Rosario Cruz-Lucero, Doreen.G. Fernandez, John E. Barrios, and Jeffrey Yap

Suggested citation:

Cruz-Lucero, Rosario, Doreen.G. Fernandez, John E. Barrios, and Jeffrey Yap. 2018. “Ilonggo.” With contributions by E. Arsenio Manuel, Ramon Obusan, Fernando N. Zialcita, Arbeen Acuña, and Rene Trance. In Our Islands, Our People: The Histories and Cultures of the Filipino Nation, edited by Rosario Cruz-Lucero.


“Ilonggo” comes from the name of a tree (Lat. Elaeocarpus, aka kalomala), which has fragrant white flowers and purplish to red-black, stone-shaped fruit. Iloilo, the Ilonggo’s home province, is named after “an evergreen tree [Aglaia Argentea] with a dense, rounded crown; it can grow up to thirty meters tall.” In his introduction, this source explains: “Many of the native plant names are also the names of towns, such as Iloilo.”[1] Hence, the Ilonggo people and their home province of Iloilo are named after two different species of trees.

A more popular legend explaining the names of the place and its people bears a Spanish colonialist influence, albeit in a circuitous way. “Iloilo,” it is said, is from the Filipino-Hispanized form of irong-irong, meaning “like a nose.”  “Irong-irong,” this legend goes, was the name of an islet located between the city proper and the Lapuz district of Iloilo City. It forms the Batiano estuary, which passes near the town of Oton, Iloilo, on its way to the sea. However, the islet was also called Catalman, aka Katagman, meaning “a pointed thing.”[2] “Irong-irong” might also refer to the shape of the nose that the Iloilo River makes as it winds from the Iloilo Port to Forbes Bridge in the La Paz district. “Irong-irong” became the name of one of the sakup ‘districts’ into which the island of Panay was divided before the Spanish times.

The term “Ilonggo” now refers to the people and the culture of the Malay race identified with Iloilo, Guimaras Island, and Negros Occidental, the western part of Negros island, which is separated from Panay by the Guimaras Strait. However, Negros Occidental’s four northern municipalities of Escalante, Calatrava, Toboso, and San Carlos are predominantly Cebuano speaking, originally settled by Boholano and Cebuano.

According to a creation myth, the original name of Negros was “Bugras” or “Buglas,” meaning “a slice” or “to cut off,” because the island was severed from its mother island of Panay by an angry god. Magellan’s chronicler, Pigafetta, in 1521, referred to the island as “Panilongo, where black men like those in Etiopia live.”[3] “Panilongo” may derive from the words “Panay” and “Ilonggo,” lending credence to the creation myth that Bugras had once been a part of Panay. However, his descriptive statement, “where black men live,” already foreshadows the name that the Spanish colonizers would eventually give the island of Negros.

The language and literature of the Ilonggo people are called Hiligaynon; however, the term connotes the more formal and literary language as it is used in schools.  “Ilonggo” is also popularly and informally used as a synonym for “Hiligaynon.” The term “Hiligaynon” is said to be a hispanized contraction of the phrase “manog-ilig sang kawayan,” ‘bamboo floaters’, meaning people whose occupation was to float bamboo poles downriver to sell as building materials.  Early Spanish documents refer to the people as Yligueynes and their language as Hiligueyna.[4]


Iloilo lies in the eastern part of Panay Island, which has three other provinces: Aklan, Antique, and Capiz.  It is separated from Capiz and Antique on the west by a mountain range; the rest of it is surrounded by sea: on the east by the Guimaras Strait, on its southern tip by the Panay Gulf, and on its northern tip by the Visayan Sea. Much of its terrain is plain; hence, it is a large stretch of agricultural land. Jalaur (aka Halawod) and Pan-ay are the most important rivers of Panay island. Originating from Mt Baloy of the Madya-as mountain range, these twin rivers run parallel until they diverge at Bgy Alibonan in the municipality of Calinog. Jalaur River runs southeast, traversing Iloilo province, down through the municipality of Passi and further down to Dumangas before draining into Guimaras Strait. Pan-ay traverses Capiz province.[5]


The Ilonggo people belong to a larger group called Visayan, and they comprise one of the Philippines’s eight major ethnolinguistic groups. The Hiligaynon, or Ilonggo, language is a subclassification of the Visayan language. As of 2010, the Ilonggo number 7.8 million (m) out of the total Philippine population of 92.33 m, making them the fourth largest ethnolinguistic group in the country, after the Tagalog (22.5 m), Cebuano/Bisaya (19 m), and Ilocano (8 m).[6]

In 2000 out of the Philippines’s total population of 76.5 m, the Ilonggo numbered 5.74 m, of whom 3.75 m reside in their original provinces: 1.5 m in Iloilo; 2.1 m in Negros Island Region (NIR); and 150,000 in Guimaras. Additionally, the Ilonggo population of 1.5 m in Mindanao equals that in Iloilo province, and comprises 8.2% of Mindanao’s total population of 18.1 m. Two-thirds of them are concentrated in the SOCCKSARGEN region (North and South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, and General Santos City), where they number 1.031 m, comprising 33.54%, thus making up the majority of that region’s population, the rest being divided among several other ethnic groups. In the provinces of Bukidnon, Davao, Lanao del Norte, Maguindanao, Zamboanga del Sur, Cagayan de Oro City, and the CARAGA region, they number 270,000. The islands of Palawan and Masbate, which have had ancient social, cultural, and economic ties with Panay, have an Ilonggo population of 100,000 and 32,000, respectively. The remaining 300,00 are dispersed in smaller numbers, such as 12,000 in the rest of Panay island (Aklan, Antique, and Capiz); 4,000 in Cebu and Mandaue City; and 4,000 in Batangas.[7]


The cultural history of the Ilonggo is woven out of mythology, archaeology, and documented history. According to folk history, ten Bornean datus ‘chieftains’ with their families, escaped from Sultan Makatunaw of Borneo, each on a biniday ‘boat’. They entered Panay through the Suruaga river and landed at a village of the same name, now known as San Joaquin town. They purchased Panay from the Ati/Aeta, whose chief was Marikudo. Datu Puti returned to Borneo; Datu Dumangsol and his wife settled in Barrio Lawag in Suaraga (aka San Joaquin). The couple’s two daughters, Uhay Tanayon and Uhay Salangaon, later married the culture heroes Labaw Dunggon and Paibare. The Bornean migrants cultivated the land and renamed the island Madya-as, which they divided into three sakup: Irong-irong, Aklan (which included the area of Capiz), and Hamtik (now Antique). These sakup were loosely united under a government called Katiringban it Madya-as ‘Confederation of Madya-as’.[8]

On the island of Panay, the Halawod (now Jalaur) River empties into the Guimaras Strait. On the opposite end of the island toward the north, the Pan-ay river empties into the Visayan Sea. The people who lived on the banks of Pan-ay River called themselves taga-Pan-ay or Pan-ayanon; and those on the Halawod riverbanks, taga-Halawod or Halawodnon.[9]


In March 1565 Miguel Lopez de Legazpi sent out an expedition, headed by Esteban Rodriguez, in search of food. They landed on the southeast (Negros Oriental) of the island Pinglas, which Rodriguez reported was “said to be full of negroes.” This was the same description written by Magellan’s chronicler, Pigafetta, in 1521. Thus, it might be surmised that Rodriguez, at the very least, had read Pigafetta’s chronicle. However, the island itself was well populated by tattooed Malays living in towns along the coast. Upon inquiry, an inhabitant that they met affirmed that there were indeed “negroes,” though these were living in the mountains. From here the expedition sailed around the heel of this boot-shaped island, reaching the large town of Himamayalan in the south up to the northern town of Tocgauan (renamed Saravia in 1858 and E.B. Magalona in 1967). It was a town of 50 houses, in each of which much rice was stored and had domesticated pigs and chickens. The Malay inhabitants of the island variously named their island after their own respective villages, such as Nayon and Mamaylan.[10]

By September 1565, five months after Legazpi and his men had settled in Cebu, they were in a state of starvation. Master-of-camp Mateo del Sanz and Capt Martin de Goyti/Goiti, with a hundred soldiers and Cebuano guides, set out to other islands in search of food. They landed on the eastern side of Negros island and came upon the abandoned village of Tanjay, which they pillaged. In the next village, the inhabitants, armed with spears, engaged the Spaniards in battle, during which the Spaniards captured a datu, whom they held for ransom. Five datus came to negotiate his freedom and stalled for time while their people were fleeing their villages. The Spaniards took the captive datu back to Cebu. This was the first act of Spanish colonization in Negros. Subsequent invasions were made on Negros from May to June 1565. In one such invasion, Datu Siumbas of the town of Tilafan (pop 330), decided to fight, whereas Datu Sibas of a nearby town surrendered. By Dec 1566, Datu Siumbas had been subjugated and forced to commit 330 cavans of rice (one cavan for every inhabitant) to the Spaniards, although he later reneged on this promise.[11]

On 10 Apr 1566, a year after Legazpi had settled in Cebu, master-of-camp Mateo del Saz, two officers, and a crew of 70 set out again to other islands in search of food. The rebellious Cebuano had been starving out the Spaniards at the urging of the people of Mactan and the villagers of Gavi. Del Saz landed at the village of Halawod (spelled Araut by the Spaniards, now the town of Dumangas in Iloilo), and stayed on to collect 600 cavans (1,000 fanegas) of rice from the inhabitants.[12] This was, in effect, the beginning of Spanish colonization in Panay.

On 25 Jul 1566 master-of-camp de Saz returned to Cebu with news about the abundance of food on the islands of Negros and Panay, which had numerous, thickly populated villages, “flourishing and wealthy,” particularly along the Panay river. From then on the Spaniards would regularly sail from Cebu to these islands to collect the enforced tributes, on which they depended for survival.

In November 1566 a Portuguese armada arrived to lay siege to the Spanish settlement in Cebu, thus setting up a food blockade. The natives took advantage of the Spaniards’ hunger problem. A month after the Portuguese began the siege, Datu Umbas of Tilayan in Negros arrived in Cebu, claiming that he had sailed over with a boatload of rice for the Spanairds but that it had been lost in the storm. In appreciation of the datu’s gesture of goodwill, Legazpi gave Datu Umbas gifts and a boat with which to return home to Negros.[13]

Four years later the Portuguese lifted their blockade of the Spanish settlement in Cebu, and Legazpi resumed the project of colonial expansion in the archipelago. He sent his grandson Felipe del Salcedo to the village of Pan-ay (now Roxas City) in Capiz, and his trusted aide Sgt-Maj Luis de la Haya to the village of Halawod (now Dumangas) in Iloilo. Del Salcedo forged an alliance with the people of Pan-ay by waging war with their enemy villages at their request and thus ensured a safe welcome for Legazpi. On 7 Jun 1569 Juan del Salcedo was sent to Panay to replace his brother Felipe, who departed for Mexico. By Aug 1569 the datus of Pan-ay, Mariclong and Macabug, had been sufficiently subjugated for Legazpi to settle in this village. In 1570 the arrival of Juan de la Isla in Panay, with three ships and numerous Spaniards, signified the formal colonization of Panay. On 16 Aug 1571 Legazpi departed Panay to invade Manila.[14]

The Spaniards who subsequently came to Panay island invariably remarked on the abundance of food, especially rice, on this island, because the other islands had only tubers such as camote, cassava, and ube (sweet potato, white yam, and purple yam). Panay became the primary source of provisions for the Spanish colonizers stationed in the other islands, thus earning the label, “granary of the archipelago.”[15]

Referring to this abundance, Legazpi’s chronicler, Fray Gaspar de San Agustin, took the island’s name and made a pun on it: “The island of Panay exceeds all others in harvests, verifying its name Panay,” which sounds like the Spanish phrase Pan hay ‘bread there is’.  Later chronicler, Casimiro Diaz, explicitly clarified the pun thus: “This island is called Panay, so even its name suits it; for in it there grows so great an abundance of rice, which is the bread of this country.”[16]

Such comments have spun off into the popular quote, “Pan hay en esta isla!” (Bread there is on this island!), supposed to have been exclaimed by Legazpi’s men in elation. Thus, according to this folk myth, it was the Spaniards who gave the island its name. Historical fact, however, disproves this myth. Long before Legazpi’s men arrived on the island of Panay, its two great rivers were already named Halawod (now Jalaur) and Pan-ay. Legazpi’s men first landed at the village also named after the river Halawod (or Araut in Spanish chronicles), now called Dumangas. It is the last village that the Halawod river traverses before it empties into the Guimaras Strait. On the opposite end of the island toward the north, the last village that the Pan-ay river traverses before it empties into the Visayan Sea was also called Pan-ay (now Roxas City). The residents also referred to it as the bamban ‘channel’, which some Spanish chroniclers mistook to be its name.[17]

The early Spanish colonizers called the natives of these islands Pintados ‘Painted Ones’ because of their tattooed bodies. Hence, in the early years of Spanish colonization, the Visayan islands, which included Panay and Negros, were called Las Islas de los Pintados ‘Islands of the Painted Ones’, later the Bisayas de los Pintados. These islands were subsumed under one province, with Cebu as its capital. Not all the pintados, or tattooed people, however, fell under the jurisdiction of Cebu. For instance, Marinduque, though populated by pintados, was not an administrative part of the Bisayas de los Pintados.[18]


The Spaniards divided Panay island into encomiendas ‘land grants’, which gave the Spanish grantees the right to collect tributes from the natives. These tributes consisted of gold, cloth, wax, cotton thread, rice, and fowl. Panay was administratively divided into two subprovinces: 1) Pan-ay, which then consisted of Capiz, Aklan, and the northernmost towns of Antique from Tibiao to Pandan; and 2) Oton (aka Ogtong), which consisted of the present-day provinces of Iloilo and Antique, up to Barbaza. Thus, the island was horizontally divided, with Pan-ay province being situated above Oton province. The alcalde-mayor ‘governor’ of each province resided in the town capital also called Oton. The town of Pan-ay had the same name as its province of Pan-ay.[19] These identical names of the town and the province have caused some confusion among later historians.

On 25 Jan 1571 Negros island was divided among 17 encomenderos, eight of whom were in western Negros. By 1584 the encomienda system had been sufficiently systematized so that each family was to submit one tribute, consisting of the products that abounded in the island. Thus, in Negros, each family was to pay a tribute of rice, wine, wax, one chicken, and pakol ‘abaca’ (Span. medriñaque). In turn, it was the duty of each encomendero to convert the natives and build a church in each village within his encomienda. Although the village populations were subjected to reduccion—forced re-settlement within the hearing of the bells—the inhabitants resisted colonization by continually escaping back to their farmsteads under cover of night, leaving only the gobernadorcillo and the principalia families to reside in the villages or towns.[20]

Western Negros was a corregimiento ‘military district’ under the jurisdiction of Iloilo, but it had its own corregidor ‘military governor’, who resided in Himamaylan. A corregimiento was a district that had not been sufficiently pacified and therefore had Spanish military garrisons in it. The corregidor was a military officer whose primary function was to quell any sign of native resistance to colonization. In 1734 Negros became a separate corregimiento from Iloilo; in 1790 Himamaylan was declared the capital of the district and the military governor’s residence.[21]

In Iloilo province (aka Oton), the seat of government, which was the old town also named Oton, was transferred to the newly founded town of Arevalo in 1581.[22]  Later historians erroneously named it “La Villa de Arevalo” because the primary source in the Spanish original, written by Loarca, had referred to it several times as “la villa de Arevalo” (the town of Arevalo). Another arbitrary name that more recent historians have given it is “La Villa Rica de Arevalo” (the rich town of Arevalo),[23]  based on the brief description given it by its founder, Gov Gonzalo Ronquillo de Peñalosa: “The village of Arevalo, on the island of Panay, has just been settled. The land is very fertile and the inhabitants are rich.”[24]


Panay was prey to external attacks. From 1569 to 1606, the Muslims invaded Panay nine times.  From 1603 to 1606, the main targets of the Muslim attacks were the towns of Oton, Arevalo, and the island of Pan de Azucar off the eastern coast of Iloilo.  In 1606 a series of Dutch invasions occurred.  In 1616 the Muslims and the Dutch combined forces to attack the coastal towns of Panay and its small islands. Hence, in 1637 Arevalo’s vulnerability to Muslim and Dutch attack compelled the Spaniards to transfer the seat of government to La Punta, on which they built a stone fort to replace the wooden one built in 1602. A lighthouse also stood there, the site of which is now called the Parola. A fish market and other stores sprung around the fort, later called Estanzuela. The city of Iloilo gradually grew around this area.[25]

The Ilonggo consistently resisted Moro invasions. Dallan Bakang, a Muslim pirate, conducted a series of raids every Friday on Dumangas from his base in Guimaras.  In 1763 he was repelled by the townspeople led by a woman named Petra or “Pitay.”  In preparation for other attacks, the people of Dumangas town built a tambobo ‘storehouse’, where they kept their food supplies and valuables.  It was surrounded by a palisade and thick dalogdog vines.  They then sent their women and children to Liboo, Barrio Calao, for refuge.  The Spaniards later fortified the church with stone walls and built a watchtower on each corner.  A church bell, whose sound could be heard as far as Guimaras to the south and Anilao to the north, warned the people of Muslim raids.  With this added security, the families in Liboo returned to Dumangas.  In 1848, however, the warning bell of Dumangas inadvertently brought an attack upon it, when a wandering band of Muslims followed its sound to the town. The last recorded Muslim attack on the Ilonggo was in 1865, on the island of Zapatos in northern Panay.


There was a sizeable Chinese population, consisting of families of traders who had intermarried with the local women and settled in Iloilo permanently. Their number was so significant that the population of Iloilo was described as “Indios and Sangleys” (Malays and Chinese), and the Spanish missionaries had to learn Chinese as well as Hiligaynon to convert and administer to them. In 1617 a Chinese barrio, named by the Spaniards Pariancillo ‘small Parian’, lay between Arevalo and La Punta. In 1637 all the Chinese in Iloilo were forced to reside at the Pariancillo; consequently, it expanded and became the Parian, which extended to La Punta. Later, the Parian came to be called Molo, for which two possible reasons are given: that the word molo was a Visayan word for ‘a cluster of houses’; but the more popular narrative, recorded in 1898, was that a Chinese lookout had espied Moro pirates sailing in, and he had shouted in warning: “Molo! Molo!” because, being Chinese, he could not pronounce the letter /r/.[26]


Resistance to Christianization was led by the babaylan ‘shaman’, who tried to keep alive the people’s indigenous beliefs despite their Christian conversion, oftentimes exhorting them to return to the worship of the native gods. These religious uprisings, small and large, against Spanish oppression occurred throughout the whole colonial period.

A babaylan resistance movement of 1663 in Dueñas, Iloilo, was led by Tapar. From the mountain barrio of Malonor he had gained a large following by preserving the people’s indigenous religion and its ritual practices, including the babaylan’s ritual garments, erroneously described by westernized Filipino historians as “woman’s garb.” Tapar’s influence spread south to Jaro and north to Passi until a Mexican priest, Francisco de Mesa, alerted the alcalde-mayor ‘governor’. The priest then went to the village of Laglag (now Bgy Pader, Dueñas) and attempted to lure the rebels out of their hideout. The rebels sent word that they had no desire to harm anyone and only wanted freedom of worship. Fr. de Mesa trekked up to Malonor, where he spent the night in the bamboo shelter by the church. The rebels emerged from the forest, killed him with their spears, burned the church and the hut, and returned to their seclusion in the forest. A combined force of Spaniards and Kapampangan troops quelled the movement after a prolonged pursuit.[27]

In 1874, another priest was killed in similar fashion in the mountains of Tubungan for the same reason.[28]


In 1833 the capital of Negros was transferred from Himamaylan in the south to the newly established town of Bacolod. This new capital was at the center of the island as Spanish rule expanded from the south to the northern towns of Minuluan (now Talisay), Guimbala-on (now Silay), and Tocgauan (later Saravia, now E.B. Magalona). Another reason for the transfer was the persistent recalcitrance of the southern towns of Negros. On 8 Sep 1833 the governor was killed with a kitchen knife during a prison mutiny in Himamaylan. The assassin was a former gobernadorcillo of Bacolod, who was an inmate when the governor hit him with a cane while conducting an inspection tour of the prison. A prison riot erupted; prison guards and personnel were killed; and the unarmed mutineers were massacred by the Spanish soldiers. Their corpses were buried in a mass grave at a site that is now a barrio called Tampok ‘mound’ in Batang Peninsula, Himamaylan City.[29]

In 1855 Negros progressed from a corregimiento into an alcaldia ‘politico-military province’ governed by an alcalde-mayor ‘politico-military governor’. The first governor of Negros, 24-year-old Infantry Major Emilio Saravia, gained notoriety in the history of Negros Occ as a ruthless and bloodthirsty criminal. His own compatriots denounced his crimes as unjustifiable, even in the context of the reduccion process. He speared 24 unarmed mountain dwellers, shot 3 others, threw 6 into the river, and killed another 2 in Kabankalan town. His term (1855-57) abruptly ended after the Spanish massacre of the Carol-an (aka Kadul-an), an Ati village in the uplands of Kabankalan. Their chief was Datu Manyabog, who was also the acknowledged chief of all the other datus in that mountain range. Among them were Malays who had fled the lowlands to escape colonization, which imposed the payment of tributes, forced labor, and Christian conversion. Under Datu Manyabog’s leadership, they attacked military outposts scattered along the foot of the mountain from Isabela to Kabankalan.[30]

From 15 to 30 Jul 1855, Gov Saravia launched military operations with full firepower against Manyabog and his 700 warriors, who fought back with spears, balaraw ‘daggers’, siantong ‘long-bladed bolos’, swords carved from palm tree trunks; and booby traps. Three months later, in October, Gov Saravia expressed in writing his determination “to persecute these people for peace and order in the town surrounding the mountains.”[31]

In 1856 Fray Fernando Cuenca traversed the mountain range from Minuluan (now Talisay) to Kabankalan to pacify Manyabog and his people through missionary work. He submitted to a blood compact with Datu Manyabog, who sucked the friar’s hand until he drew blood. Manyabog then agreed to convert and re-settle in the lowlands. Gov Saravia subsequently sent to Carol-an territory a battalion of 510 civilian police, with rifles, bolos, and two cannons. Upon arriving, they instantly opened fire without warning. After Manyabog was killed and the Carol-an had run out of weapons, they retreated to three nipa houses within their wooden fort, and set these on fire. Even as they were dying in the fire and smoke, a last spear shot out of one burning hut and took down a soldier. The Carol-an population of 15,000 included women, children, and elders, all of whom perished. Saravia was brought to trial in Manila for this and other atrocities. Fray Cuenca committed perjury in defense of his friend, Saravia, and was consequently placed under house arrest for one-and-half-years in the Recollect convent in Manila. Saravia was exiled to Africa.[32]

The Spaniards had a litany of terms for native recidivists, who continually defied reduccion and, from their mountain hideouts, would ambush colonialist troops on patrol or at their outposts. Under the generic term of malhechores ‘evil doers’ fell the cristianos remontados, monteses, infieles, contra costas, and tulisanes.[33]  In Negros the term “malhechores” appears for the first time in a report dated 20 Jan 1863 and is subsequently used with increasing frequency. The first report states vaguely that 19 malhechores have been arrested and 18 found guilty. In 1864 an attempted assassination on the governor leads to some “malhechores” of Bacolod being convicted of the crime. A decade later, the residence of the gobernadorcillo of Victorias town is attacked by 197 armed “malhechores,” who also attempt but fail to abduct his wife. In Hinigaran, at about the same time, a father and son, Don Isidro and Esteban Vasquez, of the local principalia, are jailed because the father, in a state of inebriation, has remarked to an español peninsular named Don Inocente Colmenares that “Los espanoles eran basura y se ensuciaba todos los meses!” (The Spaniards go to the garbage dump and are hungry all the time!) By the 1880s, these criminal activities would evolve into subversive ladronism, which was a more explicit and conscious form of protest against colonial oppression.[34]


After the opening of Iloilo to world trade in 1855, the consequent economic boom of Iloilo and Negros was founded primarily on the weaving and sugar industries, both of which exported their products to the world market. With economic prosperity, the hacendero families of Iloilo sent their children to Spanish schools in Manila, and later to Spain where liberal ideas had gained currency. This educated elite joined the ilustrados ‘enlightened ones’ of other regions of the country in petitioning the Spanish government for reforms in the colony.  In the 1880s, Graciano Lopez Jaena and Melecio Figueroa became members of the Propaganda Movement.  Lopez Jaena was the first editor of La Solidaridad, 1889, and was known as a fiery orator. Melecio Figueroa, the chief engraver of the Philippine Treasury in 1893, was later invited by the U.S. colonial government to design Philippine coins. Gregorio Mapa, an Ilonggo raised in Aklan, joined a society of liberal-minded students called Juventud Escolar Liberal, which included Paciano Rizal.

