An Approximation of the History of Balete as A Pueblo, An Arabal & A Municipality


THIS PAPER is an attempt to present the rational side of the not so perfectly rational history of Balete in order that an intelligent and credible understanding of it may be attained.


I. Introduction


            March 3, 1897 marks the rise  of the secret society called the Katipunan in the northern part of the Panay Island. On this day Candido Iban and Francisco del Castillo, together with a good number of compatriots convened themselves at Sitio Kungtang, Batang (now known as Ochando, New Washington) to pledge their loyalty to the cause of the Katipunan by signing their names with their own blood as ink.


            The year 1997 thus was the legitimate time for the commemoration of the centennial of that event.  Hence, the Municipality of New Washington prepared for and eventually celebrated the 100 years of the historic Pacto de Sangre. 


            In the same manner, the Municipality of Balete was supposedly preparing for the celebration of the centenary of the Battle of Agtawagon Hill on October 24, 1997.  Allegedly the revolutionaries fought valiantly and as a result repealed the well-armed casadores on that majestic hill on October 24, 1897. Unfortunately, the celebration never took place. Why is this so is story worth telling—or rather shall we call it a history worth revisiting?


II. The Pueblo of Balete (1826?-1904)


   a. The Province of Panay


            R. Morales Maza (1987)[1] cited Diaz’s Conquistas, pp. 640-644 as he explained that the Island of Panay between 1570 to 1583 was governed by two (2) Alcalde Mayores who took charge of the two (2) Provinciales. These provinces were known as Octong (in what is now Southern Antique from Barbaza to Anini-y and the whole of Iloilo having its seat of government at Oton) and Panay (now Northern Antique, Aklan and Capiz with Pan-ay as the capital).[2] 


            The province of Panay then was composed of nine (9) large villages[3] of which six (6) were  identified by Maza as follows:


                                                1. Capiz;

                                                2. Pan-ay;

                                                3. Batan;

                                                4. Mambusao;

                                                5. Dumarao; and

                                                6. Dumalag.


      b. The Encomienda of Batan


            Political subdivisions during the early time of Hispanic colonialization were loosely based on encomiendas, i.e., a system where a definite number of  “souls” or inhabitants of a territory were entrusted to the care of an encomendero.[4] We gathered for one that in 1591[5] the encomiendas of Batan belonged to Miguel Rodriguez who “…collects there (Batan), at Moguin, Dumblon, Baton, and along the river of Hilo, 1,200 tributes which represent 4,200 persons…it has justice, pacified…and needs at least two ministers…”[6]


   c. The Mission Work


            Maza (1987) related that the Augustinian Missionaries founded the villages of Batan, Aclan and Ibahay in 1601, 1581 and 1663 respectively.[7] Fr. Juan de Medina (1893) had Batan on 1601, Aclan on 1581 and Ibahay on 1671[8] while Salvador Font (1892) had them at 1601, 1580 and 1596 respectively.[9] But they were unanimous in noting that the presence of these religious priests dates back to the time when Miguel Lopez de Legaspi arrived in Panay in 1569.


            Maza (1987), again, quoted Fray Juan Fernandez (Apuntes Historicos, pp. 275-300) who quoted an interesting remarked made by these missionaries when they arrived in Batan in 1599. These priests regarded the people of the surrounding villages near Batan as:


                        “…the most noble in the archipelago, a highly-cultured group

                        with well  built  beautiful  houses  and  many  well-organized



            In 1714, we learned that the Augustinians were already well established in Batan. During this time it was already a paroquia with Fr. Luis Jurado, OSA, a Filipino (creoles) Augustinian priest who was born in Panay, Capiz as cura parroco.[11] Batan according to Maza (1987)[12] then had 933 tributors from 14 visitas, i.e., missionary areas within the parish where the priest conducts occasional visit. These were as follows:


                                    1. Mabolo                                8. Sapian

                                    2. Talaua                                 9. Dumarao

                                    3. Dagdagan                         10. Sapa

                                    4. Tabon                                11. Actan

                                    5. Damaran                           12. Ibahay

                                    6. Camansi                            13. Damayas and

                                    7. Mandong                           14. Mahanlud


            Casiano (1919)[13] on the other hand, quoted the manuscript made by Fr. Jurado himself where in his report to his superior he gave an outline of Batan’s visitas with the numbers of tributors at 609. The visitas of Batan were 17 that were as follows:


