Manila Bulletin

An­tique: A des­ti­na­tion less trav­eled

- NICK J. LIZASO Loren Legarda · San Jose · Cultural Center of the Philippines · Philippines · Communist Party of China · San Agustin · National Commission for Culture and the Arts · University of the Philippines · University of the Philippines · UNESCO · World Heritage Committee · Western Visayas · Visayas · Iceland · Iloilo · Capiz · Borneo · Miss World · Megan Young · La Libertad Region · San Juan · Augustinians · National Historical Institute · Nigeria · Anini-y · Bukidnon · Boracay · Aklan · Datu · Bugasong · Hamtic · Patnongon · Evelio Javier · Dangal · Sibalom · Barbaza

Last year, through the aus­pices of for­mer Sen­a­tor

Loren Le­garda,

now rep­re­sent­ing An­tique in the cur­rent congress as well as the lo­cal gov­ern­ment ex­ec­u­tives of province, the world-renowned Philip­pine Phil­har­monic Orches­tra gave free public con­certs in Anini-y,

San Jose, and Tib­iao, an ini­tia­tive of the Of­fice of the Pres­i­dent of the Cul­tural Cen­ter of the Philip­pines. Peo­ple from all walks of life packed the venues, and it was a grat­i­fy­ing mo­ment for me to see them en­joy­ing the kind of or­ches­tral mu­sic that could only pre­vi­ously be en­joyed by the priv­i­leged class in­side the CCP.

Dur­ing our stay, I learned much about An­tique. For in­stance, when you say Rice Ter­races, peo­ple will im­me­di­ately think of Banaue Rice Ter­races. But you’ll be sur­prised that there’s an­other equally awe­some ver­sion called An­tique Rice Ter­races, hand­carved and crafted by the indige­nous Iray­nun-Bukid­non. It was dis­cov­ered only in 2014, by a team of sci­en­tists and lo­cals and via satel­lite imagery. The her­itage site is be­lieved to be at least 200 years old.

There are three ter­raced fields, namely, Lublub, Bak­ing, and San Agustin. These have been re­searched by the Na­tional Com­mis­sion for Cul­ture and the Arts (NCCA) and var­i­ous schol­ars from the Univer­sity of the Philip­pines. There have been cam­paigns to nom­i­nate the An­tique Rice Ter­races, along with the Cen­tral Panay Moun­tain Range, into the UNESCO World Her­itage List.

An­tique is in the West­ern Visayas re­gion. Its cap­i­tal, San Jose de Bue­nav­ista, is the most pop­u­lous in An­tique. Si­t­u­ated in the west­ern sec­tion of Panay Is­land, An­tique boasts of pris­tine beaches. For div­ing en­thu­si­asts, the whole stretch of coastal ar­eas is suited for scuba div­ing. De­spite its prox­im­ity to Bo­ra­cay Is­land, An­tique is of­ten over­looked by main­stream tourists and trav­el­ers, a good thing be­cause it has been spared from crass com­mer­cial­ism so far.

I was also de­lighted to dis­cover that An­tique did not get its name from the word an­tique, mean­ing old or vin­tage, but rather from Han­tík-han­tik, the lo­cal name for the large black ants found on the is­land. It used to be spelled

Han­tique with a French twang and silent H by Span­ish chron­i­clers. In the Ki­naray-a di­alect, it is pro­nounced as “An­tique” (än-ti-ké).

Oral his­tory has it that An­tique was one of the three sakups or dis­tricts of Panay be­fore Span­ish col­o­niz­ers ar­rived on the is­lands, namely Han­tik, Akean, and Irong-Irong. Irong-Irong be­came Iloilo, Akean be­came the present-day Ak­lan and Capiz, and Han­tik be­came An­tique.

Re­mem­ber “Marag­tas” from our el­e­men­tary his­tory classes? The story goes that 10 “da­tus” or mi­nor tribal Malay chief­tains es­caped per­se­cu­tion from a city called Od­to­han from Bor­neo due to a tyrant ruler called

Makatu­naw. The 10 da­tus, led by Datu Puti, sailed north­ward with their fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties, land­ing on Panay af­ter de­part­ing Bor­neo some­time in the 1200s. There is no writ­ten ev­i­dence about this, nor are there any ex­ist­ing claims that link the da­tus to Bor­neo. Nev­er­the­less, the Marag­tas nar­ra­tive is to be con­sid­ered as part of the lo­cal his­tory of the peo­ple.

His­to­ri­ans be­lieve that the ear­li­est peo­ple who set­tled on the is­land of Panay were tribal Negri­tos or Atis. As men­tioned, it is also the home of the indige­nous Iray­nun-Bukid­non tribe who speak the di­alect of the Ki­naray-a lan­guage, which is said to be one of the old­est tongues on Panay Is­land. There are also lan­guage ex­perts who say it was the first na­tive lan­guage to be used on the is­land, even be­fore Hili­gaynon.