As the revolution against Spain grew, the Visayan leaders convened at Santa Barbara town to establish a revolutionary government for the whole Visayas. The Spanish commander, not knowing that the revolutionary fervor had secretly spread to Iloilo starting from Aklan, appointed Martin Delgado of Santa Barbara to lead the volunteer militia, hence giving Delgado greater freedom to work for the revolution.  He was then appointed by the Visayan generals to lead the Ilonggo revolutionaries and is now acknowledged by the Ilonggo people to have been “the greatest Visayan general of the Philippine Revolution.”

On 17 Nov 1898, the Filipino flag was raised at the plaza of Santa Barbara, and the first cry for freedom in the Visayas was shouted: “Down with Spain!  Long live the Philippines!  Long live independence!” The day before, Patrocinio Gamboa of Jaro, Iloilo, who had sewn the flag in Molo, had transported it in a tartanilla under cover of a pile of grass, along with a sword that Gen Emilio Aguinaldo had sent as a gift for Gen Martin Delgado. Driving the coach was fellow revolutionary Lt Honorio Solinap, who posed as her husband while Gamboa pretended to be his strident, nagging wife to distract the colonialist troops from inspecting their load.[35]


In Negros Occ the revolution was led by the hacendero class. The leaders’ meeting place was Leandro Locsin’s drugstore in Silay. Donors were listed in his prescription book as names of medicines, and donations were represented by weights in grams. Thus, the town of Silay, besides being the “Paris of Negros,” also became the “cradle of the Negros uprising.” On 5 Nov 1898 the Filipino flag, which Olympia Severino and her sisters had sewn, was raised in Silay. The revolutionaries took Silay without bloodshed as the Spanish hacendero residents persuaded the colonialist troops to surrender.[36]

From the north, the revolutionaries, led by Gen Aniceto Lacson, Timoteo Unson, and Simon Lizares, marched into Bacolod. In the south, Gen Juan Araneta raised the Philippine flag in his hometown of Bago before leading a thousand rifle-bearing laborers and peasants into Bacolod. They also had what appeared to be cannons mounted on wheels. The combined forces numbered 4,000 in all. Demoralized, the colonialist forces surrendered on 6 Nov 1898. Only then did they discover that Araneta’s men had actually been carrying branches of nipa palm, cut and tarred black to look like rifles; at one end of each they had attached a siantong ‘long-bladed bolo’ to look like a bayonet. The cannons were rolled mats of amakan (Tag, sawali) ‘woven bamboo splints or flattened bamboo nodes’, also painted with tar and mounted on carabao sleds.[37]

The following day, the Federal Republican Government of the Canton of Negros Island (or Federal Island of Negros) was established, with Aniceto Lacson named as President and Juan Araneta as War Delegate. Dionisio Sigbuela (aka Papa Isio), who had contributed to the revolution by leading a peasant movement in the south, was commissioned as military chief of La Castellana.[38]

In the Spanish governor’s office, the revolutionary leaders discovered letters from several Spanish parish priests identifying them as troublemakers and recommending punishment. From November 1898 to January 1899, thirty-five Spanish priests were rounded up and confined in the Bacolod provincial jail, which a fellow priest had built only nine years previous as a source of prison labor. On 18 January the priests were force-marched for two days from Bacolod to La Granja agricultural colony in La Carlota, where they were assigned farm work and fed two meager meals a day. On 3 February the priests were marched back to Bacolod and placed aboard a ship out of Negros.[39]


In Paris, starting on 1 Oct 1898, Spain and the US were negotiating the terms of Spain’s surrender for what would be called the Treaty of Paris. By 31 October Spain had ceded only Manila and Luzon to the US but refused to give up the Visayas and Mindanao. The US itself was reluctant to take on these two regions. With hopes for independence dashed, and given the possibility that Spanish rule would continue in the Visayas, the Negros federal government sent a peace commission to Adm George Dewey in Manila negotiating for the status of a US protectorate but with “internal independence.” It was not, therefore, a “Republic of Negros” that the Negros leaders sought to establish, as misinterpreted by later historians Renato Constantino and Gregorio F. Zaide.[40]

On 10 Dec 1898, Spain ceded the Philippines to the US in the Treaty of Paris. Two weeks later, on 24 December, the Spanish colonialist troops under Gen Diego de los Rios surrendered Iloilo City—the last bastion of Spanish rule in Panay—to the revolutionaries under Gen Martin T. Delgado. A mere four days later, however, on 28 December, US ships under the command of Brig Gen Marcus P. Miller docked at Iloilo demanding surrender. The Ilonggo revolutionaries in Iloilo stalled the US forces for 44 days. On 11 Feb 1899, the US forces bombarded Iloilo with cannon fire, forcing Delgado and his troops to retreat to Santa Barbara.[41]  For the next eight months, the Ilonggo fighters of Panay, rallied by Col Quintin Salas from Dumangas, held their defense line covering ten km across several towns.


Gen Adriano Hernandez of Dingle organized the resistance fighters into guerilla units, thus earning the label, “the tactician of Panay.” He had represented the Visayas at the Malolos Congress and been captured by the Americans in Manila. After his release, he joined the resistance war against America in Iloilo and took charge of the ammunitions factory in the Maestranza Cave in Dingle.[42]

For two years the Ilonggo resorted to guerrilla tactics until Gen Delgado finally surrendered to the US forces in Jaro during its town fiesta on 2 Feb 1901. The US civil government was established in Iloilo on 11 Apr 1901, and Delgado accepted the appointive position of governor. However, Col Quintin Salas continued the guerrilla resistance until October 1901. Raymundo Melliza and Benito Lopez successively became appointive governors until 1908.


Recognized as a general by the Ilonggo folk, although not a commissioned officer, was Teresa Magbanua, who had led battles against the Spaniards and then against the Americans. After the revolutionary capital of Santa Barbara fell into American hands, she joined the guerrilla forces and earned the respect of both comrades and enemies for “her great skill in horsemanship, marksmanship, and valor.”[43]

Another woman who took part in the revolution and then the Philippine-American war was Nazaria Lagos, who converted her family’s hacienda home into a hospital that clandestinely served her compatriots in the revolution against Spain and in the guerillas resistance war against the United States.  At a time when it was dangerous to display the Philippine flag, Nazaria purchased the cloth for it from nearby towns, sewed it with the help of other women, and raised it at the town plaza.[44]


On 12 Feb 1899, the day after the US attack on Iloilo, the Negros government, hoping to gain the upper hand in future negotiations, raised the US flag in Bacolod without a fight. Pres Lacson welcomed Col James Francis Smith, newly appointed US military governor of Negros. War Delegate Gen Araneta had withdrawn to his hacienda in Bago, from where he sent a terse note of welcome but with a veiled reminder that Negros was capitulating to America only because it had been “reconquered by force” and that Col Smith was to respect Negros’s “internal independence” in exchange for its surrender. Hence, Col Smith approved the Negros government’s draft of a constitution that was premised on a “federal government for the Philippine archipelago.” On 2 Oct 1899, with both Lacson and Araneta having retired to their haciendas, Melecio Severino, secretary of the short-lived Federal Island of Negros, was elected as Col Smith’s Filipino counterpart.[45]


However, from the start of the US occupation, the common people of Negros demonstrated their resistance to American rule by keeping away from public oath-taking ceremonies. The leaders of a breakaway faction of Gen Araneta’s troops included Cols Ramon Valencia, Buenaventura Lopez y Ayalin, Remigio Montilla, Juan Ledesma Hiponia, and Vicente Gamboa Benedicto; Majs Anacleto Santillan, Gil Severino, Miguel Severino, and Marciano Lopez Ayalin; Capts Romualdo Gestoso, Antonio Valera, Fausto Javelona, and Segundo Yorac; Lieuts Guillermo Severino, Arsenio Rafael, Porfirio Lopez Ayalin, Felix Yorac, Bento Sanchez, Tomas Severino, Maximino Lopez, and Ramon Gamboa.[46]

The family of plantation pioneer Agustin Montilla was actively engaged in the anti-American resistance movement. Remigio Montilla, a son, was captured and summarily executed by US soldiers at La Castellana. The family of Eugenio Lopez was equally active in the resistance. His daughter, Rosario Lopez, was expelled from Negros by Gov Smith for donating arms to the movement and for her anti-American pronouncements. Two other Lopez siblings supplied the movement with cavans of rice. Heading the guerillas in the north was Capt Luis Ginete, while Papa Isio headed the anti-US forces in the south.[47]


On 28 Jul 1899 Capt Ginete’s troops prepared for an organized assault on the US forces. Their stronghold was in the hinterlands of Bgy Gintabuan, Saravia (now E.B. Magalona). From here, they were to join Papa Isio in the south. With them was Lt Elias Magbanua, of Pototan, Iloilo, and youngest brother of the siblings, Teresa Magbanua and Gen Pascual Magbanua, themselves revolutionaries-turned-resistance-fighters. On 19 Aug, Solitario (aka Nicolas Bariles?), a Filipino, guided the US forces to Gintabuan in exchange for 50 Mexican pesos. After a day’s battle and, having run out of ammunition, the bolo-wielding Ilonggo fighters, led by Lt Magbanua, charged on the US soldiers. At the end, the Gintabuan fort and its two defense trenches were filled with the Ilonggo’s corpses, including that of Lt Magbanua. No one among them had surrendered.[48]

On 23 September, the northern Negros forces finally fell after another US assault on Gintabuan. Nevertheless, it was four more months before Gov Smith could report, on 3 Jan 1900, that the resistance in Negros had been defeated. This was not entirely true, however, as the surviving forces had escaped through the mountain routes to join Papa Isio’s forces.[49]

Papa Isio of La Castellana

In 1901 the central government in Manila, now headed by Gen Miguel Malvar, promoted Papa Isio to the rank of colonel and appointed him military chief and politico-military governor of Negros. However, Malvar surrendered in 1902. The US government declared the Philippine-American war officially ended and labeled the remaining resistance fighters as robbers and bandits. The US military pillaged and burned villages, as it was doing in the whole Philippine archipelago. With the combined force of the US military, the Philippine Scouts, and Philippine Constabulary in relentless pursuit, Papa Isio’s top-ranking leaders began surrendering. In 1907 Papa Isio, by now in his late 60s, was lured from his hideout in La Castellana to surrender with the promise of a government position. He was welcomed into the town of Isabela, Negros Occ, with a musical band, a feast, and a parade. Then he was meted the death penalty and thrown into Bilibid prison, where he died in 1911. His followers were given heavy sentences, ranging from the death penalty to life imprisonment, the lightest penalty being 25 years’ imprisonment.[50]


Under the US civil government, elections were held on 30 Jul 1907. Five representatives of Iloilo were elected into Congress, including Gen Adriano Hernandez. Elected provincial governor in 1908 was Ruperto Montinola. In 1912, with the Filipinization of the civil service, Ramon Avanceña of Molo became chief justice of the Supreme Court, and Gregorio Araneta, also of Molo, became secretary of finance and justice. Among those who led the suffragette movement were three women from Panay: Pura Villanueva Kalaw, Sofia de Veyra, and Josefa Abiertas.  Their efforts enabled women to vote in the first election of the Commonwealth period.


In the 1920s the industrialization of the sugar industry created unemployment and labor unrest. Two labor associations, which where the predecessors to labor unions, sprang up: the pro-labor Kusug sang Imol (Strength of the Masses) and the pro-hacendero Mainawaon (Merciful). However, their rivalry led to violent confrontations between the two groups and distracted them from workers’ real issues.[51]

A fleeting distraction was the Intrencherado movement, an anti-hacendero and anti-foreigner uprising in 1927, led by Florencio Natividad, aka Flor de Intrencherado, a self-proclaimed “Emperor of the Philippines.” Natividad was of Jaro, Iloilo, where he had built a fortune on a dried-fish business in 1921. By 1927 he was in Negros, having gathered 30,000 followers, most of them hacienda workers. He promised them the abolition of taxes, a Filipino-controlled economy, and the redistribution of the ruling elite’s wealth. On 13 May 1927 his barefoot followers, armed only with bolos and siantong ‘longer-bladed bolos’, attempted to take control of the hacienda towns of Negros such as La Castellana, La Carlota, Bago, Silay, and Victorias. In La Castellana, the rebels bound the policemen after throwing sand in their faces; and then they tied three Spanish hacenderos to posts and flogged them. In Bago four government officials were killed but so were several rebels. In Victorias, the Intrencherados, led by their Lieut Policarpio Montarde, seized the municipal building. Intrencherado and his followers retreated to Jaro, where Gov-Gen Leonard Wood negotiated his surrender. Reluctant to risk an uncontrollable revolt should they jail Intrenchardo, the local court had him confined at San Lazaro Hospital for mental illness. In May 1938, after a solar eclipse did not generate excitement in his followers, Intrecherado was quietly released from the hospital.[52]

In 1928 labor leader, poet, and playwright Jose Ma. Nava founded the largest labor union outside of Luzon.  It led a strike in 1930-1931 that paralyzed shipping in Iloilo, inadvertently making Negros an alternative site for the sugar centrals and trading houses. Hence, Iloilo economy declined and, along with it, its literary and theatrical activity. Plantation owners and entrepreneurs moved to Negros Occ and elsewhere. After World War II, in 1951, Jose Ma. Nava and his son were arrested and jailed in the Bilibid together with other leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines.


On 12 Apr 1942 Japanese forces landed in Oton, Iloilo. Guerrilla resistance led by Capt Julian Chavez was based in the mountains of Calinog in Iloilo, Central Panay. Gov Tomas Confesor established a civil resistance government and Ilocano-Pangasinense Gen Macario Peralta Jr., on assignment in Panay, led the guerrilla forces.

In Negros, on 21 May 1942 the Japanese landed in Bacolod, from which the residents had already evacuated. Despite Gen Jonathan M. Wainwright’s radio broadcast ordering all USAFFE forces to surrender, the Negrense officers Lt Col Salvador Abcede and Ernesto Mata decided to conduct guerilla warfare. During this initial stage of resistance, the rank-and-file carried on the war on their own with ambushes and other forms of harassment of the enemy. They set fire to hacienda houses that the enemy might occupy, and to sugar plantations to prevent these being harvested and distilled into ethanol, a substitute for gasoline. Bereft of leaders and organization, they came to be described as “wild units” and “brigands.”[53]

When the Japanese Imperial Government started pressuring Alfredo Montelibano to be their puppet governor in Negros, he evacuated with his family to the mountains and became the underground military governor of “Free Negros,” with Lt Col Salvador Abcede as the commanding officer. They restored order and discipline among the guerillas, and the lootings dissipated.[54]

Unable to entice the evacuees back from their mountain hideouts, the Japanese resorted to a reign of terror, particularly through its military police, called the Kempeitai. They divided the island into the “free zone,” which was within 15 km of the coast, and the “bandit zone,” which was any part outside this perimeter. Anyone found in the bandit zone would be shot. On the other hand, the civilian population that stayed within the “free zone” was vulnerable to enemy atrocities and, at the very least, being robbed of their stock of food at bayonet point. In Bacolod City the Kempeitai interrogated suspects by subjecting them to unspeakable forms of torture. Their victims included PC provincial commander Alonzo Gatuslao, future Congressman Felix P. Amante, La Carlota mayor Democrito Canlas, Emilio Zayco of Kabankalan, Ramon Planta of San Enrique, Bacolod department store owner William Kanaan, and businessman Masing Ciocon. Those tortured for reading and passing on the underground newspaper, Free Philippines, included Fernando Cuadra, Graciano Torbela, Jose Lopez Jr., and Santiago Ochoa. The graveyard for those that the Japanese executed in Bacolod is the site of the south wing of the Paglaum Sports Complex, Negros Occ High School.[55]

On 22 Mar 1945 Panay was officially declared liberated by General Douglas MacArthur. In Negros, the victory of the liberation forces at the Battle for Bago Bridge ensured the fall of the Japanese regime on 30 Mar 1945. The remnants of the Japanese imperial army retreated to Patag in Silay, where the wounded committed hara-kiri. The last of the Japanese soldiers, in Murcia, finally surrendered to Maj Placido Ausejo, commanding officer of Negros Oriental.[56]


The National Federation of Sugar Workers-Food and General Trade (NFSW) was organized in 1971 with Fr Luis Jalandoni as chairman of the Board of Directors. As the head of the diocesan Social Action Center, Fr Jalandoni became exposed to the exploitation of rural workers and dislocation of hill peasants. The NFSW’s organized action aimed to compel plantation owners to comply with the workers’ legal rights and benefits. The hacenderos, however, typically responded with forms of harassment and intimidation. When the workers went on strike, the police and Philippine Constabulary were called in to break their picket lines and jail the leaders.[57]

With the declaration of Martial Law on 21 Sep 1972, the NFSW lost the right to picket, hold public demonstrations, or conduct meetings. Hence, it shifted its activities to educating the workers, called conscientization, and to drawing up a land reform program. However, these activities were broadly interpreted by Martial Law as “subversive,” for which Luis Jalandoni was arrested and detained in 1973. On 1 May 1976, Labor Day, the NFSW defiantly held the first of a series of annual rallies and marches since the declaration of Martial Law. Some 2,000 workers bearing placards and streamers, distributing pamphlets and manifestos, marched for two days from the north and south to converge in Bacolod City. Two years later, on Labor Day of 1978, the number of marchers swelled to 12,000.[58]

By 1984 the collapse of the sugar industry and the assassination of Sen Benigno Aquino Jr. in 1983 had given a number of hacenderos reason to forge a tactical alliance with the workers’ sector. They organized their own rallies in their own fashion and for their own reasons, giving each other a quota of a certain number of truckloads of their own workers to join them. The hacenderos’ issues concerned then Pres Ferdinand Marcos’s stranglehold on the industry through agencies such as the National Sugar Trading Corporation (NASUTRA) and the Philippine Sugar Commission (PHILSUCOM), which was headed by his close crony, Roberto S. Benedicto. On 4 Feb 1984 the hacenderos organized a “sugar rally” against the “economic terrorism” being wielded by the Marcos-Benedicto partnership. Claiming that within the past five years (1979-84), they as sugar producers had been deprived of their income of PHP8 billion, they were thus “victimized by government control and injustice.” The sugar rally was a parade of a hundred plantation trucks and tractors with placard-carrying workers, millers, and hacenderos united in protest. At the same time, the hacendero protesters emphasized that “the issues were economic, not political.”[59]


A significant episode in Negros history is the Escalante Massacre, which occurred on 20 Sep 1985. The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), a national alliance of the people’s organizations, had organized a three-day welgang bayan ‘nationwide strike’ on 19-21 Sep 1985. On 20 September about 5,000 unarmed protesters converged at Escalante’s public market and town plaza. They were soon surrounded by government and paramilitary troops called the Civilian Home Defense Force (CHDF). A machine gun had been placed on the town hall’s rooftop. At noon the military authorities took Rolando Ponsica, head of Bayan-Negros, to the town hall and ordered him to stand on its balcony and call off the rally. He was attempting to negotiate when the order came from the authorities to attack the protesters with water cannons and tear gas. Juvelyn Javelosa, a student leader, threw a tear gas canister back; the government troops and the CHDF opened fire. Javelosa was the first victim, followed by 19 others killed and 29 wounded. A number of them had been pursued and shot in the back as they fled into the ricefields and canefields.[60]

Five months later, on 25 Feb 1986 Corazon Aquino won the presidential elections, and the EDSA I Revolt forced the Marcos family out of the Philippines, hence ending Martial Law.


