|Region:||Western Visayas (Region VI)|
|Languages:||Aklanon, Malaynon, Ati, Ilonggo, Kinaray-a, Tagalog|
|Governor:||Carlito S. Marquez (Lakas-CMD)|
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.
See also: Datu. Aklan, originally known as "Minuro it Akean", is considered as the oldest province in the country and is believed to have been established as early as 1213 by settlers from Borneo ruled by Datu Dinagandan.
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.Web site: The Fraudulent Code of Kalantiáw. 2007-07-09. Web site: The Order of Kalantiaw? Haosiao!. 2007-07-09. Augusto V. de Viana. 2006-09-17. The Sunday Times. (archived from the original on 2007-09-15} 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).
In 1942, Japanese Imperial forces landed in Aklan, In 1945, combined Filipino and American troops along with Filipino guerrillas liberated Aklan from the Japanese.
Aklan finally became a separate province through Republic Act 1414 signed by President Magsaysay on April 25, 1956, 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.
Aklan is subdivided into 17 municipalities.
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.
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). As of 2007, conservation efforts are being made by the Aklan State University and the DENR with varying success.
The province of Aklan is designated as a second class province.
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. Kalibo Airport is about ten minutes from the main plaza. Kalibo Airport serve direct flights to and from Incheon and Taipei, South Korea through international flights served by Asian Spirit, Mandarin Airlines and Pacific Pearl Airways. More air links will soon be offered with Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing direct flights in the pipeline establishing and cementing Kalibo's reputation as the international gateway to the Western Visayas region.
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.
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.
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.
Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion of the people and Christian festivals such as Christmas and Lent are regarded with high importance. Meanwhile, Christian 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.
Despite the prevalence of Christianity, native beliefs about the aswang and the babaylan are still prevalent among the people. Kulam, or Philippine witchcraft, locally known as "amulit" is still feared by many.
A known icon of the province is the annual Ati-Atihan Festival in Kalibo. Originally, The festivity was to celebrate the coexistence between the Ati [local name for the Aetas]and the Malays who were newcomers to the Island. The Ati lives in the mountain or elevated regions and the Malays in the flatlands or close to the water. The Festivity starts at the onset of the dry season, at which time the Ati comes down from the mountains to trade and celebrate with the Malays. When the Spaniards came and established their own Government and converted the Malays to their Christian Relegion, They asked or possibly coerced the Malays to celebrate this Festivity to coincide with the Feast of "Santo Nino" which is usually held during the third week of January. Accordingly, because of this change [Ati uses the Moon to tell Seasonal changes]the Ati could not be available to participate in the celebration. The Malays have to paint their faces with soot to simulate the appearance of the Ati.
Aklanons are known for their literature, which includes the epic of Kalantiao. Certain Aklanons, such as Melchor F. Cichon, Niezel Rondario Fernando, have tried to further enrich the literature of the province.