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HISTORIC PANAY

Seven and a half kilometers east of Roxas City,


Capiz, is Pan-ay, the second Spanish Settlement after
Cebu and one of the oldest towns in the Phillipines. It
was founded by the Spanish Augustinian Friars in the
year 1581.

TALES OF HOW PAN-AY GOT ITS NAME


The town leaves three legends on how it got its
name. The first says that when he Spaniards came, they
brought with them some bread to be offered to natives
handed the bread to him saying, Pan but unluckily it
fell to the ground and the native exclaimed ay. So
goes the first legend.

The second as given by Datu Bangkaya, a Malayan datu


who

left

Aklan

to

explore

the

eastern

hald

of

the

region. Finding it a vast plain and suitable for rice


farming,

he

called

it

Panhay,

local

term

for

plain.

Third and widely accepted came from the Spanish term


Hay Pan which means there is food. With all these
tales, theres no one really who could say which of the
tales is the real entomology of the word Pan-ay.

PAN-AY AS THE SECOND SPANISH SETTLEMENT


After food shortages and attacks of the Portuguese
forced him to leave the first settlement in Cebu, Don
Miguel

de

Legaspi

established

in

1569

the

second

Spanish settlement on the banks of the Panay River.


In his report Gaston Peralta, third Viceroy of New
Spain, Legaspi said he has chosen the location because
of the abundance of food and could be easily defended
from outside attacks.

MEETING THE PEOPLE


The people of Pan-ay and their chiefs,Datu Madidong
and

Datu

Macabaug

welcomed

Legaspi

and

party.

The

Spaniards soon learned to like the way people talk.


The Inhabitants, said an Augustianian priest, speaks
sweetly and their pronouciation resembles that of the
Andalusian. Legaspi lived in pan-ay from the latter
part of 1569 up to the early part of 1571 when he
sailed for Maynilad now Manla to pursue the conquest
and Christianization of Luzon.

THE FONT OF CHRISTIANITY IN PANAY ISLAND

The town of Pan-ay became the center of Catholic Faith in


the island of Panay, Capiz now Roxas City,Pontevedra, Pilar and
Dao and the town Carles in Ilo-Ilo were once the Visitas or
annexes of the Parish area of Luzon.

Pan-ay the Historic Parish


Santa Monca Parish of Pan-ay, Capiz, the first center of
faith in the archdiocese, was established in 1580. Its first
curate was Bartolome de Alcantara. Pan-ays centuries old church
completed in 1771 is the towns historic landmark and foremost
tourist attraction. The thick walls are coral blocks and the
flooring of marble and Spanish red tiles. The whole structure
itself is a delicate expression of the sold Spanish Baroque.
Pan-ay
antique

church

images.

has

The

three

altar

towering

frontals

altars

are

made

which
of

display

hard

wood

delicately engraved and sculptured with ornamental designs. Wood


and ivory images, old chalices, monstrance, chasubles sewn with
gold thread, precious stone and silver plates are among the
priceless treasures of the parish.

THE BIGGEST CATHOLIC CHURCH BELL IN ASIA


Atop the five storey belfry is a gigantic bell whose booming
sound can be heard eight-kilometers radius. It is seven feet in
height and diameter weighing 10.4 tons. The Spanish Curate from
1844 to 1886, Father Jose Beloso, cast the bell from out of 70
sacks of coins collected from the townspeople through a quota

system. Each Cabeza de Barangay and well off families were


required to donate one sack of coins or at least one half of it.
The bell was completed on December 12, 1878. There were also
eight smaller bells to echo the different celebrations and
solemnities of the church.

INSCRIPTION OF THE BELL

Soy

la

vos

de

Dios

que

llevare

ensalzare

desde

el

principio hasta el fin de este pueblo de Pan-ay para que los


fieles de Hesucristo vengan a esta casa de dios reciber las
gracias celestias.

I am the voice of God which shall echo and praise fron the
beginning till the end of tjis town of Pan-ay, so that the
faithful of Jesus Christ may come to the house of God to receive
heavenly graces. (English translation by Msgr. Vicente F. Hilata)

BIRTH OF A NEW CULTURE


Early

missionaries

have

not

only

converted

Filipinos

to

Christiniaty, but also taught them the use of many articles of


civilized life. They established schools and taught natives how
to read and write Latin and Spanish alphabets. Likewise, the
priest learned the native tongue and wrote books in the dialect
for the people to read and study. Most of the books were about

religion. In schools, missionaries taught the boys to serve in


the church. They were also taught how to sing and play the organ
and other musical instruments.

SOCIO-ECONOMIC BACKGROUND OF THE TOWN

From the original settlement of 2,000 inhabitants, Panay grew and became the first Provincial Capital of Capiz.
Most of the prominent families in Capiz lived then in Pan-ay
and the Spanish Governor General of the Philippines were
delighted in visiting town. It become the center of trade
and industry in the province.
Most of the houses had their looms which was used in
weaving an extra fine cloth called suerte, which is worn
by local elites as status symbol. It also commands a good
price in Europe.
There were also distilleries producing nipa wine known
as

aquardiente

for

export.