In April 1989 Brig Gen Raymundo Jarque, of Isabela, Negros Occ., launched Oplan Thunderbolt in six towns of southern Negros, known collectively by their acronym CHICKS: Cauayan, Hinobaan, Ilog, Candoni, Kabankalan, and Sipalay. This was the stronghold of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Negros. During the seven-month period of Gen Jarque’s counterinsurgency campaign, 30,000 villagers were forcibly displaced; consequently, 300 infants and children died of measles and diarrhea in the evacuation centers. The great number of evacuees and their description of the terror and atrocities they experienced paralleled those of a generation ago during World War II (WWII). The seven-month long military operation was in retaliation for an NPA attack on a military outpost that killed 5 soldiers and a soldier’s wife. Asia Watch, the international human rights organization, reported that Oplan Thunderbolt was a case of “the most severe violations of human rights and humanitarian law” in the country at the time.[61]

In 1995, in an unrelated event, Jarque was charged with theft and graft, and he went into hiding among the NPA-Negros, which welcomed him to its fold.[62]



Archaeological findings indicate extensive trade with other Asians from the 10th to the 15th centuries, particularly among the Chinese. Burial sites have yielded Ming porcelain jars, one of which is the magnificent, 36-in tall, blue-and-white Ming burial jar, discovered on Mt Kanlaon in Negros.[63]

The kaingin ‘slash-and-burn or swidden’ method was practiced in pre-colonial times, rice being the Ilonggo’s staple food since ancient times. Hence, the Ilonggo calendar was based on the various stages of rice cultivation: 1) Ulalen corresponds to the month of November, when the Pleiades appear to signal the start of production; 2) Dagan Kahuy, when trees are cut for the clearing of the field; 3) Daganenan Bulan, when the fields are cleared of the debris from the fallen trees; 4) Elkilin, when the fields are burned; 5) Inabuyan, when the fair winds blow; 6) Kabay, when the weeds are uprooted; 7) Irarapun, when the harvesting of rice begins, and 8) Manalulsul, when the harvest season ends. The last four months remained nameless because no work was done in the fields.[64]

Weaving and ship building were indigenous industries in Panay and Guimaras. Ship building in Iloilo centered on the ports and shipyards of Oton and later, during the early Spanish colonial period, Arevalo. The people of Guimaras were well reputed to be master carpenters and were thus in great demand in the rest of the archipelago for their skill in woodwork.[65]

When the first Spanish colonizers arrived in Panay in 1565, they found an abundance of rice, swine, fowl, and honey for food; beeswax for lamps; woven pakol ‘abaca’ and cotton cloth (Span. lampotes).[66]  Practically every house in the southern towns in Iloilo had a tidal ‘wooden loom’. Indigenous fibers that were used for weaving were cotton and pakol ‘abaca’, which then became sinamay ‘woven’ cloth. The weaving of patadyong ‘barrel skirt’ became a home industry.[67]

In Negros, sugarcane cultivation was widespread, and the making of wine from the juice of sugarcane, coconut, nipa palm, and rice was already known. Gamuto ‘Malay sago palm’ (Span. cabo negro) was preferred to abaca hemp as raw material for ship cables because it was stronger and more durable in sea water. The most fertile part of the island was in the south, which, besides the ubiquitous rice, had plenty of swine, fowl, and abaca. Thus, it had thickly populated villages, situated along the rivers Ylo (Ilog), Ynabagan (Binalbagan), Bago, Carobcob (Silay), and Tecgaguan (aka Saravia and E.B. Magalona).[68]


By 1572 Manila had become greatly dependent on Panay for rice and meat.[69]  The weaving industry continued well into the 19th century. After the pineapple plant was introduced into the Philippines from Mexico,[70] piña ‘pineapple’ and jusi ‘pineapple and silk’ fibers were used to make fine cloth, called nipis. There were 10 different mixtures of cotton, silk, pineapple, and hemp fibers woven in Iloilo, out of 52 varieties of Philippine textiles available. The various towns of Iloilo established reputations for their specialties: Tigbauan continued to make cotton cloth and Jaro continued to weave pakol ‘abaca’ cloth. Miag-ao manufactured all kinds of cloth, especially nipis; Janiuay made striped cloth, called rayadillo, handkerchiefs, bed covers, tablecloths, and napkins. Oton produced table linen and silk, besides the traditional abaca and cotton cloth; La Paz and Barotac Nuevo produced piña; Dumangas produced piña as well as the sadok ‘hats’ of woven bamboo or rattan strips; Pototan and Molo produced woven textiles of piña, abaca, and cotton.[71]

By the 19th century the panaderias ‘bakeshops’ of Molo had become popular for their delicacies: biscochos ‘biscuits’, ojaldres ‘puff pastries’, and ensaimadas ‘twisted cakes’.[72]


The systematic production of sugar as an export crop and of rice was further developed in the 19th century. In the 1850s the British vice-consul in Iloilo, Nicholas Loney, saw Iloilo’s potential for exporting sugar. Under Loney’s initiative and guidance, the production of sugar in Iloilo and Negros was greatly increased with the introduction of centrifugal iron mills, even as better sugarcane seeds were imported from Sumatra. With such production capability, the sugar barons, led by Agustin Montilla and Yves Germain Gaston, competed favorably in the world market.  In Negros, the production of sugar rose from 14,000 piculs in 1859 to 618,120 in 1880 and 1,800,000 in 1893.[73]

But as Loney contributed to the growth of the sugar industry by encouraging the importation of mills from Britain, so was he partly responsible for the decline of the hand-weaving industry of Iloilo, because he introduced cheaper machine-made cloth also from Britain. With the growth of the sugar industry, Iloilo City prospered. The elite lived on their haciendas, the middle class earned their wages from the shops and banks that thrived in the city, and the dock workers and dumaan ‘plantation workers’ formed the backbone of the economy.  In the 1930s, these class relations were transferred to Negros Occ with the decline of the sugar industry in Iloilo.

In areas where mechanization is still uncommon, the cast-iron plow has replaced the more traditional wooden plow. The bolo is used for clearing the farm, chopping, and defense. For cane cutting, the espading ‘machete’ is used.

Negros Occ, also called the “Sugar Bowl of the Philippines,” accounted for 50% of the total sugarlands in the country. However, in the 1970s and 1980s, the sugar industry suffered a decline due to the absence of financing, nonpayment of sugar harvests, and the slump in the price of sugar in the world market. The hacenderos then resorted to crop diversification and inland fishing, particularly prawn culture.

Seasonal unemployment, from April to July, is characteristic of the sugar industry, when all work at the plantations and mills is finished, and the wait for the next planting cycle begins. This four-month period is called tiempos muertos ‘the dead season’. Negros Occ has one million impoverished persons, or 33% of its total population. This is the nation’s largest population of impoverished persons in proportion to its total population. The disproportionately high incidence of poverty prevails in the rural areas, where 54% of agricultural land is planted to sugarcane. And yet, Negros Occ is also one of the country’s richest provinces, based on its overall income, which in 2013 was PHP2.2 billion.[74]

Whereas land tenancy prevails in the rice-producing areas in most of the country, the minimum wage system is followed in sugar plantations.


The end of Martial Law in 1986 restored old freedoms and created new ones that could respond to circumstances particular to the period. In Negros, crop diversification, expertise in peasant organizing, and land reform were the combined factors that created the Alter Trade Corporation (ATC) in 1987. Its primary export products are muscovado sugar and balangon ‘native Cavendish’ banana. Following the principles of fair trade, ATC is an alternative enterprise that distributes its net sales as dividends among its farmers, typically land reform beneficiaries. It helps them to organize cooperatives and pursue various livelihood projects. Many rebel returnees are partner-associates of the ATC, foremost among them former chief of the Negros New People’s Army, Silvino Gallardo. In 1997 he established the Diversified Organic Enterprises, which is the branch of the ATC that recycles the crops’ wastes to produce organic fertilizer. Despite setbacks, such as typhoons and harassment from the New People’s Army of Negros, the ATC’s net income in 2011-12 was PHP40 m.[75]


There are still plantation owners who demand unstinting loyalty of their workers on pain of sudden termination, regardless of whether they are sacadas ‘seasonal or casual workers’ or dumaan ‘permanent, regular workers’. The off-season period can be used to advantage by plantation owners to terminate dumaan workers whose loyalty they deem wanting. In July 1996, during the off-season, Hortensia L. Starke (d. 2010), former congresswoman and owner of a 236-hectare (ha) sugar plantation in Barangay (Bgy) Orong, Kabankalan City, terminated 76 of her 220 workers. She made the reason clear in her Order of Notice: that the 76 workers had applied to be beneficiaries of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) instead of supporting the hacienda’s application to be re-classified from agricultural to industrial, commercial, and residential land. However, the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), Court of Appeals, and Supreme Court ruled in the workers’ favor and ordered Starke to pay them their back wages and attorney’s fees totaling P550,000.[76]

Even into the 21st century, plantation owners continue to intimidate workers who assert their rights even by legal means. In 2003 the owners of Hacienda Fatima terminated 36 workers who had joined the NFSW-FGT labor union. When the NLRC ruled in favor of the workers, the hacienda owners defied all their orders, refusing to meet with the union representatives for a collective bargaining agreement, using their private army to bar the union from the hacienda, and sending in scabs during the workers’ strike.[77]


In the valleys and coastal plains small farming is still practiced. Copra and fish are plentiful. Iloilo’s coastal towns are the country’s best fishing centers, as the inland Guimaras Strait yields an abundance of fish.

In the hinterlands, barter economy exists side by side with cash economy. Tabuan is a designated area for the folk to converge regularly for the buying and selling of goods. The tabuan and the tiangge ‘permanent marketplaces’ provide occasions for the singing of the composo ‘ballad’ about folk heroes or about the goods being sold.

Trade has existed between Iloilo and neighboring areas since pre-colonial times. The carriada trade, which flourished from the 1800s to the 1920s, operated between Miag-ao in Iloilo and Sibalom in Antique, with traders utilizing the mountain trails. On the other hand, the batel trade, which used the locally made passenger boat called batel, plied the route between Miag-ao, Iloilo, and Hinigaran, Negros Occ. This trade, which evolved from the 1930s to the 1950s, was responsible for the peopling of Hinigaran and has brought sacadas from Iloilo and Antique to Negros since the 1950s.[78]

The development of Iloilo was sluggish after WWII. The destruction of sugar centrals, coupled with intense labor problems at its port, made rehabilitation efforts more difficult. Infrastructure projects became the centerpiece of development initiatives, such as the construction of the Iloilo Fish Port Complex, International Sea Port, and Diversion Road. From the 1980s to 90s, Iloilo’s sugar-based economy shifted to fishery and aquaculture, although palay and mango were still its major products. However, the shift in land use from agriculture to aquaculture and real estate posed a threat to rice production.[79] On the other hand, the mangrove forests of Panay shrank to a mere 7,276 ha when these were overrun by prawn and fish ponds, and salt beds. Technological disasters, such as the oil spill in Guimaras in 2006, have exacerbated the ecological impact on the breeding grounds of fish and marine biodiversity. Conosequently, fisherfolk have been compelled to migrate continually in search of fishing grounds.[80]

Although Negros, Iloilo, and Guimaras have a tourist market, recent hopes of participation in the global marketplace have been confined largely to employment in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry. However, BPO companies are concentrated primarily in the cosmopolitan cities of Iloilo and Bacolod, which as of 2009, had between them the following outsourcing establishments: 19 call centers, 2 medical transcription services, and 5 others offering various BPO services.[81]


The region abounds in mineral reserves; metallic minerals are found mostly in its mountainous areas and non-metallic minerals are collected in coastline municipalities and caves. However, the mining industry has caused severe ecological imbalance, which has in turn created short- and long-term problems: heavy air pollution caused by dust particles emanating from open pit mining and quarrying; chemical poisoning of the rivers and coastal waters; exploitation of labor; and displacement of the communities from their farmsteads.

The long and turbulent history of the Maricalum Mining Corporation (MMC) in Sipalay, southern Negros, illustrates these problems. Tailings are the toxic wastes of a mineral processing plant, which dumps these in a storage facility called tailing ponds. Between 1982 and 1996, the three tailing ponds of MMC collapsed four times, each time flooding the nearby farms and spilling into the coastal waters. MMC’s tailings consisted of lead, cadmium, zinc, and cyanide. At least 1,000 ha of rice, corn, and vegetables were destroyed; and fish kills occurred in rivers and coastal seas. More than 1,200 families in peasant communities and fishing villages of Sipalay and Cauayan were displaced. In 1996 the effects of the toxics that had been ingested and inhaled by the human populace started to manifest themselves as skin diseases, allergies, and lung problems. Organized protests by the local communities and environmental organizations succeeded in calling a halt to MMC’s operations. In turn the mining company resorted to mass layoffs, claiming a fall in the production. Nevertheless, MMC has renewed its mining permit for commercial operations covering the period from 1998 to 2023.[82]

Mining permits (aka Mineral Production Sharing Agreements), with expiry dates ranging from 2018 to 2035, have been granted to several other mining companies besides the MMC. These licenses allow either mining exploration or commercial operation. The mining companies are in the mineral-rich areas of southern Negros: 1) Vulcan Industrial and Mining Corp for copper and gold in Sipalay and Hinobaan; 2) Philex Gold Phils Inc for gold in Hinoba-an; 3) Selenga Mining Corp for gold, copper, silver, and molybdenum in Sipalay; 4) San Dominico Minerals and Industrial Corp for manganese and other mineral deposits in Kabankalan; 5) Silicon Dev’t. Corp in Babiera and Sagay for silica, sand and quartz.[83]

The following mining companies are in Iloilo: 1) Teresa Marble Corp for copper and gold in Lemery, Sara, and Ajuy; 2) Quarry Ventures Phils Inc for copper and gold in Sara; 3) Minimax Mineral Exploration Corp for copper and gold in Concepcion and Ajuy; and 4) I.C. Bertumen & Company Inc for basalt and other such mineral deposits. In Guimaras, the Dorilag Cement Corp has an exploration permit for limestone in Jordan and Buenavista.[84]

In the provinces of South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat Mindanao, where the Ilonggo population is the majority, are the following mining companies: South Davao Development Co. Inc for gold, copper and other such mineral deposits in Tampakan and Columbio; GRCO Isulan Mining Corp for copper and gold in Bagumbayan; and TMC-Tribal Mining Corp for copper and gold in Tboli.[85]


Extreme weather changes from one year to the next have wrought havoc on the region’s economy, which is primarily dependent on agriculture, fishery, and forestry. On 21 and 22 Jun 2008 Western Visayas experienced the worst typhoon in recorded history. Typhoon Frank (aka FenShen) plunged Panay island in almost total darkness as the winds of 200 km an hour felled electric posts and lines, and caused the shutdown of the power plant in Dingle. More than 30,000 residents were stranded on rooftops and trees. Panay island was commonly described as “one big sea,” as floodwaters reached rooftops of two-story residences. All 42 muncipalities and 2 cities of Iloilo were inundated, in whole or in part, particularly those toward the north of the province: Barotac Viejo, Sara, Maasin, Cabatuan, Pavia, and Santa Barbara. In sum, at least 375,600 families suffered, 45,000 houses were destroyed, and 315 people were killed.  It damaged PHP3.1 billion worth in agriculture and PHP6.4 billion in infrastructure. However, in 2010 the climate drastically reversed itself, with El Niño compelling farmers to delay planting as they waited for the drought to end.[86]

In Nov 2013 Typhoon Yolanda (aka Haiyan) swept through central and northern Iloilo, destroying 1,303 (75%) of its 1,721 barangays, wrecking 170,000 houses, and rendering 215,000 families homeless. Typhoon Yolanda was the worst calamity on record that hit Negros Occ, particularly the northern cities of Cadiz, Sagay, and Escalante. Across the province, it destroyed 518 barangays, wrecked 63,000 houses, and rendered 100,000 families homeless.[87]

At the opposite end of the climate-change scale, is the El Niño phenomenon. Since 2015, for instance, it has wrought total destruction on at least 30% of the Alter Trade Corp’s crop sources and has either shrunk or severely damaged the other 70%. Although sugarcane is a hardier plant, a prolonged drought delays its harvest by several months and causes a significant drop in volume.[88]


The national government depends upon the region to supply the country’s staple food. As of 2009, the region produces a surplus of rice, at least 30% more than its population needs. It supplies the country with at least 14% of its rice consumption, making it second to Central Luzon in production volume.[89] Aiming to increase the region’s rate of production, the government passed a law in 1960 for the construction of the Jalaur Multipurpose Project (JRMP). This consists of a series of dams scheduled to be built along Jalaur River and other nearby rivers from 2016 to 2020. Preparations have been made toward the construction of a mega-dam in Bgy Agcalaga, Calinog; and three smaller dams along Ulian, Tagbacan, and Jayubo Rivers in the municipality of Lambunao. The project aims to provide irrigation water for 32,000 ha of farmlands to benefit the region’s 783,000 farmers; supplement the province’s electric supply with hydroelectric power; and increase the supply of water for personal consumption and industrial use. However, 13 barangays of tumandok ‘indigenous people’ in the vicinity will be displaced: of the four barangays that will be completely inundated, three have already received their Certificates of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADTs) to the land from which they must be forcibly evacuated. Their resistance to the project has brought in the military and a paramilitary group called the Kabayan Action Group.[90]


Both the Western Visayas and Negros Island Regions have the abundant natural resources to produce bio-fuel in commercial quantities. Sugarcane can be processed into bio-ethanol, and land reform beneficiaries can diversify into the planting of tuba-tuba ‘jatropha curcas’, a plant that not only produces bio-diesel but increases soil fertility and decreases erosion. Power plants of renewable sources of energy in Negros Occ are the San Carlos Bioenergy in San Carlos City; the Northern Negros Geothermal Project in Bago City and Murcia; and the Northern Negros BioFuel Corporation, which cultivates tuba-tuba on 5,000 ha of land in Cadiz City. In Passi City, Iloilo, a sugar mill has been transformed into the Co-Generation Power Plant of the Central Azucarera de San Antonio in Passi City, Iloilo.[91]

The increasing demand for sustainable food sources, clean environment, traffic control, and relatively peaceful communities has encouraged the forging of alliances among local government units in Iloilo Province. The Metro Iloilo Development Council—composed of Iloilo City and the municipalities of Leganes, Pavia, Oton, and San Miguel as well as Guimaras province—is an alliance to address common needs of the Ilonggo population. Private and public sectors have become more active partners in project implementation. The restoration of heritage buildings, rehabilitation of Iloilo River, construction of international airports in Iloilo City and Silay City, Neg. Occ., construction of the Jaro Floodway and the circumferential road, and the resettlement of informal settlers are projects demonstrating the convergence of public and private efforts.



A village, in precolonial times, consisted of several sakup ‘districts’, each of which was headed by a datu ‘chief’. Thus, there could be several datus living in one village. The datu was the judge in matters of dispute, the protector and defender, and a feudal lord. His sinakpan ‘subjects’ were of two classes: the timawa ‘freemen or warriors’ and oripun ‘slaves’. The timawa’s main function was to protect his datu, including doing such tasks as tasting his wine for poison. They rowed the datu’s boat on raiding forays, carried their datu’s weapons, and were on familiar terms with him. The oripun were obliged to provide economic and political support for the datu and timawa, since the latter two did not engage in agricultural or industrial activity.[92]

According to their mythology, it was the goddess Lubluban who handed down their laws, which the datus had the exclusive responsibility to implement. Legislative decisions by the datu were done publicly and with the guidance of the ponu-an, a council of elders knowledgeable in matters of custom law. Although law was handed down by tradition, amendments could be made with the consensus of the other datus.  The datu decided on a case after listening to the sworn testimony of the conflicting parties.  All crimes, including murder and disobedience to the datu, were punishable by fines, which could be paid for with servitude. Graver crimes deserving punishment by slavery were murder, adultery, theft, and offenses against women of any rank, particularly when they were caused to disrobe, whether deliberately or accidentally. A datu was not exempted from being fined should he commit murder or adultery.[93]

The Ilonggo regularly went to war and thus had a set of laws ensuring that their wars were honorable. A village could rightly declare war on another for three reasons: if a village member was killed in another village without provocation; if a wife was abducted; and if a trader in another village was treated badly. Raids on enemy villages were regulated by a code of ethics for the victors: One could not kill a captive, otherwise he either paid the value of the slain captive’s life or he would be enslaved. All the war booty was given to their datu, who handed a small fraction of it to his crew of timawa, who rowed his war boat. When several datus came together to conduct a raid, half of the booty was distributed evenly among them, and the other half given to the mag-aanito, the baylan who held the ritual prayers to the ancestral spirits for a victorious war.[94]


To keep a tight control over the colonized population, the Spanish regime resorted to the reduccion process, in which the local inhabitants living in far-flung hamlets and farmsteads were forced to live in colonized settlements. Villages such as Oton and Himamaylan already existed when the Spaniards arrived, and new towns such as Arevalo and Isabela were founded by the Spaniards.  In religious terms, re-settlement of the inhabitants also meant living debajo de las campanas ‘within hearing of the bells’.

From the year of its founding by Gov Gonzalo Ronquillo in 1581, the town of Arevalo became the seat of the provincial government of Iloilo. Here the government officials resided: the provincial governor, four municipal councilers, a sheriff, two municipal judges, one notary public and another notary for the municipal council. The municipal councilors were elected for life, and the sheriff was co-terminus with the governor.[95]


In the 1950s the conflict between the rich and the poor increasingly became a political issue.  In 1955 the positions of mayor, vice-mayor, and city councilor became elective.  In Iloilo Rodolfo Ganzon, who came from the lower middle class, succeeded in shattering the traditional oligarchy—led by the powerful Lopez brothers, Fernando and Eugenio—with his program of “timawaism.”  The program, he claimed, would transform the poor into a “strong, militant middle class,” which would make them ideologically independent of both “the rich and the communists.”  Ganzon won as mayor and served as senator until 1971.[96]

Bacolod City politics, on the other hand, is more dynasty based. One historian has remarked that the “political and socioeconomic history of the city is the history of the Montelibanos, Aranetas, Yulos, Gatuslaos, Lizareses, and Gonzagas,”[97] who, at one time or another, were the biggest sugar-plantation owners in Negros.  On the other hand, grassroots interest is represented by the National Federation of Sugar Workers-Food and General Trade (NFSW), which organizes the various workers in the province, especially those on sugar plantations and in the mills.