You will also be in­ter­ested to learn that An­tique is the na­tive province of for­mer Sen­a­tor and now Rep. Le­garda,

Lisa Macuja-El­izalde, Na­tional Artist Jerry Navarro El­izalde, Miss World Me­gan Young, just to men­tion a few.

What are some of the cul­tural things to see in An­tique? There’s the “Old Watch­tower” in Lib­er­tad and Es­taca Hill in Bu­ga­song, one of the many watch tow­ers which were built un­der the su­per­vi­sion of Span­ish fri­ars to alert the coastal com­mu­ni­ties against ma­raud­ing Moro raiders.

In Anini-y, you will find San Juan Ne­po­mu­ceno Church, the last stand­ing colo­nial church in the province of An­tique. Built in the 1600s, this tow­er­ing struc­ture made from co­ral stones is con­sid­ered “re­vival­ist,” with baroque el­e­ments like the tri­an­gu­lar ped­i­ments and roset­ted walls. The bel­fry is at­tached to the church and un­der­neath it is the bap­tistry.

Near Anini-y, you can visit the Ma­lan­dog His­tor­i­cal Marker and the Gen­eral Ful­lon Shrine in the town of Hamtic. The Ma­lan­dog Marker is be­lieved to be the orig­i­nal Land­ing site of the first Malayan set­tlers in 1200.

The Gen­eral Ful­lon Shrine in front of the mu­nic­i­pal hall of Hamtic was built to honor the com­man­der who lib­er­ated the town dur­ing the rev­o­lu­tion against Span­ish colo­nial rule, lead­ing a troop of less than 500. Ap­pointed as the over­all com­mand­ing of­fi­cer for all Visayan forces, he strug­gled for in­de­pen­dence well into the Filipino-Amer­i­can War. He later sur­ren­dered to the Amer­i­cans. He was ap­pointed gov­er­nor of An­tique in 190, a post he held un­til his death on Oct. 16, 1904.

In Pat­non­gon, you can take a look at the ru­ins of Pat­non­gon Church built by Au­gus­tini­ans out of stone and mor­tar. It was de­stroyed dur­ing World War II. To­day, only the walls and the first level of the fa­cade stand along the town’s main thor­ough­fare, giv­ing visi­tors hints of neo­clas­si­cal ar­chi­tec­ture from its flat walls adorned with arched win­dows. The Na­tional His­tor­i­cal Com­mis­sion (NHC) is said to have plans to re­vive the ru­ins.

If you want to ex­pe­ri­ence fes­ti­vals in An­tiqueño style, take part in the Bini­rayan fes­ti­val, which was started in San Jose in 1974 by Gov. Eve­lio

Javier, the fa­mous op­po­si­tion leader who was as­sas­si­nated dur­ing Mar­tial Law. This is a week-long fes­ti­val that in­cludes col­or­ful street pa­rades, beach shows, plaza con­certs, a beauty con­test, and trade fair. “Bini­rayan” comes from bi­ray, or “sail­boat,” which hear­kens back to the pre-His­panic leg­end of the Bornean da­tus.

I am glad that na­tive daugh­ter Rep. Le­garda is now cham­pi­oning the progress of An­tique, en­vi­sion­ing her home province to be­come one of the pre­mier eco­tourism des­ti­na­tions, show­cas­ing its vi­brant cul­tural his­tory, and giv­ing pride to its iden­tity. Con­ferred the Dan­gal ng Haraya by the NCCA, Le­garda has also been col­lab­o­rat­ing with the NCCA on sev­eral projects, one of which was for An­tique to host the 2019

Pista ng Kom­e­dya af­ter she dis­cov­ered that her home province up­holds the im­por­tant tra­di­tion. This, in fact, is made ev­i­dent by the pres­ence of sev­eral kom­e­dya troupes in the dif­fer­ent mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties of An­tique, such as San Jose, Bar­baza, Laua-an, Bu­ga­song, and Sibalom.

Af­ter many years of be­ing a des­ti­na­tion less trav­eled, An­tique is now show­ing re­mark­able progress. To our kasi­manwa, we sup­port you whole­heart­edly. Su­mu­long, An­tiquenos!

I was also de­lighted to dis­cover that An­tique did not get its name from the word an­tique, mean­ing old or vin­tage, but rather from Han­tík-han­tik, the lo­cal name for the large black ants found on the is­land.

 ??  ?? RE­LI­GIOUS NOTES The Philip­pine Phil­har­monic Orches­tra play­ing at the fa­cade of the Anini-y church
RE­LI­GIOUS NOTES The Philip­pine Phil­har­monic Orches­tra play­ing at the fa­cade of the Anini-y church
 ??  ?? CUL­TURAL WORK­ERS The au­thor and the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of An­tique, Loren Le­garda
CUL­TURAL WORK­ERS The au­thor and the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of An­tique, Loren Le­garda
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