                                    1. Patacas                               9. Talon Ivisan

                                    2. Sugud                                10. Bilison

                                    3. Cavet                                11. Cabugao

                                    4. Jalo                                   12. Caluya

                                    5. Maguin                              13. Visavis

                                    6. Sapa Jalas/Pagsanhan       14. Causaan

                                    7. Nauagasan                        15. Guintapahan

                                    8. Odiong                              16. Talapatan and

                                                                                  17. Pula


            Perez (1901) outlined that Batan was already under the supervision of the Recollect Fathers in 1758 while Calivo and “Aclan y su partido” were under a diocesan bishop in 1612 and 1600 respectively.[14] In 1789 Batan had its first diocesan parish priest in the person of Fr. Manuel S. Josef. By 1792 the Bishop of Cebu made a pastoral visit and which was followed by 12 other pastoral visits up to 1891 when the Diocese of Jaro was established.[15]


   d. The Province of Capiz


            Between 1583 to 1620, encomiendas were abolished by the Royal Decree of 1583 to give way for the Alcaldia System whereby local governments were formed. The organizations of the local government were subdivided into the following: (1) Provincias, (2) Cibildos, (3) Pueblos, and (4) Barrios.[16]  The head of a province was the Alcaldia Mayor, a city and a town were headed by governadorcillos while a cabeza led a barrio.


            By 1703, the regular provinces in the island of Panay were Capiz, Iloilo and Antique which where being governed by three Alcalde Mayores.[17] The whole of the Aklan region then was part of the province of Capiz until April 24, 1952. 


   e. A Pueblo Called Balete


            Despite the silence of Maza (1987) and Casiano (1919) in mentioning Balete as one of the visitas of Batan during the time of Fr. Jurado, the oral tradition in this part of Aklan has it that indeed Balete and Jimeno (Altavas) were once under the parish priest of the Paroquia dela Immaculada Concepcion.  This postulate is legitimate as the manuscripts Actas narrated that by 1826 the pueblo of Balete “which was formerly a part of Batang separated from the latter.[18]


            The manuscript Patronatos, 1759-1859  contained a letter dated August 25, 1856 made by the Bishop of Cebu, F. Romualdo (Jimeno). It says of the appointment of P. Don Diego Albao as curate of Balete in the Province of Capiz so to fill up the vacancy left behind by P. Don Matias Piansay.[19]


            A settlement of dispute over the boundaries of the pueblos of Banga and Balete at  Nagatod hill was compiled in the manuscript Erecciones de Pueblos 1865-1894. The manuscript was dated April 28, 1882 and was signed by the officials of both towns in the presence of Don Juan Rivera, the Governor of the District. Also present during the signing was D. Manuel Bayot, Secretary of the District. Those who represented Balete were as follows:


                        P. Don Vicente Guanco, Cura Parroco;

                        D. Adriano Calizo, Governadorcillo;

                        D. Alejo Eliserio, Capitan Pasado;

                        D. Agapito Borromeo, Cabeza Actual; and

                        D. Juan Oquendo, Cabeza Actual


Those of Banga were:


                        P. Don Felipe Gomes, Cura Parroco;

                        D. Lucas Venturanza, Governadorcillo;

                        D. Julian Fuentes, Capitan Pasado;

                        D. Baltazar Teodosio, Capitan Pasado; and

                        D. Dalmacio Ricaforte, Capitan Pasado.


The manuscript revealed that Banga won the day with Rivera declaring Nagatod as part of its jurisdiction.


            Another manuscript, the Memoria de la Provincia de Capiz (May 9, 1888) specified Balete as one among the 33 pueblos in the Province of Capiz. It narrated that of the 15,525 hectares of land Balete has, its total cultivated areas yielded to about 200 cavans of palay per season or cropping.  An epidemic caused by cholera was recorded to have caused the lives of a total number of 144 people in the year 1882.


   f. The Illustrados[20] of Balete


            The Cura Parroco was acknowledged as the most powerful and influential man in a pueblo, i.e., morally, politically and economically. Aside from being the representative of God among his people, he was regarded as the representative and sometimes the spy of the King of Spain.[21] Between 1697-1890,[22] he was responsible for the yearly appointment of a governadorcillo, the next in rank in prestige and power and whose main function was to collect tributes[23] from among the Filipinos from nineteen to sixty.[24] In 1893 the term of office of a governadorcillo lasted for two (2) years.


