Province of Antique

Where the Mountains meet the sea. The Rising Star of Western Visayas

ANTIQUE is one of the provinces comprising Panay Island; the other three are Iloilo, Capiz and Aklan. It is a narrow strip of land stretching along the entire west coast of the island shielded from storms by mountain ranges in the east that cut off the rains of the northwest monsoon and cause a dry season from November to April. The forests in the east and the sea in the west, however, temper the climate with rainfall during the rest of the year.

The mineral resources of the province are copper and chromite-manganese. Its most important products are rice, corn, coconut, cassava, mongo and muscovado sugar, particularly in the towns of Sibalom, San Jose, Patnongan and Dao in the north, and Pandan, Culasi and Bugasong in the south. Tuna and bangus fry abound in the official fishing ground of Cuyo Pass, along the Antique coast.

Antique is composed of 18 municipalities on a land area of 2,522 square kilometers. It had a population of 289,172 in 1970

Although with vast stretches of irrigated rice fields and rich fishing grounds, the people engage in cottage industries basket, hat and mat weaving, pot making, piña and jusi cloth weaving, and salt processing. Classified as the best sacada laborers in the world by the International Labor Organization, they migrate to the sugar cane fields of Negros during harvest season,

The province could be traced from the legendary ten Bornean Datus who landed at Sinugbuhan (near Miag-ao, Iloilo). Their chosen site, after the purchase of Panay with the golden “Salakot’ in the 13th century, was called “Hamtic,” after “hamtic-hamtic,” meaning large ants which were abundant in the place.  About three hundred years before the arrival of the Spaniards, Panay was divided into three political units or “sakops.” namely Hamtik, Irong-Irong and Aklan,

During the early years of Spanish conquest, Panay Island 12 leagues from Cebu (Cebu) and 214 leagues from Negros Island was the’ most fertile and well-provisioned among the discovered islands, except Lucon (Luzon). The Augustinians established the first mission sites in Panay. As early as 1630, their records of religious missions were found.

In 1790, Antique was converted into a politico-military province with the town of Antique as its first capital. The provincial seat of government was later transferred to Bugasong, and finally to San Jose de Buenavista.

During the Philippine Revolution, in September 1898, General Emilio Aguinaldo appointed Leandro Fullon, one of the bravest generals, to lead the revolutionary activity in Antique. A provincial government of the revolutionists was later set up in the province. Angel Salazar became the provincial chief and Ariston Gella, its representative to the Malolos Congress. With the abolition of the Federal Council, General Fullon became the politico-military governor of Antique.

General Fullon also led the Antiqueños and the other people of the provinces of Panay against the American forces. He, however, surrendered on March 23, 1901, the same day General Aguinaldo was captured by the American forces in Palanan. On April 13, 1901, a civil government was established in Antique, and he was again appointed as governor.

Under the Philippine Commonwealth in 1985, Calixto D. Zaldivar became the representative of Antique to the National Assembly.

Before the outbreak of World War II, in 1939, Antique was chosen as one of the mobilization centers, in anticipation of the Japanese invasion. On February 12, 1940, San Jose became the headquarters of the mobilization. Two years later, in 1942, after a series of Japanese bombings, the Japanese Imperial Forces commanded by General Masaharu Homma organized the Kawane Detachment which occupied the island of Panay.

Not only rich in history but also in tolklore, Antique takes pride in its colorful Binirayan, translated as leisurely boat ride in Kiniray-a, which commemorates the arrival of the ten Bornean Datus in Panay. The festival, climaxed by a Mass in Kiniray-a, is a tour to the scenic Mararison Island, the Bato Cueba, Canagan Waterfalls, the Limpatan Rock, Jurao-jurao Island, and the surrounding beaches along the Antique shorelines.