Aklan, the youngest of the four provinces of Panay Island following its separation from the mother province of Capiz on April 25, 1956 by virtue of Republic Act No. 1414, is actually, in point of history, the oldest province in the Philippines organized in 1213 by the Bornean settlers.
The province is constituted by seventeen (17) municipalities comprising a total of 327 barangays with a projected total population of in its 1,821.42 sq. kilometers land area (703.25 sq. mi).
Aklanon have always believed that their forbears came over from Borneo. They are basically industrious, hardworking, independent and peace-loving people, with their own dialect, distinct customs and traditions and local culture. It has come to pass that the Aklanon possess a deep rooted pride and loyalty to their own locality, setting them apart from Capiz.
There is further validity to the Aklanon's dream as a separate province. As early as 1433, according to Panayan historical records, there was a well-organized government on Aklan soil, under the rule of Datu Bendahara Kalantiaw, the third (3rd) chief of Panay. This Aklan ruler wrote the famous "Kalantiaw Code," regarded as the first and oldest laws in the Philippines, containing eighteen (18) "sugo" (order) which reveals the high degree of civilization the people of Aklan have.
The province of Aklan is one of the provinces of Western Visayas constituting 7.14% of land area in the region. It is bounded on the north by the Sibuyan Sea, on the south and east by Capiz and on west by Antique.
According to Pag-asa (Philippine Atmospheric Geographical and Astronomical Services Administration), the province of Aklan is characterized by two areas of somewhat different climate. The difference lies mainly in the amount and schedule of rainfall, while temperature differences is very slight.
The municipality of Buruanga, Malay, Nabas, Madalag and Libacao has a first type climate, meaning two pronounced season which is dry from November to April and wet during the rest of the year. While the municipalities of Ibajay, Tangalan, Makato, Lezo, Numancia, Kalibo, Banga, Batan, Malinao, Balete, Altavas and New Washington belong to third type climate. Season in this area is not very pronouced. It is relatively dry from November to April and wet during the rest of the year.
The population of the province taken from 2010 Statistics is 535, 725.
Early Settlers and Permanent Settlements
The written history of Aklan may be traced as far back as the middle of the 13th century of the Christian era (A.D.). According to Maragtas, the lowlands of Panay were colonized by the Malayan Datus from Borneo led by Datu Puti.
According to the written records, the settlers fled their homes to escape the oppressive rule of Makatunaw, Sultan of Brunei. The ten (10) datus together with their families and followers then set sail until they reached the Siwaragan River in what is now a part of the town of San Joaquin, Iloilo. Datu Puti who leads the Malayan settlers, bought the island of Panay from Datu Marikudo, the chieftain of the Atis or the aborigines which are the original settlers of the island, with a golden hat called Salakot and they also give Marikudo's wife, Maniwangtiwan a gift which was a floor length necklace called Manangyad and also other gifts like bolts of cloth and some golden trinkets. The Atis then moved to the mountains for settlement while the Malay settlers made the lowlands their permanent settlement. The datus divided the Panay island among themselves in which Antique went to Datu Sumakwel, Iloilo went to Datu Paiburong and Aklan was given to Datu Bangkaya who was the first ruler of the Aklan province. The Bornean settlers of Aklan carved out a settlement and reaped harvests from the fertile plains, the rich forests and abudant seas. They gave the new land the name AKEAN, meaning PARADISE. Magyanos, which is the present Barangay Marianos of the town of Numancia in Aklan, became its first capital.
History tells of how Datu Puti purchased the vast valleys and lowlands from the Ati king, Marikudo. A feast was held in celebration of the transaction, with the Borneans and the Atis (aborigines of the Panay Island) having a grand time eating and drinking, dancing and singing. The celebration continued to be held each year during the blooming season of mangoes, which was about the time of the year when the purchase was consumated. Later, after the Atis had withdrawn to the mountains, the settlers choose to perpetuate the celebration, and in the absence of the Atis, some smeared themselves with soot to simulate the darker skinned original residents. This practice has continued during the celebration which, standing the tests of centuries, has come to be known as the present popular "Ati-atihan Festival," a tribal dance festival resembling the Ati or Panay aborigines, the original residents of Panay Island. The famous Ati-atihan Festival is also called "The Grandmother Of All Philippine Festival" because it is the first and oldest Philippine Festival which was started in 1213.