            The appointment[25] of a governadorcillo was based on the following qualities:


                        1. He must be an influential man in the community;

                        2. a good follower of the Catholic Church; and

                        3. from a well-to-do family.


With the passage of the Maura Law (Royal Degree of 1894) the title of governadorcillo was replace into Capitan Municipal with the parish priest still as the appointing officer.[26] Then by the time of the Revolutionary Government of Aguinaldo in 1899, the title capitan gave way to presidente municipal where the landed few now enjoyed the liberty to choose the man they were please to serve them. Finally, with the institution of the Commonwealth in 1935, the head of the town was henceforth known as Mayor who is elected at large for the term of three years.[27]


            It was said that when P. Don Vicente Guanco was parish priest,[28] Balete was experiencing as sort of renaissance. We read in Historical Data[29] that a church made of bricks was constructed so as not to be outclassed by houses in the town which were said to be far better “than any of the neighboring towns.”


            We have reasons to believe this telling by the very fact that the barrios within Balete were named after the landed few—the illustrados of Balete. Prominent among those were the names of Simeon Oquendo, Ponciano Concepcion, Carlos Feliciano, Adriano Calizo, Ambrocio Aranas, Juan Cortes, Marcelino Morales, Torebio Oquendo, Eulalio Feliciano, Juan Oquendo, who had been all appointed as governadorcillos at one time in their political careers.[30] But it was said that the real power, the really influential among these members of a clan of illustrados[31] who practically owned Balete was the low profile mother of Blas Feliciano, Doña Florencia Feliciano who was a very good friend of  Padre Guanco.


III.  Arabal of New Washington (1904-1920?)


            When the Katipuneros of Gen. Ananias Diokno was driven out of Batan in 1902, the Americans went to spread its own ideology by establishing schools[32].  With the remnants of the Katipuneros captured or hiding in the hills and the civil government of the American imperialist established, Gov. Gen. William H. Taft, in 1903 sent out his representative to reorganize the local governments throughout the country. In the province of Capiz, he commissioned Benito Luzurriaga to reorganize the municipal government. When Luzurriaga and his companion arrived in Dominguez (Lagatic), a barrio of Batan, they found the place suitable for the establishment of a good port. In 1904 he directed to fuse Batan, Balete and Jemino into one municipality with it seat of government at Lagatic. But to make it more symbolic he renamed the place New Washington.[33]


            Immediately, election was held were only those landed few were allowed to cast votes. Prado (1952)[34] relates that the first Presidente Municipal was from Balete in the person of Mr. Juan Oquendo who was to served for one year (1904-1905). Those who served after him were as follows:


Mr. Florencio Melecoton, 1906; (other texts either have Melocoto or


                                    Mr. Ananias Mariano, 1907;

                                    Mr. Blas Feliciano, 1908-1909; (Baleten-on)

                                    Mr. Pedro Cortes, 1910-1916;

Mr. Eulalio Feliciano, 1916-1919; (the last  Baleten-on to be

elected as Presidente Municipal of New Washington)

                                    Mr. Rufino Sucgang, 1920-1922.


            The Research Committee of Altavas however recorded that Mr. Juan Oquendo was reelected in 1910. He was supposed to serve until 1916 as the term of office of local officials were made into five years. He failed even to complete a year as he resigned for unknown reason. In lieu, his vice-presidente, Mr. Pedro Cortes acted as the chief executive of New Washington until 1916.[35]


IV. The Municipality of Balete (1920?- present)


            On November 23, 1917, Executive Order No 88 was signed by Gov. Gen. Francis Burton Harrison creating the Municipality of Altavas (formerly Jemino) as the 32nd municipality of Capiz. The sponsor for the creation was a Baleten-on—Sen. Jose Cortes Altavas. By January 1, 1918 the Municipality of Altavas officially came to be.[36]    


            Prado (1952) relates that with the separation of Altavas, “Balete followed soon after.”[37] Which date, that he was silent. The teachers of Balete in 1952 did mention in passing that Balete was established as a Municipality in 1917.[38] This claim is doubtful as it runs contrary with the earlier claim of Prado.


