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Island of panay

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Panay.jpg
Islands of the Philippines


The island of panay is located within region 6-western visayas. It has a total land area of 12,011 km² which makes it the 6th largest island in the Philippines. There are 4 provinces within the island: Aklan, Antique, Capiz and Iloilo.

Population of Panay

  • As of 2015 census = 4,477,247
  • Population 3,973,877 (as of 2007 census)

Northwestern Panay Peninsula Natural Park

The Northwestern Panay Peninsula Natural Park shall be under the administrative jurisdiction of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and shall be managed in accordance with the provisions of the NIPAS Act of 1992

(04/25/02) ILOILO CITY – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ensured the protection and sustainable development of northwestern part of Panay Island.

This, after the President signed the proclamation declaring the Northwest Panay Peninsula, covering the municipalities of Nabas, Malay and Buruanga of Aklan province and the municipalities of Libertad and Pandan of Antique province as Protected Area pursuant to Republic Act No. 7586 otherwise known as the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992.

"The Northwestern Panay Peninsula Natural Park shall be under the administrative jurisdiction of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and shall be managed in accordance with the provisions of the NIPAS Act of 1992," the proclamation stated.

Environment Secretary Heherson T. Alvarez, who authored the NIPAS Act as senator, earlier urged President Arroyo to identify the site as a protected area due to its importance as the only source of potable water for the three municipalities.

“The Park also contains the last significant tracts of lowland rainforest within the West Visayas Biogeographic Region. We must protect these vast biomes which supports the very fabric of life,” he stressed.

The site also is a potential for eco-tourism due to the presence of Malumpati and Kenyang falls that serve as an ideal recreational site, while there are six major caves within the area that provide opportunities for different caving activities.

"Its forests harbors diverse species of both flora and fauna that include critically endangered birds and mammals unique to Panay Island such as the Visayan warty pig and spotted deer. The protected area has been identified as Extremely High-Urgent site for conservation of the country’s biological diversity," Alvarez stressed.

Also, Alvarez announced several activities slated for the Maasin Watershed in Iloilo province for the following day, April 26.

Among these are the inauguration and blessing of DENR-SUSIMO building within the watershed vicinity; the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signing for the "Adopt-a-Tigum River" project with the Cabatuan Organization for Watershed Rehabilitation (COWARE); and the local government of Cabatuan, and the groundbreaking rites and laying of time capsule for the Maasin Watershed Farm-to-Market Road Rehabilitation Project.

President Macapagal-Arroyo also gave our some 187 free land patents, covering a total of 81.1525 hectares, to poor farmers in Aklan as the DENR moved a step closer to fully fulfilling the President’s State of the Nations Address (SONA) commitments on her land-for-the-landless program.

Alvarez said this will benefit some 187 farmers and their families in the municipalities of Banga, Cenzo, Tangalan and Numancia, all in the province of Aklan.

During her SONA last year, the President promised to distribute at least 100,000 hectares of alienable and disposal (A&D) public lands to the landless as part of her commitment for an equitable distribution of lands.

In support of this program, Alvarez said the DENR is fast-tracking the identification and survey of lands throughout the country and for its distribution to qualified applicants through the issuance of Free Patents and Homestead Patents.

The cultural dimension of boats in Panay island

Panay Island has always been prominent in the boat-building industry in the Philippines since the pre-colonial days. The construction of various types of wooden boats was already a flourishing activity in the island long before the coming of the Spanish colonizers. Because of their primary importance, boats and their cultural dimensions have permeated many aspects of the lives of the people in the area.

Reference to the extensive use and construction of boats in pre-colonial Panay are numerous, both in oral and written accounts. These are indications of the early development of the paddle-and sail-powered boats in the area. This could be attributed to the archipelagic character of the country, the island's rich fishing grounds and abundant marine resources, the availability of excellent timber, the early development of rice production that complemented the gathering of the bounty of the sea, the early trade relations of the people, and the expertise and skills of its boat carpenters. Even in colonial times, the demand for boats continued. Both the Spanish and American colonial masters needed boats to advance their political and economic interests in the island. After the granting of independence in 1946 by the US government, there was the persistence in the demand for boats for travel, fishing, and the transport of goods, especially sugar, as a result of the remarkable increase in the island's population.

It is recorded by the Spaniards that, upon their arrival in the Philippines, they noticed that almost every household had one to two boats. They also admired the Filipinos, especially the Panayanons to be expert in sailing and navigation. This is the reason why the colonizers established a shipyard in Oton, hired local carpenters to build their galleons and other water vessels and conscripted the local men to serve as sailors.

Because of the dominance of boats and boat-building in the lives of the people of Panay, many places in the island have earned the reputation as centers of boat-building. Oton and Dumangas were frequently mentioned by the Spanish writers. Certain individuals and families have also become well-known because of their skills and expertise in the making of boats. Moreover, there has been a diversification of boat designs to cater to certain purposes, like shrimp catching, cargo transport, passenger travel, leisure trips, etc. Also significant is that while boat construction follows certain technical standards, the personal aesthetics or touches and color preference of the builder usually find their way into the finished boat. There is, therefore, some kind of personal trademark associated with the boats. Furthermore, there is the persistence of the traditional method of boat construction, despite the advent of modern tools and equipment.

In addition, boats and sailing are mentioned in Panayanon myths and epics, despite the fact that these oral literature are found in the mountainous part of central Panay and far from the sea. Boats have also left their imprints in the country's socio-political organzation for the "barangay" is another word for the boat, aside from bangka, baroto and paraw. Even in the spiritual realm, there has been a substantial body of folk beliefs and practices associated with boats, usually dealing with taboos. An example of these is that it is not good for a pregnant woman to come near a boat while it is being constructed or to board it when it is to go fishing.

In the past, terms associated with boats were commonly employed as names of persons, such as Bugsay and Dagpak. There are many places in the interior parts of Panay that have been called as Binaroto or Binangka. Also significant is that the making of boats reinforces certain Panayanon admirable traits and values such as dagyaw or tangkores, which is the voluntary, collective and reciprocal assistance neighbors extend to each other. Boats and boat-building are further found in the Panayanon vocabulary and common expressions. Two of those gathered by the writer are : "Por Dios por timon!" and "Baroto de Santo Rosario!"

Finally, one can also find the cultural dimension of boats in its uses, not only as a water vessel for transport and for fishing but as a container in making ginamos, as a place to do laundry, as a nap or sleeping area, as a convenient obstacle while children are playing "catch", and as a bench for sitting and a platform for drying fish and firewood when it is laid upside down.

In retrospect, it can be said that the advantageous geographic character and socio-economic position of Panay have produced a maritime people who have relied heavily on boats for their fishing and transportation needs since early times to the present. Thus, various elements associated with boats are still evident in the literature and traditional values and activities of the inhabitants, even in areas far away from the coast. This clearly shows how encompassing boats are in the lives of the people of Panay.

Original article :
Henry F. Funtecha, Ph.D.
Friday, 20 June 2008 03:27