Aklanon people
The Akeanon or Aklanon people are part of the wider Visayan ethnolinguistic group, who constitute the largest Filipino ethnolinguistic group.


Aklanons form the majority in the province of Aklan
Aklan is a province of the Philippines located in the Western Visayas. Its capital is Kalibo. It is located at the northwest portion of Panay Island, bordering Antique Province to the southwest, and Capiz Province to the east...

 in Panay
Panay Island
Panay is an island in the Philippines located in the western part of the Visayas. Politically, it is divided into five provinces: Aklan, Antique, Capiz, and Iloilo, all in the Western Visayas Region. It is located southeast of the island of Mindoro and northwest of Negros, separated by the...

They are also found in other Panay provinces such as Iloilo
Iloilo is a province of the Philippines located in the Western Visayas region. Iloilo occupies the southeast portion of Panay Island and is bordered by Antique Province to the west and Capiz Province and the Jintotolo Channel to the north. Just off Iloilo's southeast coast is Guimaras Province,...

, Antique, and Capiz
Capiz is a province of the Philippines located in the Western Visayas region. Its capital is Roxas City and is located at the northeastern portion of Panay Island, bordering Aklan and Antique to the west, and Iloilo to the south. Capiz faces the Sibuyan Sea to the north...

, as well as Romblon
Romblon is an island province of the Philippines located in the MIMAROPA region. It lies south of Marinduque and Quezon, east of Mindoro, north of Aklan and Capiz, and west of Masbate. Its capital is also named Romblon....

. Like the other Visayans, Aklanons have also found their way to Metro Manila
Metro Manila
Metropolitan Manila , the National Capital Region , or simply Metro Manila, is the metropolitan region encompassing the City of Manila and its surrounding areas in the Philippines...

, Mindanao
Mindanao is the second largest and easternmost island in the Philippines. It is also the name of one of the three island groups in the country, which consists of the island of Mindanao and smaller surrounding islands. The other two are Luzon and the Visayas. The island of Mindanao is called The...

, and even the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...



The Aklanons are descendants of the Austronesian-speaking immigrants who came to the Philippines during the Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

. They got their name from the river Akean
Akean is a river on Panay in the Visayas. The name of the river is where the term Aklan came from, and is derived from the word akae, which means to boil or to froth. Because of the swiftness of the river current, the water of the Aklan river seems to boil or froth. Akean therefore means "where...

, which means where there is boiling or frothing.

Minuro it Akean

Aklan, originally known as Minuro it Akean, is considered to be the oldest province in the country and is believed to have been established as early as 1213 by settlers from Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

. According to the tales of the Maragtas, Aklan once enjoyed primacy among the realms carved out in Panay by the 10 Bornean datu
Datu is the title for tribal chiefs, sovereign princes, and monarchs in the Visayas and Mindanao Regions of the Philippines. Together with Lakan , Apo in Central and Northern Luzon, Sultan and Rajah, they are titles used for native royalty, and are still currently used in the Philippines...

s. These datus, after fleeing the tyranny of Sultan Makatunaw of Borneo, purchased the island from the Ati King Marikudo. They then established the sakup (states) of Hamtik, Akean (which includes the Capiz
Capiz is a province of the Philippines located in the Western Visayas region. Its capital is Roxas City and is located at the northeastern portion of Panay Island, bordering Aklan and Antique to the west, and Iloilo to the south. Capiz faces the Sibuyan Sea to the north...

 area), and Irong-irong, cultivated the land, and renamed the new nation as the Confederation of Madya-as (Madjaas). The datus supposedly landed in Malandog, Hamtik, where a marker commemorates the event which is reenacted in the Binirayan (literally, "place where the boats landed") Festival
Binirayan festival
The Binirayan festival is an event celebrated in the province of Antique in the Philippines. The festival was conceived by Governor Evelio B. Javier, and first celebrated on January 11–13, 1974...


Tradition holds that the first ruler of Aklan was Datu Dinagandan who was dethroned in 1399, by Kalantiaw
Datu Kalantiaw is a mythical Filipino character who was said to have created the first legal code in the Philippines, known as the Code of Kalantiaw, in 1433....

. In 1433, Kalantiaw III formulated a set of laws that is known today as the Code of Kalantiaw
Code of Kalantiaw
The Code of Kalantiaw was a legendary legal code in the epic story Maragtas. It is said to have been written in 1433 by Datu Kalantiaw, a chief on the island of Negros in the Philippines. It was actually written in 1913 by Jose E...