The present system consists of the barangay captain, a vice-chair, and kagawad ‘councilors’, all of whom are elected every three years. A manughusay ‘arbiter’ may be called upon to mediate between members of the community in conflict. Highly regarded by community members because of their age and distinction, the manughusay resolves conflicts based on custom law. The barangay captain, parangkutan, and husay may assist each other in settling cases on the barangay level. Such an authority system has been modified by the barrio political organization and more recently by barangay law. As a last resort, higher officials of the local government unit (LGU), under the jurisdiction of the municipality, may intervene when called upon by the conflicting parties.[98]

An indigenous ideology still exists in the concept of gaba, a curse brought upon an individual for an offense committed, and gahum, an individual’s power and leadership ability deriving from the combination of a mystical force, personality, social position, and age.

Iloilo province has 42 municipalities and 2 cities: Iloilo City, the provincial capital, and Passi City. Guimaras island, which is a separate province, has 5 municipalities. To the east of Panay Island is the Negros Island Region (Region 18), which became a separate region from Western Visayas (Region 6) on 29 May 2015, by virtue of Executive Order No. 183, signed by Pres Benigno S. Aquino.[99]

Negros Occ, an Ilonggo province, lies on the western side of the Negros Island Region. It has 19 municipalities and 13 cities, including its capital, Bacolod City.[100]  However, the province’s four northern municipalities of Escalante, Calatrava, Toboso and San Carlos are predominantly Cebuano speaking, originally settled by Boholano and Cebuano.

National legislation provides for the organization of at least 16 barangay committees and councils, the aims of which are to maintain peace and order, and to generate development projects. Some of these committees have the following names: Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Committee, Barangay Human Rights Protection, Barangay Ecological Solid Waste Management Committee, Senior Citizens Council, and Barangay Physical Fitness and Sports Development Council. However, the proliferation of committees has led to such concerns as the overlapping of functions, inefficient utilization of resources, and the strain on the local government budget. On the other hand, barangays in Negros that are reportedly affected by the insurgency movement have increased from 18 to 106 within the two-year period of 2008-2010.[101]



Traditional Ilonggo social hierarchy consisted of five classes: the datu, timawa, oripun, ati (negrito), and outsiders from across the seas. According to an Ilonggo origin myth, these five types of people made up all of humankind. The term datu referred to both the social class and the chieftain who belonged to this class.  He had a retinue of personal vassals called timawa. Inheritance of a datu or timawa’s property, including his slaves, was divided evenly among his children. Illegitimate offspring inherited only what their legitimate siblings were willing to give them.[102]

These two upper classes were economically supported by the commoners, called oripun, who were further divided into three subclasses: The aywey were of the lowest status; they lived in their master’s house, serving him 3 days in every 4. Higher in status were the the tumarampok, who had their own residence and either served 1 in every 4 days or paid their master 6 cavans of rice per year. Their wives served by spinning and weaving cotton for the master for half of every month. The property of both classes of slaves was inherited by their master when they died. The most respectable slaves were the tumataban, who either served only 5 days per month or gave 3 cavans of rice per year. They helped with the preparations when the master held a feast and in turn were invited to partake of the drinks. At death, their property was to be divided evenly among their children and their master.[103]

In times of hardship, a person or family could go into voluntary servitude when they begged for food from another, usually a relative who was better off. Slaves could regain their freedom if their master granted it to them for any reason or by paying off their debt, which might have been the cause of their slavery. Thus, vertical mobility was possible within this structure. The datu, on the other hand, kept the noble line unbroken by marrying only a binukot ‘well-kept maiden’ (lit. ‘woman who is in the room’, from bukot ‘a room’), or the daughter of a leading family of other sakup, whether by proper arrangement or abduction.

Present-day Halawodnon still tell of the panambian ‘wars’ waged against the Pan-ayanon because of the abduction of a binukot. The Halawodnon call such acts of roguery “gapamuyong” (from the word buyong ‘rogue’) or “gapang-ati” ‘robbery’.[104]


The binukot was so called because she was carefully hidden in her room from men until she was appropriately married at 11 or 12. As a result, she was very fair skinned and commanded a very high bride-price, or dowry. Even after marriage, she confined herself largely to her room, and when she went outside, she was borne on the shoulders of favored slaves or carried on a hammock. However, some binukot had the rights and privileges of a chief and could wield authority in their own right. Present-day binukot are still to be found among the Panay Bukidnon.[105]

Despite what might seem to be a highly restricted life for the binukot, there was no concept of virginity nor of female adultery in pre-colonial society. Adultery was never blamed on a married woman but only on her male lover. In effect, therefore, there was no concept of the adulteress but only of the adulterer, who was made to pay a fine when caught. To heighten the pleasure of sexual intercourse, husbands wore penis rings, of which there were twenty kinds.[106]


By the 17th century the datu and timawa had been absorbed into the Spanish colonial structure; and the timawa, now subjugated by Spanish military might, had to seek a means of subsistence such as farming and fabric weaving. The current meaning of “timawa” is “poor or destitute,” evidence of the effect that Spanish colonization had on indigenous society.

The datu class was also referred to as manggaranon ‘rich’, halangdon ‘held in high respect’, and dungganon ‘honorable’.  Among the other halangdon and dungganon were the sabiosar ‘wise’ and the babaylan. The datu was also the agalon ‘feudal lord and master’ of the timawa and the oripun.  Because the present agricultural system maintains feudal relations between landlord and tenant or worker, many of these terms are still in current use.


The Ilonggo kinship system follows the general Philippine pattern, relationship being traced along both paternal and maternal lines, with terms of address indicating the relative position of each member of the family.

Traditional marriage arrangements begin with the requisite pamalaye or pabalayon ‘parental approval and arrangement’. This is done in a ceremony in three stages. The pabagti, aka padul-ong or kagon, is the first meeting, when the two families formally acknowledge that the woman has not been promised to anyone else. In pahimpit is the second meeting, when the the two sets of parents negotiate the terms of their children’s marriage until they arrive at an agreement and hence confirm the engagement. A manogpatigayon serves as arbiter or spokesperson for both parties in the talks. The third meeting is the padul-ong, a formal ceremony in which the engagement is announced.  During the engagement period, the man does the panghagad, in which he serves the woman’s family for a period of time.

An illustration of the close ties between Cuyo (Palawan) and Panay is a wedding of the son of the datu of Cuyo and the daughter of the datu of Oton in early 1600s. The Cuyonon datu had paid a very high bride price and distributed gifts of great value not only to the bride’s immediate family and distant relatives but also to her family’s many slaves.[107]

The marriage celebration itself is festive and costly. In the past, the sinulog or sayaw, a bolo dance, followed behind the bride and groom as they walked from the church. This has now been replaced by the practice of the newlyweds posing for photographs with their families. At the wedding reception, the host families may try to keep within the food budget by secretly placing huya-huya ‘mimosa leaves’ under the tables. This is believed to make the guests too shy to eat too heartily. The day after the wedding, the groom formally presents his bride to his family in the ceremony of pasaka ka umagad, lit. ‘to welcome the in-law’.

The newlyweds may initially stay with the bride’s family for a few days, then move in with the groom’s family for a longer period, until the couple sets up residence, usually as decided on by the husband, with his wife’s concurrence.  In the past, the groom was expected to serve the bride’s family for the first few months.

The father is the head of the family, though household matters—such as preparing the meals, buying clothing for the family, entertaining visitors and relatives, attending to the children’s needs—are the mother’s responsibilities.  Grandparents are respected and cared for, their opinions sought, and their advice followed.  They may be part of the household and in their terminal years are attended to by the favorite daughter or son. Equal inheritance for the children is observed.

When a woman is about to give birth, several practices are meant to drive away evil spirits.  She is provided with a pangalap, a kind of talisman passed on from grandmother to granddaughter, to protect her from evil spirits.  The house is shut tight, all openings covered with old clothes, because the smell of birthing blood attracts the evil spirits.  The luy-ahan ritual is held, in which seven slices of ginger are pounded and rubbed on the woman’s body. Visitors who come to see the infant must utter the words, purya usog to ward off usog, a power that causes stomachache, or purya abay meant to ward off abay, a power that causes lifelong illness or ill luck.

A boy’s coming of age is not marked by any special ceremonies, except for circumcision.  Adulthood is simply measured by the ability to help ease the family’s economic burden, no matter what the person’s age.  However, there are certain rituals for the girl during her first menstrual period.  She descends the ladder and jumps to the ground from the third to the last step.  Then she bathes with a piece of cloth or towel.  This will ensure that in subsequent menstrual periods she will not have pasmu, characterized by bodily pain and a foul odor.

Courtship is also marked by certain talismans and customs. When a girl begins to attract male attention, the parents may protect her from the boy’s sexual advances by attaching a talisman consisting of huya-huya, scrapings from the mortar, and pieces of a land snail’s shell. The mimosa will make the boy shy, the scrapings will make him stay put, and the shell will make him move slowly. This talisman also renders him temporarily impotent. On the other hand, there are also talismans to make the girl fall

for the boy. Hiwit is the boy’s act of boiling the girl’s clothes until she comes to him. Tiw-tiw is made of plant roots prescribed by a babaylan.  This is dipped into the water that she will bathe in. When she pours the water over her body, she becomes entranced by him. Lumay consists of leaves, roots, and other plants known to the babaylan. This is mixed with coconut oil and rubbed on the girl’s hair to make her fall under the boy’s spell.

Other ritual practices are held for special events, such as building and moving houses and various phases of agriculture. The Almanaque, a small pamphlet containing dates, lunar cycles, tides, and so forth, is still consulted when significant activities are to be held.  For instance, it recommends that housebuilding be avoided during certain phases of the year when the builder might hit the belly of the bakunawa, a mythological snake.

Funeral rituals occur nine days before and nine days after the burial. When a person dies, the family members light bonfires all around their house and guard the coffin to keep malevolent spirits away. During the period before the burial, the family members cannot bathe, comb their hair, or sweep the floor.  To do so would result in another death or a series of deaths.  As the corpse is carried from the house, water is poured over the threshold and the ladder is swept with the adgaw plant.

After the funeral, the mourners, at the entrance of the house, wash their hands and feet with water that has been boiled with pomelo leaves. The bilasyon is the nine-day period after the burial. On the third night of the bilasyon, the mourners hold the tagapamuling ritual, in which they are covered with soot, which they wash off early the next morning in a ritual called pagtabog sang dagaw ‘to drive away evil spirits’.  A mourner pounds the floor three times with a bamboo pole and is answered by another mourner who beats two sides of the mortar with a stick.  At midnight, the mourners formally bid farewell to the spirit of the deceased.  A mortar and a kalalaw ‘winnowing basket’ are beaten while the old clothes of the deceased are gathered in a bundle and thrown out of the window.


During WWII, the evacuees in the “bandit zone” survived by reverting to their ancestors’ use of natural forest products. Clothing came from the most basic material and served an essential function: the bahag ‘loin cloth’ were woven from pakol ‘abaca’; buttons were cut out of coconut shells; pineapple fibers were used for thread; jute sacks were recycled into short pants. For jackets, they stripped the tree bark, which they beat into a pulp and dyed with plant juice. The sap of the papaya tree served as laundry soap while that of the acacia tree could be used for both laundry and bath soap.[108]

For food, there was a rich variety of root crops and yams besides the staple ones of kamote ‘sweet potato’, balinghoy ‘cassava’, gabi ‘taro’, and ube ‘purple yam’; bolot, egao, balyakag ‘lesser yam’ (Tag., tugi), and biga ‘giant taro’. The pith of the lumbia and buri palm trees provided sago, which was made into natok ‘buri flour’ to form into chewy balls called kinogay. Kulo and kamansi were two types of breadfruit that substituted for potato and bread. They made tultol, fist-sized balls of rock salt. To warn of approaching Japanese patrols, lookouts pounded on the tultugan ‘bamboo drum’, blew the budyong ‘shell trumpet’, or simply hung a color-coded sheet of cloth at a designated spot.[109]

The administrative government districts of the resistance movement had the facilities to listen to radio broadcasts, particularly of the KGEI from San Francisco, USA. War news was transcribed and printed in newspapers, of which the most widely circulated were the English-language Voice of Freedom and its Hiligaynon version Tingug sang Kaluwasan, both of which Soledad Lacson Locsin edited. Other papers were The Freeman, edited by Lt Tiburcio Tumbagahan; Liberator, edited by Capt Robert Betia; and Pahayag.[110]

In the “free zone” of Bacolod City, the residents tried to ease their tension by reviving familiar recreational activities such as mahjong and card games like pangguingge and monte. The youths formed basketball teams: the I Owe You 69, which included the brothers Tañedo and Labayen (one of whom became Bishop Enrico Labayen), Isaac Gumban, and Homer Jocson; the Bakla Torotot, which included the brothers Lizares and Kilayko, Nena Borromeo, and Eli Coscolluela. Other teams were the Noravic 606, the Chinese Commercial, the Alipongoy, and the Great Question.[111]

Religious Beliefs and Practices


Although the early Ilonggo believed in many gods, the most powerful was Makaako, the creator. However, another myth identifies the female god Laon as the creator and chief goddess. She resides in Mount Kanlaon, Negros Occ. The people pray to her for a good harvest or when pestilence, like a plague of locusts, strikes. Kaptan is the god of the earth and Magyawan, the god of the sea. In another myth, Manunubo is also the good spirit of the sea.  Bululakaw and Sidapa live in the island’s sacred mountain called Madya-as.

The Ilonggo and the Karay-a have different gods and destinations for the afterlife. The Ilonggo believe that their soul is first taken by the god Maguayen. The god Sumpoy then guides the soul toward a very high mountain in Borneo, which is ruled by the god Sisiburanen. The Karay-a believe that the afterlife is on Mt Madya-as, where the god Sidapa resides. He determines the day of a person’s death by marking every newborn’s lifespan on a very tall tree that stands on Mt Madya-as. When a person dies, the baylan must hold a maganito, which is a ritual offering to the god Pandaque, so that the soul of the deceased is not taken by the gods Simuran and Siginarugan to an afterlife of torment.[112]

The destination of the soul depends on the manner in which death occurs: A violent death is an honorable one, and the soul goes to the afterworld by way of the rainbow and becomes a god. The soul of a person who has drowned remains in the sea and is memorialized by a garment of the deceased person attached to bamboo pole that is erected on the beach. When the relative of a drowned person falls ill, the baylan and the family board a biniday ‘boat’ with a chest full of gifts for the deceased, and they throw this into a spot in the sea designated by the baylan. Mangalos, spirits eating the insides of children, cause their death, whereas it is the hangin ‘the death wind’ that takes the life of the elderly. The deceased is buried in a wooden coffin that must be filled with precious items such as gold and fine clothing. If they die impoverished and thus do not have these valuables to accompany them to the afterlife, they will remain in the netherworld, where the gods will devour them.[113]

Persons who are ill are said to be inaswang ‘bewitched’ or sininda ‘hit by the spell of environmental spirits’.  Sinda comes to the person through the bululakaw, a malevolent god in the form of a bird with a flaming tail. Illness can be caused by sa-ub ‘possession’ by tamawo ‘spirits residing in trees and springs’.

At present, 75% of the Ilonggo population is Catholic and the remaining 25% is Protestant, specifically Baptist, Filipinas Independiente (aka Aglipayan), or Jehovah’s Witness. Nevertheless, Ilonggo religious beliefs are a mixture of indigenous and Christian elements. The kalibutan ‘universe’ consists of three parts: the udtohan ‘upper world’, inhabited by God and his virtuous angels; the katung-anan ‘middle world’, inhabited by tamawo, tubignon, and tabuknon ‘spirits of trees, rivers, and seas’, who were once Lucifer and his followers and can assume the form of a kataw ‘mermaid’ or a siokoy ‘merman’; and the idadalman or idadalmun ‘underworld’, inhabited by the engkanto or tamawo ‘evil spirits’.[114]

God and his angels keep themselves remote from the people. It is the spirits of the underworld who actively engage in human affairs. The tamawo can be either friendly or evil. They live in resplendent palaces that look like mere boulders to the human eye. When a person attracts them, they entice the person to join them in eating human flesh.

The engkanto are believed to reside in places called palhi or mari-it such as cliffs, bamboo groves, boulders, earth mounds, and large trees like the acacia and balete. Animal sounds, such as horses neighing, roosters crowing, bird sounds, frogs croaking, as well as mysterious kitchen noises indicate the presence of the engkanto.[115]

Aswang ‘witches’ come in different forms. The tiktik is a bird that eats human liver. The bagat, usually in the form of a huge dog or some grotesque creature, preys on lone travelers. The sigbin, also a dog, preys on people at noontime. The baua looks like a big hen, but it can easily snap its victim’s neck. The kama-kama are dwarfs living in earth mounds; they are lazy and fun loving. The santirmu is a dancing ball of fire believed to be carried by wandering souls of the dead. The marmanhig (or maranhig) is a living dead as strong as 10 persons. The mantyo (or mantiw) is a tall, thin giant who is usually seen at night leaning on a kapok tree. The kapre is a black, hairy giant smoking a large cigar and sitting on the branch of a big tree. The ukoy is a sea monster with a human face with gills and a froglike body.


The babaylan held an important political, social, religious, and cultural role. They were adviser to the datu, and spiritual and physical healer of the community. The first Bornean datus who came to Panay brought their religion, called Bangotbanwa. Their diwata ‘god’ was called Sitaho, aka Sibo Malabag. The genealogy of their baylan began with Cabus-Cabus, followed by Dangse, and so on down through the generations. In the mid-19th century, the chief baylan was Estrella Bangotbanwa, who had great supernatural powers.[116]

Respect for the Christian priest has not completely replaced the belief in the power of the babaylan, although their number has dwindled. The baylan preside over ritual offerings for the following occasions: when a person falls ill, at a person’s wake and funeral, at the start of planting season, and at the onset of war. The ritual offerings consist of a live pig, jars of rice wine, rice, bananas, and a variety of other dishes. Gongs and metal drums are played as the baylan chants her prayers and invokes the diwata, who responds by speaking through her. The baylan pierces the pig’s heart with a spear and invokes the spirits appropriate to the occasion: the ancestral spirits for a wake or funeral; or the gods of war, Balangaw, Inaginid, and Makanduk.[117]

When fisherfolk acquire a new boat, fishpen, or fishpond, the baylan hold the daga. It is the ritual sacrifice of a chicken or black pig, whose blood is poured over the new acquisition. The sacrificial animal is cooked and laid on a small bamboo raft alongside other ritual food such as suman or ibus ‘sticky rice cakes wrapped in palm leaves’ and some money that should add up to an odd number. As the baylan chants, the raft is gently pushed toward the fishpond or pen. Another ritual is the tu-ob, lit. ‘smoke’, held during the Holy Week, which aims to rid a fishing boat of evil spirits and to obtain a large haul of fish. Ritual objects of Holy Week are mixed with flammable materials and burned; the ashes are rubbed on the fishing boat and equipment.[118]

Under colonialism, the babaylan led popular revolts, such as that of Tapar in 1633 in a mountainous barrio of Dueñas town. He commanded a large following, ranging from Jaro in the south to Passi in the north, by preserving the people’s indigenous belief in their nuno ‘ancestral spirits’ (Tag., ninuno) and their ancient ritual practices, such as the halad ‘food offering of chicken, pig, and palm wine’, while wearing the appropriate ritual garment of the patadyong ‘barrel skirt’. However, he also appropriated certain elements of the Catholic religion, and he named the leaders of his movement after those of its deity, saints, apostles, and church officials.

In the town of Danao, ca. 1762-64, during the British occupation of Manila, an unnamed baylan poisoned the parish priest, who survived but lost his mind. The priest was sent to Manila, where a British sentry shot him after he escaped from the convent and wandered the streets in a daze late at night. In 1874 in the mountainous area of Tubungan, another priest was speared to death when he attempted to force the people to cease their baylan practices.[119]

A turn-of-the-20th century babaylan in Negros Occ was “Papa Isio” (Dionisio Sigbuela), who led a revolt from 1896 to 1907 against oppressive labor conditions in the sugar plantations, Spanish rule, and finally American rule. After his capture in 1907 and with the spread of American Protestantism, babaylan followers turned to the fundamentalist Baptist sect as a substitute.[120]


Church reforms begun by the Second Vatican Council in 1965 were slow to take hold in Negros because of the local church’s dependence on the hacenderos’ largesse. When Rev Antonio Fortich became bishop in 1967, the local church programs were still focused on pietism through organizations like the Barangay sang Birhen, which appealed to the poor and lower middle class, and the Cursillo movement, which was very popular with the hacendero class.[121]

The Martial Law years, however, coincided with the growing influence of the Second Vatican Council’s emphasis on social justice and the collapse of the sugar industry, largely caused by the machinations of the Marcos regime. The church in Negros, under the leadership of Bishop Fortich, institutionalized its solidarity with the poor by organizing and establishing the following: the Social Action Center under Fr Luis Jalandoni; cooperatives for sugar, rice, corn, and other farming communities; credit unions; the labor union, National Federation of Sugar Workers; the Legal Aid Office; and the Basic Christian Communities.[122]


The traditional Ilonggo house is made of bamboo and nipa or cogon leaves.  It is square, with one or two rooms. The roof, palaya ‘pyramid shaped’ or binalay ‘hip shaped’, is made of either cogon or nipa. The palusod is a roof that extends over two levels of the house. The main posts are made of agoho timber.  The smaller posts, roof beams, and rafters are of dried bamboo.  Rope and vine are used to join parts together, such as beams and rafters.  Instead of nails which may split the bamboo, wooden pegs and mortise-and-tenon are used. The walls are of amakan ‘woven bamboo slats’ (Tag. sawali). The floor, about 150 cm above the ground, is of bamboo slats that may be laid in such a way that the nodes form a design.

The space under the floor is generally open, but sometimes it is used as the shelter for livestock such as pigs or chickens, or as the rice granary.  If so, it is enclosed with woven bamboo slats or bamboo tops and twigs. Sulay ‘props’, made of sturdy bamboo, are sometimes used to support the sides of the house. One end is pegged or tied to a section under the eaves while the opposite end is buried into or pegged to the ground and reinforced by large stones.

Interior partitions, such as those between the living room and kitchen, are made of woven amakan. The kitchen contains the stove and the tarap-anan, a bamboo platform standing on stilts above the stove.  Placed here are leftover food and kitchen utensils, such as the bayung ‘bamboo water container’, banga ‘clay water jar’, kerosin ‘kerosene cans’, and kabu ‘coconut shells used as drinking glasses’.

