Roxas / Capiz


Capiz is another province whose name possesses a rather interesting etymology. It was named based on the story that when the Spaniards came to Capiz in 1570, it was the time when Datu Bankaya’s wife of the Aklan district gave birth to twin daughters. Twin is "Kapid" in the local dialect, so the Spaniards adopted the name Capiz (Kapid) as inadvertently miscommunicated to them by the natives.

Capiz, known as Aklan in pre-Spanish times, was one of the early settlements of the Malayas, centuries before the coming of the Spaniards to the Philippines. It was part of the Confederation of Madjaas, formed after the purchase of Panay by the Bornean datus from the Negrito king named Marikudo. It ranks as the second largest province among the four provinces of Panay Island. It is also the birthplace of Manuel A. Roxas, the First President of the Republic of the Philippines, after whom the provincial capital, Roxas City, was named.


Aklan is the oldest province in the Philippines, organized in 1213 by settler from Borneo as the Minuro it Akean to include what is now Capiz. The capital of Aklan changed location several times. Towards the end of the fourteenth century Datu Dinagandan moved the capital to the present site of Batan which was captured in 1399 by Chinese adventurers under Kalantiaw, who forth with ruled Aklan. In 1433 the son of Kalantiaw, Kalantiaw III laid down a written code of laws now known as the Code of Kalantiaw. The short- lived Kalantiaw dynasty ended when Kalantiaw III was slain in a duel with Datu Manduyog, legitimate successor to Datu Dinagandan. When Manduyog became the new ruler, he moved the capital to Bakan (ancient name of Banga) in 1437. Several datus succeeded Manduyog and when Miguel Lopez de Legaspi landed in Batan in 1565, Datu Kabayag was ruling Aklan from what is now the town of Libacac.

Lopez de Legaspi divided the Minuro it Akean into 5 encomiendas which he distributed among his faming followers. Those encomiendas were in Mambusao, Batan and Panay. Along with political changes, the Spaniards introduced Christianity and in a short while thousands of Aklanons were baptized.

Towns were laid following the Spanish pattern, each organized around a plaza with church, municipio and school. Roads were carved out of forests to link principal towns. In 1716, the area of the Minuro it Akean was designated a province. But to the dismay of Aklanons it was called Capiz and until Aklan became a province on its own in 1956, the Aklanons never knew rest.

In 1896 an Aklanon member of Bonifacioดs Katipunan arrived in Batan and he organized Aklan for the fight against Spain. Battles marking this struggle are commemorated today with numerous municipal holidays, notable among them being New Washington’s "Pacto de Sangre" celebration.

Having developed an identity of their own, a distinct dialect being no problem, the people of Aklan felt they should govern themselves. After the Americans took the country from Spain in 1901 an Aklan delegation petitioned the Taft Commission, which structured the new civil government of the country for separation from Capiz. The petition was not turned down, but it was not granted. As a sop, the Americans promised to set up at the right time a separate court of first instance for Aklan at Batan. They appointed Simeon Mobo Reyes as first provincial secretary. But the struggle for separation never let up. The newspaper " Aklanon" which began publication in 1914 advocated creation of a separate province while Aklanons in Congress filed numerous bills for the same purpose, including the Urquiola-Alba bill in 1920, the Laserna-Suner bills in 1925 and 1930 and the Tumbokon bill in 1934.

Aklan finally became an independent province when President Magsaysay signed into law on April 25,1956, Republic Act 1414 separating Aklan from Capiz. This law authored by Congressman Godofredo P. Ramos and the province was inaugurated on November 8, 1956. Ramos became the first congressman of Aklan; he was succeeded by Jose B. Legaspi. The third congressman, serving until the declaration of martial law in 1972, was Rafael B. Legaspi. Jose Raz Menez was appointed the first governor of Aklan by President Magsaysay and he served until December 30, 1959. In 1960, Godofredo P. Ramos became the first elected governor but upon resigning to run for Congress he was succeeded by the vice governor, Virgilio S. Patricio. In 1964, Jose B. Legaspi succeeded Patricio and he held office for two consecutive terms, 1964-71.


Languages / dialect spoken are English, Tagalog, Akeanon, Hiligaynon, Cebuano and others.


Capiz is now considered as the "Seafood Capital of the Philippines" fishing grounds in the country. Blue marlin, tuna, milkfish (bangus), prawns and shrimps, seaweed, crabs, eel, shellfish such as oysters and angel wings "diwal", squid and other marine species are abundant in the province. Prawns and popular fish varieties are cultured in farms. In view of the very large supply of oysters in Capiz, it was chosen as the site of the biggest oyster processing plant in the Philippines to export canned smoked oysters. The culture of seaweeds along the province’s coastal municipalities, for processing is also being developed into carrageenan for export.

Capiz is also known for its cutflower production and marketing. Orchids, heliconias, anthuriums, roses, and other ornamental plants are suitable for propagation in the province. Having a 400-hectare site ready for contract-growing arrangements, the cutflower industry is poised to become a major income-earner for the province.

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  Information provided by Department of Tourism. Government of Philippines.


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