            On the other hand, Sergio Eliserio (who had served as Municipal Secretary of Balete from 1946 to 1958) in his report dated November 8, 1956[39] noted that Balete was an arabal of New Washington from 1904 to 1919. He then went to list the Presidentes Muncipales and Councilors starting from 1920 to his time (1956). The officials of Balete in 1920 as identified by Eliserio were as follows:


                                    Mr. Juan C. Oquendo, President;

                                    Mr. Felipe Oquendo, Vice-President;

                                    Mr. Cipriano Lachica, Councilor;

                                    Mr. Emeterio Fulgencio, Councilor;

                                    Mr. Julio Villaruel, Councilor; and

                                    Mr. Mateo Feliciano, Councilor.


The  other Presidentes were Felipe Oquendo (1921-1922), Miguel Calizo (1923-1925), Antonio T. Cortes (1926-1928), Felipe Oquendo (1929-1931), Jose Feliciano Cortes (1932-1934 and 1935-1937).


The first Municipal Mayor after the inauguration of the Philippine Commonwealth on November 15, 1935 was Jose Barrios (1938-1940). He was followed by Miguel Calizo (1941-1945 and 1946-1947).


 With the proclamation of the second Philippine independence on July 4, 1946 and the rise of the second (or third) Philippine Republic, Teodoro F. Calizo was elected Mayor (1948-1951and 1952-1955). Apolinar H. Cleope (1956-1959), Teodoro F. Calizo (1960-1967), Bernardo J. Rodriguez (1968-1980), Jean O. Rodriguez (1980-1986).


Potenciano G. Rodriguez was appointed OIC Mayor during the Revolutionary Government of Corazon Aquino. He was elected Mayor in January 18, 1987 and ended his third term on June 29, 1998.


V. The Barrios of Balete[40]


            1) Aranas -- Named after Ambrocio Aranas, popularly known as Capitan Ambrocio. The Tenientes del Barrio were as follows:


                        Ambrocio Aranas;       Alfredo Beltran          

                        Florencio Beltran;       Angel Beltran;

                        Esteban Eliserio;         Juan Oquendo; and                


The so-called original families were the Bantigues, Nicolases, Beltrans and  Roveros.


            2) Arcangel – Named after the Patron Saint, St. Rafael Arcangel. But the barrio was also popularly known as Pueahan after the Puehan River,. It was established in 1917 when Balete became independent from New Washington, so he claimed. The Tenientes del Barrio were as follows:


                        Raymundo Teodosio;              Pedro Eulalio;

                        Tomas Eulalio                         Rafael Lumio;

                        Macario Barte;                        Huge Caprio, et al.


            Settlement in this place, particularly at sitio Bonayag dates back to 1800. In 1900 a cholera epidemic broke out was recorded in this community. It was also claimed that Arcangel was affected by the war of 1896-1900 and that massacre of innocent civilians by Japanese soldiers took place on October 1943.  The primary school was likewise turned to ashes in 1944 as Filipino guerrillas led by Maj. Jesus Jismundo attacked a Japanese outpost.


            3) Calizo – Named after D. Adriano Calizo, he being the most popular and the riches man in the barrio. The barrio was established sometimes in 1917 while Balete was an arabal of  the newly established town of New Washington. By that time  it was scarcely populated as people prefer to reside near the Jal-o River. The Tenientes were:


                        Adriano Calizo;                       Florencio Cuales;

                        Restituto Felipe;                      Esperidion Francisco;

                        Petronilo Concepcion;            Buenvenido Damian, etal.


The original families were the Calizoes, Cualeses, Concepciones and Felipes.


            4) Cortes – Named after the Cortes family. The Tenientes were Dimas Custan and Jose Bonifacio.


            5) Feliciano – Named after Carlos Feliciano, the brother of Doña Florencia Feliciano (allegedly the mistress of Fr. Vicente Guanco). It was established on 1907. The Tenientes were:


                        Balbino Recidoro;                   Igmodio Cuales;

                        Placido de Juan;                     Lucio Datuon;

                        Mariano Protacio;                  Antonio Rola;

                        Alejandro Protacio;                Klisco Palmon, etal.


            6) Morales – Named in honor of Capitan Florentino Morales. Established in 1917. The original families were the Cuatrizes, Cuaternos, Cuares and Ambrocios. 


            7) Morthon – Named after Gen. H.E. Morthon, an American general who took sojourn in the barrio for fear of being caught by the insurrectos. Popularly known as Gama, it was found out by the Americans that the village was well established with houses grouped into units/ hamlet. There was an organized system of running the political affairs of the barrio. Don Mariano Cortes was the acknowledge first Cabeza and the protector of Morthon.


