his grave, those who were present should throw a piece of dry earth to the grave.
Some of these beliefs are still practiced by many people in the rural areas until today.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Panoramic View Of the Town Of Alimodian

Alimodian Town Plaza and Parish Church

The Alimodian Municipal Town Hall

The beautiful panoramic view of the picturesque town of Alimodian beckons visitors from far and near to savor the hospitality of its friendly people. 

The sight of the town from afar is a safe guarantee that pollution is not one of its problems. There is greenery all around furnished by slender swaying coconut, bamboo, starapple and other trees.

From the City of Iloilo one easily sees that he is nearing Alimodian when he sees the marker right on the boundary that separates Alimodian from San Miguel. The landmark in Barangay Buhay says, "Welcome to Alimodian". It further states the distance from that place to the towns of Leon and San Miguel.

As the car speeds along the highway, he can see the ALEOSAN District Hospital, beautifully situated on top of a bill over looking the street, valleys and river below. From the end of the concrete road, one experiences a bumpy road up to the town of Alimodian, which is very dusty during the dry season and muddy during the rainy months.

Then as one ascends the road going uphill, he passes the town plaza where he can view the Municipal Hall at his right, the basketball court at the southern end of the town plaza, the bandstand at the center and the 18th century church at the western portion opposite the main road.

At the center of the bandstand is the statue of Dr. Jose Rizal facing the east. On the northeastern corner of the plaza is the statue of Andres Bonifacio. As one turns left going to the west, one sees the statue of Maria Clara.

At the right side of the road stands the renovated building that houses the Alimodian Kilusang Bayan for Credit (now the Municipal Library) and the Alimodian Water District. On the next bloc, one sees the Nutrition and Day Care Center, then the Alimodian Barangay Captain and SK offices. Farhter west at the end of the road is the Alimodian Central Elementary School.

Turning right on the first crossing from the ABC and SK office and Day Care Center , one is led to the public market, and passing M. Anas Street going to Magtanong Park, there stands the monument of Agustin Magtanong, the founder of the town.

From Magtanong Park, one can get a glimpse of the Alimodian National Comprehensive High School, the only national secondary school in town located at the northern end of the poblacion.
A landmark which the town can be doubly proud of is the Agony Hill. This religious shrine located on the ranges of Igcaras Hill on the eastern side of the town has 14 Stations of the Cross on top of the hill. On the highest slope stand three crosses where Jesus and the thieves were nailed. During the Lenten season all roads lead to the Agony Hill. The pious from the community and other places in the Province of Iloilo come for the Way of the Cross. The Agony Hill is not only a reilgious shrine in the community but also a tourist attraction, as well.

On top of the Igcaras Hill, one cannot help but appreciate the breath taking views of the winding Aganan River, the evergreen corn and cotton fields and the swaying bamboo and coconut trees below.
Scanning the horizon, one views the church with its belfry that was toppled to the ground by the earthquake on January 28, 1948. Coming into full view, top are the convent and the galvanized iron roofs of houses that glimmer against the tropic sun.

To the Alimodiananons, only a few left the place for greener pastures because there's really no place so lovely as Alimodian.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Official Municipal Symbols of Alimodian

Official Seal of The Municipality of Alimodian
It was during the time of Mayor Miguel Anas when the different municipal symbols were adopted. In the regular session of the Municipal Council on July 29,1973, the following were declared to be the official symbols of the town of Alimodian:

Alimodian Municipal Flag 

Municipal Flag: The municipal flag shall be rectangular in form, 26 inches long and 42 inches wide. It shall be blue,red,orange and pink in four equal parallel lines emanating from the equilateral triangle at the left side. The flag is spangled with 51 gold stars representing the barangays comprising the municipality. There is a bigger star at the apex of the triangle representing the poblacion. At the center of the white triangle is a circle circumscribed with heavy blue lines with red and gold flame.

