Ibajay, Aklan

Ibajay, Aklan

Ibajay is a 4th class municipality in the province of Aklan, Philippines. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 39,643 people in 7,918 households.


Early history

The organized human occupation of Ibajay can be traced back at least as far as the 16th century. The social unit in the Philippines during that time is the barangay, from the Malay word balangay, meaning boat. The local term for it is sakup, meaning, an occupied territory. The sakup was generally small. Most of the villages consisted of only thirty to one hundred houses and their population varied from one hundred to five hundred persons.

People moved principally by water. Trails followed the streams and rivers. There were no roads. There were no wheeled vehicles. Houses were made out of the abundance of raw materials from nature. The rivers played a major role in the sakups. They were the major source of water for bathing, washing, drinking and farming. The water reservoirs were the source of life. Hence, the first known community in Ibajay was situated in Sitio Boboc-on, Barangay Naile located at the confluence of Ibajay and Panakuyan Rivers.

Three chieftains were known to have ruled over the natives of Ibajay. They were Hangoe, Sandok and Habatak. They provided them the low-level organization in their agricultural, social, political and economic lives. The Chiefs mainly administered the lands in the name of the community. Social order was an extension of the family with them embodying the higher unity. Each individual participated in the ownership of the land and the instruments of production. The land was basically held in common. The produce was geared to the use of the one who toiled and the fulfillment of kinship obligations.

Most of the sakup can be found near coastal and ravine terrains. The principal source of protein came from the rivers and seas, the people relied more on hunting than on fishing . Pork, chicken and carabao meat were eaten mainly as ritual and festival foods. Rice was the main food article.

The villagers practiced the wet-rice agriculture. They put a basketful of it into the river to soak. After a few days, they take it away from the water. What has not sprouted is thrown away. The rest is put on a bamboo mat and covered with earth, and leave it in place where it is kept moist by the water. After the sprouting grains have germinated sufficiently, they were transplanted one by one. In this way, the locals of Ibajay have the abundance of rice in a short period of time.

Aside from rice, they also planted cotton from which they weaved to clothe themselves. Fruit trees, vegetables and root crops were planted near their houses.

Under the Spanish - "Panay Y Bayjay"

The autonomous barangays that the Spaniards encountered in Cebu could barely provide them with food enough for their needs. Miguel Lopez de Legaspi had to move his camp sailing from Cebu to Panay Island in 1569.

Desiring to explore the island for food and spice, Legaspi ordered some of his men to move further on the Island until they run out of bread to eat. Tired and hungry, the Spaniards solicited something to eat from the natives. To their surprise, they were given a container full of brown rice. When the Spaniards asked the natives what kind of rice they gave, they politely replied, “ba-hay,” meaning, a third class rice. In recognition of the generosity of the natives, they named the place, “Panay y bahay” – the place in Panay where there was and the Spaniards were given “ba-hay” rice.

The word Ibajay was originally written with the capital letter Y. It was only in 1902 when an American supervising teacher made the change of Ybajay to Ibajay because of the preference to the English alphabet and the difficulty of the Americans in spelling the word.

The first seat of government by the Spanish authorities was in Boboc-on, Barangay Naile in 17th century. The system of government that the Spaniards established was the [encomienda. They rule the natives by control from a royal grant from the King of Spain. The King of Spain appointed an encomiendero as the overseer with the Governadorcillo, Cabeza Mayores and Cabezas de Barangay as subordinates.

In the early part of the Spanish dominion, the barangay was made the basic structure of government in Ibajay. The Chieftain collected tributes from his sinakupan (people) and turn over the collections to the encomienderos. Later on, however, the barangay government was reorganized again into sakups. With each has to elect a governadorcillo. The governadorcillo was elected by the votes of selected married male natives called principales. The candidate has to be recommended and nominated by the community, or by the encomiendero.

But to the eyes of the natives, the village chief was just an administrative leader. He was not an absolute ruler like the Spaniards imposed. A traditional body of customs and procedures limited the scope of his authority. Although his position had become hereditary, it was originally attained by an exhibition of greater prowess and valor, traits useful for the community’s survival.

Dismayed by the exploitative nature of the government system and their unwillingness to accept the Spanish sovereignty, Chieftains Hangoe, Sandok and Kabatak fled to the vast mountains of Panay. Still, the Spanish continued their colonization. The natives could not do anything but accept the dictum of the Spaniards to survive and go on with their lives.

The first native to hold public office in Sitio Boboc-on as governadorcillo was Don Francisco Dalisay who was elected by the principales in 1673. However, Muslim pirates and bandits from Mindanao often pestered the town. Hence, in 1786, Governadorcillo Juan Sabino moved the seat of government to Sitio Maganhup, a wide land between now Barangay Naile and Barangay San Jose. The new site however, did not prove to be safe from the continued beleaguering of the lawless elements. Furthermore, it was not an ideal, area for the natives because it was far from the farms they cultivate.

Consequently, for the second time in 1792, Governador Jose Garcia transferred the seat of government to Sitio Adiango, now part of Barangay Laguinbanua. However, it only stayed there for 11 years. Capitan Josef Flores moved again the seat of government to its present location. By the decree issued by the Governador of the Philippine Islands, watchtowers were fortified along the shorelines to give warning and protection against bandits and crooks. A church was also erected.

Revolution and American influence

The Philippine Revolution broke out in the later part of the 19th century. The Tagalog Insurrectos under the leadership of Gen. Ananias Diokno defeated and drove away the Spaniards who were hiding behind the buttress of the Catholic Convent in Poblacion.