The world famous Boracay Island which was located at Barangay Caticlan in Malay town, Aklan was named as the world's best beach in 1990 by BMW Tropical Beach Handbook as published by the Fourth Estate of London. Boracay was considered as such for having everything one can possibly desires in tropical beach life. This was made so in a research conducted by Nick Hanna and two researchers to over 200 tropical beaches and islands all over the world.
It was also declared as the world's best beach by the Travel and Leisure Magazine in 2012.
Aklan's pride is 67 kilometers northwest of Kalibo, the capital town of the "Hala Bira" country. The island is approximately seven (7) kilometers long, the northwest half of Barangay Yapak facing Carabao Island and Mindoro, is about one (1) kilometer wide; the southeastern half of Barangay Balabag, facing towards Caluya Island and Palawan is about one half (1/2) kilometer wide.
Once rounded a headland, you'll have a view of the almost 4 kms. long crescent powdered white sand beach on four (4) feet sand covering solid rocks and transparent blue green waters, a masterpiece of nature. Puka shells litter the beaches, coral reefs and a network of caves await exploration. There are hundreds of hotels and resorts there ranging from luxury and 1st class accomodations to mid range and de luxe accomodations as well as dozens of restaurants and shops to dine and be entertained as well as dozens of worthwhile beach and outdoor activities to engaged with.
The popular festival which is the oldest festival in the Philippines which started in 1213 is being held simultaneously annually every January in different towns of Aklan but the biggest one participated in by different tribes wearing colorful indigenous costumes which attracted thousands of local and foreign tourists who party all throughout the whole two day of festivities is in Kalibo which is held every 3rd Sunday of January; Ibajay - last Sunday of January; Batan - simultaneous with Kalibo; Makato - every 14th and 15th of January; Altavas - two days after Kalibo.
Points Of Interest In Different Towns Of Aklan
(Towns are typed in BOLD CAPITAL LETTERS)
The Agtawagon Hill is Balete's pride. It is located at the southeastern part of Morales, about seven (7) kilometers away from the heart of the town. The hill was the last line of defense of the Filipino patriot's during the Spanish-Filipino conflict. The same hill had served as Camp of the Filipino soldiers and guerillas during the second World War. Foxholes had been built on the summit of the hill seeing the approaching enemies.
Manduyog Hill and Aklan Agricultural College
In Banga nine kilometers southeast of Kalibo stands fair Manduyog. From its base snakes up a feeder road and on the hillside are the fourteen ways of the cross. At its summit is a chapel and from there, one could see in all his eyes the scenery of the countrysides below. Beneath the hill is the Aklan Agricultural College, an Agricultural Institution spread in a verdant plain of 63 hectares. Within the school grounds are many tropical trees such as the durian, rambutan, mangosteen and lanzones, a pasture and ricefields. The school has been, many times, a venue for regional and national conferences, workshops and seminars.
On the east is Ob-ob Hill, standing like a lighthouse facing the Sibuyan Sea with an altitude of 200 meters. At the foot of this rocky hill is the fine beach of Ob-ob. Thrill going here is incomplete without scaling up a hill just a stone's throw away. Once on top, an admirable scenery awaits adventures, vast seas on one side and towering mountains the other interspersed by green fields.
This hidden sea approximately 8 kms. long and 4 kms. wide, is between Altavas and Batan, partly hidden from Batan Bay by two islands. It is fringed with mangroves, thick undergrowth and rock beach elevations. It is a rich fishing ground during the northeast monsoon season when Sibuyan Sea is rough. Ideal for swimming, speedboating and waterskiing.
Mode of transportation from Kalibo to Dumaguit are jeepneys, private cars, buses, then pumpboat to Batan.
