|This photo only courtesy of wikipedia's Eugene Villar.
What does a visit entail? What should one expect? By whimsical fancy, I booked a flight to Iloilo on my way to Davao. Though I have been to Iloilo a few years ago, it was strictly for work. And there was hardly any touristic activity involved. I had ready rides from and to the airport, a hotel, and some people guiding me around the work place. I wasn't able to see a single place so it might as well have been a figment of the imagination, right? With that in mind, I did a fast research and read up, printed maps straight from the internet, oriented myself with the area surrounding my hotel, and started a mental checklist. Lo and behold, it was turning out more exciting than the nonchalant manner of hasty booking.
Seeing the possibilities of the place - and with virtually no place to call "home", the datus made a deal with the local chieftain, purchasing most of the lowlands in exchange of a golden salakot (a gold hat). To sweeten the deal, they threw in a golden necklace for the lovely Queen Maniwantiwang. The datus divided Panay among themselves while Datu Puti decided to venture north. Meanwhile, the aetas (or “ati”) headed to the mountains. The eastern flatland was handed to Datu Paiburong who named his conclave “Irong Irong”, which eventually evolved into what it’s called now.
But I am digressing. Anyhow, the events surrounding the Sabah conflict is contentious. While the Kirams’ claim could be valid, it shouldn't have employed undue violence. These days, only idiots resort to war. And Malaysia, having been left to exercise their sovereignty over Sabah for decades now, have the right to protect themselves.
However, this settlement was punctuated by repeated invasions and blood-soaked raids by the Moros, the British and the Dutch. All these resulted into a resettlement that had to strategically move eastward to where it is now - by the mouth of Iloilo River. In 1581, Spanish Governor General Ronquillo de Penalosa named this settlement “La Villa Rica de Arevalo”, Iloilo’s first capital and one of the first places in the Philippines to be named after a Spanish town, now incorporated as a district of Iloilo City.