. William Henry Scott
William Henry Scott (historian)
William Henry Scott was a historian of the Gran Cordillera Central and Prehispanic Philippines. He personally rejected the description anthropologist as applying to himself.-Early life:...

, a well-known American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 historian, later debunked the Code of Kalantiaw as a fraud.
However, many Filipinos
Filipino people
The Filipino people or Filipinos are an Austronesian ethnic group native to the islands of the Philippines. There are about 92 million Filipinos in the Philippines, and about 11 million living outside the Philippines ....

, including Aklanons and other Visayans continue to believe this legend as true.

The capital of Akean changed several times. Towards the end of the 14th century, Datu Dinagandan moved the capital from the present Batan
Banga, Aklan
Banga is a fourth-class municipality in the province of Aklan, Philippines. This small town has repeatedly won national competitions for the "Most Beautiful Town" contests in the country. It is the site of the Aklan State University. the mayor was Antonio T...

, which was captured in 1399 by Chinese adventurers under Kalantiaw. Kalantiaw established then a dynasty but it prematurely ended when his successor, Kalantiaw III, was slain in a duel with Datu Manduyog, the legitimate successor to Datu Dinagandan. When Manduyog became the new ruler, he moved the capital back to Bakan (ancient name of Banga) in 1437. Several datus succeeded Manduyog and when Miguel Lopez de Legaspi landed in Batan in 1565, Datu Kabanyag was ruling Aklan from what is now the town of Libacao
Libacao, Aklan
Libacao is a 4th class municipality in the province of Aklan, Philippines. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 25,983 people in 4,962 households....


(These historical vignettes have no historical record as credible basis, but have been manufactured in such a way as to acquire a hint of historical veracity and reinforced among school children primarily through yearly programs or shows supposedly commemorating those historical events. Nonetheless, these vignettes have found no support among the established and respected historians of the Philippines, and are thus relegated as folklore of no historical provenance or significance.)

Spanish Era

During the Spanish era, Aklanons were generally peaceful and did not revolt against Spanish rule in the area. However, the situation changed when two Aklanons, Francisco del Castillo and Candido Iban, joined the Katipunan
The Katipunan was a Philippine revolutionary society founded by anti-Spanish Filipinos in Manila in 1892, whose primary aim was to gain independence from Spain through revolution. The society was initiated by Filipino patriots Andrés Bonifacio, Teodoro Plata, Ladislao Diwa, and others on the night...

 with the intention of regaining the independence of Aklan along with the rest of the Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

. Both were successful in ridding the area of Spaniards.


Currently, Aklanons enjoy some form of self-reliance since Aklan is now a province of the Philippines. Some Aklanons have also been active in Philippine politics, which includes Alejandro Melchor
Alejandro Melchor
Alejandro Melchor was a Filipino civil engineer, mathematician, educator, and member of the Cabinet of the Philippines. A native of Ibajay, Aklan, Melchor was also known for his work on pontoon bridges during the Second World War....

 and Cardinal Jaime Sin, who was active in the two People Power Revolution
2001 EDSA Revolution
The EDSA Revolution of 2001, also called by the local media as EDSA II or the Second People Power Revolution, is the common name of the four-day revolution that peacefully overthrew Philippine President Joseph Estrada from January 17–20, 2001...


Aklanons are also known throughout the Philippines due to the location of Boracay
Boracay is an island of the Philippines located approximately south of Manila and 2 km off the northwest tip of Panay Island in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. Boracay Island and its beaches have received awards numerous times. Boracay was awarded in the "Travelers' Choice...

, one of the major tourist destinations in the country.


Aklanons number about 500,000. They are culturally close to the Karay-a
The Karay-a, are part of the wider Visayan ethnolinguistic group, which constitute the largest Filipino ethnolinguistic group. The name of this group was derived from the word iraya, which means "upstream". Karay-a people speak Kinaray-a language...

 and Hiligaynons
Hiligaynon people
The Hiligaynon are the indigenous inhabitants of the large coastal plain of East Panay island. Over the years, intermigrations and intramigrations have contributed to the diaspora of the Hiligaynon to different parts of the country. Now, the Hiligaynon form the majority in Iloilo province, Capiz...

. This similarity has been shown by customs, traditions, and language.


Aklanons speak the Aklan languages
Aklan languages
Aklan is spoken in the province of Aklan on the island of Panay in the Philippines. It is unique among Philippine languages in that l has become e before a, as in the name Akeanon ....

