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Banwa it Banga
Downtown, with the Rotonda and Banga Public Market
|Nickname(s): Banga The Beautiful|
|Motto: "Magbueoligan Kita"
("We Work Together")
Map of Aklan showing the location of Banga
|Region||Western Visayas (Region VI)|
|Founded||1 January 1912|
|• Mayor||Erlinda M. Maming|
|• Total||84.53 km2 (32.64 sq mi)|
|• Density||450/km2 (1,200/sq mi)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC+8)|
|Income class||3rd class; partially urban|
Banga is a third 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.
Banga is politically subdivided into 30 barangays.
The history of Banga dates back to the 15th century upon the arrival in Panay Island of the Ten Datus from Borneo. While some sceptics considered the account a legend, Banganhons still believe that one of the rulers named Datu Manduyog, ruled over the area with his seat of government located in Bakan, the town's older name. His capital was at the foot of the Manduyog Hill that was named after him. Being a legitimate successor to Datu Dangandanan who ruled what was called Akean in the late 1390s, Datu Manduyog became the Akeanon ruler in 1437 and made Bakan the capital.
Another version of Banga's history from Panublion cited that Banga's ancient site was the present location of Malinao. In 1792, the town transferred across the Aklan River to the foot of Manduyog Hill. Several prominent families decided to remain in the “old town”, which became a barrio and named Malinao after a placid tributary of the Aklan River.
The families of Bernabe Teodosio, Diego Eulalio Teodosio, Esteban Masigon and the Muntuyas established a settlement in 1676 in what is now Sitio Opong-opong of Barrio Cupang. However, these families moved to higher ground as the nearby Aklan River overflowed annually. In 1781 they settled in Sitio Agbueakan in Barrio Tabayon.
Due to the clay soil conditions of the sitio, they again decided to resettle in 1783 in what is now the Banga Población. They named the place Banga after the Banga palm trees that were in abundance. Because of their growing families they had to cut down most of the trees to give way to their layout plans to establish a town close to their farmlands for residential purposes.
A flood ravaged the town in 1812, about 2.13 metres deep and reaching the top of young coconuts and bananas. In 1835, a strong typhoon which they called "Oguis", also wreaked havoc, while in 1857 a rice shortage occurred because of the long drought. The natives in and around the poblacion subsisted on root crops.
In 1823, an order came from the colonial government that governadorcillos shall be called constitutional alcaldes, and that there would be two in every town every year, called the First and Second Alcaldes. These governed the town, assisted by other officials called regidores (ministers), and by 1863 the term of the governadorcillos became two years.
On the 7 December, a fire destroyed the parish church due to negligence by its caretakers. The fire began in the sacristy and spread to houses along the Sto. Niño St. in the southern part of the town.
1875 – The town was occupied by the 5th and 6th Infantry, the 5th commanded by Seña Osis and the 6th by Marcelino Oru-a.
1880 – Guillermo Ricaforte assumed office after accusing the incumbent to the court of the first instance of Capiz and during the election Dalmacio Ricaforte was again installed.
1881 – During this year the Guardia Civil arrived headed by their chief Forestal.
1887 – Señor Torres died and Francisco Ricaforte succeeded him. There was an election during this year and Catalino Macahilig was elected by majority.
1888 – The church was constructed and the old cemetery with the chapel was destroyed by the storm with all its walls.
1889 – All bodies were transferred to the new cemetery.
1890 – The 58 cabezas de Barangay was reorganised to only 38.
1892 – A commission headed by Ignacio Recio, by order of the governor, confiscated all the properties of the cabezas who were without personal cedulas.
1893 – Pedro Cerrudo committed suicide.
1895 – A reform was introduced that the governadorcillo be called Capitán municipal and was good four years.
1896 – Rebels arrive, commanded by Rafael Maraingan in the same year the work on the parish church was stopped.
1897 – Rebels stayed overnight in the town, commanded by Francisco Castillo and left for Kalibo 19 March.
1898 – Cazadores (Spanish government forces) arrived hunting the rebels, who fled to the hills of Nag-utad and in the town. Volunteers were recruited healed by Alejandro Isturis, Ambrosio Pastrana and Luis Masangya, to defend the Población. Juan Alba resigned due to differences between the Spanish authorities and the Philippine Government and was succeeded by Catalino Macahilig elected by majority for the remaining months.
American colonisation began on 13 August 1898, and with Filipinos resisting foreign domination, a resistance movement was organised. Hostilities between the natives and the Americans were brief since the natives were ill-equipped, ending with the signing of the “Pas de Aklan” (Peace of Aklan) on 29 March 1901. The treaty, which was signed at the present-day municipal park, is archived in the Aklan Section of the archives of Capiz.
From 1 January 1904 to 31 December 1911 Banga was merged with Numancia and Lezo to form an arrabal (suburb) of the Kalibo Municipality. Through the efforts of Don Baltazar Teodosio, Banga was separated from Kalibo on 1 January 1912.
On 17 April 1942 at 2:00 PST, the Japanese Imperial Forces landed at Culasi, Capiz. An hour later, the 5th Capiz Cadre at Libas, Banga (now Camp Jizmundo) was burned down by the United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE). Six hours later, the Banga Rural High School, Banga Elementary School and Home Economics buildings were likewise burned. About 95% of all the permanent structures in Banga were burned down both by the USAFFE and the Filipino guerrillas to prevent the Japanese forces from occupying them.
During the Japanese Occupation, civilians were massacred by Imperial troops on 21 October 1943 at the junction of Rizal and Mabini Streets (now the Rotonda) and at the national road fronting the 5th Capiz Cadre at Libas. It was in these two places at 10:00 PST where a total of about 70 civilians—who merely desired to please and welcome the Japanese—were ordered to squat and were haplessly massacred. The Japanese soldiers conducted a further four-day operation, killing about 200 more people to stem increasing guerrilla activities.
|Population census of Banga|
|Source: National Statistics Office|
The following headed the town from the American Period until the present under two different titles. On 18 March 1945, after the landing of the American Liberation Forces and Philippine Commonwealth troops in Panay, the Philippine Civil Affairs Unit appointed Dr. Boanerjes Venturanza as the first Municipal Mayor.
At the religious sanctuary of Manduyog Hill, an annual pilgrimage is conducted on Good Friday. Devotees practise the 14 Stations of the Cross, pray the rosary, and light candles at each stop while climbing towards the peak where a 40m cross, sometimes lighted, is visible from due north to Kalibo and the nearby sea.