When the flag is hoisted on the flagpole, the blue stripe shall be on top and when it is displayed on the wall, the white triangle shall be on top and the blue stripe shall be on the right. The municipal arm and seal shall be imprinted at the center of the municipal flag.

Municipal Folk Dance: The municipal folk dance is the classic favorite dance of the elders, "Boluntario" which is the choice dance during special occasions. It ranks with any other folk dance in art and style.

Municipal Song: The municipal song is a Visayan song entitled "Salve Rizal" in honor of Dr. Jose Rizal, our national hero.

Municipal Arm: The rising sun with golden rays, illumines the summit of the mountain range, the vast vegetative plain on the foreground and the river running parallel to the mountain range. The shield is at the center with red, blue, white and gold stripes. The balayong, municipal tree, is on the left, equidistant with the bagiw-bagiw, municipal flower, at the right of the shield. Above is the Tagwati, municipal bird, with horizontal scroll across with the motto "Truth always prevails."

Alimodian Municipal Seal

Municipal Seal: The entire seal is circular in form, with arm described in the last preceding paragraph. Surrounding the shield is a double margin circle within which appears on the upper portion "Municipality of Alimodian"

Municipality Motto: "Truth Always Prevails".

Municipality Tree: The municipal tree is the perennial balayong commonly called tindalo, the most common wood used for principal house posts in the locality.

Municipal Colors:

Green: The municipality is highly fertile and vegetative; hence, the color green, representing vegetation.

Gold: Vegetation brings forth bounties not merely enough for food and
prime commodities but bountiful harvest that will in turn bring forth income.

Municipal Bird: Tagwati is a bird commonly seen in Asian countries found in places from India to the Philippines. Its bill is long and straight. The graduated tail of the male is longer in summer than in winter. Plumage is usually dull gray, or green above, with rufous crown and whitish or yellowish breast. The Tagwati is of special interest for its remarkable nest is made from growing leaves stitched together with vegetable fiber. Using its bill as needle, the female passes the fiber back and forth, knotting the nest and a purse-like structure is formed. Within this structure, a nest is built made of hard and fine grass. Here the eggs are laid.