            8) Oquendo – Named after Simeon Oquendo. It was established in 1917. Its original families were the Garminos, Tenazases and Bernabes. The Tenientes were Juanito Tenazas and Adriano Peren. This barrio served as evacuation site during the Filipino-American War. 


VI. The Story of the Battle of Agtawagon Hill


            The last decades of the 19th century saw the rise of nationalism in the whole archipelago. Historians (Constantino and Zaide for instance)  claimed that the martyrdom of Catholic priests Frs. Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos and Jacinto Zamora served to awaken the dormant spirit of Filipino nationalism. Rizal himself an martyr, recognized the significance of this tragic event and thereby dedicated his second novel El Filibustirismo to those illustrious priests.


            This growing consciousness for a Filipino nation is best exemplified when Bonifacio together with his friends organized the Katipunan on July 7, 1892. The manner of  growth and the rapid spread of this secret society is but an indication of this collective desire for freedom.


            In the Aklan region, Iban and Del Castillo met no difficulty in recruiting for members to join the Revolution. In a very short span of time since they arrived from Manila (February 1897) they managed to organize the Katipunan in both sides of the Akean river highlighting it with the staging of the symbolic Pacto de Sangre on March 3, 1897 under a Dangkaean tree at Kungtang. John Barrios (1998)related that the event  had been attended by more than 100 men[41]. He further claimed that in the three months long leadership of Iban and del Castillo they were able to enlist 1,000 members more or less for the Katipunan.[42]


            Although the leadership of Iban and Del Castillo was short-lived (Iban died as one of the 19 martyrs of Calivo on March 23, 1897 while Del Castillo was shot to death on March 17, 1897) the rural masses were able to maintain the struggle where they took it to the hills.[43] This is a valid strategy considering the superior weapons of the guardia civiles and the newly arrived casadores (Tagalogs) and Spanish soldiers  led by Comandante Ricardo Monet from Manila through Batan.


            Nicolas Prado (1952) noted that the seat of power of the remnants of the group of del Castillo in the eastern side of the Akean river during the later part of 1897 was at the hill of Makawiwili where Rafael Maraingan acted as general en jefe. Together with him were Manuel Bernaldo Almanas[44] , the general en Brigada and Eustaquio Gallardo as general en Divicion. They called their station  Hipatora Central or Central Headquarters.  This group was responsible for the ambush of the troops of Comandante Monet at Tinuptupan. 


When Aguinaldo declared the Philippine Independence on June 12, 1898 at Kawit, Cavite, the struggle for independence in Aklan raged on. Eugenio Fulgencio, et al. (1971)[45] referred to a manuscript Actas, when they related of the raid by several groups of “insurrectos”[46] led by Macario Lacson, Superiano Felizardo together with Rafael Maraingan and Cabibes (perhaps Comandante Macabebe[47]) which culminated with the burning of most of Batang on August 21, 1898 and the death of many casadores and 11 innocent people. It was said that many people fled following the defeat of Batang for fear of retribution from the Katipuneros.


            Jose Parco (1977) wrote in his unpublished Masteral Thesis of the arrival of Tagalog Katipuneros headed by Gen. Ananias Diocno at Navas sometime after the declaration of the Philippine Independence.[48] Constantino (1975) however related that Visayan revolutionaries[49] had already vanquished the Spanish forces in Antique and Capiz (Aklan included) before the expedition sent by Aguinaldo arrived.[50]


             The Tagalog Katipuneros arrived in Batan in 1899 and established a Revolutionary Government under the Philippine Republic. They were driven out by the joint forces of US army, the newly organized Constabulary and Philippine Scouts nearing  end of the Filipino-American War in 1902.[51] Diocno and his men might had joined forces with that of Maraingan and Gallardo making his stronghold at Manaway, Dalipdip where he was later cornered due a treachery.[52]


            In Balete, it was said that the remote and rugged hills of Oquendo was made into an evacuation site during the American campaign.[53] It was also used by the Pulahanes coming from Lambunao and Passi as well as by the Maraingan and Gallardo group[54] as route towards the hill of Agtawagon.[55] It was said that the cannons  displayed in front of the Police station in Balete and that at Camp Pastor Martelino in Kalibo were relics taken from that hill—that it was used during a skirmish or battle against the Americans. Other old folks would assert though that it was used against the Spaniards. The saga of Agtawagon as a battle site where many guardia civiles and cassadores died was once related in a composo by Manuel Cortes.