There must be at least one window facing the east, for good luck.  For the same reason, the owner marks the number of steps of the stairs or ladder by reciting the words oro. plata, mata ‘gold, silver, death’, and the builder must make sure that the steps do not end on the word “death.” Outside is the silung ‘front yard’, where household chores are done, such as wood cutting, weaving, and rice pounding. Water jars are placed on either side of the door for washing one’s hands and feet before entering the house.

The basic house materials are put together to fulfill both functional and aesthetic ends.  The nipa shingles on the roof are left untrimmed so that the effect is a shaggy and informal look.  Window latticework designs may be so ornate that they look like an explosion of the owner-builder’s spontaneous creativity.  Bamboo strips of various lengths are placed end to end in different positions or laid over other strips to effect intricate geometric designs, such as diagonals on squares, zigzags on horizontal stripes, diamonds within diamonds, sprinkles of asterisks, flowers, crosses and stars.  The Ilonggo weaving and embroidery culture is reflected in some windows, which can resemble barong tagalog embroidery or the solihiya ‘caned’ design of living room furniture.

In the rural areas, the bamboo or nipa house stands squarely in the middle of the field, which it overlooks in the various stages of the agricultural cycle.  Similarly, the hacendero’s balay daku (Span. casa grande) ‘manor house’, made of stone, overlooks the vast hacienda.  In the barrios, relatives live in the same neighborhood.  City or town planning, on the other hand, reveals traces of Spanish influence.  The town center is a huge, open square—the plaza—from which streets and houses radiate. The plaza is surrounded by the cathedral, the government building, the stone houses of the traditionally affluent, the market, and school.


Two of the many magnificent churches of Iloilo built during the Spanish times are examples of the Ilonggo’s ability to combine indigenous and European designs on the facades.  On the facades of the churches of San Joaquin and Miag-ao are murals in Filipino baroque style. The Parish Church of San Joaquin, 1869, has been declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Historical Institute. Its façade bears a very detailed depiction, in bas relief, of the Battle of Tetuan, in which Spain emerged victorious over the Moors.

In 1993 Miag-ao’s Parish Church of St. Thomas of Villanova, 1797, was included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Its façade bears the relief sculpture of St Christopher carrying the Christ Child on one shoulder. Instead of his wooden staff, he is holding on to a coconut tree that is firmly rooted to the ground. On either side of him is a row of tropical trees and plants, such as the banana, papaya, and vines, all growing from giant vessels. Lush foliage curves over a pair of circular windows that flank the centerpiece. It has been remarked that certain details in this scene deviate significantly from those in the legend of St. Christopher. This may be because the scene may actually be the native artisan’s rendering of an indigenous, pre-Christian folk belief: “When planting a coconut tree, it would be well to plant it while carrying a child on one’s shoulder. The tree will yield twice as many nuts if planted in this manner.”[123]


The Spanish period residential wood-and-stone houses, some of which still stand today, derive their basic structure from the bahay kubo.  Building blocks are made of coral and fine shells, obtained from the reefs of Iloilo, and unique only to the houses of the affluent.  This building material is called coquina in European and American terms, and locally known as tablilla/tabriya.

Stone is used for the zaguan or lower story, which is used as an office, storage space, stable, or garage.  The portal of the zaguan is large enough for a saint’s carroza ‘float’ to pass through.  However, a smaller door may be cut through the door for those entering on foot.

Wood is used for the upper story where the living quarters are. On the upper floor are a vestibule, living room, bedrooms, dining room, kitchen, toilet, and bathroom. The windows are long and wide. An azotea, an open veranda suspended from the second floor and overlooking the courtyard, may itself be a hanging garden of sorts.  The steep roof is hip shaped, originally of nipa but now replaced by galvanized iron.

The wood-and-stone houses built during the mid-19th century and after reveal the influence of revivals of European styles, combined with baroque style designs of local flora. Unique to Iloilo houses are massive molave balusters in corners, which are filled with floral carvings.  In recent times, balusters have become lighter and smaller although still delicately carved.  At the turn of the 20th century, the hacenderos preferred decorative carved panels covering the spaces between staircase balusters inside the house. Massive newel posts contrasted with delicately carved balusters. Other carvings in between staircase balusters may be used, such as stylized dragons seeming to creep up the stairs. The house of Joaquin Ledesma in Jaro has panels whose adjoining sides are emphasized by delicately small leaves and flowers resembling zinnias. In the Ynchausti and Co. house of Iloilo (later known as Elizalde and Co.), inner partitions depart from the typical solid walls of store-houses.  Instead, arches and posts suggest demarcation lines between rooms.

The architectural development of the Ilonggo wood-and-stone house may be best exemplified by that in Silay, Negros Occ. There are two styles of this type of house. The first style, dating from 1889 to the 1930s and represented by the Jose Ledesma and Juan Valencia houses, can be described as geometric.  It features shell window panels and animal exterior decoration. Later, the style became increasingly ornate: glass, frosted and colored, tended to replace shell in the window panes; spandrels, corbels, and exterior panels were incised with exuberant vegetal forms.  This later style may be called floral, examples of which are the houses of Victor Gaston, Fernando Gaston, and Jalandoni.  Porches over entrances and pedimented fronts provide variety to the houses’ boxy silhouettes.


From the 1920s onward, clapboard houses became common.  The wood was laid out as overlapping horizontal strips.  Prominent porches over main entrances are often found in this style, as in the Germain Gaston house.

Silay houses, like most Philippine houses of this type, are airy because of their high windows, high ceilings, and calados ‘traceried panels’.  Windows on the ground floor have protective grills with fanciful fleurette designs, and the houses are surrounded by large gardens.

The interiors have calados, such as those on the surface of some walls, generally those by the stairs, to allow light and air to flow from room to room.  During parties, the orchestra sits behind a wall by the stairs and the music enters the ballroom through the tracery.  In the Jison-Gamboa house in Silay, this wall is fretted, whereas in the Lizares house in Talisay, the music enters through the traceried rose window.

According to oldtimers, some of the best calados were done by Chinese artisans. In the Jose Gamboa house, the vines, leaves, and flowers are not merely cut out; they are sculpted in low relief.  The Vicente Montelibano house has even more exuberant styles of tracery.  The stair balusters and wall strips are carved into coiling vines and leaves.  Part of one wall has cutout forms that resemble stylized tulips and lyres. Cutouts above the windows are snowflakes of different patterns.  The Victor Gaston house (early 20th century) has embossed stars on the window frames of its concrete ground walls to express patriotism.

Two unusual buildings in the commercial district are the Felix Golez and Lino-Lope Severino buildings.  Both use concrete for both stories and lavishly use columns and cusped arches.  Building corners are oblique rather than right-angled.  In the Lino-Lope Severino building a half-circular pediment with a bull’s eye dominates the corner.


In WWII the resistance movement and their families in the mountainous hideout of Silay Patag, Negros Occ, consisted of six communities: Casamañana, Casablanca, Casaverde, Argonne, Casamoro, and Casanova. The last is a play on the name of the river Nasacub, a tributary of the Malago River, which is one of the six major rivers of the province. The official name of Casanova was the Third Administrative Government District of the Resistance Movement, headed by Deputy Governor Aurelio L. Locsin Sr. This community formed a cluster of huts on different shelves of the cliff that rose above the Nasacub River. On the lowest level were two huts, where the health officers of the “Free Negros” area lived. On the second level were government offices and guest huts. On the third level were the guards and other workers. At the very top were seven huts where the officials lived with their families.[124]

All the huts were of similar structure and size: each was supported by log posts; the floor consisted of split logs; the walls were made of beaten tree bark; and the roof was thatched cogon. The hut had a living room that doubled as the sleeping area at night; a clay stove that was set off by a small divider; and a loft between the floor and the roof, for the sleeping quarters of the women and children. Spring water flowed into all the huts through bamboo pipes. Immediately below this community, the Nasacub River curved to form a pool 60 ft long, 30 ft wide, and 6 ft deep, and thus served as their swimming pool.[125]

The office huts on the second level bustled with daily activity. The employees, all male, typed out coded messages and decoded incoming ones. They wrote propaganda materials, transcribed radio news, and typed their officers’ instructions to field workers. The women gave lessons to the children, did household work, and sewed. Members of the resistance, such as army officers and civil officials, streamed in and out, sometimes staying the night at a guest hut. Once in late 1944, Casanova was host to stranded American pilots. After the war, Aurelio Locsin’s wife, Soledad Lacson Locsin, established a girls’ school named Casanova in memory of the anti-Japanese resistance movement.[126]


In Negros Occ, three contemporary churches exemplify the attempt to reflect indigenous folk culture.  In the compound of the Victoria’s Sugar Milling Company (Vicmico) is the Church of Saint Joseph the Worker, more popularly known as the “church of the angry Christ” because of the mural inside the church depicting a craggy-faced Christ against a backdrop of fiery colors and shapes. The statues of saints are all brown skinned and carved with Filipino features.  The characters in the Stations of the Cross are represented by guardias civil ‘local police’ and Filipinos. In 2015 this chapel was declared an Important Cultural Property because of its “exceptional cultural, artistic and/or historical significance.”[127]

At the Santa Clara Subdivision in Bacolod City is the Birhen sang Barangay Chapel, or “chapel of shells,” constructed in the early 1980s.  The massive columns supporting the structure are covered with kagaykay shells. The three sides of the chapel consist of sliding doors of capiz shells. Inside, capiz shells hang in four horizontal beams forming a square below the ceiling, surrounding a huge, almost 3-meter high chandelier of 14,000 carefully matched cup shells in concentric circles, the biggest having a diameter of 3 meters. A mural dominated by the Birhen sang Barangay makes up the fourth side of the chapel. The Virgin, carrying a disproportionately small Infant Christ, towers gigantically over an aerial view of the Negros coastline. This mural, plus the statue of Christ hanging on the wooden crucifix, is made up entirely of 95,000 pieces of locally available shells. Mary’s veil is in mother-of-pearl, which shimmers in the dark. Her eyes and hair are done in black oyster; her white dress is of Japanese scallop; her

rosary is of snail’s shells. All the shells are in their natural color. For the human faces, flesh-colored shells are nipped and crushed into slivers as tiny as fingernail cuttings to achieve the natural hue of the human complexion.  For the mosaic effect, the shells are cut into squares.

The Chapel of San Isidro or the “chapel of wheels” at Manapla constructed in the late 1960s, has walls consisting of old carabao cartwheels contributed by the sugar workers and small farmers living in the vicinity; it is therefore a good example of collective ownership by the ordinary folk. The altar and the priest and altar boys’ seats beside the altar are massive sculptures cut out of slabs of rock. A pair of cartwheels make two rose windows behind the altar. A pestle mounted on an iron post is the baptismal font; a pair of mortars function as candle holders.The image of Mary is in high relief roughly cut out of a wooden block. Christ hangs above, attached to a cartwheel that signifies the crucifix. The roof soars to a peak and is topped by a cross so slim it is almost invisible.


Western Visayas boasts of a number of heritage houses and structures that have been declared Important Cultural Properties and National Cultural Treasures. Declared Important Cultural Properties in 2015 for their “exceptional cultural, artistic and/or historical significance” were the Avanceña House (Camiña Balay na Bato) in Arevalo, Iloilo; the Lizares-Gamboa Mansion (now Angelicum School) in Jaro, Iloilo; and the Sortino House in Santa Barbara, Iloilo.[128]

The adaptive reuse of heritage houses is being implemented by the Iloilo city government through the Iloilo City Cultural Heritage Conservation Council, together with the Iloilo Cultural Heritage Foundation. It documents heritage houses and buildings as well as gives recommendations to developers who purchase the same for restoration. There are plans to turn the Yusay-Consing Mansion in Molo, Iloilo City, into a mini-shop. Restoration of heritage structures along Calle Real Street began in 2011, when the National Historical Commission of the Philippines declared it a heritage zone.[129]


The increasingly fast-paced life in cities like Iloilo and Bacolod has required a cityscape consisting of self-sufficient satellites, each offering its residents convenience and flexibility in responding to their personal and professional needs. This is achieved through mixed-use real estate projects with structures and spaces following the most recent architectural styles

The commercial district of downtown Iloilo has been relocated to the 72-ha Iloilo Business Park, on the former site of Mandurriao airport. It is a mixed-use area for business, lifestyle, and tourism. The emergence of the business process outsourcing (BPO) outside of Metro Manila has also brought new architectural styles to Iloilo. Mid-rises encased in metal and glass, along with a new esplanade and walkway by the river, have slowly transformed the cityscape of Iloilo into a new “lifestyle city,” which will include what is envisioned to be the largest convention center in West Visayas, surrounded by a number of office towers, luxury condominiums, and malls.[130]

In Bacolod City an area is being developed into an upscale subdivision similar to the exclusive Forbes Village in the same city. Two townships that will be called The Upper East and North Hill will be developed into mixed-use projects featuring condominiums, malls, commercial centers, BPO office towers, tourism and leisure facilities, recreational parks, and open spaces.[131]


Archaeological excavations reveal that the early Ilonggo fashioned ornaments out of gold, such as leaf-shaped death masks for the eyes and leaf-shaped coverings for the nose excavated from a grave site in Bgy San Antonio in Oton, Iloilo. In the south of Negros, such as Kabankalan and Ilog, gold pendants, braided gold chains ranging in complexity from four-cornered to the simpler round designs have been dug. Other gold ornaments discovered all over Negros are disc-shaped masks with decorative incisions, studs, cone-shaped and cylindrical items, and filigreed earrings.[132]  The Ilonggo also knew the art of carving on dagger and bolo handles, and on boats and shields.

In 1564, when the Spanish colonizers with Legazpi laid eyes on the Visayans, they saw bodies that were “very gorgeously tattooed.”[133]  These tattoos were drawn on the skin with an iron stylus that had been dipped in black ink made from soot. The stylus pricked the skin and mixed with the blood to make indelible “beautiful figures.”  The Visayans all had long hair, whether male or female, and wound it artfully into a bun on top of the head. They wore gold earrings, necklaces, and armlets. Their garments were of pakol ‘abaca’, cotton, and Chinese silk.[134]

The Boxer Codex, circa 1595, depicts the early Bisayans as clothed only by a bahag, a cotton cloth at least 4 meters long and 1.5 meters wide, wound around the lower part of their body from the waist to the thighs.  The rest of the body was covered all over with tattoos, symmetrically arranged, so that “the paintings look as well as if they were dressed very elegantly.”  Their long hair was covered with a putong, a long piece of cloth wound around the top of their head and knotted at the nape.


Contemporary folk handicraft includes shellcraft, cloth weaving, basket weaving, and mat weaving. Sigay, the most commonly used shells, are strung together in coastal towns to make flower and animal patterns, such as turtles and fish, on curtains, mats, and necklaces.  Arevalo town in Iloilo has maintained its cloth-weaving tradition from pre-Spanish times. Nipis, very fine and transparent cloth made from piña, jusi, and sinamay, are woven with flower designs such as the sampaguita or vine tendrils with tiny leaves and flowers. The patadyong is woven in several towns, especially Miag-ao. Typical designs are checks in red, black, yellow, and white.  Baskets are woven out of coconut midrib. Sleeping mats are woven with simple designs, such as colored strips forming inner borders.

In Negros a by-product of the sugarcane is the stalk of the sugarcane flower. The stalks are sliced open to flatten them and used to decorate furniture and make pictures. The strips are laid side by side and some parts shaded by varying degrees of heat in order to produce a mosaic effect. The result is a picture consisting of geometric patterns, although the total effect is a picture with gently curving outlines.  Examples of its subject matter are the Philippine landscape, sailboats in the sunset, the Last Supper, and animals.


Conventional Ilonggo painting may be classified according to the following types: church and house murals, telon ‘theater backdrop’ and fondo ‘painted backdrop’, and easel painting.  Known master of all these genres is Vicente de San Miguel.  In the 18th and 19th centuries, the churches of Molo, San Joaquin, Oton, Leon, and Jaro contained wall and ceiling paintings that were almost exact copies of European church paintings.  Most of these paintings have been destroyed by WWII and the elements.

Marcelo Mabunay, who painted in the late 19th century, was a significant church artist whose only surviving painting, the Pentecost in Molo Church, reveals his ability to render the illusion of flat and well-proportioned figures on concave spaces.  Contemporary artist Jesus Hervas has two paintings, The Samaritan Lady at the Well of Jacob and Jesus’ Entry into Jerusalem, at the main entrance of the Molo Church.  Created in 1981 and 1982, the paintings show a combination of Renaissance and modern styles.

In 1900 to 1930 the popularity of the Hiliugaynon zarzuela (Fil. sarswela) created the genre of telon painting, which was done on a large piece of coco-crudo ‘canvas cloth’.  Although backdrop painting was already being done for the comedia during the Spanish period, the zarzuela telon demanded a highly realistic rendering of scenery.  The zarzuela’s setting generally required one telon representing the interior of a rich man’s house; another, the interior of a poor man’s house; and another, an exterior scene. A zarzuela with an exotic setting, such as Jose Ma. Ingalla’s Dumut cag Huya (Hatred and Shame), 1911, required a lush and elaborate exterior scene.

The houses of the affluent also had paintings of Philippine sceneries on their walls and ceilings. On a dining room wall, for instance, may be a still life of fruits and game, while a living room may be decorated with rustic scenes. A trompe 1’oeil of a curtain painted on a wall still survives in the Villanueva residence in Iloilo City. One of the known artists of this genre was Miguel Zaragoza, a contemporary of Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo and Juan Luna.

With the zarzuela’s decline in the 1930s, the artists shifted to painting fondos for photography studios, plaza stages during the coronation of a fiesta queen, and churches.  There was not much difference between a telon and a fondo, except that the fondo was smaller and characterized by more realistic details with a three-dimensional effect.

At about the same time, easel painting was being influenced by European impressionism and by the romantic rustic paintings of Fernando Amorsolo and Fabian de la Rosa.  Felipe Zaldivar, who had studied painting under Amorsolo at the University of the Philippines, painted Amorsolo reproductions and rural scenes in the Amorsolo style.  He founded the Guild of Iloilo Artists, which in the 1950s had 50 commercial artists, signboard painters, portraitists, church painters, and landscape painters as members.  The guild included Pepito Yulores, Leon Mombay, Eutiquio Marañon, Felix de la Paz, Patricio Antolo, Artango, Jesus Hervas, Ravana, and Avelino.  Vicente de San Miguel resisted the romantic-impressionist trend and continued painting in his distinctive realist style until his death in 1954.


In Negros Occ on 4 July 1975, the artists were organized by Edgardo Lizares into the Art Association of Bacolod (AAB). In October 1982 it initiated the annual Masskara festival, in which the people of Bacolod wear smiling masks made out of papier mache as they celebrate the city’s charter day with street dancing and general revelry. Negros art works were exhibited in the AAB Gallery, situated at the city center and leased by the city government for a peso a year.  Its “art caravan” also made possible the holding of exhibits from town to town. Officers and members included Achilles Palma, Rafael Paterna, Edgar Dionela, Rodney Martinez, and George Macainan.  Other members were Lorenzo Sumagaysay, a leading portraitist; the late Ely Santiago, a cartoonist for national publications; Marcial Vuelva, who painted romanticized interpretations of the sugar industry; and Jecky Alano, who produced classical sculptures in terra-cotta.  Their styles range from the classical to the modern.

Better known for their styles of realism and social realism are the Black Artists of Asia (BAA), founded in 1986. These include Charlie Co, Norberto Roldan, and Nunelucio Alvarado.  Their subject matter derives from Ilonggo life. Alvarado uses massive figures of peasants to depict contemporary social history.

Contemporary Ilonggo artists continue to depict the lives of sugar plantation workers, fisherfolk, and now, the OFWs. Aside from the usual oil and canvas, natural materials found in the immediate surroundings are used, such as terracotta, which is used by the artists of Bgy Jibao-an, San Miguel; pakol ‘abaca’ fiber, by those of the municipalities of San Joaquin and Oton; and ceramic clay, by those of San Dionisio and Carles.[135]

The Arts Council of Iloilo Foundation Inc ran the annual Hublag Ilonggo Arts Festival for a number of years since its founding in the late 1980s. Works of Ilonggo painters, sculptors, and installation artists were exhibited at the lobby of the Philippine National Bank (PNB) at Gen. Luna Street in Iloilo City.

The Hubon Madya-as, a group of Ilonggo artists founded by Ed Defensor, Fred Orig, Joe Amora, and Benjie Beljica, displayed landscapes, portraits, and terracota sculptures in dominant browns. Some experimentation with fluorescent colors using transparent cubism similar to Vicente Manansala’s were observed in Belgica and Orig’s paintings. Contrasting styles of art installation are shown by Momo Dalisay, who uses indigenous materials such as driftwood, and Erwin Tiongson, who uses plastic materials.

Founded in 1987, Artista kag Manunulat nga Makibanwahanon (AMBON) is a community-based cultural federation in Panay with member organizations coming from different disciplines. AMBON’s visual arts group is the Bagong Sining ng Lahing Kayumanggi (BUSILAK).