Seat of government of Rajah Bendahura Kalantiaw III, the third chief of Panay Island and promulgator of the famous Code of Kalantiaw, the oldest laws in the Philippines. The marker was erected by the Philippines Historical and Cultural Society. To prove the existence of the province's famous "Code of Kalantiaw" which has been believed to be smuggled out of the province, a replica taken in its original form is on display. A former manuscript of the Code, historical accounts and pictures of great national heroes.
Three kilometers from Buruanga town proper. Approximately ten minutes ride by means of buses, jeepneys or private cars. A good hideout during summer for its inhibitive location.
Four kilometers from Buruanga town proper. Its cascading waters and location reminds one in a paradise where nothing is heard except the chirping of birds. Can be reached by buses, jeepneys or private cars.
Ingus-ingus hill is elevated mass of rocks, bordering the exit of Buruanga River, separating the Poblacion from Barrio Alegria. This hill overviews the sea at three sides. During the Spanish regime, this hill was made a watchtower to guard or spy the approaching vintas of Moro pirates that used to maraud the coastal places.
Underneath the hill is a cave. According to old tales, this cave was used as a waiting place of English sea pirates, buccaneers, hijackers of Spanish galleons carrying precious cargoes from Mexico.
It is a Natural Park and ideal place for quite retreats, trekking, and relaxation. The rest of its natural resources are yet to be discovered, developed and promoted.
A solitary mountain of solid rocks standing amidst stretches of flatlands by the Aklan river. At its base is a cave as wide and airy as a dome and on its flat floor are unassorted piles of stalagmites. On one side of the hill inside a cave-like structure with an arched entrance is a rock resembling a table used by priest during mass and on its side are two bench-like structures.
The town's famous landmark. The place where fierce battle ensued during World War II. A monument was built to typify the heroic stand of Aklanons and on the grass lies a mortar and other fragments of armaments used by them.
Museo it Akean
A repository of antiques all digged up in Aklan. Famous works of arts are likewise displayed. This traces the province rich cultural and historical past.
A fine palm-fringed beach. Some meters along the shoreline spread any cottages of varying sizes where frolickers can take shade after a refreshing swim on its cool water
four kilometers northeast of Kalibo. Its cool water is perfect for swimming. At sundown the place abounds with promenaders. Can be reached by means of public jeepneys, tricycles, motorcycles, and private cars.
noted for its way of the cross on the hillside. On top of the hill is a chapel made of marble. Located nine kilometers southwest of Kalibo. Jeepneys, tricycles and private cars are the mode of transportation.
Nineteen Martyrs Marker, Kalibo
Engraved along the street named so, which enumerate the name of the nineteen Aklanons who gave their lives to free the Filipino from further degradation from the hands of the Spaniards.
The least populated town in Aklan but it is the only municipality that has a man-sized bronze statue of the Filipino national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. Lezo is also known for its pot making industry.
A fifty feet waterfalls with several basins located in Can-awan is ideal for swimming. Buses, jeepneys, private cars are modes of transportation from Kalibo to Libacao. The falls is accessible by foot from Libacao town proper.
Unique is the word that best describe Tindog Falls. It is unique among other falls for its basin is on top instead of having it below the falls. Stair-like stones are carved where the water cascade down. Can be reached by foot from Madalag.
Paradise Island of the Philippines. Sixty eight (68) kilometers from northwest of Kalibo, Aklan's capital and 25 minutes pumpboat across a channel from the northwestern tip of Panay. It is famous for its world's finest and loveliest palm fringed white sand beaches, azure waters, coral reefs and rare shells. Its area is 967 hectares consisting of three barangay namely Balabag, Manok-Manok and Yapak.
The widest and longest white beach stretching about three and a half (3 1/2) kilometers from Sitio Diniwid to Sitio Angol is between Balabag and Manok-Manok. Water is crystal clear and in fine weather one can see the sea floor. The beach at Manok-Manok is somewhat rocky with occasional patches of white sand. Ocean floor slopes steeply. White peebles of varying sizes are numerous at Yapak and Puka beach. Here, too is the source of puka shells that can be made into elegant necklaces and bracelets.
