Aklan

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Aklan is a province of the Philippines located in the Western Visayas. Its capital is Kalibo and is located at the northwest portion of Panay, bordering Antique to the southwest, Iloilo to the south, and Capiz to the east. Aklan faces the Sibuyan Sea and the province of Romblon to the north.

Province of Aklan
Landmarks
[[Image:{{{landmarkfile}}}|250px]]
Seal
[[Image:Ph seal aklan.png|250px]]
Location
[[Image:Ph locator map aklan.png|250px]]
Government
Region Western Visayas (Region VI)
Barangays 327
Physical characteristics
Area 1,817.9 km²
(18th smallest)
Population
Total (2000) 451,314
(24th smallest)
Density 248/km²
(29th highest)


Contents

History

Aklan, including what is now Capiz, was organised as "Minuro it Aklan" by settlers from Borneo in 1213. Thus, it is considered as the oldest province in the country. It was one of three political units, sakops, into which Panay was divided, the other two being Hamitc (now Antique) and Irong-Irong (now Iloilo) The firs ruler of Aklan was named Datu Bangkaya.

Towards the end of the 14th century, Datu Dinagandan moved the capital from the present Batan. This was after it was captured by Chinese adventurers under Kalantiaw, allowing him to grab the throne. In 1433, Kalantiaw's grandson and successor, Kalantiaw III, formulated a set of laws that is known today as the Code of Kalantiaw. the historian, William Henry Scott, considered these laws as fake.[1][2]

In 1437, the short-lived dynasty of Kalantiaw ended when Kalantiaw III was slain in a duel with Datu Manduyog, the legitimate successor of Datu Dinagandan. When Manduyog became the new ruler, he moved the capital to Bakan (now known as Banga).

Several datus succeeded Manduyog until Miguel Lopez de Legaspi landed in Batan in 1565. Datu Kabanyag was the current ruler at the time and had his capital in Libacao.

From the time of the Spanish colonial administration until Pilipino was instituted as the national language, Aklan was spelled "Acean", and its chief town Kalibo was spelled "Calivo".

Aklan finally became an separate province through Republic Act 1414 signed by President Magsaysay on April 25, 1956, separating Aklan from Capiz. The province was inaugurated on November 8, 1956.

Administrative divisions

Aklan is subdivided into 17 municipalities and one independent zone in Boracay.

Municipalities

Geography

Philippine Spotted Deer

Aklan occupies the northern third of the island of Panay and is bordered by the provinces of Iloilo from the south, Capiz from the east, and Antique from the southwest. It also faces the Sibuyan Sea from the north. The province includes the island of Boracay which is located at its northwestern tip.

The province boasts high geographic diversity, ranging from white sandy beaches, mangroves, and mountainous lanscapes. It also boasts the river Akean, which appears unique due to its "boiling or frothing" appearance.

Fauna

Several endemic species in the Philippines are located in the province. Examples include endangered animals such the Philippine Spotted Deer (Cervus alfredi), the Visayan warty pig (Sus cebifrons), and the Tarictic Hornbill (Penelopides panini). Conservation efforts are currently done by the Aklan State University and the DENR with varying success.

Economy

A view of the Grotto in Boracay at Dusk

Aklan is famous for Boracay, a resort island one kilometer north from the tip of Panay. It is known for its white sandy beaches and is considered as one of the more prominent destinations in the country. Because of this, there is frequent air travel to the province's airports in Kalibo and Caticlan.

Farming is the basic livelihood in the interior while fishing is the basic livelihood in the coasts. Poorer inhabitants also migrate seasonly to other provinces and islands, particularly Negros, to work mostly in plantations. Some of these migrants include minors.

Despite its vibrant tourism industry and substantial agriculture, the province is still considered as one of the poorer provinces in the country with more than 30% of the population living below the national poverty line. [3]

Demographics

Ethnic groups

The main inhabitants of the province are the Aklanon, who fall under the Visayan ethnic group. Other inhabitants include the Negrito, locally known as the Ati, and the Sulod, a lesser known tribal group located at the hinterlands of Panay. Other Visayans are also present such as the Karay-a, the Hiligaynon, and the Capiznon.

Languages

The most prominent languages in the province are the Aklan languages, which includes Akeanon and Malaynon. Akeanon is spoken by a majority of the people, while Malaynon is spoken in Malay. Other languages include the language of the Ati; Hiligaynon, the regional language; Kinaray-a; and Capiznon.

Religion

A representation of the Santo Niño in Cebu

Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion of the people and Christian festivals such as Christmas and Lent are regarded with high importance. Meanwhile, Chiristian icons such as the Santo Niño are regarded as cultural symbols of the people. A prominent example of the importance given by Aklanons to their faith is Jaime Cardinal Sin.

Animism, however, is still practised by the Ati.

Culture

Despite the prevalence of Christianity, native beliefs about the aswang and the babaylan are still prevalent among the people. Kulam, or Philippine witchcraft is still feared by many.

Festivals

A known icon of the province is the annual Ati-Atihan Festival in Kalibo, which is usually held during the third week of January. The festival is a feast dedicated to the Santo Niño or the Child Jesus, and is said to commemorate the arrival of the Spaniards, as well as the arrival of the Roman Catholic religion. Revelers paint their faces with black soot and wear bright-colored tribal costumes to symbolize the Ati, who were the first ones to meet the Spaniards during their arrival in the province.

Literature

Aklanons are known for their literature, which includes the epic of Kalantiao. Currenlty, certain Aklanons such as Melchor F. Cichon have tried to further enrich the literature of the province.

Educational institutuions

  • Aklan Academy
  • Aklan Catholic College
  • Aklan Learning Center
  • Aklan National College of Fisheries
  • Aklan National High School for Arts and Trades
  • Aklan Polytechnic Institute
  • Aklan State University
  • Aklan Valley High School
  • Altavas National School
  • Garcia College of Technology
  • Kalibo Pilot Elementary School
  • Northwestern Visayan Colleges
  • Regional Science High School for Region VI (formerly Science Development National High School)
  • Roxas Memorial College of Arts and Trades
  • Saint Gabriel School of Nursing
  • STI College Kalibo
  • STO. Niño Seminary
  • Western Aklan Polytechnic College

References

  1. [Paul] (2003-01-30). The Fraudulent Code of Kalantiáw. Retrieved on November 9, 2006.
  2. Augusto V. de Viana (2006-17-06). http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2006/sept/17/yehey/top_stories/20060917top3.html. The Sunday Times. Retrieved on November 9, 2006.
  3. Philippine Poverty Statistics National Statistical Coordination Board (Philippines). Accessed March 7, 2007
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