How Alimodian Got Its Name

               The name Alimodian may sound strange and awkward at first hearing. But the fact is, three versions are vying to be regarded as true account of the origin of the town's name.
               Some old folks in Alimodian, believe that the history of Alimodian town cannot be completely told without making mention of Kalipayan and her fair daughter Si Kanugon.with a few other natives, Kalipayan and Kanugon had a kaingin patch in a place called Sibukawan near the present site of Barangay Cagay.
               The hero of this narrative, Agustin Magtanong, was in love with Si Kanugon. Kalipayan, however, was opposed to the idea of giving her daughter's hand in marriage to one who, she claimed was a worthless young man whose only means of livelihood was tilling a small kaingin patch of upland rice.
               This made Magtanong even more resolved to get Si Kanugon by all means. He gathered forty husky men about him and planned for their next move to kidnap the object of his affection.
               On the other hand, Si Kanugon, grieved over the frustrated romance with Magtanong, decided to end it al. Magtanong, however, caught Si Kanugon in the act of taking poison from wild roots. After a brief and hurried exchange of loving words, the lovers decided finally to elope. They went south where, together with Magtanong's forty male followers and their respective families, founded the village of Ubodan.
Ubodan later proved too small a place for the fast growing tribe. Magtanong then prepared another plan to found a town on a plan about three kilometers south of the village of Ubodan.
               The town was named Ali Mudin after Magtanong's first born son with Si Kanugon. That was in 1753. The word "Alimodian" was merely a corruption of the original name given to what is now the Municipality of Alimodian.
               Another version states, that when the founders of the town wanted to break away from the Municipality of Ogtong, now Oton, they had a dilemma as to where the poblacion would be built. Those on the northern end of the twon, now Sitio of Bagumbayan, wanted the poblacion to be located in their place for some obvious reasons. But, of course, the leaders from what is now the Sitio of Balabago in the southern end of the town was not amenable to this. They also wanted the poblacion to be in their place.
Therefore, they had to reach a compromise. They decided to haul logs from the beach of Oton and agreed that in whatever part along the way the rope would snap and break, there the poblacion should stand.
Luckily for the town leaders, one of the ropes snapped on the bank of the Cabudian Creek, where the present town plaza is located. Consequently, the men built their houses around the plaza where the rope was broken, as what was agreed upon. The name, Alimodian was derived from Cabudian Creek, a creek that was flowing near the plaza.
              Oppositionists to this theory of the name's origin ask what if the rope never snapped, or what if it broke on a less suitable place like for example, the slope of a hill? Would the men remain true to their promises?
              The third story is perhaps the most popular one. This is the version that appeared in the anthology of the origin of the towns in Iloilo prepared by Mr. Romulo Pangan, a Pilipino and music professor of West Visayas State University, Iloilo City.
               It tells of how a group of Spanish soldiers called upon a native gathering coconuts from atop of the palms, about the name of the place. Ignorant of the Spanish language and impatient, that he may hit the soldiers with the heavy fruits, the native shouted back, "Halin kamo diyan." The Spaniards, in turn, ignorant of the native dialect, took it as the coconut gatherer's answer and they caled the place "Halin Kamo Diyan." The present name evolved from the phrase.
              According to Mr. Esteban Amparo, a local newspaperman and historian, of the three versions, the love tale of Magtanong and Si Kanugon is the most plausible in point of historical fact, "Halin Kamo Diyan" version, he said, follows the usual pattern of the Spaniards in naming places, thus suggesting the criticism that it might have been an imitation of other tales of such kind.
               These three versions suffer from a lack of strong historical basis. Recent documents discovered by local historians, however, have ascertained that the town's name was actually derived from alimodia or alimodias, the Visayan name of Coix lachryma-Jobi, a grain-bearing tropical plant of the grass family that is ubiquitous in Alimodian. Alimodian residents of the present time know it as puyas. Elsewhere, it is also called Job's tears because of the shape of its hard-shelled pseudocarps, which are fashioned by some into necklaces or rosary beads. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Iloilo Firsts and Greatest

The first commercial airline in the country established by the Ilonggo brothers.
Graciano Lopez-Jaena, the greatest Filipino orator and propagandist.
Paulino Alcantara played for Barcelona football club in the 1920s.
Sta. Barbara Golf and Country Club established in 1907 and opened to public in 1913.
The Solar house of businessman Robert Lopez Puckett Jr. is the latest addition to Iloilo's firsts. Visitors to the city will see the" Iloilo Firsts" list upon arrival at the Mandurriao Airport, which contains a record of "historical firsts" held by the city and province and those established by its sons and daughters.

It was compiled in the 1970s by the late Norberto Baylen, former Iloilo City Schools Superintendent and publisher-editor of the weekly Visayas Tribune.

Here are some of the entries:

1. Iloilo is the site of the Malayan landing in the Philippines, according to the Maragtas legend.
2. The first school for boys in the Philippines was founded in Tigbauan, Iloilo, by Jesuit priest and historian, Pedro Chirino, in 1592.
3. The first place to put up a Christian church in the country was Jalaud (now Barangay Ermita in Dumangas town) in 1566.
4. The first city outside Manila to have a foreign business house (Loney and Co.) and the first foreign vice consul.
5. The only province to have two cities during the Spanish time: Iloilo City, chartered in 1890, and Jaro in 1891.
6. The biggest province in the Philippines in population, income and economic production during the 19th century.
7. The best and biggest producer of textile during the Spanish era.
8. The first city outside Manila to have electricity, telephone, telegraph, railway, ice plant, automobile and other modern conveniences.
9. The first golf course in the Asia was the Iloilo Golf and Country Club in Sta. Barbara town established in 1907.
10. The first province outside Luzon to fly the Philippine national flag, in Sta. Barbara town on Nov. 17, 1898.
11. The first department store in the country (Hoskyn and Co.) established in 1877.
12. The first city outside Manila to have direct shipping links with Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Europe and the Unied States.
13. The first commercial airline in the country was Iloilo-Negros Air Express Co.
14. The first Philippine airline after World War II was organized by Ilonggo brothers Eugenio and Fernando Lopez, Far Eastern Air Transport, Inc.
15. The first provincial high school in the country was the Iloilo High School
16. The first elementary school in the country established under the Americans was the Baluarte Elementary School in Molo, Iloilo City.
17. The first Protestant barrio in the country was Barangay Calvario in Janiuay.
18. The first Baptist church in the country was the Jaro Evangelical Church.
19. The first luxury liner in the country was the SS Don Esteban of the De la Rama Lines.
20. The first city to have double-decked buses, modern cinema houses and theaters outside Manila.
21. The first concrete road in the country was the road from Forbes bridge to the Jaro Plaza.
22. The first city to have a car assembly plant (Taller Visayas de Strachan and MacMurray Ltd.). The car assembled was the 1920s "Deiler."
23. The first Filipino to launch the Propaganda Movement in Spain - Graciano Lopez Jaena of Jaro
24. The only Filipino nominated to the Supreme Court of Cuba - Raymundo Melliza of Molo
25. The first Filipino to fly a passenger plane - Jose Tinsay of Jaro in 1925 flying the Curtiss Oriole, the first passenger plane.
26. The first Filipino to earn Doctor of Laws degrees from Oxford University - Melquiades Gamboa of Jaro.
27. The first Filipino Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science - Victorino Domondon
28. The first Filipino Doctor of Education - Pedro E.Y. Rio of Iloilo City.
29. The first Filipino woman Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering - Josette Garcia Portigo of Pototan.
30. The first Filipino doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology - Felipe Landa Jocano of Cabatuan
31. The first Filipino to win the US Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest US military honors, during World War II - Capt. Jose Calugas of Leon.
32. The first Filipino soldier in the American army to win medals for heroism and courage from the government of the United States, Belgium and France during World War II - Sgt. Ramon Subejano of New Lucena.
33. The first Filipino girl to be called the fastest woman in Asia - Inocencia Solis of New Lucena.
34. The first most bemedalled Filipino girl swimmer - Nancy Deaño of Dingle.
35. Asia's first chess grandmaster - Eugene Torre of La Paz.
36. The first Filipino woman to win a cultural heritage award - Magdalena Jalandoni of Jaro.
37. The first Filipino feminist - Pura Villanueva Kalaw of Molo - she was also the first Miss Philippine Carnival in 1908, Asia's first true national beauty pageant.
38. The first Asian to win the Bowl Hygia award in Pharmacy - Rosita Jara Mesa.

