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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Some Important Facts About The History of Iloilo and Panay Island - Arrival of Malay Settlers

Little bronze figures depicting the Barter of Panay

Datu Bangkaya, founder of Aklan province

Datu Paiburong, founder of Iloilo province stands proudly at the Iloilo River Esplanade

Sultan Makatunaw - the cruel tyrannical ruler of Borneo who is the reason for the exodus of the noblemen courts of ten (10) datus to search, occupy and rule new lands.

Datu Puti - the wise minister of Sultan Makatunaw who lead the exodus of ten datus, their families and people.

The Ten (10) Bornean Datus Who Left Borneo And Search For New Lands To Settle:

Datu Puti (head chief of the expedition) - with wife, Pinangpinang
Datu Bangkaya - with wife, Katorong
Datu Paiburong - with wife, Pabulanan
Datu Sumakwel - with wife, Kapinangan
Datu Paduhinog - with wife, Ribongsapaw
Datu Dumangsol - with wife, Kabiling
Datu Lubay
Datu Dumangsil
Datu Dumalogdog
Datu Balensuela

They brought with them their people, followers, servants, warriors and slaves.

Ati people - group of people who were the original inhabitants of Panay Island. They were short in height, dark skinned with kinky black hair, thick lips, short nose and fast disappearing because they are not permanent settlers and they transfer from one place to another. They like to eat honeybees. They get it by lighting some fire and create smokes to drive away the bees before getting the honeycomb. They are pretty much afraid of water, never learn the skill of swimming and never created sailboats.

Datu Marikudo - the chief of the Ati people during the arrival of the Malay settlers.

Maniwangtiwan - wife of Datu Marikudo

Datu Puti and Datu Marikudo met in Sinugbuhan at the shores of Ilug-ilugan of Andona and sat on the Embidayan stone to which the arriving group explain their desire of settling in the place.

Datu Puti offered some treasure in exchange of the land they will occupy and settle with their followers. The Borneans offered golden hat made of nito and anahaw leaves and golden batya.

Maniwangtiwan noticed the manangyad, a golden necklace worn by the wife of Datu Puti to which she offered Maniwangtiwan her necklace much to her delight.

Manangyad - a very long golden necklace which touches the ground from the neck of the wearer 

The Borneans also offered different gifts to the Atis, including a dagger (kris) to Marikudo, beautiful red beads with bells for Maniwangtiwan, necklaces to the Ati women and axes, clothes and trinkets.

The Atis, on the other hand, aside from offering their lands promised to give tabungos (basket crafted from bamboo) filled with crabs, 7-year old wild boar, white cross-eyed deer.

Tabungos - a basket crafted from bamboo. It is used to store rice grains but sometimes used to store poultry and farm and cattle products. It has various sizes, small, medium, big. 

As a sign of the barter, the Borneans and the Ati held a bountiful feast and merrymaking by showcasing their native dance and music. This is the origin of the popular annual Ati-atihan Festival of Kalibo, Aklan and Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo City.

After the festivities, the Atis went to the mountains to settle leaving the vast tract of fertile lands and valleys to the Malay settlers.

Datu Paiburong, his wife and followers stayed in Iloilo. Datu Bangkaya, Datu Sumakwel and their wives and followers settled in Malandog, Antique where vast fertile lands for farming can be found. The place was called Hamtik, named after the large red ants that are plentiful in the place.

The datus divided among themselves the island of Panay into jurisdictions or districts:

Hamtik (former name of Antique) - was under the rule of Datu Sumakwel
Aklan - under the rule of Datu Bangkaya
Irong-irong (former name of Iloilo) - under the rule of Datu Paiburong

The datus decided to call the entire Panay island Madyaas after the highest mountain of Panay located in Hamtik (present-day Antique province in the town of Culasi) was said to be the dwelling of their god Bululakaw. They called their government Konpederasyon it Madyaas or Confederation of Madiaas. The supreme chief is Sumakwel, the brightest of all.

In 1225, Datu Sumakwel wrote some codes of conducts and set of rules and laws known as the Code of Sumakwel or Code of Maragtas. This was the first code and set of laws declared in the Philippines and followed by the Visayans. This code was painstakingly translated in Spanish by Guillermo Santiago Guino and in English by Manuel Carreon and Emma A. Bilan. The codes contain some simple truths, states the obligation of work for every individual.

Kalantiao who became a ruler of Aklan also wrote some codes that was named after him. The codes contains some 18 articles and it includes some ordinances about taking good care of one's life, tools, veneration of relics, safety of women, support of truth and the establishment of a just government. The code also includes the punishments for those who violate these laws. Though the implemented punishment is a bit harsh, the jurists unanimously agreed that these has similarities with the ancient laws of the Greeks and Romans. According to Josue Soncuya, this code was excavated by Jose E. Marco of Pontevedra, Negros Occidental in Panay Island. The code was written in the old Bisaya alphabet in 1433. Its translation in Spanish was found in "Las Antiquas Leyendas de la Isla de Negros" of Father Jose Maria Pavon. The original code was under the care and custody of Don Marcelino Orfila of Zaragoza, Spain.

Photo Source:

Madyaas Pen -
Reed Dexter via
Research Center for Iloilo -
Robbie Robles via

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