On the other hand, Jose Dandoy[56] claimed that there was no battle whatsoever that took place at Agtawagon. He narrated that it was only made into a station of the group led by Maraingan to while the moment but more so to draw power from hill that they believed to be enchanted. He related that this group upon notice proceeded to Mauebong where they staged an ambush against a band of casadores coming from Batan. Other than that the old folks in Balete seemed to have memory lapses as to what really took place in that majestic hill overlooking the town proper. 


            In Gama, an American general (was he really a general?), H.E. Morthon was hiding under the protection of Mariano Cortes for fear of getting caught by the insurrectos.[57]


            During the World War II, the hill of Agtawagon did served as the headquarters of the remnants of the 64th Infantry Regiment under the command of Maj. Jesus Jismundo.[58] However, no battle took place in it this time.


VII. Customs, Beliefs and Traditions


            1. Cosmology. The people believes that the world was created by God. However the world as we see with our naked eye is not the only world there is. Jose Dandoy of Morales spoke of seven (7) layers or dimensions (pitong sanib) with their corresponding inhabitants. This material world we have is situated in the middle.  Silalak and Sibabay were believed to be the first man and woman in the world who evolved from monkeys. Storms were considered to have heads and tails. Prolonged rains means that a serene/sea nymph was caught by fishermen or that her dwelling place were destroyed or damaged by vandals.  Giving birth to a twin is due to having eaten twin bananas. While dogs howling at midnight was regarded as a sign of a forthcoming sickness among the people.[59]


            The occurrence of eclipse is caused by a large snake called Bakunawa that tries to swallow the moon. In order to frighten the snake people had noise barrage with their bagtoe and shouted  “Oli-on ro among buean ay abu pa kami riya sa kalibutan.” [60] Pregnant women though were not permitted to join in this noise barrage for fear that looking at eclipse would cause their children to be borne abnormal.[61]


            The Eumati and Agtawagon  were actually giants and that the caves thereat were their mouths.[62] Other people however regarded them to have been formed by huge waves when the earth was inundated which they claimed to have reached thousands of meters deep from the highest peak[63]. The clouds were evaporation of water of the sea that rose to the sky while thunder and lightning were caused by a huge man when he winks and shout.


            2. Myths and Theodicy.  God is supernatural, omnipotent and creator of the seen and unseen worlds. Fairies (engcanto, kapre, agta, tikbalang, oko, kataw, duwende) were also supernatural but not omnipotent. They can cause harm on people or their crops. They dwell in enchanted caves or trees, which were regarded as palhe i.e., enchanted place in the forest. The witches or aswang which include the tik-tik, wak-wak, and sigben  were also supernatural and are capable of changing/assuming other forms of animate beings. They steal a person by changing him/her into corpse.[64] An adult administering young children in taking a bath would be heard pronouncing a sort of orasyon saying audibly, “Pwera sigben, aswang!” so as not to endanger the young ones.


            3. Ancestral worship was evident wherein people believed that their deceased relatives have influence/power over them. Hence they made offerings of varied foods to appease those spirits in the form of Kiyao-kiyao or To-os.[65] This practice was also done when an expectant mother is about to give birth. The rosary is recited after which foods were offered for the souls in purgatory.[66]


            4. Fiesta Celebration. Patronatos (1858-1859) mentioned that when Padre Don Diego Albao was curate of Balete,  the Blessed Sacrament was being carried by the Cura Parroco around the town proper with the faithful following in a procession to mark the beginning of the observance of the vespers of fiesta. Historical Data contributors likewise added that the fiesta celebration was observed with a mass being celebrated in the church and or ermita (in case it is a barrio fiesta). A dance party which usually  “lasted till dawn” followed after.[67]


            5. Harvesting Ritual. Pakotol is a sort of  ceremony that begins with the prayer “Amay namon” while holding on the stalks of rice. Upon reaching the phrase “hatagan mo kami niyan sing kan-on namon” the cutting of stalk commences. The farmer then would slaughter a pig or a fowl as an act of thanksgiving.[68]


            6. Of Birth. A child born on daytime is considered coward while he/she who is born on nighttime is brave. A girl born at dawn is believed to have plenty of suitors when she became a lady. While unbaptized a child should not be exposed outdoors; otherwise an amulet is pinned down on its clothes.[69]


            7. On Death. The cadaver is rolled in a mat and place atop a hollowed tree or buried in the ground. If the deceased is a mother, her small children are dressed in red for forty-two (420 days. This prevents the soul of the deceased from seeing and bringing with her children. During the burial ceremony these children are made to pass under the coffin for several times so that they might not die soon.[70]


            8. On Punishment. A person who offends somebody is lashed with an ikog it pagi (tail of stingray) 25 times in public. Suspects of robbery are made to dive in the Jae-o for a period of time. Those who emerged first were considered guilty.[71]



N.B. Draft only, not for publication.

alfdelacruz  11/29/98



[1] R. Morales Maza, The Augustinians in Panay. University of San Agustin: Iloilo City, 1987, p. 185.