39. Youngest mayors of Iloilo - Lee Ann Debuque of Anilao and Braeden John "BJ" Biron of  Barotac Nuevo both 22
40. The first openly gay mayor of Iloilo - Geffre Alonsabe of Alimodian
41. The first bookstore and printing shop in the Visayas and Mindanao - Libreria la Panayana.
42. The only province to have an antibiotic drug named after it - Ilozene and Ilotycin which are brands of erythromycin, a wonder drug developed from a soil sample from Iloilo.
43. The first province to export sugar to Australia.
44. The first province to produce many millionaires and the first city to have a millionaire's row.
45. The first community school movement originated by Supt. Jose V. Aguilar.
46. The best organized guerilla unit during World War II under Gen. Mariano Peralta
47. The first guerilla unit to contact, by radio, Gen. Douglas MacArthur and President Quezon during World War II.
48. The first modern and most beautiful custom house in he country.
49. The first government constructed museum building in the Philippines - Museo Iloilo.
50. The first gravity irrigation system outside Luzon - Sta. Barbara Irrigation System.
51. The first successful compact farm in the country - Tagsing Buyo, Sta. Barbara.
52. The number one food-producing province of the Philippines today.
53. The first and only town in the Philippines to produce four justices of the Supreme Court, seven senators, seven governors, and seven cabinet members.
54. The site of the first international research center in the fishing industry, the SEAFDEC in Tigbauan.
55. The biggest public school division in the country is the Division of Iloilo.
56. The first city, which initiated a free education program is the elementary schools by eliminating the matriculation fees and providing free school supplies and the elimination of tuition fees in public secondary schools.
57. The first Asian to play for Europe's top football club, Spain's Barcelona FC - Paulino Alcantara
58. The first Visayan to be beatified on March 5, 2000 and later will be canonized as the second Filipino saint - Blessed Pedro Calungsod of Molo, Iloilo.
59. Panay's largest and most beautiful church during the colonial period was the Oton church.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My Home Province : Iloilo, City of Love

Map of the Iloilo Province.

One of the colorful tribes participating in the famous Dinagyang Festival.

One of the highly anticipated events in the Philippines, Dinagyang Festival started in 1966 in honor of the Holy Child Jesus but the competition began in 1969.

Iloilo is a province of the Philippines located in the Western Visayas region. Iloilo occupies the southeast portion of Panay Island and is bordered by Antique to the west and Capiz and the Jintotolo Channel to the north. Just off Iloilo's southeast coast is the island of Guimaras, once part of Iloilo but now a province in its own right. Across the Panay Gulf and Guimaras Strait is Negros Occidental. Iloilo's capital is Iloilo City. Iloilo is the capital province in Region VI.

People and culture

People from Iloilo are called Ilonggos. There are two local languages spoken in the province: Hiligaynon sometimes called Ilonggo, and Kinaray-a. Hiligaynon and variants of it are spoken in Iloilo city and a few towns of the province.

Spanish architecture can be seen in old buildings in downtown Iloilo. Chinese Merchants and Indonesians were trading with the Ilonggos long before the Spaniards came. The ruling Spanish government encouraged these foreign merchants to trade in Iloilo but they were not given privileges like ownership of land. The Mestizo a class eventually was born from the intermarriages of the locals and Chinese merchants, Spanish with the local Melayu people. They later emerged as the ruling class of the Ilonggos (see Principalia).

The town fiesta is one of the most important events for Ilonggos. Almost every town (municipality) in Iloilo has a fiesta and festival celebrated annually.


Hiligaynon (or "Ilonggo") is an Austronesian language spoken in Western Visayas in the Philippines. Hiligaynon is concentrated in the provinces of Iloilo and Negros Occidental. It is also spoken in the other provinces of the Panay Island group, such as Capiz, Antique, Aklan, Guimaras, and many parts of Mindanao like Koronadal City, South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Kidapawan City and Cotabato City. (It is spoken as a second language by Karay-a in Antique, Aklanon and Malaynon in Aklan, Cebuano in Siquijor, and Capiznon in Capiz.). There are approximately 7,000,000 people in and outside the Philippines who are native speakers of Hiligaynon, and an additional 4,000,000 who are capable of speaking it with a substantial degree of proficiency.

The language is referred to as "Ilonggo" in Negros Occidental and in Iloilo. More precisely, "Ilonggo" is an ethnoliguistic group referring to the people living in Panay and the culture associated with the people speaking Hiligaynon. The boundaries of the dialect called Ilonggo and that called Hiligaynon are unclear. The disagreement of where what name is correct extends to Philippine language specialists and native laymen.


The Province of Iloilo is the largest marshland in Western Visayas after the Sanderbans. The province is divided into two distinct geographic regions; the highlands of the Madia-as on the western border and the lowland plains which account for a larger portion of the province. Small islands east of its northernmost tip also dot the Visayan Sea - of these, Pan de Azucar and Sicogon are well-known.

