"Aklanon" refers to the people of Aklan province, their
language, and culture. Folk belief is that Aklan derived its name
from a river called Akean. When the Spaniards came, they asked the
regions name from a man fishing in the river, and the man
thought they were asking him for the name of the river. The Aklanon
belong to a larger group called Visayan, and the Aklanon language
is a sub classification of the Visayan language. It is said that
the Aklanon language substitutes the phonetic sound "ea"
for "l," pronounced with rolling "r" sound,
because Datu Bangkaya, the first ruler of Aklan (originally Akean),
had a short tongue and therefore could not pronounce the "l"
Aklan was formerly a part of Capiz province on the island of Panay
in Western Visayas; hence, its history is often connected with that
of Capiz. It became a separate province on 8 Nov 1956 under Republic
Act No. 1414, with Kalibo as its capital. The province has 17 municipalities:
Altavas, Balete, Banga, Batan, Buruanga, Kalibo, Ibajay, Lezo, Libacao,
Madalag, Makato, Malay, Malinao, Nabas, New Washington, Numancia,
and Tangalan. The inhabitants of Sapian town, in Capiz, also speak
Aklan lies on the northern part of Panay island, which has three
other provinces: Capiz, Iloilo, and Antique. It is shaped like a
triangle pointing southward, bounded on the west by Antique, on
the east by Capiz and on the North by the Visayan Sea. Its topography
is swampy along the coasts, and rolling and mountainous inland.
Its forest lands are being depleted, and the open forests and grasslands
are expanding. Population estimate as of 1988 was 387,000 (RRs
Philippine Almanac 1990; 189)
According to Maragtas, the historical-fictional account by Pedro
Monteclaro (1907), 10 Bornean Datu (chieftains) purchased Panay
from the Aeta, cultivated the land and renamed the island Madya-as.
They divided it into three sakup (districts); Aklan (including Capiz),
Irong-irong (now Iloilo), and Hamtik (Antique). These were loosely
united under a government called the confederation of Madya-as.
Datu Bangkaya of Aklan, who succeeded Datu Sumakwel of Hamtik, the
original head of this confederation, is credited with having adopted
the syllabaric form of writing and spreading it to the other provinces.
Archaeological findings indicate extensive trade with other Asians
from the 10th to 15th centuries. Shipbuilding was an established
industry, for the Aklanon engaged in inter-island trade. Textiles
were being woven out of piña, sinamay, and jusi fibers. Abaca
materials were among the commodities traded.
page 2... History: Aklan Province Islands