The

owner

of

the

biggest

distillery in town was Don Antonio Roxas, grandfather of


Senator Manuel Mar Roxas.

SOCIO-POLITICAL BACKGROUND
Pan-ay as the first Capital of Capiz

Pan-ay being the first organized community in the


province
Capiz,

was

made

during

the

the

first

early

capital

Spanish

(Cabezera)

regime.

Even

of
the

Goberbador of Capiz has been officially residing in


this town where the case real was located.
The first governor appointed by King Philip II of
Spain was a Spaniard by the name of Pavis. Although
other

settlements

Pontevedra,
more

and

organized

Governor
Capital

and
of

like

Pilar
was

the

Capiz.

Capiz

were

now

stablished,

chosen

to

priest

as

Pavis

did

be

the
not

the

Roxas

City,

Pan-ay

being

favor

of

the

Provincia

or

the

and

his

live

long

remains were buried inside the church of Pan-ay.


After the death of Pavis, the site of the Provincia
or the capital or the Capital was moved to Capiz, now
Roxas City. The basic reason of the transfer was access
of water transportation. The succeeding governors then
lived in Capiz (Roxas City).

ORGANIZATION OF THE BARANGAY


During

the

administration

of

the

second

Governor,

the

Barangay was created. A pueblo or town is subdivided into smaller


political

units

called

Barangay

or

Village.

Every

Barangay

comprises

of

one

hundred

men

under

head

called

Cabeza

de

Barangay. Each member who is 18 to 60 years old is required to


pay

an

annual

tribute

of

eight

reales

in

silver

or

its

equivalent in kind. Likewise he should also pay a Presentation


Personal (residence certificate) amounting to fifty centavos and
to work for fifteen days without pay. Each Cabeza de Barangay
would collect the tributes from his members and turn it over to
the

kapitan

or

Gobernadorcillo.

When

the

headman

could

not

collect the required amount, he would be abused and forced to pay


what was lacking. The system had caused a great deal of hardship
among the constituents and was believed to have sparkled the
resentment of the people against Spanish rule.

THE REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT IN PAN-AY


Before the coming of the revolutionary forces from Luzon to
Pan-ay,

secret

revolutionary

organization

has

been

already

existing in town. The Province of apiz at that time was divided


into three regions namely: Aklan, Pan-ayand Ilayan, each having
its revolutionary officers.
In Panay the overall leader wa General Esteba Contreras
under him were Colonel Pascual Barza and Lt. Colonel Domingo
Balgos. The headquarters was located at the hill of Bailan,
Pontevedra.

THE HISTORICAL BATTLE IN PAN-AY


Pan-ay was the center of the first act of revolt
against the Spaniards in the Province of Capiz. This was
headed by General Esteban D. Contreras, where the first

battle happened on May 3, 1897, at Sitio Tadiao, Barangay


Linateran, near a junction road going to Barrio Agojo. The
Insurectors or the Agraviados were under the command of Col.
Pascual Barza.

The two platoons of revolutionaries who were sent ahead


was ably led by Sergeant Victoriano Bulquerin. Aware of
their

inferiority

in

firearms,

they

prepared

beforehand

black pointed gafa or nipa stalks that looked like rifles


from afar. With this, they simultaneously fired the seven
guns that they have with the rest carrying facsimile guns.
The Casadores (Spaniards) thinking that the opponents are
well equipped and prepared retreated to Capiz (Roxas City)
through banica Bridge.
The following day, May 4, 1897, Col. Pascual Barza made
the right speculation that the Casadores (Spaniards) would
come back. In preparation for the expected return of the
Spanish forces, he had mobilized two groups. He deployed one
group along Banica and other in Sitio Lahab of Barrio Bato
and leading together with him is Capitan Nicomedes Bernales.

The Agraviados waited by the river bank under the cover


of shrubs and trees. The Spaniards came riding on three
Conduciones

(large

bancas

tied

together

in

threes) numbering to two hundred more or less.

twos

or

This time the Agraviados were able to acquire a cannon


at a given order fired but unluckily missed its target. The
battle raged on but the Agraviados fighting mostly with
bolos save for a few gunsBegan retreating to the nearby
swamps.
The Spaniards ten begun burning the town particularly
the whole of Ilaya. They also executed people whom they
caught hiding in the church but deliberately sparing the
church from their torch. Afterwards the Spaniards went back
to Capiz (Roxas City) while Barza and company fled to Pilar.

THE COMING OF THE REVOLUTIONARY FORCES FROM LUZON

When the Spaniards surrendered to the American forces in


Manila, the revolutionary forces from Luzon arrived in Pan-ay.
The

group

Marasigan.

was
On

under

the

December

8,

leadership
1899,

the

of

General

American

Ananias

forces

and

seized

control of the entire Panay Island.


Simeon

Dadivas

was

then

appointed

temporary

governor

followed by Simplicio Hugo Vidal. For Pan-ay, Don Candido Barredo


was the Capitan and succeeding after him was Pablo Belo. But
Pablo Belo did not stay long in office as he was succeeded by Don
Macario Bermejo. When Macario Bermejo was the incumbent Capitan
of Pan-ay, the title of Captain was changed to Presidente.