[2] Ibid., p. 219.

[3] Ibid., p. 185.

[4] Cf. Renato Constantino, The Philippines: A Past Revisited. Vol. I. Manila: 1975, pp. 42-49. He explained that “…the encomienda in the Philippines was not a land grant. It was an administrative unit for the purpose of exacting tribute from the natives. Theoretically, each encomendero in whose care a native settlement was entrusted had a threefold responsibility: (1) to protect the natives by maintaining peace and order within the encomienda, (2) to support the missionaries in their work of converting the people to Catholicism, and (3) to help in the defense of the colony. In return…(the encomendero is authorized)…to collect a tribute of eight (8) reales annually from all male inhabitants of his encomienda between the ages of nineteen and sixty (pp. 45-46).

[5] Maza’s account differs from that of Batang, Barangay ni Kalantiaw. February 1971, which stated that it was in the year 1571.

[6] Maza, p. 123, italics ours to point out that the river Hilo in what was once part of Batan could have been the Jal-o river.

[7] Ibid., p. 186.

[8] Fr. Juan de Medina, Historia De Los Sucesos De La Orden De N. Gran P.S. Agustin De Estas Islas Filipinas. Relacion De Los Conventos En Las Islas Filipinas Tomada De Los Libros De Definitorios, Que Se Conservan En El Archivo De Esta Provincia De Ssmo. Nombre De Jesus. 1893, pp. 481-487.

[9] Salvador Font, Memoria Acerca De Las Misiones De Los PP. Agustinos Calzados En Las Islas Filipinas, Madrid: 1892, pp. 36-56.

[10] Maza, p. 243.

[11] Cf. Ibid., p. 220; Fr. Elviro Perez, OSA, Catalogo Bio-Bibliografico De Los Religiosos Agustinos De La Provincia Del Santisimo Nombre De Jesus De Las Islas Filipinas. Manila: Colegio de Sto. Tomas, 1901, p. 27; Fr. Hipolito Casiano, OSA, Estado De Los Pueblos De La Isla De Pan-ay En 1714: Archivo Historico Hispano-Agustiniano Y Boletin Oficial. Vol. 12 (Julio de 1919), p. 294. Fr. Casiano had it on 1713.

[12] Maza, p. 220.

[13] Casiano, p. 2.

[14] Perez, p. 249.

[15] Cf. Batang, Barangay ni Kalantiaw.

[16] Font, p. 36. Constantino (1975) conjectures that abolishment of encomienda has something to do with the greed and the cruelty of encomenderos.

[17] Ibid., 56. See also Batang, Barangay ni Kalantiaw.   

[18] Cf. Batang

[19] Patronatos, 1759-1859, at the National Archives.

[20] We are using the term illustrado after the idea presented by Constantino in APR, pp. 159-160.

[21] Cf. Constantino (1975) pp. 67-82.

[22] Cf. Historical Datas Regarding Barrios, Towns, Cities and Provinces: 1952, roll # 18.

[23] Constantino narrates that “(t)he amount of a tribute may seem small to us who take a money economy for granted, but it was a very heavy load for a people who was just evolving a money economy. On the other hand, the fact that the amount of tribute required rose from the original eight reales to only twelve in 1851, and fourteen by 1874—a total span of almost three centuries—surely reflects the lack of economic progress in the islands.” (p. 51)

[24] Ibid., pp. 50-51. Constantino relates that exempted from paying tributes were the incumbent governadorcillo himself and the cabeza, their families, government employees, soldiers with distinguished service, choir members, sacristans, and porters of the churches.

[25] Font, p. 56.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Op. cit.

[28] The manuscript Erecciones mentioned Fr. Guanco as parish priest of Balete in 1882. We can surmised though that prior to that he was already serving as such and that it is likewise possible that he remained so after 1882.