The Ilonggo tradition of depicting social issues in the visual arts continues. PG Zoluaga of Iloilo and winner of the 1998 Philippine Art Awards Jurors’ Choice, depicts the present generation’s dependence on and obsession with technology. John Paul Castillo, Metrobank Art Design Excellence Awardee, produced an oil on canvas painting depicting drug addiction, abortion, and prostitution. Joey Amacio, a three-time Metrobank Young Painters winner, focuses on the subject matter of sexuality.[136]

Since the 1990s, the UPV Art Gallery has served as the venue for exhibitions of Ilonggo artists. In one exhibition, younger painter Jomari Moleta’s Faceless Warriors, 2007, showing an amazon-rebel holding an AK47 with an American flag near her crotch, stood out for its explicitness. Sculpture Martin Genodepa, who also uses woman as his subject in his corral stone sculptures, expresses in contrast of wavy and jagged lines a woman’s oppression, such as his sculptures Magdalena and Maningning, 2006. Painter Alan Cabalfin’s portraits of Panay-Bukidnon women in rhe series Wind, Earth, and Fire, 2011, make use of bright indigenous colors, heavy lines, and geometric patterns for their clothing, against the background of typhoon, industrialization, and forest fire.[137]

A media artist affiliated with the Visayan Islands Visual Arts Exhibition and Conference (VIVA ExCon) and Negros Cultural Foundation Inc., is Mariano Montelibano III, who continues the tradition of depicting the social, political, economic, and religious life of Negrense society. His work, Escabeche: Filipino Sweet and Sour, 2009, is a documentary of video-and-sound installation artwork that presents the diversity of Filipino culture.[138]

Artists’ groups such as the Negros Cultural Foundation Inc., together with local museums such as the Negros Museum and Balay Negrense, initiated the Al Cinco de Noviembre Arts Festival in 2007 to promote the talent of local artists and encourage them to produce more works. The festival commemorates the revolt of the Negrense against the Spaniards on 5 Nov 1898. In 2011 the festival launched the Gibwang Group Exhibition, which featured Negrense entries that would be submitted to the Philippine Art Awards Competition. The exhibit gathered about 64 West Visayan artists from Panay and Negros.[139]

Raymond Legaspi, a native of Silay and Jurors’ Choice Awardee of Philippine Art Awards in 2008, uses bright and colorful elements in his artworks to depict popular culture and social issues. His Global Warming Water Rising, 2007, shows an oversized woman covering her face as half of her body is submerged in blue water. Crispin Villanueva Jr. of Iloilo has incorporated bubble wrap in his artwork. His exhibit entitled Compared to What… uses the bubble-wrap theme for his works depicting the contemporary art industry.[140]

Allain Hablo of Estancia, Iloilo, is a realist painter who has received distinctions from the Philippine Arts Awards, Shell National Arts Competition, and Arts Association of the Philippines. His work, NOW!, is “a portrait of a woman, a mother, and a wife—the woman with whom he shares all his dreams and frustrations.”[141]

Gallery Orange in Bacolod, run by visual artist Charlie Co, has become not only an art gallery but also a venue for exhibitions, performance art, art workshops, and film screenings. The gallery features contemporary artists: Junjun Montelibano’s paintings convey comical yet politically charged images.  Roderick Tijing’s works lean toward the surreal and absurd, and feature trademark images such as alien-like forms alongside oversized and grotesque figures rendered in vibrant and pastel hues. Hilario Campos’s paintings depict scenes of folklore and the underworld against dark, monochromatic backdrops: the tikbalang, men draped in black cloth, and other figureless creatures. Jay-R Delleva’s paintings are in surrealist style, such as the painting of a young boy with a dog’s head atop his own oversized head. Cindy Ballesteros’s works offer vivid images that seem light and whimsical at first glance but depict the grim realities of Negros, such as the oppression of the sakada.[142]



Early Ilonggo oral literature was both didactic and entertaining.  Paktakon are Ilonggo riddles, which may contain images drawn from nature:


1. Ano nga tuboran masulog sa tag-ilinit

Ginahubsan kong tag-ulan? (Balhas)

(What spring flows in summer

And runs dry on rainy days? [Sweat])

2. Bukid nga manayok-nayok,

Indi malambotsang panulok. (Agtang/dahi)

(A tall mountain

No eyes can scan. [Forehead])

The following are riddles from the Ilonggo fisherfolk:[143]

1. Isda nga daguldulan, kaya kon dumalagan. (Baroto)

The slipmouth runs on a backstroke. [Boat])

2. Sumalom si Potot, may dala nga gin-urot. (Bunit kag paon)

(Shorty dived and surfaced with a chunk of meat. [Hook and bait])

Riddles with puns, the answers to which are entirely dependent on the sound of the original words, generally elude literal translation. The first syllable of the answer to the riddle below refers the sound of an explosion, “bang,” but the whole word itself refers to a kind of fish:

Paglupok, “bang,” gumuwa bulak. (Bangros)

(When it exploded, “bang,” what came out was a flower. [Milkfish])

The metaphor of the food chain is a comment on power relations (de Castro 1987, 105):

Gamay nga isda gakaon lutak

Daku nga isda, gakaon sang mga gamay.

(Small fish eat mud

Big fish eat small ones.)

There are paktakon full of sexual innuendoes but actually requiring innocent answers.  Such riddles naturally provoke much mischievous laughter among the players.

1. Ano nga buho ugat nga buhi ginaguro? (Singsing)

(Which hole has a live vein inserted into it? [Ring])

2. Indi ta katilaw sa imo

Kon imo bayo indi anay mauba. (Saging)

(I cannot taste you

unless you take off your dress. [Banana])

3. Nagkita-ay duha ka bulbulon

Nagdulom ang kalibutan. (Mata)

(Two hairy ones met

and the world darkened. [Eyes])

Hurubaton ‘proverbs’ are said to be vestiges of didactic sugilanon prose narratives, such as folktales.  The moral tacked onto the narrative was the hurubaton, which used to be chanted.  For example:

1. Mauntay ang sanga nga linghod,

Ang gulang na, mautod.

(A young sapling is easily straightened

But an old branch is brittle.)

2. Ang tawo nga malikaya,

Sa katilingban gina-amuma.

(The good-natured fellow

Is welcomed by everybody.)

3. Iya kalag iya kulo,

Iya lawas iya baquero.

(Man is the captain of his fate,

The master of his soul.)

The composo is a ballad that may be based on an actual historical event or some village incident.  However, it may also be fictional.  One composo from Guimaras Island is about three sisters discussing their marriage prospects.  Because the youngest is the prettiest, the two older ones express their anxiety over the possibility of her marrying first.  The youngest, in turn, assures them that tradition requires that they must marry first before she does.  The older sisters then advise her to be patient and she assents.

The forerunner to the composo is the tale whose climax is chanted.  An example is the 18th-century tale of the jealous Pedro Mendez, who hacks his innocent wife and leaves her corpse in a clump of cogon grass.  Her ghost exclaims:

Ay abaw Pedro kong Mendez

Tan-awa ang cogon


Tungod sang hilaw kong kamatayon.

(O Pedro, my Pedro Mendez

Look at the cogon plants

They are all turning dry

Because of my untimely death.)

Then there is the satirical composo.  An excerpt shows one criticizing youthful lust:

May duhang pamatan-on, soltero, dalaga

Inabot sang kaluyag, nangawat sang gugma

A las sais sang hapon sang sila mag-umpisa

abutan sang nwnghod nga si Magdalena.

Maayo lang na iya ang nagapangawat

Pero ang ginkawatan dakong katalagman

Hinali madimat kag malilwanliwan

Wala gid mahimo, si Inday gabuy-unan.

(There were two youths, a boy and a girl

Gripped with desire, they stole their love

It was six in the evening when they started

But were caught by the younger sister, Magdalena.

The only advantage goes to the thief

But the one who is robbed is in great danger

If they grow to like it and do it again

It cannot be helped, Inday will grow a belly.)

Contemporary literature reflects the Ilonggo’s resistance to colonization and social oppression while at the same time expressing a strong moral consciousness. Thus, it is marked by two trends: didacticism and social criticism. A great source of patriotic pride for the Ilonggo is Graciano Lopez Jaena, whose writings, albeit in Spanish, exemplify the strong tradition of social consciousness in Ilonggo literature. The satirical Fray Botod (Friar Potbelly), 1891, is his best known work. Resistance to American colonization from 1900 to 1930, also called the “Golden Age of Hiligaynon Literature,” was evident in literary works.  Patriotic poems recalling the Philippine Revolution against the Spanish colonial government exhorted the Filipino to resist the new invaders, as in this poem, “Magbangon Ka” (Arise), 1913, by Flavio Zaragoza Cano:

Dili ka magpasupil nga maboong

Ang dungug mo sang tao’ng dumulu-ong,

Nga nagkari sa hamili tang duta…

Nanubli ka sang pagkadalagangan

Sang mga masidlang katigulangan

Nga nagbalato sang unang panag-on

Batok sa mga tao’ng tampalasan…

(Do not allow your honor

To be ruined by these people

Who have come to our hallowed shores . . . .

You inherited the heroism

Of our vigilant ancestors

Who in times past fought back

Against treacherous men . . . .)

During the Martial Law years and after, the New People’s Army produced poetry collections in various ways: by hand, in ruled composition notebooks and on pad paper, and in typescript and then reproduced by carbon paper on onionskin. Considered their poet laureate is Servando Magbanua (Jose Percival Estocado Jr.), who began writing poetry in English but by 1986 was writing in Hiligaynon. His typescript collection, “War Poems from Panay: 1978-80,” begins with “Tomloy: October 2, 1978.” It is an exuberant poem on the aftermath of a battle near the village of Tomloy on the banks of Pan-ay River, Tapaz, Capiz. Thirteen Red warriors ambush a squad of the Philippine Army collecting palay from the villagers. The poem merges the theme of the persona’s rite of passage—“A threshold has been crossed”—and  the Red warriors’ victory over the government troops. Other poems sweep over the different periods of Philippine history by focusing on one person’s point-of-view: “The Legacy” tells of the history of peasant oppression perpetrated by turns by the guardia civil, tulisanes, constabulary, and finally present-day hacenderos. “Poem Beside a Peasant Comrade’s Grave on the First Anniversary of His Death” recounts a similar history but ends with the peasants’ reversal of fortune after the arrival of the Red fighters. “Flowers” is the persona’s own celebration of his 10th anniversary as a Red guerilla fighter.

“Pila ka Binalaybay” (Selected Poems), 1984, is a collection of poems handwritten by Bayani Obrero (pseud) on lined paper. Some of the most poignant poems in this collection are “Mensahe sa Anak,” (Message to My Child), “Alimpuros” (Hair Whorl), and “May Bag-ong Duag ang Kabukiran” (The Countryside Has a New Color).

The typescript collection, “Ilahas nga Orkidyas kag Gerilyero, Nahardi’ng Rosas kag Insurekto” (Wild Orchids and Guerilla, Roses from the Garden and Rebel), by Rojo Sangre (pseud) includes “Tiangge nga Karosa” (Cart Store), a humorous poem about a young, urbane guerilla who realizes that there is much to learn in the mountains that his school and its textbooks never prepared him for. “Eastward the Staccato of Gunfire” is his reply to Magbanua’s “Eastward the Winds of Song.” A paean to revolutionary writers is “Sa Artista ng Armas Lapis” (To the Artist of the Armed Pencil). “Remembering” is an elegy on the occasion of a Red squad’s visit to the “cold tombs” of fallen comrades, as is “Evelio Javier,” to commemorate his assassination.  Another collection of Rojo Sangre’s, untitled, contains 76 poems.

Other typescript collections are “Pila ka Binalaybay nga Ginsulat ni Kaupod Edward Oliver L. de la Fuente” (Some Poems Written by Comrade Edward Oliver L. de la Fuente), “War and Peace and Beyond” by Rio Roja, and simply, “Poems” by Jaime Kasanag.

A multi-author anthology includes poems by Ka Luis (isa ka hangaway), Krishna Mendiola, Fierro Prayre, Ka Escudo, Ria Sidla, and Ka Selda, all of which are pseudonyms. Some poems are products of the Red poet’s erudition, such as “Pipa Paces” (from “Pippa Passes” by Rudyard Kipling), which uses the source poem’s structure as its model. Others create an impact through their imagery: “Ngaa Repyudyi si Bao (June 1986) (Why Turtle Is a Refugee), by Rio Roja, uses the image of the turtle and the torch-carrying aninipot (firefly) to allude to the massive evacuations of hill peasants. “8:00” by Chris Magbanua recounts the sight of an espading ‘bolo for cutting sugarcane’ that someone has left stuck in a treetrunk, its uselessness indicating the owner’s unemployment in the sugar plantation. The poem ends with the assurance that the espading will be put to better use, “sa pag-alsa sg pinigos, sa pag-abot sg panahon” (when the oppressed shall rise, when the time comes). Since the advent of the Internet, the literature of the New People’s Artmy has been published in its own website.

AMBON has published a collection of poems in mimeographed form. The group’s literary folio, in Bugkos, came out with two print issues. AMBON is also a founding member of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) Panay.


Sugilanon include creation myths, legends, folktales, fables, and trickster tales. Early Spanish chroniclers marveled over the Ilonggos’ practice of singing about their ancestors’ heroic exploits, so that everyone had a thorough knowledge of their history.[144]

The Ilonggo creation myth includes the multi-ethnic nature of the human race, and the origins of death and its irreversibility, technological invention, a strict code of conduct toward animals, theft, polygamy, and war. This is how the myth goes: There were two gods: Kaptan, god of the land, and Magyawan, god of the sea.  The land breeze and sea breeze married.  Magyawan gave birth to a reed, which Kaptan planted. It broke in two, and out of these two sections came the man, Sikalak, and the woman, Sikabay. After winning the approval of the fish, the birds, and the earthquake, they married. They had a son whom they named Cebu and a daughter, Samar. These siblings had a daughter, Lubluban, who in turn married Pandaguan, another son of the first couple. Lubluban and Pandaguan had a son, Anoranor. Pandaguan invented the fish net, caught a shark with it, and was horrified when it died. Grieving, he complained to the gods. Kaptan sent the flies and then the weevil to confirm the shark’s death. But, because of Pandaguan’s improper behavior toward an animal, the gods killed him with a thunderbolt and sent him to the afterlife for 30 days. But Lubluban lived with another man, Maracoyrun. When Pandaguan returned home, Lubluban was attending a feast in which a stolen pig was being served. Pandaguan sent Anoranor to fetch her but she refused, disbelieving that the dead could return to life. Pandaguan angrily returned to the afterworld, thus condemning the human race to eternal death. Later, Anoranor’s son, Panas, fashioned the first weapons and declared war against Manggaran over an inheritance.[145]

A variation to the creation story is that it was a flying kite that pecked the reed open and brought forth the first man and woman. The woman, Kabahi, gave birth to an enormous number of babies all at the same time. One day their father came home in a terrible temper, which so frightened the children that they scattered in several directions: those who hid inside the house became the datus; those who hid in the yard outside the house became the timagua; those who hid within the bamboo walls became the oripun; those who hid in hearth became the ati (or negritos); and those who crossed the seas became the foreigners.[146]

Another creation myth identifies the god Laon as the source of all living things. One day his pet bird Manaul, the only living creature at the time, displeased him, and so its feathers were transformed into all other living creatures, who ironically became Manaul’s predators.  When Manaul saw the first man and woman emerging from a rattan tree, he died in despair.

A magical tale is that of Magboloto who falls in love with a goddess named Macaya, who has come down to earth to bathe in the river.  He hides her wings so she cannot fly away, and so he woos and wins her. One day, while he is out, Macaya finds her wings, so she flies back to her celestial home. An eagle obligingly flies Magboloto to her home, but he has to go through a series of trials given by Macaya’s grandmother before he can win his wife back. When the grandmother wearies of thinking of more trials, she finally consents to give Macaya back to Magboloto.

Another magical tale tells of a man who leaves his ugly wife for a pretty woman.  The wife weeps by the well when a witch comes and, upon being told of the problem, transforms her into a beautiful woman.  Many men come to court her, including her husband who is smitten by her when he returns to his wife one day.  His mistress goes to the well to try to match the first wife’s beauty but the witch transforms her into an ugly woman instead.  She is so angry that she dies shortly afterwards.

An animal tale about the swift deer and the slow snail is a combination of the fable and the trickster tale.  The snail, tired of the deer’s ridicule, challenges the deer to a race. He secretly recruits his many cousins’ help by asking them to place themselves at certain spots along the way to the finish line.  Hence, every time the deer stops to rest and he calls out to the snail, there is always a snail to answer back, “Here I am!”


In 1877 Mariano Perfecto established the Libreria La Panayana, which published corridos, short stories, poems, zarzuelas, the drama, and novels.  In 1907 Pedro Monteclaro published in the newspaper El Tiempo the historico-legendary chronicle Maragtas, based on the oral tradition of the Panayanon and which in turn has become the basis for the folk history of Panay. Makinaugalingon, a newspaper founded by Rosendo Mejica in 1913, carried literary pieces and theater reviews. By 1920, it was putting out a literary supplement. Themes expressed in the poems and the zarzuela were corruption in the capitalist system, the deterioration of morals brought on by American-style materialism, workers’ oppression by landlords or capitalists, the need for a workers’ guild, and oppression of women. On the other hand, didacticism characterizes the first novel, Angel Magahum’s Benjamin, 1918.

A forerunner of the historical metafictionist with an anti-American postcolonial agenda is Jose E. Marco of Pontevedra, Negros Occ. His first published work, Reseña historica de la Isla de Negros desde los Tiempos mas remotos hasta nuestros Dias, 1912-23, was serialized in a supplement of the Spanish-language Renacimiento Filipino. Marco also submitted to the Philippine Library various types of documents, such as sheets of tree bark, on which poems were written in the alibata script but in Spanish orthography and in “cuttlefish ink,” and a map of Negros drawn on goat parchment. Two of the fictional texts that he gave to the library were the compilations, “Historia de la Isla de Negros by the Encomendero Diego Lope Povedano, 1572” (History of the Island of Negros) and “Las Antiguas Leyendas de la Isla de Negros” (Ancient Legends of the Island of Negros), which included the “Code of Calantiao (1433).”

Marco’s accounts of the manner in which he acquired these documents were as fabulous as their contents. James Alexander Robertson, the library director, welcomed Marco’s materials with great credulity, after brushing aside his own initial misgivings, and delivered a paper on these for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition at San Francisco in 1915. This paper was published in The Pacific in History, 1917, by the Macmillan Company. Marco also authored a novel, La Loba Negra (The Black She Wolf), 1938, purportedly by Fr Jose Burgos, published by Augusto R. de Luzurriaga in Bacolod. Marco’s supreme achievement is that he merited enough scholarly attention from William Henry Scott to have been made a subject of Scott’s dissertation, which was published under the title Prehispanic Source Materials for the Study of Philippine History, 1968 (105-35).

Magdalena Jalandoni is the best known novelist, poet, and dramatist, who was given the Republic Cultural Heritage Award in 1968.  The Trinidad Poetica Ilongga (Triumvirate of Ilonggo Poets), was composed of Flavio Zaragoza Cano, Serapion Torre, and Delfin Gumban.  Hiligaynon poetry, in the tradition of the binalaybay, describes details of Hiligaynon life and expresses sentiments like one’s appreciation for a selfless mother’s love or grief over unrequited love.

Class consciousness and social realities are combined with romantic-escapist elements in the novel and the short story.  In 1934, the weekly magazine Bisaya sa Hiligaynon, later shortened to Hiligaynon, was put out by the Roces Publishing Co. and ran until 1974 without interruption.  It encouraged the proliferation of short stories, serialized novels, and poems.  The most prolific novelist of his generation, Ramon Muzones, started as a translator for this magazine and eventually wrote his own works.  A favorite novelist is Conrado Norada, Iloilo governor from 1969 to 1986.  A monthly short story contest sponsored by the magazine in 1938 was especially significant because it required that the theme be about “social justice.”  All the winning entries were published; hence, the magazine ran stories with a social and political consciousness for about a year.

In 1970 an anthology entitled Bahandi I, containing 46 sample stories of the 1960s were chosen from Hiligaynon to exhibit the craft and concerns of favorite fictionists, many of whom have also published novels: Juanito Marcella, Ray Gra Gesulgon, Isabelo Sobrevega, Ismaelita Floro-Luza, Lino Moles, Jose Yap, Epifanio Tuclaud, Antonio Joquiño, and Nenita Magallanes.

Essays on the Hiligaynon language and culture are also being written by poets Santiago Alv. Mulato, Loreto Angayen, and Lucila Hosillos; and fictionists Nilo Pamonag, Tiburcio Tumbagahan, and Demy P. Sonza.

The Sumakwelan of Vernacular Writers in Westem Visayas, whose members regularly submit poetry and short stories to Hiligaynon magazine, keeps Hiligaynon literature alive. The organization received the Gawad Pedro Bucaneg for outstanding literary organization from the Unyon ng Manunulat sa Pilipinas in 2014. Sumakwelan poet Nilo Pamonag was awarded the Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas in 2014, and Resureccion Hidalgo, in 2016. Other Hiligaynon writers who emerged around this time are Mario L. Villaret, Romeo Garganera, Ner E. Jedeliz, Jr., Quin Baterna, Jose Ali Bedaño aka Julius Flores, Ismaelita Floro-Luza, and Ma. Luisa Defante-Gibraltar.[147]

In the 1990s grants, prizes, and awards from cultural institutions such as the Cultural Center of the Philippine (CCP) and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) contributed to the great upsurge in Hiligaynon writing among the younger generation. The Iloilo Arts Council was established; workshops and publication outlets were generously supported. In 1997 the Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature opened a Hiligaynon category for the short story.[148]

Many of the literary works that are anthologized in Ani 10, 1989; Patubas: An Anthology of West Visayan Poetry, 1995; and Mantala: West Visayan Literature, 2000, were the fruit of Leoncio Deriada’s workshops at the University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV). A prolific trilingual writer in all the literary genres, Deriada was elevated to the Palanca Hall of Fame in 2001 for having won the Palanca first prize at least five times, and in 2015 was awarded the Gawad CCP para sa Sining. Alicia Tan-Gonzales, whom he had mentored, has received three writing grants from the CCP, the Writer’s Prize from the NCCA, and the Palanca Hall of Fame award in 2014 for her Hiligaynon short stories. Tan-Gonzales has continued the zarzuela tradition with Pinustahan nga Gugma (Love at Stake), which is a comedy of errors. Elsa M. Coscolluela, Negrense poet and playwright in English, preceded Deriada and Tan-Gonzales to the Palanca Hall of Fame in 1999.

Other Hiligaynon writers of this period are Felino S. Garcia, Isabel D. Sebullen, Melecio F. Turao, Isidoro M. Cruz, Alain Russ Dimzon, Agnes Españo, Ma. Zenaida B. French, and Tomasito T. Talledo. The decade that followed saw the emergence of new writers like Marcel Milliam, Bryan Mari Argos, Norman Darap, Jesus Insilada, Noel De Leon, Gil Montinola, and Early Sol Gadong. Hubon Manunulat is an Ilonggo writers’ group, which holds regular creative writing workshops, occasional poetry readings, lecture-fora, and conferences on literature. In 2015 the Kasingkasing Press published the poetry and short story collections of its members, namely, Melecio Turao’s The Interior of Sleep: House Stories, Early Sol Gadong’s short story collection Nasa sa Dulo ng Dila (Lust at the Tip of the Tongue), Norman Darap’s Pagpauli sa Tamarora kag Iban Pa nga mga Sugilanon (Coming Home to Tamarora and other Stories), Jesus Insilada’s Waling-waling kag Iban Pa nga mga Sugilanon (Waling-waling and other Stories), Gil S. Montinola’s Kasubong sang Hangin: Mga Binalaybay (Like the Wind: Poems), and Elsed Togonon’s Saringsing: Mga Binalaybay (Bamboo Branches: Poems).

