Museo It Akean: The Richness of the Aklanon Heritage
The Museum of Aklan is a credible story teller about Aklan and her people, their culture and historical heritage, their economic and social achievement. It becomes a challenge to her leaders and her people to dream and aspire for greatness as their forefathers did.
The original edifice was erected in 1882 by the Spanish authorities as a school house of the people of Kalibo and neighboring towns. It was popularly known as Escuelahan It Hari (School of the King). It has been used and utilized in varied manner such as trial sala, auditorium, garrison and warehouse.
The Sto. Niño Ati-Atihan is a historical and religious festival held in the five municipalities of Aklan, namely, Kalibo, Makato, Ibajay, Batan, and Altavas, and all held in the month of January each year. The earliest origin of the festival could have started in the year 1212 when the ten Bornean datus bought the plains of Panay from the Ati chieftain Marikudo and consequently a feast was held to celebrate the event. In the 1960’s, then Kalibo Mayor Federico O. Icamina packaged the festival for tourism and coined the term “Ati Atihan“. It started the wearing of more outlandish and colorful costumes.
These talibongs are replicas based from the design of the original swords found in Libacao, Aklan. Traditionally, the Aklanons are excellent sword makers. Basically, they used only three materials: carabao’s horn for the handle, wood for the scabbard, and metal for the blade.
This dark brown jar with three handles and a spout is made of terracotta from the 12th century. The 19th-century Mindanaoan kris was made of steel, wood and rattan.
The takuri (water heater) was made of brass in 18th century while the coffee pitchers were in the 19th century.
The Dr. Jose Rizal Bust Sculpture is made of cement and created in 1943. When the Japanese raided and burned down the house of Sebastian Ilarina in Barrio Daja, Banga, Aklan in 1943, they spared this bust.
The blue and white porcelain was from the Ming Dynasty while the chocolatera was made of brass during the 19th century. It was used to beat cacao seeds into powder then pour with hot water to make a suitable drink.
The memorabilia of Godofredo P. Ramos, the Father of Aklan are prominently showcased at Museo It Akean. So are the WWII heroes of Aklan such as General Jesus Jizmundo, Colonel Pastor Martelino, and Captain Gil Mijares, and two high-ranking Roman Catholic Church leaders Jaime Cardinal Sin and Monsigñor Gabriel Reyes.
Aklan is the main and the oldest manufacturer/weaver of piña (pineapple fiber) cloth in the Philippines which are exported to North America and Europe. Piña weaving is an old-age tradition which was revived in the past 20 years. History records suggest that Kalibo’s piña cloth was traded during the Pre-Hispanic times. In the 18th century, Kalibo was noted as the center of the piña weaving industry. Piña cloth was given as precious gift to kings and royalties of Europe.
There are other artifacts that can be seen at Museo It Akean such as this Spanish Prinsa De Corona, an 1800 iron crown; the circa 1900 Austrian clock; the 19th century chicken coop table; and a 20th century pomade can.
Note: This part of LegendHarry’s July 30-August 8, 2013 Panay Island Backpacking Trip.