Political Division
Iloilo is subdivided into 42 municipalities, 1 component city, and 1 highly urbanized city
• Iloilo City
• Passi City

*Iloilo City is independent from the Province of Iloilo, but remains the Provincial Capital of the Province.

• Ajuy
• Alimodian(know for the Agony Hill)
• Anilao
• Badiangan
• Balasan
• Banate
• Barotac Nuevo
• Barotac Viejo
• Batad
• Bingawan
• Cabatuan
• Calinog
• Carles
• Concepcion
• Dingle
• Dueñas
• Dumangas
• Estancia
• Guimbal
• Igbaras
• Janiuay
• Lambunao (known for Tinagong Dagat)
• Leganes
• Lemery
• Leon
• Maasin
• Miagao
• Mina
• New Lucena
• Oton
• Pavia (known for Sta.Monica Parish red church and Bagyong Frank.)
• Pototan
• San Dionisio
• San Enrique
• San Joaquin
• San Miguel
• San Rafael
• Santa Barbara
• Sara
• Tigbauan
• Tubungan
• Zarraga


The Old Capitol Building of the Province of Iloilo.
GOVERNOR: Niel D. Tupas Sr
Vice Governor: Rolex Tupas Suplico

Provincial Board Members: 

1st District
1. Oscar Richard S. Garin Jr.
2. Macario N. Napulan

2nd District
1. June S. Mondejar
2. Rodolfo V. Cabado

3rd District
1. Mariano M. Malones
2. Arthur R. Defensor Jr.

4th District
1. George P. Demaisip
2. Maria Shalene P. Hidalgo

5th District
1. Jett C. Rojas
2. Jesus C. Salcedo

Ex-officio Board Members:
1. PCL President: Cecilia A. Colada
2. ABC President: Jeneda C. Salcedo
3. SK President: Jo Jan Paul Peñol

District Representatives: 1st District: Janette Loreto-Garin 2nd District: Judy Jalbuena-Syjuco 3rd District: Arthur D. Defensor, Sr. 4th District: Ferjenel G. Biron 5th District: Niel C. Tupas, Jr.

As a leading province during the Spanish Colonial Era, the province of Iloilo is widely known for its beautiful old world architecture similar to that of Latin American Countries. Spanish colonial Churches are amongst the well knowned tourist sites in the province.

Miagao Church. The World Heritage Site. The Aztec-Baroque inspired church with Filipino botanicals used to carved on the facade. It is known for its intricate facade and pyramidal bell towers. The church was used as a fortress during the olden days. It is a massive structure built of yellowish Limestones.

Molo Church. The Gothic Renaissance Church of Molo was used as a watch tower to warn the people if there are any attackers on the shore of Iloilo City. It is a fine coral stone church with Classical and Gothic details. It is also known as the feminist church because of the beautiful female saints lining inside the church.

Cabatuan Church. This Neoclassic Church, known to be the most massive Hispanic structure in Iloilo is built of red bricks. It is believed to be the largest red brick structure in the Visayas and it was given the title "Model of Temples" by the 'El Eco de Panay'. The Cabatuan Church is known to be the only extant Spanish colonial church with three facades.

San Jose Church. The beautiful church in front of plaza Libertad is considered the most historic amongst the churches in Iloilo City. It is a Byzantine-Neoclassic Church planned to look like the Spanish Church of Valencia del Cid. The Church is known for its collection of priceless Catholic treasures.

The Historic province of Iloilo is also known for 'Calle Real'; a street of old buildings with their classical designs. During January, the city heats up for Dinagyang, the festival dubbed as "The best tourism event in the Philippines" It is a collection of tribe warriors dancing in honor of the Child Jesus.

