Buruanga is one of the seventeen (17) municipalities in the Province of Aklan. It is located at the northwestern tip of Panay Island, bounded on the north by the Municipality of Malay; on the South by the Municipality of Libertad, Antique; on the East by the Province of Antique and on the West by Cuyo East Pass of China Sea. It is about 86 kilometers from Kalibo, the seat of the provincial government of Aklan.
THE PRE-SPANISH PERIOD
“Long before,” the coming of the Spaniards to the Philippines, there existed in this town a peaceful village at the foot of Mt. Kabantog. The settlers expanded as far as what is now the Buruanga Plain. This valley almost surrounded by mountains; at the north is Taludtod Baboy, at the east is Daokon mountains, at the south is Kabantog Mountain and at the west is low and narrow mountain range connecting the Ingus-Ingus Hill and Said Hill in Alegria. This part separates the sea from the valley. The surrounding mountains were thick forests inhabited by wild animals and roaming black people, the Negritos.
Then came a boatload of discontented people believed to came from Mindanao. They were the first settlers to establish the first settlement in this town. They established their settlement at the foot of Mt. Kabantog and around the lake. The lake was then, covered by marshes, mangroves. Later, the lake dried up and the settlers developed the area, and became a fertile valley now the Buruanga Plain.
The name Buruanga came from the word “Busuanga” meaning eruption or swell. Frequently harassed by emendations from the river, the people constructed earth dams which were washed away. The residents named the river “Busuanga” which later became the name of the municipality. When the Spaniards came, they changed the name “Busuanga” to Buruaga or perhaps the change was purely a clerical error.
Early during the Spanish occupation of the Island of Panay, Buruanga was a part of the Municipality of Ibajay. It became independent of the Municipality of Ibajay in 1732 when a certain Don Venancio de Pedro, a native of Nabas, was appointed the first “basal” who took the reign of government from the “Teniente Absoluto”. This municipality was placed under the supervision of the Captain of Nabas.
In 1810, this place became the independent municipality under the Province of Capiz. In 1812, the first captain to be appointed was Joseph Cajilig. After his term 68 other “Capitanes” succeeded him and the last “Capitan” under the Spanish regime was Don Tiburcio Ascano in the year 1899-1901.
Based on available chronological records, the past leaders bearing the titles ranging from “Teniente Absoluto”, Basal, Capitanes, and “Municipal Presidente” up to the present Municipal Mayors totally recorded to 107. Due to the unavailability of transportation facilities, people of Buruanga found it very difficult to transact business in the seat of government in Ibajay. There were no telephones, telegrams and radios during those days, too. Hence, communications were all through mails carried by men on foot from one place to another, therefore there was so much delay in communication. In 1903, Buruanganons strived hard to put up their own government with Don Tiburcio Ascaño as its last head. His title was Municipal Presidente and became the first elected Municipal Mayor during the American regime.
Buruanga experienced grim social events in the past. In 1820, Buruanganons became victims of raiding Moro Marauders. Many men were killed and women were abducted and forced to white slavery business in Borneo and Sumatra. The barangays that suffered most from this carnage was Santander, formerly the biggest barangay in the municipality of Buruanga. A place called “Guinobatan” now exists, named after a native term meaning “surprise attack”. To repulse the invaders, the people put up a resistance form and constructed wooden palinodes along the shoreline. In 1914, the worst famine and cholera epidemic struck the town claiming a heavy tool on the lives of the people. Human cadavers littered everywhere especially in the seashore.
In 1902, Buruanganons strived to continue putting up their own government with Don Tiburcio Ascaño as its last head to bear the title of Municipal Presidente and the first elected Municipal Mayor during the American regime. The present municipality of Malay which has 16 Barangays including Poblacion which was once a part of the Municipality of Buruanga. A very significant political event occurred in June 15, 1949 when Malay was separated from Buruanga through Republic Act 381 declaring Malay an independent municipality.
The event greatly affected the future development of the town of Buruanga because Malay has an area, population and income which was almost one-half that of Buruanga before the separation. With the separation, Buruanga existed with only three remaining barangays, Alegria, Santander and Tag-osip. In 1960, residents of big sitios of Tigum and Bagongbayan which was part Santander, Nazareth of Barangay Tag-osip and Habana of Barangay Alegria, petitioned the Aklan Provincial Board through the Municipal Council to separate from their mother barangays affecting the number of barangays of Buruanga from three to seven. Sitio Buenavista now Balusbos followed suit in 1961. Bel-is separated from Alegria and Katipunan from Tigum on March 16, 1966, Mayapay from Habana, El, Progreso from Tag-osip and Cabugan from Balusbos on June 1, 1972. At present, Buruanga has a total 15 barangays including Poblacion.
