Aklan: The Philippines’ Oldest Province

Aklan is said to be the oldest province in the Philippines, organized in 1213 by settlers from Borneo as the Minuro it Aklan to include what is now the province of Capiz. It was inaugurated as an independent province in November 8, 1956.

Aklan encompasses the northeastern portion of Panay Island and nearby Boracay Island, both situated within the Visayas island group. The province is bordered by the Sulu Sea on the northwest, the Sibuyan on the northeast and the east by the province of Antique on the west, and by the province of Capiz on the south.

The Aklan provincial government recommends the following sites:

Freedom Shrine; Dedicated to the 19 martyrs of Aklan who started the revolt against Spain.

Kalantiaw Shrine, Batan. Once the seat of government of Rajah Bendahara Kalantiaw, promulgator of the famous Code of Kalantiaw.

Ingus-Ingus Hill, Buruanga. In the Spanish time, it served as a lookout for approaching Moro pirates that used to maraud coastal villages. Underneath the hill is a cave, which according to folktales was used as an ambuscade of English buccaneers, and the other plunderers of Spanish galleons carrying precious cargoes.

Agtawagon Hill, Balete. Served as a camp and the last line of defense of Filipino soldiers and guerillas during World War II.

Musso it Akean, Kalibo. A repository of antiques dug up in Aklan, which traces the province's rich culture and historical past and famous works of arts.

Manduyog Hill and Aklan State College of Agriculture (ASCA), Banga. Named after Datu Manduyog, successor of lawgiver Kalantiaw III. It is 500 feet high with life-size figures depicting the 14 stations of the cross winding up the hillside and a chapel at the summit overlooking the countryside. Down the hill is the ASCA, an agricultural institution spread on 69 hectares. Tropical fruits such as rambutan, mangosteen, and lanzones abound in the school campus as well as pastureland and sprawling ricefields.

Ob-ob Hill, Bgy. Songcolan, Batan. Stands 200 meters high like a lighthouse facing the Sibuyan Sea. At the foot of the rock hill is a fine beach.

Tinagong Dagat, Batan. "Hidden Sea", approximately eight kms. long and four kms. wide , between Altavas and Batan, partly hidden from Batan Bay by two islands, fringed with mangroves, thick undergrowth and rocky beach.

TigayonHill, Kalibo. A solitary mountain solid rock amidst stretches of flatlands. One of the sides is a shallow cave with an arched entrance. Inside is an altar-like rock and two beach-like rock formations on its side.

Ignito Cave, Bgy Tigum, Busuanga. Locally known as Elephant Cave due to its appearance. This and other nearby caves are managed by the San Lorenzo Ruiz Farm Ecotourism Cooperative. Beautiful limestone formation of stalagmites, stalactites and other crystalline structures abound. It has a "skylight" in one of its chambers that let's in a soft glow of light at noontime.

Liloan Citrus Farm. Bgy. Liloan, Malinao. Where various fruits abound interspersed with colorful anthuriums and heliconias.

Tigis Balls, Busuanga. Secluded in an area good for summer hideaway for its cool surroundings.

Basang and Hurom-hurom Cold Springs, Bgy. Laserna, Nabas. These alternative summer destinations offer the beauty of fresh water gushing form nature-hewn rocks and exhilarating adventure down from the Gibson River in a kayak.

Boracay Island, Malay. Paradise Island of the Philippines, world-famous for its fine and lovely palm fringe sugar-fine white sand beaches, azure water, coral reefs and rare shells. Its area is 1,083 hectares consisting of three barangays: Balabag, Manok-manok and Yapak.

Agnaga Falls, Malay. A scenic view awaits visitors as they swim in its clear waters. It is a perfect hideaway especially during summer as its cool water beats the heat.

Tigwati-an Island (Crystal Cove), Sitio Tabon, Caticlan, Malay. Shells of varying sizes and kinds lie on its predominantly white sand beach. Caves with interesting crystalline formations abound the island.

Jawili Falls, Tangalan. Has seven basins tiered about 20 feet apart. The highest basin is about a hundred feet high, oval-shaped around 240 sq. ft. in area and 12 feet deep with clear water almost like a small lake. The other basins are of similar shapes from 130 sq. ft. to 240 sq. ft., in area and eight to 10 feet deep, except the sixth basin that has a swimming area of around 540 square feet.

Tuligon Cave, Nabas. Believed to be one of the longest caves in the Philippines, stretches 20 kilometers from Barangay Libertad, Nabas, Aklan to Bgy. Patria, Pandan, Antique with enormous guano deposits.

Fatima Hill, Kalibo. Stations of the cross on the hillside culminate in a chapel made of marble atop the hill.

Pink Sister's Covent, New Washington. Everything here is pink, from the convent's façade to corridors and to the nuns' attires.

Pottery Making/Pop Rice (Ampaw) Making, Lezo. These are the industries that have augmented the people's livelihood here. Residents near the riverbank make clay pots and jars the old-fashioned way, as others engage in pop rice making. Popularly known as ampaw in the local dialect, it is processed from cooked rice, dried, deep fried with oil and sugar and then molded into uniform sizes and dried slowly.

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