Notable Ilonggos

• Teresa Magbanua
• Maria Beatriz Del Rosario Arroyo - BlessedRoman Catholic nun and distant relative of First Gentleman Mike Arroyo
• Graciano López Jaena
• Fernando López
• Martin Delgado
• Senator Franklin Drilon
• Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago
• Sec. Raul Gonzales
• Gen. Pablo Soriano Araneta
• Gregorio Soriano Araneta


The province of iloilo has extensive media organizations as it is the center of politics, education, culture and communications of region VI.

Software and WebHosting Company
• Virtual Assistant Technologies, Inc. (3rd Floor, Rosary Building, Iznart Street, Iloilo City)
• GMCI Online Experts (3 flr. Arguelles Bldg., Arguelles St., Jaro, Iloilo City)
• Everyone Technologies, Inc. ( 3rd Level, The Atrium Mall)

Print media
• SunStar Iloilo
• The News Today (Iloilo)
• Panay News
• The Daily Guardian
• News Express

Broadcast Media
• Aksyon Radyo DYOK 720 [ AksyonRadyoIloilo.Net
• BOMBO Radyo-Iloilo, the Flagship station of Bombo Radio Phippines,(The National Radio of the Philippines) please log on
• Radio Mindanao Network News 774 Iloilo - RMN Iloilo News Website
• BOMBO Radyo-Bacolod
• BOMBO Radyo-Roxas
• RGMA Iloilo Super Radyo 1323 Iloilo (GMA Regional Network)
• RGMA Bacolod (Super Radyo DZBB Relay) 1179 Bacolod (GMA Regional Network)
• GMA TV-6 (Region-6) (Channel 6)
• GMA TV-10 Bacolod (Channel 10)
• ABS-CBN Iloilo (Channel 10)
• ABS-CBN Bacolod (Channel 4)
• TV32 Bacolod (UHF 32)
• TV46 Iloilo (UHF 46)
• Studio 23 Iloilo (UHF 38) & Bacolod (UHF 22)
• NBN TV 2 Iloilo
• IBC TV 12 Iloilo
• RMN TV 26 Iloilo
• Q TV 28 Iloilo
• UNTV 42 Iloilo


EVEN BEFORE the Spanish colonizers came, Iloilo had a flourishing economy. In the 13th century, according to legendary writings, ten Bornean datus came to the island of Panay and bartered a gold hat (salakot) for the plains and valleys of the island from a local Ati chieftain. One datu, named Paiburong, was given the territory of Irong-Irong.

In 1566, as the Spanish conquest of the Philippines was underway and moving north toward Manila, the Spaniards under Miguel López de Legazpi came to Panay and established a settlement in Ogtong (now Oton). He appointed Gonzalo Ronquillo as deputy encomiendero, a position which would later become governor in later years.

In 1581 Ronquillo moved the town center approximately 12 km east due to recurrent raids by Moro pirates and Dutch and English privateers, and renamed the area La Villa de Arevalo in honor of his hometown in Ávila, Spain.

In 1700, due to ever-increasing raids especially from the Dutch and the Moros, the Spaniards again moved their seat of power some 25 km eastward to the village of Irong-Irong, which had a natural and strategic defense against raids and where, at the mouth of the river that snakes through Panay, they built Fort San Pedro to better guard against the raids which were now the only threat to the Spaniards’ hold on the islands. Irong-Irong or Ilong-Ilong was shortened to Iloilo and with its natural port quickly became the capital of the province.

In the late 18th century, the development of large-scale weaving industry started the movement of Iloilo’s surge in trade and economy in the Visayas. Sometimes referred to as the “Textile Capital of the Philippines”, the products were exported to Manila and other foreign places. Sinamay, piña and jusi are examples of the products produced by the looms of Iloilo. Because of the rise of textile industry, there was also a rise of the upper middle class. However, the introduction of cheap textile from UK and the emergence of the sugar economy, the industry waned in the mid-19th century.
The waning textile industry was replaced however by the opening of Iloilo’s port to world market in 1855. Because of this, Iloilo’s industry and agriculture was put on direct access to foreign markets. 

