In a land area of 1,817.89 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the entire civil Province of Aklan.
As of end of 2016, the total population of the diocese is 824,000 of which 74.60 percent are Catholics.
The main inhabitants of the province are the Aklanon, who are part of the Visayan ethnic group. Other inhabitants include the Negrito, locally known as the Ati and the Sulod, a lesser known tribal group located at the hinterlands of Panay. Other Visayans are also present such as the Karay-a, the Hiligaynon and the Capiznon.
The most prominent languages in the province are Akeanon (Aklanon Proper) and Malaynon. Akeanon is spoken by a majority of the people, while Malaynon is spoken in Malay. Tagalog and other regional languages used include: Ati, Hiligaynon, Kinaray-a and Capiznon. English is used as the language of business and in educational institutions.
Suffragan of Capiz
Created by Pope Paul VI: January 17, 1976
Erected: July 15, 1976
Comprises: The entire civil Province of Aklan
Principal Patron of the Diocese: St. John the Baptist
Secondary Patrons of the Diocese: Sto. Niño and Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary
The Diocese of Kalibo was created on Jan. 16, 1976, and erected on July 15, 1976, a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Capiz. The first bishop was Juan Nilmar. The second and present bishop is Gabriel V. Reyes, installed on Jan. 12, 1993. The diocese comprises the civil province of Aklan, which was separated politically from the province of Capiz in 1956.
Aklan occupies the northwestern portion of Panay Island, with its northern coastline facing the Sibuyan Sea. Its southern boundary touches that of Capiz. Its western boundaries are the highlands bordering the province of Antique.
Before the Spaniards came, that part of Panay which now forms the provinces of Aklan and Capiz was a settlement of Daty Bankaya, one of the Bornean datus who bought the lowlands of Panay Island from the Negritos in the 13th century. He and his descendants settled in the area for the next few centuries. In this same place ruled Kalantiao, the fierce datu who drafted a code of laws known in Philippine history as the Code of Kalantiao in 1433, and this code remained in force while he ruled.
The faith was first brought to Aklan as early as 1569, particularly to Kalibo, which is the present capital of the province. Kalibo became a parish in April 1581. The parish then comprised the entire province of Aklan, and two towns of Capiz: Sapian and Ibisan.
In 1570 Martin de Goiti landed in Batan, and from there secured the entire island of Panay for the Spanish rule until the Philippine Revolution of 1896. It is recalled in Philippine history that General Ananias Diokno overran the American forces in Aklan. But the gains of the First Philippine Republic were short-lived, and Aklan finally fell under American administration.
Aklan first became administratively independent of the entire Panay group in 1656, but it was part of the province of Capiz. In 1956 the territory of Capiz by which name the settlement of Datu Bankaya was known for centuries, was divided into two, and Aklan became a separate province.
The people in Aklan are religious with a simple faith. There have been many religious vocations from Aklan. The first Filipino archbishop, the late Gabriel M. Reyes of Manila, Jaime Cardinal Sin of Manila, the late Bishop Cicero Tumbokon of Cabanatuan, Bishop Raul Martirez of Antique, and Bishop Gabriel V. Reyes, are natives of this province.
The pastoral thrust of the diocese is catechesis, social action and worship or liturgy - these being the three components of integral evangelization which, according to the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, is the mission of the entire Philippine Church.
A Philippine province is headed by a Governor. A Provincial Council (Sangguniang Panlalawigan) is composed of a Vice Governor (Presiding Officer) and Provincial Board Members. A Philippine city or municipality is headed by a Mayor. A City Council (Sangguniang Panlungsod) or Municipal Council (Sangguniang Bayan) is composed of a Vice Mayor (Presiding Officer) and City or Municipal Councilors. A barangay is headed by a Barangay Captain, who is also the presiding officer of the Barangay council. The Barangay Council is composed of seven (7) Barangay Kagawads. A similar unit called a Youth Council (Sangguniang Kabataan) is headed by an SK Chairperson with a similar rank to a Barangay Captain. The council is composed of SK Members.