Men of unquestioned integrity and dedication to serve ruled Postwar, Buruanga. There had never been any existing records, abuse, anomaly or administrative case committed by any town executive.
On March, 1986, Mayor Pablito Sualog got hospitalized and Vice Mayor Bienvinido Casuncad acted as Officer In-Charge. After a month, when Mayor Pablito P. Sualog died, Protasio S. Obrique was appointed Officer In-Charge of the municipality under the Cory Administration. He was later elected as Municipal Mayor on 1988 and brought about some developments to Buruanga.
The last decade of the 20th century ushered in a new form of governance for the local government units. Republic Act 7160 took effect in January 1992. As result of its implementation, the municipal government absorbed the devolved personnel of the DA, DOH and DSWD assigned in the municipality and the other devolved functions of other national government agencies. The barangays and the municipality have their individual shares of the Internal Revenue Allotments from the National Government.
Before, Buruanga lagged behind in terms of delivering social services to its constituents brought by the sporadic flow of social activities. But with the advent of Mayor Inday Labindao, as she is popular to people, this once slumbering town has now become a bustling and progressive municipality.
With Mayor Inday at the helm, Buruanga rose to prominence primarily for its successful peace and order program and considered other factors, such as economic progress, environmental protection and enhancement, health and social welfare, infrastructure development, delivery of municipal services, tax collection, education, culture, youth development programs and tourism industry. Modernization of the town’s municipal services, improved peace and order, and speedy construction of infrastructures, among others, has been the bases for the town’s rapid economic progress.
A centerpiece of the town’s economic program relies in the enhancement of social infrastructure. Foremost is the 61.5 Million Construction of Malay-Buruanga Road project, which gives convenient travel to motorists, commuters and traders. The El Progreso-Cabugan Bridge which link the two barangays and paved way to the agricultural workers transferring their farm outputs and inputs comfortably.
Farm to market roads was constructed and rehabilitated to support the agricultural developments. For the farmers, Mayor Inday also provided aid through livestock dispersal and high variety seeds to resurrect the moribund state of agriculture in this municipality and to transform Buruanga bastion of food in this part of the province.
Buruanga’s rise from abject poverty to prominence is a legend of which Buruanganon themselves the foremost authors through the guidance of Mayor Inday Labindao. Their ascent to progress and development is rooted in dreams that they transformed into reality with hard work and their imperishable faith in God.
After Mayor Indays’ term end, his husband jointhe political arena to continue her dreams for Buruanga. Mayor Quezon Labindao started his mandate by concentrating on completing infrastructure projects and initiating to source out funds from other agencies to fund the different projects for the municipality.
In his term, with his enormous effort he started developing the natural scenic beauty of Buruanga. He dreams that the municipality will be the next destination of the local and foreign tourists, next from the famous Boracay Island.
Due to the foregoing, it is one of the best reasons why tourism is an industry that every Buruanganon was impelled to promote vigorously. The popularity of former Batason Pt. but now called Ariels’ Pt. is fast inviting interest to foreign visitors for snorkelling and diving. In the municipality’s midst are significant old growth tropical forests.
Local and foreign tourists alike watch in awe the wondrous and numerous stalactites and stalagmites formations of the Sapsapon and Sabang Caves. Buruanga has a rich coastal and marine ecosystem, which is home to coral species, and hardwood species abound the forest with endemic creatures such as dulongan freely roam. Magnificent rock formations, hidden creeks and sandy beaches blend perfectly with the municipality.
Buruanga, because of its beauty and luxuriance awakened much admirations. Curve structurally nearly in perfection by Mother Nature and nestled between the hilly portion and mountain ranges that develop the agricultural domain and clear municipal waters. Buruanga, as a testament to its pristine beauty and rich natural lustre and splendor soon will be designated as one of the core area in the Province of Aklan as a major tourist attraction. It is blessed with a variety of tourist spots to cater interest of society. Leisurely, Buruanga is a delightful place to visit.