Since 2000, the San Agustin Writers’ Workshop has been held every summer in Iloilo. John Iremil Teodoro was the first workshop director; regular panelists have been Leoncio Deriada, Alicia Tan-Gonzales, Isidoro M. Cruz, Genevieve Asenjo, Alex Delos Santos, Ma. Zenaida B. French, Melchor F. Cichon, and John Barrios. The works of the workshop fellows are published in SanAg: The Literary Journal of the University of San Agustin.

Critic Isidoro M. Cruz has received two National Book Awards from the Manila Critics Circle-NBDB for Cultural Fictions: Narratives on Philippine Popular Culture, Politics, and Literature, 2004; and Pungsod: Damming the Nation, 2009, in which he locates and problematizes the West Visayan writer’s position in regional/national and global discourses. Corazon Villareal’s Translating the Sugilanon: Re-framing the Sign, 1994, proposes a “Hiliganized” translation of Hiligaynon short stories into Filipino and English, similar to Deriada’s “Visayan-laced” Filipino.

The longest running publication with a literary section is the Almanaque Panayanhon, 1877-present. The 10-page literary section of the 40-page, 2016 issue includes poems by Sumakwelan president Cris B. Balairos; Palanca Hall of Fame awardee Alice Tan-Gonzalez (pseud. algon); former director of the Center for West Visayan Studies Henry F. Funtecha (d.2009); Sumakwelan members Policarpio Borra Sueño, Rolando G. Gibralta, and Ernesto C. Nerosa; besides teachers and other contributors.



There are three types of musical instruments: wind, percussion, and string. The toltog palanog, a clay flute, was the earliest musical instrument in Panay.  It had three holes at one end and two at the sides.  There were several kinds of bamboo flutes or tulali.  A child’s flute was the pasyok, made of stiff rice straw.  The dios sios was a set of reeds of different lengths, tied side to side.  The budiong was a shell with the pointed tip cut off.  It sounded like the cornet.

The tan-ag, made of two pieces of lightwood, was the earliest percussion instrument.  A set of these was called the dalutang.  The bunkaka or takup was a section of bamboo with a split end.  It was held in the right hand and struck against a pole in the left hand.  Variations in rhythm were done by different ways of striking. The bulibaw was a drum made of hollowed-out wood topped by animal skin.  The ludang was a smaller drum that was held on the lap.  The lipakpak was a clapper made of a narrow section of bamboo, two nodes long. It was split in two down to one node. The lower half was the handle.  It was also used as a matraca or noisemaker during Holy Week.

The native guitar was variously called the pasing, “to strike,” boktot, “hunchback,” because it was made of coconut shell, or the culating.  The strings were made of fibers or any twine.  This was used to accompany the singing of the balitao, the panawagon or the composo.  There was a guitar with six strings made of hemp, banana fiber or lukmo.  It is now called the sista, from the Spanish word sexta, meaning “six.”  The buting was a thin bamboo tube whose two ends were strung with hemp or any fiber,

so that it bent like a bow.  The kudyapi was a violin made of thin, light wood and strung with hemp or banana fibers.  The subing or jew’s harp was made of a thin strip of seasoned bamboo with a tongue cut in the middle.  One made this tongue vibrate by gripping the solid end with the mouth, holding the middle with one hand, and striking the other end with a finger of the other hand.


The pre-colonial Panayanon had a rich repertoire of ambahan ‘songs’ for their daily activities and for special occasions. The sabi was a dirge, or song of lamentation for the deceased. A batar was a eulogy in praise of the heroic deeds of the deceased. The rowing or boat song was the hilimbanganon, aka batbat, which was started off with an unrhymed couplet by a song leader, to whom the crew members responded with lines with a heavy beat. These were interspersed with the hotlo ‘refrain’: “hod-lo hele hiya hele!” This is presumably why the men’s work song was generically called the hele [149]


Songs are used for various occasions, either to accompany the Ilonggo’s everyday activities or to entertain during social gatherings. The copla is a light song such as the lullaby, “Ili ili tulog anay” (Ili ili Sleep Now); the game song, also used in courtship “Dondonay alimango” (Dondonay crab); and fishing songs like “Ako ining namunit” (I am a fisher) and “Ang bilong-bilong” (The bilong-bilong), a kind of delectable flat fish.

A nursery song contemporized to satirize military harassment on the rural folk is this 1987 version of a cheerful tune that belies its bitter political comment:

Didto sa amon sa Negros

May mga halimaw

Kung sila mag operasyon

Gina kawat manok kag karbaw.

(In our home of Negros

There are monsters;

When they conduct an operation

They steal our chicken and carabao.)

A popular drinking song is the “Dandansoy,” which ironically rejects drink because of its implied consequences.  Sung to a quick waltzing rhythm, it has a cheerful lilt to it:

Dandansoy, inom tuba laloy

Indi ako inom, tuba pait, aslum

(Dandansoy, let’s drink tuba wine

I don’t want to drink, tuba is bitter and sour.)

The panawagon is a plaintive love song, usually about unrequited love.  It is sung at a harana, or when the man serenades his lady love beneath her window:

Akon pinalangga

Gawaha man anay

Ining tawo nga may kagha

Sang tun-og nagabatas

(My beloved,

Please look out on

This man pining for you

Braving the evening chill.)

Another song about unrequited love is the popular “Ay Kalisud” (Ah, Misery):

Ahay kalisud

Kalisud sang binayaan

Adlaw gab-i

Pirmi ta ikaw ginatangisan.

(Ah misery

How miserable it is to be abandoned

Day and night

I keep weeping for you.)

A variation of the love song and less sad is the balitao, which expresses varying sentiments about love and courtship.  It used to be sung to the accompaniment of the native guitar and, like the panawagon, is used to serenade the maiden at night.  During Spanish times, balitao singers performed at the town plaza, where the audience would throw coins on the floor to express their pleasure over their performance.  It is not to be confused with the balitao in Aklan, which is a poetical joust similar to the Ilonggo loa/luwa-luwa.

The composo is sung to a preset melody which has become part of the traditional repertoire of the singer.  A rich source of composos are the wandering blind beggars of the cities.  It is most popular among the working classes, such as the sacadas and market vendors.

The hibai/ibayi were tribal songs performed with shouts, handclapping, and dance to the accompaniment of the toltog palanog, subing, budiong, and boktot.  Epic songs, which told of the lives of great warriors and their ancestors, were variously called lintoy, kolintoy, kurintoy, or karbay. A number of songs were created together with a dance or ritual.  In Tanza and some other towns of Iloilo, the daygon, which is sung by Christmas carolers as they go from house to house, is followed by dances called las panderetas.


Many indigenous folk dances are mimetic, such as the tinikling, which imitates the movement of birds.  “Ohoy! Alibangbang” (Ohoy! Butterfly) is a popular song that accompanies a dance imitating the movements of butterflies. It originated in Bago, Negros Occ.

One of the earliest dances still affectionately remembered by the old folk of Negros Occ and Iloilo is the kamantugol.  It is accompanied by a song and still bears traces of the kumintang, a warrior dance.  The town of Alimodian is the origin of a revolutionary dance called boluntaryo.  A boluntaryo was a Filipino guerrilla fighter during the Spanish times who fought to overthrow Spanish sovereignty.  The dance shows how these brave warriors woo the fair country maidens during a lull in the fighting.  Binadyong is a lively dance which imitates the unsteady swaying of the drunkard.  The dancer sways forward and backward during the cut step.  Tigbauan has a dance called lagundi, which imitates the movements of one stricken with rheumatism; hence, the dancer moves with a stiff knee and a dragging foot.  Lagundi is a medicinal plant used to cure stomach ache, rheumatism, arthritis, headaches, and so forth.

Dandansoy is a courtship dance of Negros.  It is danced to the accompaniment of a balitao about a girl who bids her sweetheart to follow her home to Payao if he misses her.  This is not to be confused with the rousing drinking song also called “Dandansoy.” Alegrito is a courtship dance from Janipaan, Iloilo, performed during social gatherings.  The name is probably derived from the word “alegretto,” a musical tempo that is quicker than andante but slower than allegro.  The first part of this dance is lively and the second is slow and stately. Lauderes is a courtship and marriage dance native to Janiuay. It is the custom among the Ilonggo for the two families of an engaged couple to make the marriage arrangements.  After the agreement, there is merrymaking and the dance is dedicated to the bride and groom. Kuradang is a lively dance from Tuburan, Pototan, Iloilo, which is usually performed during fiestas or celebrations.  The name of the dance may have been derived from the word kudangdang, which means “showy and overdressed.” Kasadyahan is a festival dance from Negros which has women offering leis or flowers.

Manog-tapas is a Negros dance which imitates the movements of sacadas as they cut cane with their machetes and load them on the train.  It also shows the common practices of the sacada after work.  Another occupational dance is the manog-isda, which shows fisherfolk at work.

Other early indigenous dances were the harito, biro-biro, balitao, media, lalong-lalong, iray, imbong, and inay-inay

Spanish-influenced dances are ballroom dances, which are choreographed with a set number of steps, turns, curtsies, and so on. The mazurka valse of Kabankalan, Negros, originated in Poland and came to the Philippines through Spain in the mid-19th century.  Molinete, a ballroom dance of Negros, is a waltz.  Polkabal, from Negros, is a spirited dance that blends the polka and waltz.  Lanceros de Negros of Silay is different from the lanceros of other regions because of its longways formation.  It is a popular quadrille dance which formally opens a big ball.  The valse de Negros is a square dance in social gatherings.  The laota is a lively dance with the women wearing the maria clara, a female ensemble composed of a bell-sleeved blouse, kerchief, and long-paneled skirt; and the men wearing a barong tagalog and black trousers.  The name is a contraction of la jota, a very popular dance during the Spanish times.  The kuratsa is another popular dance in social gatherings.  The women wear the patadyong ‘barrel skirt’ and camisa ‘native blouse’, while the men wear the barong tagalog or camisa de chino, a Chinese-inspired, collarless, long-sleeved shirt and trousers.


Role-Playing Rituals

The roots of Ilonggo drama are in the oral tradition: first, in ritual, such as the babaylan rites for appeasing spirits and curing the sick, which include mimetic elements and chant; and second, in the role-playing, verbal games played at social occasions like marriage negotiations and wakes.  In the rituals, sacrifices are offered, prayers chanted, and symbolic and/or dance motions made.  In the verbal games like kulasising hari, ang pato nagalupad, ate-ate sa bukid, and panyo palaran, a semidramatic situation ranges men against women, and has them engage in poetic jousting.

The siday sa pamalaye is a poetic joust when marriage negotiations take place between the two families of an engaged couple.  Each family has a bard who speaks in behalf of the respective parents. The binalaybay is another impromptu poetic composition recited during fiesta coronation nights, political rallies, religious celebrations, and other such special occasions.

The bordon is a lively game played during the bilasyon ‘vigil for the dead’.  The men and women hold hands to form a circle around the “it” and the “king” or “queen.”  The object of the game is for the “it” to locate a ring that is secretly passed from hand to hand. If the “it” fails, he/she must take part in the loa/luwa or luwa-luwa, a poetic joust chanted or declaimed. Similar to the balitao of Aklan, it is a flirtatious impromptu debate between a man and a woman. Hyperbolic metaphors are used to heap praises on each other. The woman is referred to as mahamot nga rosal ‘the fragrant rosal’, and the man is a pispis nga nagalupad-lupad ‘flying bird’ or lusong ‘mortar’. The debate ends when one participant can no longer continue. The highlight of the last night of the bilasyon is the torneo, an impromptu poetical joust between two men who recite lavish praises to a lady. A mock sword battle follows, with the victor winning the hand of the lady.

Another game played during the bilasyon is the panyo palaran, held nightly after the prayers. A leader distributes five white handkerchiefs to five men, and five pink handkerchiefs to five women.  The group then sings a song ending: “Lupad ka na panyo palaran kay Inday/ Nonoy nga naluyagan” (Fly, lucky handkerchief to Inday/Nonoy who is loved). The players distribute their handkerchiefs to women and men they choose, who must then sing, dance, or recite a luwa for the donor.  The men may refuse to accept the songs or poems, wishing instead to make friends with the ladies (especially those from out of town).  This is expressed and answered in verse by the lady or by a defensor or vencidor.  The gentlemen’s compliments and boasts—about bravery, distance traveled, hardships undergone, and the ladies’ coy answers, for example, that she has no plans to marry until she is 300 years old—are all in verse.  And thus the night passes as verses are exchanged, and some flirtation and courting accomplished.

Religious drama and dramatizations in the Western Visayas include the forms found in other regions: the soledad on Easter morning, in which the black-veiled Mater Dolorosa wanders through the town in a lonely vigil, then meets up with the carro of the risen Christ; the taltal, or passion play, on Good Friday; the Easter procession of the Resurrection, in which a boy and a girl dressed as angels recite poems to the Christ and the Virgin; the constantino in May, about the finding of the Holy Cross; the pastores or daigon/daygon at Christmastime, in which songs are sung by the “shepherds” worshipping the Christ Child.


A hodgepodge of Catholic ritual, folk dancing, social activity, and a tourist attraction is the Dinagyang festival cum mardi gras held in Iloilo City every fourth week of January since 1967, when a replica of the image of the Santo Niño or Holy Child was brought from Cebu to the San Jose Parish Church in Iloilo City.  This was celebrated with a fluvial procession dedicated to the Santo Niño.  In 1969, the ati-ati (Fil. ati-atihan), adapted from the Aklanon traditional festival, was incorporated into the festivities.  Until 1976, people merely watched the ati-ati as a contest between different groups colorfully garbed and blackened with soot to represent the Aeta.  However, street revelry and audience participation now characterize the ati-atihan.  Costumes of contest participants are made of peas, pakol ‘abaca’ fibers, cogon, cypress leaves, carton, spikes of plants, corn grains, sandpaper, styrofoam, and any other articles on hand.

The mardi gras component of the festival is a parade of floats and people wearing traditional attire like the patadyong, saya, camisa, and barong tagalog.  There is a program consisting of various Ilonggo folk dances, the reenactment of legends, a flores de Mayo, and the celebration of a barrio fiesta.

The Masskara festival is held in Negros in the third week of every October to celebrate the city’s charter day anniversary.  The term is a combination of two words: “mass,” or crowd, and “kara,” meaning face.  It is also a pun on maskara, meaning “mask.”  Participants wear smiling masks to emphasize the tourism industry’s reference to Bacolod City as the “City of Smiles.” This was to counteract the province’s growing reputation worldwide as a place of hunger and suffering. Having started only in 1982 and having no religious nor historical significance, Masskara street dancing is done to modern and disco tunes, and costumes have no traditional features.

In Mindanao’s Sultan Kudarat province, where the 240,839 Ilonggo comprise 41.12% of its multi-ethnic population, their grand festivals reflect their migrant history and Ilonggo roots. In Esperanza town the Hinabyog Festival celebrates their main industry, weaving. The root word habyog ‘swing’ recalls the image of the hammock, which they weave out of split bamboo or rattan. Their other woven products are mats, bags, baskets such as the kaing, and bilao ‘winnowing tray’, with grass, palm or plant leaves such as anahaw, buri, pandan, tikog, nito, bamboo, and rattan. The Bansadayaw Festival of Bagumbayan is a celebration of the people’s harvest as well as the multi-cultural composition of their community. The name of the festival is a portmanteau of the word bansa (Ilonggo for “in full view”) and sayaw, hinugway, or dayaw ‘merrymaking’.  In Lebak town, the Hinugyaw Festival, which is a thanksgiving celebration for an abundant harvest, was originally called “ati-atihan” when it was organized in the 1970s.[150]

Conventional Theater

Staged drama in Iloilo and Negros from the Spanish times to 1935 were the comedia or moro-moro, the drama or prose play, the Spanish zarzuela, and the Ilonggo zarzuela. The comedias, which were long, colorful stories about Moors and Christians, seem to have been the earliest form of staged drama that the Ilonggo knew.  The Moors were pulahan ‘in red’ and the Christians ituman ‘in black’, making love and war in verse, and at great length.  These were staged in makeshift open-air stages at fiestas, in plazas and cockpits, in theaters when available, markets, carnival auditoriums, and even private houses.  A prominent Iloilo resident, for instance, is said to have celebrated her 100th birthday with three days of moro-moro.  Among the writers were Eriberto Gumban, who wrote Carmelina, 1889; Felipo, 1890; and Clodoveo, 1892; and Basilisa Pecson, who is believed to have written one play, Jerusalem Libertada.

Famous too was Don Juan Teñoso.  Early in the 20th century, however, debates raged in the papers between defenders and critics, who felt that the komedya was a theater form that showed no truth, was ignorant, and did no good for the public.  Although this did not kill the komedya, it showed that the Ilonggo public was ready for drama of greater verisimilitude, and this was provided by the drama and the zarzuela.  The earliest drama recorded as being written and published in a Philippine vernacular was in Ilonggo: Cornelio Hilado’s Ang Babai nga Huwaran (The Exemplary Woman), 1889.  Its six characters represent contrasting types: a father who teaches his daughter obedience and modesty versus an overindulgent parent and his spoiled daughter; a man who chooses a wife for her virtue; and another who chooses one for her beauty.  The plot unfolds towards the expected didactic ending, setting the pattern for later dramas: instructive and teaching a moral.  Many journalists, poets, and political figures of the

first decades of the 20th century wrote dramas, among the more often mentioned being Angel Magahum’s Gugma sang Maluib (A Traitor’s Love), 1904; Serapion Torre’s Tanikala (Chains), 1916; Valente Cristobal’s Malaot nga Capalaran (Wicked Fate), 1903; and Magdalena, 1904; Magdalena Jalandoni’s Ang Anak nga Malalison (The Disobedient Child), 1932, and Labi sa Bulawan (Greater Than Gold), 1936.

The most popular drama form of the early 20th century, however, was the zarzuela (Tag. sarswela).  Spanish zarzuelas were staged in Iloilo in the 19th century, for at this time the city, called the “Queen City of the South,” was at the height of its prosperity; troupes that performed in Manila usually made Iloilo their next stop.  The popular musical form was soon wedded to the native language to produce the Ilonggo zarzuela.  Salvador Ciocon’s Ang Nagahigugma sa Iya Duta (Those Who Love Their Native Land), written in 1899 and staged in 1906, was the first Ilonggo zarzuela to be written.  The first to be staged, however, was Valente Cristobal’s one-act Ang Capitan (The Captain), 1903.  For some 30 years after, the zarzuela reigned as the entertainment form, with about 100 works in Iloilo alone, and many taken across the strait to Negros Occ.  A whole world grew around it: some painters and their assistants, actors who were the early stars of the entertainment world, musicians, composers, and writers.

The major zarzuela writers were Valente Cristobal, author of 32 plays, one of which was the most popular of its time, entitled Nating, 1908; Jimeno Damaso, whose zarzuelas were staged for his brother Canuto’s talapuanan ‘workers’ guild’; Angel Magahum, a journalist, novelist, and musician; Jose Ma. Ingalla, a bookkeeper who also wrote musical plays that he called operas because these had no spoken dialogue; Miguela Montelibano, whose zarzuelas carried the strongest overtones of social consciousness, such as Cusug sang Imul (Strength of the Poor), 1924; Serapion Torre, poet and presidente municipal ‘mayor’ of Iloilo for three terms and whose only extant zarzuela is Dagta nga Makatinlo (The Stain That Cleanses), 1919; and Jose Ma.  Nava, journalist and founder of the largest labor movement outside of Manila, the Federacion Obrera Filipina. They wrote more than 50 zarzuelas. Some 40 of these survive and reflect the concerns of the time and place: jealous fathers, long-suffering mothers, patient suitors, virtuous maidens, obedient and disobedient daughters, gamblers and drinkers, wastrel students, love requited and unrequited—in the setting of the sugar industry, Iloilo commercial life, and Ilonggo lifeways.

When the sugar industry, the source of income for the mass viewers and elite patrons of the zarzuela, declined in Iloilo and shifted center to Negros Occ, the entertainment budget for the zarzuela— which had to compete with new entertainment forms like vaudeville (Tag. bodabil) and the movies—dropped.  The era of traditional folk drama passed, as did the economy that supported it.  Except for occasional revivals, few and far between, and school productions, Ilonggo theater was dormant from 1935 until about the late 1960s.

During the Japanese occupation in Bacolod City, stage shows replaced film showings in the cinemas. Moments Musicale by Edith Lopez performed in Cine Arco and Pancho’s Troupe of Pancho Uytiepo performed at Cine Iris.[151]

In the early 1970s, labor and student militancy gave birth to people’s theater in Negros Occ. In 1977 Teatro Pangkatilingban, a community theater group attached to Basic Christian Communities (BCC) and the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW), established 55 chapters throughout the province. Although this theater group is now gone, it spawned other theater groups like the Teatro Obrero, a youth group composed of sugar workers and workers’ children, and the Negros Theater League, an urban-based theater group that performs in the streets, in the plaza, or in squatters’ areas, during strikes, pickets or rallies, and during occasions special to the working class.  In 1987 it staged the play, Tiempos Muertos (The Dead Season), which satirizes the Masskara as a false portrait of the conditions of the Negros masses.  At the time that the Masskara festival was conceived, Negros sugar workers and other people dependent on the sugar industry were suffering from massive unemployment and hunger because of the slump in the world price of sugar and the mishandling of finances by the Marcos administration.  In Tiempos Muertos, the performers, using the very same props and costumes at the Masskara, unmask the sectors responsible for the exploitation and harassment of the Negros working class and landless farmers.

A theater group composed of dumaan ‘permanent sugar workers’ was the Hacienda Adela Community Organization in Silay.  Founded in 1973, it staged zarzuelas about life on the hacienda, such as Matam-is Man Gali Ang Kalamay (Sugar Is Also Sweet After All), 1991.