Kalibo International Airport is an airport that serves the general area of Kalibo, the capital of the province of Aklan in the Philippines. The airport is classified as an international airport by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, a body of the Department of Transportation and Communications responsible for the operations of all airports in the Philippines except major international airports.
The airport is about ten minutes from the main plaza of Kalibo, and is one of two airports serving Boracay, the other being Godofredo P. Ramos Airport in the town of Malay.
Godofredo P. Ramos Airport, also known as Caticlan Airport, is an airport serving the general area of the town of Malay, located in the province of Aklan in the Philippines. It is one of the two gateways to Boracay, one of the Philippines' best-known tourist destinations. The airport is classified as a Class 2 Principal airport by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.
The airport is the seventh busiest airport in the Philippines and the third-busiest in the Western Visayas region.
Since Nov. 8, 2002, the airport has been named after the late Godofredo P. Ramos, a former member of Congress and a native of Malay. However, the name Caticlan Airport takes its name from its location on Barangay Caticlan in the same town.
The 4 ports throughout the province are accessible. Three shipping companies are servicing Aklan passengers going to and from Manila, Capiz and Romblon. The New Washington port is 20 minutes away from Kalibo, while the port of Dumaguit, also in New Washington can be reached in an hour. Batan port is accessible via Dumaguit and Altavas while travel time to Malay port is approximately 2 hours. Travel time from Manila to Aklan is 14 to 18 hours through sea travel. The Caticlan Jetty Port is now part of the Roll-on Roll-off (RORO) Strong Republic Nautical Highway which connects Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, and it traverses the municipality of Kalibo going to Capiz and Romblon.
Modes of transportation
GETTING THERE: Kalibo is 45 minutes from Manila by air. Kalibo is about 15 hours from and to Manila and is about 18 hours from Cebu by sea or fly or sail to Iloilo or Roxas City for bonus sites while overland to Kalibo.
It is also accessible through Roll-on Roll-Off (RORO) transport via Caticlan, Malay, Aklan. The Ati-Atihan Town is just an hour and fifteen minutes away from the Paradise Island of Boracay.
GETTING AROUND: Tricycles, jeepneys, vans and buses ply routes from Kalibo to other places of interest in different barangays and municipalities of the Province.
Aklan is a province of the Philippines located in the Western Visayas. Its capital is Kalibo the international capital for region VI and is located at the northwest portion of Panay, bordering Antique to the southwest, and Capiz to the east. Aklan faces the Sibuyan Sea and the province of Romblon to the north.
Aklan is subdivided into 17 municipalities: Altavas, Balete, Banga, Batan, Buruanga, Ibajay, Kalibo, Lezo, Libacao, Madalag, Makato, Malay, Malinao, Nabas, New Washington and Numancia with 1 Congressional district and 327 barangays, no city.
The per capita income in the diocese is (In Philippines Pesos) 21,579 or USD428 as of August 2010.
Major industries, trade and agriculture
The province of Aklan is designated as a first class province. Aklan is famous for Boracay, a resort island located one kilometer north from the tip of Panay. It is known for its white sandy beaches and is considered as one of the more prominent destinations in the Philippines.
Farming is the basic livelihood in the interior while fishing is the basic livelihood in the coasts. Poorer inhabitants also migrate seasonally to other provinces and islands, particularly Negros, to work mostly in plantations. Some of these migrants include minors.
Despite its vibrant tourism industry and substantial agriculture, the province is still considered as one of the poorer provinces in the country.
Other Permanent Major Crops
Aside from palay and coconut, other major crops that contributed to uplift the economy of Aklan are being developed. These are high valued crops with export potential, such as banana (Lakatan), mango, rambutan, and lanzones; and fiber crops such as piña fiber and abaca.