[29] Cf. Historical Data, roll # 18.

[30] Ibid., roll # 17& 18.

[31] Carlos Feliciano was the elder brother of Doña Florencia. Eulalio was the eldest of his 8 children while Adriano was a son-in-law. Torebio on the other hand was Doña Florencia’s son-in-law

[32] Cf. Ibid., roll # 19.

[33] Ibid.

[34] Ibid.

[35] Ibid.

[36] cf. Bingo Altavas, Why Altavas Came To Be. Unpublished. See also Historical Data. Roll # 19.

[37] Historical Data, Roll # 19.

[38] Ibid., Roll # 18.

[39] Cf. Briefing Folder, Municipality of Balete.

[40] cf. Historical Data, Roll # 17 and 18. There was no record about Guanko.

[41] cf.  John E. Barrios, Tradisyon at Panniwala sa Katipunan ni Candido Iban at Francisco del Castillo. A lecture read during the 5th Regional Seminar-Workshop on Local History sponsored by National Historical Institute, et. al. at Aklan College, Kalibo, Aklan on August 7, 1998, p. 4.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Constantino wrote that “taking to the hills” had become part of the mass tradition of the oppressed dating to the days of the remontados i.e., those people who retreated to the mountains to avoid Spanish rule (p. 257). Barrios finds significance in such action using the paradigm of Babaylan who regarded the mountain as sacred being the adobe of nature-spirits and thus the source of power (cf. Op. cit. ).

[44] When the Spaniards were completely driven out of Aklan, Bernaldo established a revolutionary government making Batang as the seat of power. At the onset he let Ponciano Barrios to remain as capitan  but later when Barrios fled he instead proclaimed himself as the head of the town.  When the troops of Gen. Diocno arrived from Manila via Nabas, he had Bernaldo arrested and appointed Clemente Bolivar in his stead as  presidente municipal (cf. Prado).

[45] Batang, Barangay ni Kalantiaw.

[46] The Actas referred to these groups as either bandits, tulisans, robbers, etc.

[47] Comandante Macabebe as presented by Prado (19520 was from the group of the Tagalog Katipuneros under Gen. Diocno.

[48] Jose J. Parco, M.A., Aklan, from Bankaya to Mendez:A History of Aklan. Unpublished. USA: Iloilo City, 1977, p. 18.

[49] Bingo Altavas related that his grandfather Jose Altavas organized a resistance in the western part of Capiz together with Anastacio Villaruz, Jose Andrada y Castillo and Pedro Advincula.(cf. WAC, p. 1)

[50] Constantino (1975), p. 218.

[51] BBK. The staff referred them as Americans but as Constantino noted that by this time the Americans had utilized the Constabulary and the Philippine Scouts in the fight against these “bandits” and the “robbers”. The Constabulary was organized on July 18, 1901, two weeks after the civil government was established. It was composed of former guardia civiles totaling to about 6 thousand men with American officers in-charged of them (cf. ARP, pp. 247-248). 

[52] Constantino narrated of a confession made by Manuel Tomines, leader of a resistance group in Isabela that Ananias Diokno in  1905 was head of  a club of ex-officers of the Revolution with its members having taken an oath to take to the field and fight again when called.

[53] Historical Data. Roll # 18.

[54] The Pulahanes, (or the remontados Constantino spoke of) in  Panay traced its origin in Cebu. (cf. The research work of Rev. Wilmar Y. Oquendo at UST Archives, 1996.)

[55] Op. cit.

[56] Jose Dandoy is 80 years old. He claimed to be a grandson of Alfonso Dandoy who was recruited by Maraingan together with his other relatives and took part in the said ambush at Maeubong. All the accounts he has about those events were related to him by his ‘lo Fonso when he was yet a child.  This ambush at Maeubong could had been different from that at Tinuptupan as most of the characters involved herein where not with the original group of Maraingan as mentioned earlier. Here, Jose Dandoy related that together with Maraingan were Amang Guinya as Teniente,  Pedro Opus as Sargento, and Reymundo Rodriguez as Cabo.  

[57] Ibid.

[58] Ibid.

[59] Ibid., roll # 17 & 18.

[60] Ibid.

[61] Ibid., roll # 18.

[62] Op. cit.

[63] Ibid.


[65] Ibid.

[66] Op. cit.

[67] Ibid.

[68] Ibid.

[69] Ibid..

[70] Ibid.

[71] Ibid.