Modes of transportation from Kalibo to Caticlan, Malay are buses, L-300 vans and private cars. Approximate travel time is about two hours. Pumpboats, fast crafts, and boats owned by different hotels and establishments in the island transports people from Caticlan port to Boracay Island.
Two (2) kilometers away from the town proper of Malay, Aklan. A scenic view awaits the visitors as they can freely swim on its clear waters. It's a perfect hideout especially during summer as its cool water beats the intense heat summer months. Modes of transportation were buses, vans, motorcycles and private cars.
Lies northeast of Sitio Tabon, Caticlan, Malay. About five (5) minutes by boat from the mainland and twenty (20) minutes from Boracay Island through the same modes of transportation. Shells of varying sizes and kinds lie on its predominantly white sand beach. On its side is a small cave with nature carved stone at its walls where fresh and salty waters forms a small pool. Another cave can be seen from the top of the hill.
Noted for its way of the cross on the hillside. Atop of the hill is a chapel made of marble.
A falls with an all year round clear and cool waters. It is about twenty (20) kilometers southwest of Kalibo. The falls a major source of Malinao River has two basins, one is 8 feet deep and the other is six (6) feet deep both good for swimming.
One of the sources of Gibon River is inside Basang Cave with two (2) basins of clear, cool water for swimming. Located at Barangay Laserna, Nabas, Aklan noted for hats and mats made from baliw or pandan.
Believed to be one of the longest caves in the Philippines. It stretches twenty (20) kilometers from Barangay Libertad, Nabas, Aklan to Barangay Patria, Pandan, Antique. A survey indicated an enormous deposit of guano. Cave entrance is at Barangay Libertad, Nabas, fifty five (55) kilometers northwest of Kalibo. The cave location is fifteen (15) kilometers from the town proper. It is accessible by buses, jeepneys, private cars and tricycles.
Floripon Point Beach
At the eastern tip of New Washington, about twenty (20) kilometers east of Kalibo. Its wide beach fringed coconut trees beckons the visitors to this resort.
New Washington Beach
A fourteen (14) kilometers beach with the poblacion at midpoint fronting Sibuyan Sea. The place serves as fishing village of the town. Fresh fish, crabs, shrimps and lobsters are sold here. Accessible by public jeepneys, tricycles and private cars.
Old House of Jaime Cardinal Sin
Contains memorabilias and antique wares that were used in the birthplace of the Philippine cardinal
Pink Sisters Convent
Everything here is pink from the convent facade, corridors and nuns' habits.
Botanical garden resorts facing the Sibuyan Sea. The resort has an extensive collections of plants, butterflies and fishes, lots of playgrounds and massive collection of dolls and other novelty items for sale.
Navitas and Camanci Beach
Both beaches border the Sibuyan Sea. Its waters are excellent for water skiing and coconut trees are fringed along the shores. Located at Numancia about 4.5 kilometers northwest of Kalibo. Buses, tricycles, and private cars are the mode of transportation.
Twenty two (22) kilometers northwest of Kalibo. Located in Barrio Afga, Tangalan, Aklan. White beach stretches two (2) kilometers. Visitors may either go swimming or boating. Colorful fishing nets are dried at daytime on the shore. Its powdery white sand rivals that of Boracay. Accessible by buses, tricycles, jeepneys and private cars.
Tops of the list of Aklan's many cascades and is the most beautiful cascades in Western Visayas region. It has seven (7) basins, the highest basin is about 100 feet high arranged in tiers from about 20 feet high. Its seven basins arranged by nature in a series, one basin cascading water down the next. The first basin which is oval-shaped is 40 feet by 60 feet, holding 12 feet deep clear water. The other basins are of similar shapes from 130 square feet to 240 square feet in area and 8-10 feet deep except the sixth basins with a swimming area of 540 square feet. It is 28 kilometers northwest of Kalibo and three (3) kilometers from the poblacion of Tangalan. Travel time is one (1) hour ride from Kalibo and is accessible by jeepneys, buses, private cars and tricycles from the town proper to the site.
Crystal Cove Island (formerly Tigwati-an Island) just few minutes ferry boat ride from the famed Boracay Island
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