Abaca Products Aside from Piña, Abaca abounds in Aklan. Innovations were made out of this fabric to suit the demanding supply of the fashion market. Dyed abaca cloths are made into place mats, bags, wall decors, fans, etc.
Piña Cloth Weaving
Beyond Boracay and the Ati-atihan, one can also find a dream possession in the province - the Piña cloth, considered as the "Queen of the Philippine Fabrics," and other fineries made from it. The Piña cloth is considered a prime produce of Kalibo, weaved from its unique crude wooden or bamboo handloom that changed little from eight centuries ago.
Pot Making in Lezo
Lezo, one of the 17 municipalities of Aklan, is known for its red clay, which the natives use to make pots, vases and various novelty items. The people of Lezo have a means of livelihood because of the abundant supply of red clay provided by nature.
The diocesan territory has modern and efficient communication services such as cell sites for Globe, Smart and Sun Cellular Communications for mobile phones, international direct dialing, telex, facsimile, worldwide express delivery, postal service and telegram system.
There are 3 TV stations in the territory: DYBB-TV2 is owned by GMA Network, DYCG-TV23 is owned by ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation and DYKQ-TV37 owned by ACQ-Kingdom Broadcasting Network.
There are 15 radio stations in the territory, 4 FM stations are located in Boracay Island while the other 6 FM stations are located in Kalibo, Aklan and the 4 AM stations are located in Kalibo, Aklan.
Aklan is a mountainous province with over one-third of its land area sloping at 30 percent on the average. It is still one of the few provinces in the country to maintain a total of some 709 hectares of virgin forest.
Mountain ranges traverse the island: one; the northern "knot" of Duyang and Tagacan; and the other, the Albinian mountain ranges in the west. Mount Madyaas, at 2,117 meters, is the second highest peak on Panay and is shared by Aklan and Antique. The province has no active volcano, therefore, earthquakes have not been severe, although three faults pass through it.
Much of the province is drained of water into the Sibuyan Sea. Natural inland water resources include rivers, streams, and creeks, springs and waterfalls. There is only one lake in the province, Lake Lapu-lapu, located in the northern Malay town. There are five major river systems. The largest and longest is the Aklan, which flows some 60 kilometers from Capiz to the mouth in Kalibo. Ibajay river flows over 30 kilometers from Madalag to its mouth at Ibajay. The Tangalan, Jalo, and Talon systems are much smaller. The highest waterfall in the province is the Dumalaylay which falls some 100 meters.
The coastline of Aklan stretches for some 155 kilometers along 10 municipalities and 73 barangays. The coastline has two major physical features: Batan Bay in the south-east and Boracay Island at the northern tip of Panay Island.
The plains of Aklan constitute an area of 100 square kilometers shaped into a diamond that includes the central towns of Malinao and Banga and the western coastal towns of New Washington, Kalibo and Makato.
Marshlands are along the coastal towns, comprising over 50 square kilometers.
Literacy rate (simple literacy) in the diocesan territory is 92.35 percent.
Sto. Niño Ati-atihan Festival
A yearly celebrated event, the Sto. Niño Ati-atihan festival is one of the most famous and celebrated festivites here in the Philippines. Celebrated every third Sunday of January on the feast of the Holy Child - Sto. Niño, the marvel of Paeapak has proved its unique and miraculous healing traditions. Ati-atihan festival is held at Kalibo City in Aklan where vibrant and colorful indigenous costumes parade along the streets of the city, loud and lively tribal dance will surely entice you to groove and join the fun. For years, Ati-atihan festival has been one of the most anticipated event here in Asia that even foreign countries take time to visit and witness this glorious event.