, which includes Aklanon and Malaynon. Ati
Ati (tribe)
The Ati is a Negrito ethnic group in Panay, which is located in the Visayas , the central portion of the Philippine archipelago...

 is also spoken to some extent. Meanwhile, Hiligaynon
Hiligaynon language
Hiligaynon, often referred to as Ilonggo, is an Austronesian language spoken in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines.Hiligaynon is concentrated in the provinces of Iloilo, Negros Occidental and Capiz but is also spoken in the other provinces of the Panay Island group, including Antique,...

 and Kinaray-a
Kinaray-a language
Kinaray-a is an Austronesian language spoken mainly in Antique Province in the Philippines. It is also spoken in Iloilo province, the south of Capiz Province, and certain villages in Mindanao that trace their roots to Antique Province or Kinaray-a speaking areas of Iloilo and Capiz Provinces...

 are used as regional languages. Tagalog
Tagalog language
Tagalog is an Austronesian language spoken as a first language by a third of the population of the Philippines and as a second language by most of the rest. It is the first language of the Philippine region IV and of Metro Manila...

 is spoken by Aklanons in Metro Manila
Metro Manila
Metropolitan Manila , the National Capital Region , or simply Metro Manila, is the metropolitan region encompassing the City of Manila and its surrounding areas in the Philippines...

, while the official languages of the Philippines, Filipino
Filipino language
This move has drawn much criticism from other regional groups.In 1987, a new constitution introduced many provisions for the language.Article XIV, Section 6, omits any mention of Tagalog as the basis for Filipino, and states that:...

 and English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 are taught at school.


Prior to the arrival of the Spaniards, the Aklanons likely practised the "worship" of Anito
Anito is the collective name for Pre-Hispanic belief system that exists in the Philippines. It is also the name for spirits, which may include deceased ancestors and nature-spirits or diwatas. Native Filipinos usually keep statues to represent these spirits and to ask guidance and even magical...

s. However, after Spanish colonization, the majority of Aklanons have become devout Roman Catholics. They are known by their devotion to the Santo Niño or Child Jesus
Child Jesus
The Child Jesus represents Jesus from his Nativity to age 12. At 13 he was considered to be adult, in accordance with the Jewish custom of his time, and that of most Christian cultures until recent centuries.The Child Jesus is frequently depicted in art, from around the third or fourth century...

, as shown in the Ati-atihan festival
Ati-Atihan Festival
The Ati-Atihan Festival is a feast held annually in January in honor of the Santo Niño , concluding on the third Sunday, in the island and town of Kalibo, Aklan in the Philippines....

. Aklanons also practice processions during religious holidays such as the Salubong.


Most Aklanons engage in agriculture while those in the coastal areas engage in fishing. They also make handicrafts. Music, such as courtship songs or kundiman
Kundiman is a genre of traditional Filipino love songs. The lyrics of the Kundiman are written in Tagalog. The melody is characterized by a smooth, flowing and gentle rhythm with dramatic intervals...

, wedding hymns, and funeral recitals, are well-developed, as it is with dance.

Historically, Aklanons practised tattooing, sometimes including henna
Henna is a flowering plant used since antiquity to dye skin, hair, fingernails, leather and wool. The name is also used for dye preparations derived from the plant, and for the art of temporary tattooing based on those dyes...

, but abandoned the practice during the Spanish era. Recently, however, there has been a revival of it in Boracay island, which is caused primarily by its popularity with tourists.

They are among the Filipino ancestries that are tolerant to the Negritos, such as the Ati.


The Aklanons have a long tradition in literature with Marikudo as the most notable. Currently, many writers of Aklanon origin, including Melchor F. Cichon
Melchor F. Cichon
Melchor F. Cichon has retired as Head librarian and concurrently Head of the Readers Services Section of the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences at the University of the Philippines in the Visayas, Miag-ao, Iloilo. He was also a lecturer in management at the College of Management...

, have been trying to introduce Aklanon literature into the mainstream.


Like other Western Visayans
Western Visayas
Western Visayas, one of the regions of the Philippines, is designated as Region VI. It consists of six provinces; Aklan, Antique, Negros Occidental, Capiz, Guimaras and Iloilo and 16 cities making it the region with the highest number of cities. Iloilo City is the regional center...

, Aklanons are known to believe in the aswang
An Aswang is a mythical creature in Philippine folklore. The aswang is an inherently evil vampire-like creature and is the subject of a wide variety of myths and stories, the details of which vary greatly...

. Tales about these creatures are common among Aklanons and superstitions are practised to ward against the danger brought by the aswang.

External links

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