The Philippine flag was hoisted at the town square for the first time. In the year 1879, Don Ciriaco Tirol y Seneres was appointed as acting Capitan Municipal until 1898. The following year, under the revolutionary government of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, Don Antonio Manikan was elected Capitan Municipal. The position he held until 1901.

In 1902, The Americans reorganized the local government of Ibajay. They changed the designation of the head of the town from Capitan Municipal to Municipal President. It was also during this year that the official name of the town was changed from Ybajay to Ibajay.

The first Municipal President elected was Don Valintin Cunanan. During his term, a cholera epidemic broke out in the Municipality of Ibajay. It snapped out so many lives. As a contingency, a new cemetery was opened near the Catholic Cemetery. It is now known as the Ibajay Municipal Cemetery.

In the year 1921, Catalino Solidum was appointed Municipal President. He held the position for only a year. Moises T. Solidum replaced him the following year until the year 1925. Tomas Bautista became the mayor of Ibajay from 1926 to 1928, while Jose S. Cunanan from 1937 to 1940.

In 1941, Dr. Jose C. Miraflores became the mayor until the outbreak of World War II. Ibajay, that time, was razed to the ground by the Japanese troops. Many Ibajaynons suffered the painful consequences of the war. Also that time, Guerila Liberation Movement helped to the Philippine forces became popular among the locals. Ibajaynon women formed the Ibajay Ladies Auxialliary War Relief Association (LAWRA) to raise funds and morale of the Revolutionary Army. Moreover, the local civil government was established with Guillermo de los Reyes as acting Municipal Mayor Moises T. Solidum later on replaced him until 1946.


Mayors of Ibajay and their dates of office.

*Gavino C. Solidum (1946-1950)
*Napoleon Mijares (1952-1956)
*Maximo S. Masangcay (1957-1959)
*Francisco Salido (1960-1963)
*Roberto Q Garcia (1964-1967)
*Fidel G Candari (1968-1971)
*Florante M Ascano (1971-1987)
*Florencio T Miraflores (1988-1995)
*Pedro M Garcia (1995-2000)
*Roberto M Garcia Jr (2000 - 2007)
*Ma. Lourdes M. Miraflores (2007 - )


Ibajay’s lies at the Northwest part of the Province of Aklan. It is bounded from the North by Sibuyan Sea; South by the Municipality of Madalag; East by the Municipality of Tangalan, Makato and Malinao; and West by the Municipality of Nabas and on Southwest by the Province of Antique.

The distance from Kalibo, the capital of Aklan, is 36 kilometers, and takes about 45 minutes to one hour by road transport. Its road networks are composed of 16 kilometers of National Road, 32,918 kilometers of Provincial Roads, and 75,430 kilometers of Barangay Road.

It is classified as a 4th municipality (based on income) and has a total land area of 158.64 km² (Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 2001). It is composed of 35 barangays (sub-division).


It has a total population of 39,643 (National Statistics Office, May 2001 Data). It has a calculated Growth Rate of 0.03%. The Total Number of Household is 7,918 with an average household size of 5.


There are 17 Elementary Schools, 14 Primary Schools, 5 National High Schools and Aklan State University (ASU) – Ibajay Campus for tertiary education.

There are also two (2) private secondary schools. One is Ibajay Academy founded by Procopio Solidum who was hailed as the "First Filipino poet to publish poems in English" or "First Filipino-English Poet." The other one is Melchor Memorial School, founded by Dr. Rafael S. Tumbokon. These 2 schools have provided the children of Ibajay the much-needed secondary education long before the government established the national high schools. Many prominent Ibajaynons found all over the globe were graduates of these two private secondary schools.


Rice farming is the major source of income. Coconut produce plays a major article for export and processing. There are 12 stationary rice mills and 21 roving rice mills for the post harvest needs of the farmers. There are 25 registered cooperatives and most of them are the Farmer’s Multipurpose Cooperatives. Vegetable and livestock production are on a backyard scale. Fishing and fishpond production are done along the near coastal barangays. The center for business and trade is the Ibajay Public Market at the Poblacion. There are three barangay markets located at Barangay Naile, Maloco and San Jose.

The Cooperative Rural Bank of Aklan-Ibajay and the Ibajay Rural Bank, Inc. provide the necessary financial assistance to local traders and business entrepreneurs.


Communication and Postal Service are available through the Philippine Postal Corporation, Inc. and the Bureau of Telecommunications. A PLDT, CRUZTELCO and PANTELCO Public Calling Office provide long distance and domestic telecommunication needs of the Ibajaynons. The Aklan Cable TV and Kalibo Cable TV provide the cable television services of the town.

The electricity is provided by the Aklan Electric Cooperative, which serves about 3,862 households. Barangay Malindog purchased its own generator to provide alternative power to its residents. Barangay Aparicio and Mina-a completed the Micro-Hydro Power Plant projects and are now operational to provide electricity to the residents.


The Ibajay District Hospital, 11 Barangay Health Station, Barangay Health Workers, and Barangay Nutrition Scholars provide health services.


For recreation, Ibajay’s beaches can be ideal place for swimming and picnics. Campo Verde in Barangay Regador, which is a National Park, is a place for quite retreats, trekking, and relaxation. The rest of its natural resources are yet to be discovered, developed and promoted.

Ibajay is the birth place of the late Col. Alejandro S. Melchor, whose design of the pontoon bridge helped the Allied Forces won World War II.

Ibajay is also known for its Ati-ati festival, a devotional celebration every fourth Sunday of January in honor of the Sto. Nino de Ibajay.


Ibajay is politically subdivided into 35 barangays.

External links

* [http://www.nscb.gov.ph/activestats/psgc/default.asp Philippine Standard Geographic Code]
* [http://www.t-macs.com/kiso/local/ 2000 Philippine Census Information]

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