The Nabas Bariw Festival is celebrated to commemorate the feast day of St. Isidore the Farmer, the town's patron saint. It is held annually from May 12-15. This celebration showcases the town's hat, mat and other bariw products such as bags, wine holders, baskets and coasters (handcrafted using fiber from the Bariw tree, Abaca Fiber and Buri Palm. The Bariw tree is found only in the provinces of Antique & Aklan in Panay Island, Philippines. Leaves from this tree are cut & dried, then either made into a twine by hand or into strips. Each item then woven from the twine or strips to create the best finished products.).
The festival also highlights the town's unique tourism sites and natural attractions.
During this affair, various skills in mat, hat and bag making and designing are demonstrated. Among the events is a contest to produce the biggest hat and mat contest. The festival is highlighted by continuous street dancing by folks from the town's 20 barangays dressed in colorful bariw costumes accompanied by indigenous bamboo instruments.
The festival is intended to promote the town's cottage industry, which is thriving livelihood activity in Nabas. It also promotes the town's well preserved cold spring resorts, lagoons, long winding coastline, rivers, and low elevation intact forest home to various endemic flora and fauna.
Gonsalo's martyrdom at Nagasaki with the other Christian missionaries is regarded as the most tragic and historic event for Catholicism in Japan
Calungsod and his companion Father Vitores baptized infants, children and adults, defying the risk of persecution and murder
Despite being an ordinary layman, Ruiz remained defiant while facing torture by the Japanese and died a brave martyr
He was the first Korean-born Catholic priest and is now the patron saint of Korea
This fabled church is also known by its Syriac name Mar Sleeva (Holy Cross) Church
Asian Catholics who cannot visit famous Our Lady of Lourdes shrine in France can revere miraculous Mother Mary at Velankanni shrine in India. The Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health is popularly known as “the Lourdes of the East” and holds the largest Catholic Church in Asia.
Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica at Fort Kochi is one of the finest churches and a historic but also a landmark in Kerala state of southern India. Santa Cruz Church blends Indo-European and Gothic architectural style that draws tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year. The cathedral is a great place of devotion and historic significance that survived colonial conquests and invasions to the city.
Mokama Marian shrine on the southern bank of Ganges River bears the legacy persecuted Nepali Catholics banished from their homeland to India for refusing to renounce their faith. Our Lady of Divine Grace Church at Mokama stands about 90 kilometers from Patna, the capital of eastern Indian state of Bihar. Mother Mary is popularly known as Mokama Mata (Mother of Mokama). The church was built to honor Mary in 1947.
The shrine holds a three-meter-tall, white-stone carved statue Virgin Mary on the Tao Pao Mountain in the Diocese of Phan Thiet in southern Vietnam, about 1,600 kilometers from the national capital Hanoi.
The Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Urakami of Nagasaki is a witness of persecution of Christians from 17th to 19th centuries and deadly atomic bombing during the Second World War. This European-style, red-brick church continues to preserve some relics that survived the atomic bombing. Urakami cathedral, also known as St. Mary’s Cathedral, was almost destroyed when the atomic bomb was dropped on Aug. 9, 1945. The church stood about 500 meters from the hypocenter of atomic explosion. The devastation shattered and charred stone-made statues of saints, which were later preserved as relics along with the surviving head of Virgin Mary statue and one of the church’s original bells.
Our Lady of Akita Catholic Church is Yuzawadai is among the most famous churches in Japan. The church shot into global fame thanks to a wooden statue of Blessed Virgin Mary that wept 101 times and Marian apparitions to Japanese nun Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa that miraculously healed her hearing impairment. Japanese wooden sculptor Saburo Wakasa from Akita city carved the now-famous miraculous statue of Virgin Mary in 1963.
The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception in Seria is a small church on the western Belait district of Brunei, but it shot into fame thanks to the nation’s most famous Catholic – late Cardinal Cornelius Sim. It is also the second of three churches in Brunei dedicated to Virgin Mary. In fact, Mary has a prominent place not only in Christianity, but also in Islam, the dominant faith in Brunei. Holy Quran mentions Mary seventy times and reveres her as the greatest woman to have ever lived.