But what triggered the economic boom of Iloilo in the 19th century was the development of sugar industry in Iloilo and its neighboring island of Negros. Sugar during the 19th century was of high demand. Nicholas Loney, the British vice-consul in Iloilo developed the industry by giving loans, constructing warehouses in the port and introduced new technologies in sugar farming. The rich families of Iloilo developed large areas of Negros, which later called haciendas because of the sugar’s high demand in the world market. Because of the increase in commercial activity, infrastructures, recreational facilities, educational institutions, banks, foreign consulates, commercial firms and much more sprouted in Iloilo. Due to the economic development that was happening in Iloilo, the Queen Regent of Spain raised the status of the town into a city, honored it with the title La muy leal y noble ciudad de Iloilo, and in 1890, the city government was established.

In 1896, the initial reaction of Ilonggos in the outbreak of the Revolution in Manila was hesitant. Yet because of the Spanish colonizers blow by blow defeat by at first with the Katipunan and later by the Americans, Ilonggos later on got involved with the fight for independence. On the other hand, after surrendering Manila to the Americans, the Spanish colonial government moved their seat of power to Iloilo.

In October of 1898, the Ilonggo leaders agreed to revolt against the Spaniards. By December 25, 1898, the Spanish government surrendered to the Ilonggo revoltionaries in Plaza Alfonso XVII (Plaza Libertad today). Although the Ilonggos were victorious, the American forces arrived in Iloilo in late December 1898 and started to mobilize for colonization by February 1899. Resistance was the reaction of Ilonggos upon the invasion which went up until 1901.

When the American colonizers came, Iloilo city's status reverted into a township again, yet because of the continuous commercial activities still retained as an important port of call in the Visayas-Mindanao area. It gained cityhood status again in July 16, 1937 incorporating the towns of Molo, Jaro, Mandurriao, La Paz and La Villa de Arevalo. During the Commonwealth era, Iloilo was prosperous and was popularly known as The Queen City of the South.

However, prosperity did not continue as the sugar’s demand was declining, labor unrests were happening in the port area that scared the investors away and the opening of the sub-port of Pulupandan in Negros Occidental, has moved the sugar importation closer to the sugar farms. By 1942, the Japanese invaded Panay and the economy moved into a standstill.

During World War II, Iloilo was controlled by several Japanese Battalions, Japan’s ultimate goal was to entrench itself deeply into the Philippines so that at the close of the war they could occupy it just as the Spanish and the Americans had years before. However, when American forces liberated Iloilo from Japanese military occupation on March 25, 1945 the remnants of these battalions were held in Jaro Plaza as a make-shift detention facility.

By the end of the war, Iloilo’s economy, life and infrastructure was damaged. However, the continuing conflict between the labor unions in the port area, declining sugar economy and the deteriorating peace and order situation in the countryside and the exodus of Ilonggos to other cities and islands that offered better opportunities and businessmen moving to other cities such as Bacolod and Cebu led to Iloilo’s demise in economic importance in southern Philippines.

By the 1960s towards 1990s, Iloilo’s economy progressed although slowly but surely. The construction of the fish port, the international seaport and commercial firms that invested in Iloilo marked the movement making the city as the regional center of Western Visayas.
Iloilo progress has been halted and its development decayed since 1960s until the present due to incompetent and feeble leaders and has reputation for corruption, nepotism and political dynasty. The province even has the ugly reputation of crime capital of the Philippines because lots of criminal group and even petty crimes are being planned and done in the province and spreads throughout the country. The province development has been sharply declining since then leaping backward from progress instead of moving forward.

The completion of the new Iloilo Airport of International Standard in 2007 will enhance better business opportunities that will affect local, national and international markets in agriculture, finance, tourism and other vibrant sectors of the Philippine economy.

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