In the 1980s theater in Iloilo was academe based. The Theater Arts Guild UP College Iloilo (TAGUPCI), founded by Nuria Castells, produces plays for students and Iloilo communities. Plays that it produced are Leoncio Deriada’s Abbattoir, 1990; Rhodora Espinosa’s Patas (Equal), 1988; and Alice Tan-Gonzales’s poetry in Ilongga: Madamu nga Guya (Ilongga: Many Faces), 1992, all directed by its member, Kevin Piamonte. He also did directorial work for other schools, such as West Visayas State University’s production of Gonzales’s Daba-daba sa Sidlangan (Fire in the East), 1998, about the massacre of Karol-an natives in Negros by the Spaniards; University of San Agustin’s Panayanon, 2000, by Deriada, based on Alicia Magos’s research on the epics of Panay, and that of Colegio del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus, Juanita Cruz, 2004, Tan Gonzales’s adaptation of Magdalena Jalandoni’s novel about a woman who participates in the revolution against Spain.

Teatro Amakan, founded by Edward Defensor of UPV in 1979, produced dance dramas set in precolonial Panay that incorporate Visayan humor like in Baloy 1988 and 2008, and political satire like Kanlaon!, 2014. Teatro Amakan’s more serious production, Babaylan 1989, about the Spanish suppression of Panayanon precolonial belief systems and practices, caught the attention of the CCP’s choreographer Agnes Locsin. With Locsin’s choreography, Babaylan received a CCP grant for a National Performance Tour, and became the Philippine representative to international theater festivals in Malaysia, 1990; and in Australia, 1995. The group became inactive in 1999 but was revived in 2008.[152]

The Dagyaw Theater and Dance Company of the Iloilo National High School, organized in 1990 by Ria Blanco-Española, premiered Hinilawod: Tales from the Mouth of the Jalawod River, dir. Edwin Duero, at the 1992 National Theater Festival in Manila. The storyline is based on the Panayanon epic Hinilawod. The play is a fusion of indigenous dance, music, costume, and chants.[153]  Dagyaw has since gone on performance tours of Japan and the United States, and in the cities of Bangkok, Seville, Cairo, Paris, Madrid, Frankfurt, Rome, and Lisbon.[154]

The West Visayas Regional Theater Network (Teatrokon) held the West Visayas Theater Festival and Conference. Eleven plays from the different provinces of the region were staged. Three of these plays were in Hiligaynon: Belasyon (Wake) by the University of San Agustin Performing Arts, script by John Iremil Teodoro, dir. by Eric Divinagracia, about a widow mourning her OFW husband. Rody Reveche’s Karul-an by the Kasadyahan Dance Theater, about the massacre of the Karol-an tribe in Negros during the Spanish colonial period; and Igun Itom (Igun the Black) by Dagway Sigmahanon, written by Edna Mae Landicho, dir. by Al Tesoro, about an Aeta who falls in love with a fair-skinned girl.  

In 2008, to mark the centennial of the UPV-Iloilo, its faculty, together with the alumni of Tagupci and Teatro Amakan, mounted Ilonggo Sarswela: Padayon ang Istorya (Ilonggo Sarswela: The Story Continues), dir. by Alfredo B. Diaz, a production of excerpts from the Hiligaynon zarzuelas of the 1920s and 1930s: Jose Ma. Ingalla’s Dumut kag Huya (Hatred and Shame), Serapion Torre’s Mga Anak ni Sisa (Sisa’s Children), Valente Cristobal’s Ma-Pa-Ta and Sa Tiangge ni Takay (In Takay’s Store), Salvador Magno’s Noticia Lang Imo (Notice Is All You Get). The revue includes an excerpt from Alice Tan-Gonzales’s contemporary zarzuela, Pinustahan nga Gugma (Love at Stake). Ilongga Sarswela performed in the towns of Tigbauan, Miag-ao, and Lambunao in Iloilo province; Roxas City in Capiz. The following year, it performed at the National Sarswela Festival, UP Diliman.[155]

AMBON’s member organization in the performing arts are the community theatre group Teatro Sulong Bayan (SUBA), the dance group Alampay, and the music groups Tingug ni Nanay and Tribu ni Mali. Among the theater productions of AMBON are the rock opera Sentenaryo sa Mata ng Proletaryo 1997, the street play Reenactment ng Liberasyon ng Panay, and four music albums Ulan Ni Saro, 1993, with Hiligaynon Records; Ti Man, 1996, with Heber Bartolome; Sentenaryo, 1997, with the Ecumenical Council for Development; Ili-ili sa Kalibutan: Mga Awit ng Bayan at Kalikasan, 2009, with the Center for Environmental Concerns.[156]



The history of newspapers in Iloilo began in the late 1800s. The first printing press was Imprenta Enriqueta, founded in 1875. The Libreria La Panayana, founded by Mariano Perfecto in 1877, started publication of the Almanaque Panayanhon, which continues to be published today. El Porvenir de Visayas, the first provincial newspaper, was established in January 1884, followed by El Eco de Panay, El Heraldo de Iloilo, El Anunciador de Iloilo, La Revolucion, and El Elonguillo.[157]

American colonial rule forced journalists to take either of two sides: American rule or Philippine independence. El Tiempo represented the Federal party, which promoted American interests; El Adalid and Ang Baganihan championed patriotism. In 1914 Rosendo Mejica founded the nationalistic Ang Makinaugalingon; in 1919 Jose Ma. Nava founded Libre, the official organ of his labor union. El Centinela and Ang Manugbantay spoke for the Democrata Party.[158]

By the 1930s, with American rule firmly entrenched in the country, newspapers published both Hiligaynon and English-language editions. El Tiempo had Ang Panahon and The Times. However, Spanish was still a major language. In 1939 El Sol carried Spanish and English sections though its Sunday supplement was The Sunday Sun. More papers in Hiligaynon were published: Kasanag, Sidlak, and Aton. In 1937 the Iloilo Press Club was organized by 20 newspapermen, with Ezeqiel Villalobos as president and Jose Magalona as vice-president. During the Japanese occupation, the resistance movement in Iloilo put out broadsheets: Ang Tigbatas, The Liberator, and Mt. Baloy Watchman.[159]

Post-WWII newspapers were The Times, The Liberator, Kirab, Kasanag, Yuhum, and Hiligaynon. However, competition with national newspapers led to the shutdown of local papers, namely, Tigbatas, Liberator, El Tiempo, and The Times. In the 1980s-90s leading local magazines that published serialized novels, short stories, and poems were Yuhum and Hiligaynon.[160]  Iloilo has nine locally published newspapers: Panay News, Hublas nga Kamatuoran, Journal Visayas, Panay Bulletin, The Daily Guardian, The News Express,The News Today, The New Visayan Tribune, and Visayan Daily Headlines.[161]

Journalism has been generally reported to be a risky profession. Since its founding in 1981 until 2011, Panay News reaped a record number of 67 libel cases; its editor, Danny Fajardo, has been convicted in at least seven. A column, Lapsus Calami, features blind items about prominent citizens of Iloilo. Columnists and editors, such as Manuel Mejorada and Junep Ocampo of The News Today, have had libel cases filed against them by the mayor of Iloilo City. Josef Aldeguer Nava, publisher-editor of Visayan Life was assassinated in October 1988, and Lemuel Fernandez, publisher-editor of The Daily Guardian, was assaulted in January 2011.[162]

In 2011 Panay News received the Best Regional Newspaper award from the Publishers’ Association of the Philippines.


Iloilo has 14 AM and 19 FM stations, including 2 university-based stations. Visayas Broadcasting Company’s dyRI, launched in 1949, was the first radio station in Iloilo, followed by the government radio station, Radyo ng Bayan’s dyLL, in 1959. In the 1960s, radio stations would feature the government’s developmental program, such as DYRI’s Si Uwa Mangunguma and dyPL’s Pamukaw sa Panguma.[163]

Bombo Radyo, aka dyYFM, started airing in 1966. The program was popular for its exposés and editorials about corruption in business and politics. The term “Bombo” derives from the deep drumbeat at the end of each commentary delivered by the radio anchor. The popular expression, “Ipa-Bombo ta ka!” (I will report you to Bombo Radyo!) has become a disciplinary catchphrase for anyone misbehaving. Awards received by Bombo Radyo include Best News and Public Affairs Program in 2016 from the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP), and the Best Commentary for its Bombohanay Bigtime from the Catholic Mass Media Awards in 2011.[164]

Long-running radio drama programs are Dear Tiyay Evelyn and Tuyang Ermitanya. The first is an advice program hosted by Tiyay Evelyn, who reads out letters sent by listeners. In the second, the titular host tells comical stories that caricature scenes from daily life.

The first FM station established in Iloilo City is dySA-FM, in 1972. In September of the same year, Martial Law shut down all media stations until 1975, when eight FM Stations in Iloilo resumed airing. Radio stations that offer alternative music such as rock, jazz, and classical are DYNY’s 107.9 NU 107 and RJFM’s dyNY 98.3.[165]  Aksyon Radyo Iloilo is a radio program in which the anchor person reads the poems of AMBON as commentaries on societal issues. These are paid broadcasts of MAKABAYAN and BAYAN every Saturday at 2:00 p.m. AMBON’s video documentaries and short films showing the various struggles of the people of Panay are also uploaded on Youtube.

Television broadcasting started in Iloilo City in 1975 with the creation of the local link of the Intercontinental Broadcasting Company IBC 12. ABS-CBN 4 opened in 1989, GMA TV-6 in 1999, and UNTV 42 in 2010.[166] Although AM radios remained the more popular medium for local news and commentaries than television, GMA’s TV weekly news program, Ratsada, won a captive audience while it existed from 1999 to 2015. It stopped airing when GMA Iloilo was reduced to a satellite station of 11 staff members in a move at “strategic streamlining.”[167]


In 1991 Peque Gallaga, who had made his mark in Philippine cinema history with the film Oro, Plata, Mata (1972), initiated the annual Negros Summer Workshops. These workshops have produced such talents as Erik Matti, Jay Abello, Lawrence Fajardo, and Vicente Groyon III, who have also returned as established filmmakers to teach subsequent batches.

A winner of the CinemaOne 2008 competition is Yanggaw (Affliction, dir. Richard Somes), which is stylistically influenced by an episode in Gallaga’s first Shake, Rattle, and Roll, “Manananggal.” It uses the techniques of the horror film to explore the culture and values of remote village life. The homecoming of a young woman stricken with a mysterious illness triggers a series of killings in her village. The film’s dramatic focus is the quandary that this puts the family and community in. On the other hand, Panganod (Cloud, dir. Paolo Lindaya, 2007) is a plotless, stream-of-consciousness film that follows the wanderings of a young man over a landscape in which rites of passage and memory intersect.

Joy to the World ang Prosesyon (Foot Parade Is a Joy to the World, dir. Ray Gibraltar, Oscar Nava, John Iremil E. Teodoro, and Che Villanueva, 2008) is a montage of thirteen stories, which sweep through events and topics preoccupying the Ilonggo region, the Filipino nation, and by extension, the world: Typhoon Frank, showbiz and politics, Catholic doctrine and homosexuality, the Holy Week rituals and the via crucis (‘the way of the cross’; thus, the “prosesyon”). Modes are a mix of comic, ironic, critical, and detached. The same directors, except Villanueva, also showed, with great success, When Timawa Meets Delgado, at the 2008 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival.

Dagyang: An Ilonggo Story (Frolic, dir. Joenar Pueblo) uses the annual Ilonggo mardi gras as a setting for a diverse cast of characters through whom Iloilo’s history and culture unfold. The characters are a binukot epic chanter who performs a dance ritual to find a mate; a TV reporter haunted by the ghost of Ilonggo author Magdalena Jalandoni; a witch renowned for her batchoy (a noodle soup that originated in the district of Laz Paz, Iloilo) and her love for an oblivious lawyer; a member of the New People’s Army who has come into the city for a mysterious purpose; and a vagrant who wanders in and out of the scenes.

Local film festivals, such as CineKasimanwa, the Iloilo International Film Festival, and the Bacollywood Visayan Film Festival provide viewing opportunities for local film enthusiasts and budding filmmakers outside Manila, and have thus contributed greatly to the development of Ilonggo cinema.


[1] Merrill 1903, 8 and 68; Quattrochi 2012, 1530; and Fern 2018.

[2] Fernandez [1898] 2006, 116.

[3] Pigafetta (ca. 1525) 1906 vol 33:379-80.

[4] Mentrida (1637) 1841.

[5] Magos 1996, 121-22; Fernandez [1898] 2006, 112.

[6] PSA 2012.

[7] NSO-PSA 2002.

[8] Monteclaro 1907; Fernandez [1898] 2006, 135-36; Salvilla 1983 vol 2:7.

[9] San Agustin [1686] 1998, 427; Magos 1996, 121-22; Fernandez [1898] 2006, 174.

[10] Rodriguez [1565] cited in Cuesta 1980, 27; Loarca [1582] in Blair and Robertson 1903 vol 5.

[11] San Agustin [1698] 1998, 425; Cuesta 1980, 27-31.

[12] San Agustin [1698] 1998, 425-26.

[13] San Agustin [1698] 1998, 433, 524-29; Fernandez [1898] 2006, 116; Morga [1609] 1904 vol 16, 134.

[14] San Agustin [1698] 1998, 75. 425, 453, 524-29; Riquel et al. [1574] Blair and Robertson 1903 vol 3:207.

[15] Medina [1630] Blair and Robertson 1904 vol 23:165; Legazpi [1572] in Blair and Robertson 1903 vol 3.

[16] San Agustin [1698] 1998, 75; Diaz [1698] 1906 Blair and Robertson vol 38:216.

[17] San Agustin [1686] 1998, 427; Magos 1996, 121-22; Fernandez [1898] 2006, 174.

[18] Magos 1996, 121; Loarca [1582] in Blair and Robertson 1903 vol 5:78; San Agustin [1698] 1998, 59-63.

[19] Fernandez [1898] 2006, 114.

[20] Cuesta 1980, 31-34, 46, 50-52, 114.

[21] Cuesta 1980, 31-34, 46, 50-52, 114.

[22] Loarca [1582] in Blair and Robertson 1903 vol 5:62; Fernandez 1898, 123.

[23] Sonza [1977?], 25.

[24] Ronquillo [1582] in Blair and Robertson 1903 vol 5:26.

[25] Fernandez [1898] 2006, 116.

[26] Fernandez [1898] 2006, 119; Medina [1630] 1904, 217.

[27] Diaz [1698] in Blair and Robertson vol 38, 215-23).

[28] Fernandez [1898] 2006, 137.

[29] Cuesta 1980, 155; Varona 1938, 6-7

[30] Cuesta 1980, 297; Bauzon 1998, 29-30.

[31] Bauzon 1998, 30; Echauz [1894] 1978, 17.

[32] Echauz [1894] 1978, 17, 72-74; Cuesta 1980, 226-29; Varona 1938, 6-10.

[33] Bauzon 1998, 32.

[34] Bauzon 1998, 33.

[35] Salvilla n.d., 1:40.

[36] Varona 1938, 85-87; Cuesta 1980, 443-46.

[37] Varona 1938, 85-87; Cuesta 1980, 443-46.

[38] Varona 1938, 85-87; Cuesta 1980, 443-46.

[39] Cuesta 1980, 451-64; Varona 1938, 101.

[40] Aguilar 2000, 28-39.

[41] “Miller” 1899.

[42] Salvilla 1993 vol 2:42.

[43] Regalado and Franco 1973, 458.

[44] Regalado and Franco 1973, 458.

[45] “Smith” 1899; Aguilar 2000, 46-47.

[46] Varona 1938, 118, 124.

[47] Cullamar 1986, 50-51; Varona 1938, 132; Sa-onoy 2014.

[48] Cullamar 1986, 50-51; Varona 1938, 132; Sa-onoy 2014

[49] Cullamar 1986, 52; Varona 1938, 133; Sa-onoy 2014.

[50] Cullamar 1986, 55-66.

[51] Aguilar 1998, 225; Carbonel 1926.

[52] Gilmore 1927, 111-12; Aguilar 1998, 224-25; Hurley 1938.

[53] Cleope 2002, 26, 43.

[54] Uriarte 1962, 42.

[55] Cleope 2002, 32-33; Uriarte 1962, 22; Guanzon 2002, 191.

[56] Guanzon 2002, 195-97

[57] Cruz-Lucero 1988, 129.

[58] Cruz-Lucero 1988, 131-32.

[59] Cruz-Lucero 1988, Appendices.

[60] Villalon and Villalon 2013; USDOS 1986.

[61] Human Rights 1990.

[62] Pabico 2006.

[63] Lopez-Gonzaga 1994, 12-13.

[64] Loarca [1582] in Blair and Robertson 1903 vol 5:159-60.

[65] Loarca [1582] in Blair and Robertson 1903 vol 5:57; Morga [1609] 1907.

[66] Loarca [1582] in Blair and Robertson 1903 vol 5:149-50; Echauz [1894] 1978, 109.

[67] San Agustin [1698] 1998.

[68] Loarca [1582] in Blair and Robertson 1903 vol 5.

[69] Echauz [1894] 1978, 109.

[70] Alvina and Madulid 2009, 720.

[71] Fernandez [1898] 2006, 128.

[72] Fernandez [1898] 2006, 123.

[73] Constantino 1975,122-23.

[74]OA 2014, NEDA-RDC6 2011, 13.

[75] Espina 2002; Ombion 2007; Nicavera 2015; Lopez 2013.

[76] Hcda Bino 2005.

[77] Hcda. Fatima 2003.

[78] Madrid 1995; Santarita 1995.

[79] Funtecha 1997.

[80] NEDA-RDC6 2011, 110.

[81] NEDA-RDC6 2011, 27, 50.

[82] Ombion and Cadagat 2000; DENR 2015.

[83] DENR 2015.

[84] DENR 2015.

[85] DENR 2015.

[86] NEDA-RDC6 2011, 31; Reliefweb 2008; Burgos Jr., 2008.

[87] CESVI 2013; Bayoran 2013.

[88] Farmers” 2016.

[89] NEDA-RDC6 2011.

[90] “Jalaur” 2012.

[91] NEDA-RDC6 2011, 88-89.

[92] Loarca [1582] in Blair and Robertson 1903 vol 5:142-43.

[93] Loarca [1582] in Blair and Robertson 1903 vol 5:136, 146.

[94]  Loarca [1582] in Blair and Robertson 1903 vol 5:144-45.

[95] Loarca [1582] in Blair and Robertson 1903 vol 5:69.

[96] Leichter 1975.

[97] Leichter 1975, 61.

[98] Jocano 1968; Muyco 2008, 45-50.

[99] PSA-NSCB 2015.

[100] PSA 2010; Province 2015; NIR 2016.

[101] NEDA-RDC6 2011, 103-104.

[102]  Loarca [1582] in Blair and Robertson 1903 vol 5:147.

[103] Loarca [1582] 1903 vol 5:138-39.

[104] Loarca [1582] 1903 vol 5:110, 114; Bobadilla [1640] in Blair and Robertson 1903 vol 29:291-92; Magos 1996, 122-23.

[105] Bobadilla [1640] in Blair and Robertson 1903 vol 29:291-92; Alcina 1668; Loarca [1582] 1903 vol 5:110; Magos 1996, 122-23.

[106] Loarca [1582] in Blair and Robertson 1904, 112-14.

[107] Chirino [1604] in Blair and Robertson 1903 vol 12:89.

[108] Uriarte 1962, 145, 148.

[109] Cleope 2002, 50-59.

[110] Cleope 2002, 94.

[111] Guanzon 2002, 187-88.

[112] Loarca [1582] in Blair and Robertson 1904 vol 5.

[113] Loarca [1582] in Blair and Robertson 1904 vol 5.

[114] de Castro 1987.

[115] de Castro 1987, 90-109.

[116] Fernandez [1898] 2006, 136.

[117] Loarca [1582] in Blair and Robertson 1903 vol 5.

[118]  de Castro 1987.

[119] Diaz [1698] in Blair and Robertson vol 38, 215-23; Fernandez 1898, 137, 148.

[120] Bauzon 1998, 42.

[121] Moreno 2004, 230.

[122] Moreno 2004, 230-31.

[123] NHI 1991, 17-18; Echauz [1894] 1978, 37.

[124]  Uriarte 1962, 141-42.

[125]  Uriarte 1962, 141-42.

[126]  Uriarte 1962, 141-43.

[127] National Museum 2015.

[128] National Museum 2015.

[129]  Yap 2014.

[130] Gonzales 2015.

[131]  Abadilla 2015.

[132] “Gold” 2014; Lopez-Gonzaga 1994, 13.

[133] Loarca [1582] 1903 vol 5:78.

[134] Loarca [1582] 1903 vol 5:110-11.

[135] Hernandez 1998, 5.

[136] Busil 2006.

[137] Barrios 2007; 2006; 2011.

[138] “Mariano” 2014.

[139] NCCA 2011, 1.

[140] Chuaunsu 2011, 23; Busil, 2006.

[141] Torreno, 2012.

[142] Gonzales, 2014.

[143] de Castro 1987, 107-108.

[144] Loarca [1582] Blair and Robertson 1903 vol 5:116.

[145] Loarca [1582] 1903 vol 5:118-19.

[146] Loarca [1582] in Blair and Robertson 1903 vol 5:122.

[147] Deriada 2015.

[148] Deriada 2015.

[149] Mentrida (1637) 1841; Scott 1994, 110.

[150] “2010” 2012, 221-27

[151]  Guanzon 2002, 188.

[152]  UP Teatro Amakan.

[153] Liu 2016, 387.

[154] Dagyaw Theater 2016.

[155] French 2008.

[156] Leo Lasaga, pers comm 2016.

[157] Funtecha 1997, 60-61.

[158] Funtecha 1997, 61-62.

[159] Funtecha 1997, 62-63.

[160] Funtecha 1997, 132-34.

[161] CMFR 2012b.

[162] CMFR 2012b.

[163] CMFR 2012a; Funtecha 1997, 134-35.

[164] Bombo Radyo 2012.

[165] Funtecha 1997, 135-36; Davies 2016)

[166] CMFR 2012a.

[167] Burgos Jr. 2015.

[168] All the data in this section are from Groyon 2014, 179, 181-82.


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