THE PROVINCE AT A
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