by ODON S. BANDIOLA
As far as the National Historical Commission of the Philippines and the National Commission on the Culture and the Arts are concerned, there is no Barter of Panay that ever happened between the Bornean datus and the Aeta natives, not so in any province in Panay Island, neither in Aklan.
This was stressed by Professor Jose Eleazar Bersales, a resident archeologist at the University of San Carlos (Cebu) and a member of the Executive Board of the NATCO Committee on Museum for the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.
Bersales, the deputy curator of the University of San Carlos Museum and the Cathedral Museum of Cebu and Associate Professor of the USC Department of Anthropology and Sociology, said it is very unlikely that the 10 Bornean datus can brave the turbulent seas of the West Philippine Sea with their frail sailboats and drop anchor in Aklan early in the 13th century (1213).
Bersales spoke on “Cultural Heritage Conservation: Principles and Practice” before the National Assembly of the League of Secretaries to the Sanggunians recently in Cebu City.
There is no point in arguing against the authoritative, well studied and well-researched position of national government authorities on history, culture and heritage.
Therefore, Ati-atihan Festival all over Aklan have no historical basis. It can never be associated with an event which never happened.
According to Bersales, the Sinulog Festival traces its origin to a religious ritual initiated by the Agustinian friars in the 16th century, pagan in characteristics, then was called “moro-moro”.
“Ati-atihan” can never be associated with the Aetas and neither it originated from the Barter of Panay between the Bornean datus and the Aeta natives which happened only in the minds of pseudo-historians.
The origin of the so-called “Ati-atihan” can never be farther from what the “Sinulog” traces its origin.
Both have heavy religious understones initiated by the Spanish clergy at that time. And so, both festivals, right at the start, were religious festivities as part of the Feast of the Holy Child. Both were not pagan rituals which existed ahead than the celebration of the Feast of the Sto. Niño.
Ibajay’s Ati-ati provides the link. The local “sayaw” of the Ibajay Ati-ati depicts the native’s (moro) resistance to Spanish occupation. It was a “moro-moro” from where Sinulog traces its origin.
I have a lengthy interaction with Bersales about the authenticity of the Code of Kalantiaw and the legendary Datu Bendahara Kalantiaw. Bersales cited the position of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, confirmed same as a big HOAX, figment of the creative imagination. How can Aklanon forefathers be too brutal like Kalantiaw, meting the harshest, uncivilized and inhuman penalties to breach of order and orderly society? Bersales asked.
The trouble is what is supposed to be a legend is woven like a genuine history. Let us disabuse the minds of our young people. Better, if these written hoaxes be erased from our local history books and manuscripts and let it be ingrained in the minds of the next generation that there was no BARTER OF PANAY and Datu Kalantiaw as an ancient law giver never did exist and there was no ancient law like the hoax Code of Kalantiaw. /MP