New Washington, Aklan
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|Nickname(s): The Bountiful|
Map of Aklan showing the location of New Washington
|Region||Western Visayas (Region VI)|
|Founded||January 15, 1904|
|• Mayor||Edgar R. Peralta|
|• Total||66.69 km2 (25.75 sq mi)|
|• Density||630/km2 (1,600/sq mi)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC+8)|
|Income class||3rd class|
Established on January 15, 1904, the municipality was named after the first president of the United States, George Washington, as a tribute to the Thomasites, a group of American teachers who in the early 1900s established a new public education system in the Philippines, taught basic education, and trained Filipino teachers with English as medium of instruction. The municipality was formerly called Fonda Lagatic, which was derived from Lagatik River that stretches along some of the municipality's barangays at a length of 9.6 kilometers.
New Washington is bounded by the municipality of Batan in the east, Kalibo in the west and Sibuyan Sea on the north.
New Washington is 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) from Kalibo International Airport, 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) from the province's capital town of Kalibo, and one and a half (11⁄2) hours away from the Boracay Island.
The third type of climate predominates in the locality, season not pronounced. It is relatively dry from February to July and wet the rest of the year.
New Washington is politically subdivided into 16 barangays, as follows:
To some locals, the barangays are grouped into two, namely "Eanas" and "Baybay". The barangays that belong to Eanas are those involved in rice farming such as Mabilo, Puis, Jalas, Guinbaliwan, Mataphao, Candelaria, Lawa-an and Jugas. Baybay, on the other hand, covers barangays along or near the coastline, consisting of Tambac, Poblacion, Pinamuk-an, Polo, Cawayan, Ochando, Fatima and Dumaguit.
Common among municipalities in the Philippines, the seat of local government and the center of business are situated in Poblacion. It is also home to the Municipal Auditorium and Sports Complex, where major events of the town are held.
|Population census of New Washington|
|Source: National Statistics Office|
New Washington is the fourth most populous municipality in Aklan, holding 8% of the province's total population. According to the 2007 census, there were 39,656 residents, an increased by 16.7% since the year 2000 when the official count was 33,981. In the 2010 census, the population had increased to 42,112 persons.
Majority of the New Washingtonians, as the municipality's residents are sometimes called, are of Aklanon origin. Immigration, generally, is due to marriage and employment.
New Washingtonians speak in Aklanon, Hiligaynon, Filipino and English, the former being their primary medium. Aklanon, as a language, is often described as a cross between Bisaya, Hiligaynon and Karay-a making it quite complicated for local and foreign tourists to speak and comprehend. This is not seen as a problem, considering that residents can speak fluent Hiligaynon, Tagalog, and English.
The people of New Washington are predominantly Christians, with such movements as Catholic, Protestant and Nontrinitarian scattered around the town. Religious denominations present in the municipality include Roman Catholic Church, Philippine Independent Church, Baptist churches, Iglesia ni Cristo, Seventh-day Adventist Church, Jehovah's Witnesses and Church of the Latter Day Saints, among others.
Although a considerable number is involved in fishing and farming, New Washingtonians have forayed into a diverse array of professions. The majority of them are into marine transportation, education, nursing and business. A few are involved in the fields of medicine, law, public service, etc. Small to medium-scale businesses abound in the municipality.
As New Washington is surrounded by bodies of water such as Sibuyan Sea and Lagatik River, fishing has been the leading livelihood among the people, alongside rice farming. In connection with the latter, New Washington has the largest area of ricefields among the municipalities in Aklan.
The municipality operates two ports: one in Dumaguit and the other in Poblacion. The port in Dumaguit caters to passenger and commercial boats, while the port in Poblacion is only for the latter. Both ports serve as major trade routes between the province of Aklan and Manila.
Through the years, the town has proven to be a promising spot for tourism what with edifices that have either historical or spiritual significance and locations that can be categorized as havens for leisure and relaxation. Examples include the NHI-recognized commemorative monument of Jaime Cardinal Sin and the Shrine of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary in Poblacion, the Pink Sisters' Convent in Polo, the Sunrise/Sunset Viewing at Tambak Seawall and the Sampaguita Gardens Resort.
All the barangays have either an elementary or primary school. There are four secondary schools, namely: New Washington National Comprehensive High School and Montfort Technical Institute (MTI) in Poblacion, Candelaria National High School in Candelaria and Ochando National High School in Ochando. Montessori de Aklan (MDA),a primary school,is a branch of Montessori de Zamboanga Schools which is an affiliate of AMS or American Montessori Society in Polo, Tertiary education is centered at Aklan State University - College of Fisheries and Marine Sciences, which is located in Poblacion. Vocational courses are also offered at MTI. Some families send their children to schools in Kalibo, Capiz, Iloilo and Manila, among others.
Cultural and historical significance
New Washington observes two annual fiestas as a town. One is a patronal fiesta in honor of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, which is held on the second Saturday of October and the other is a civic fiesta commemorating the heroes of Pacto De Sangre, which is held from March 1 to 3. The Pacto De Sangre, or blood compact, took place in the then Sitio Kuntang (now Barangay Ochando) on March 3, 1897. It was participated in by New Washingtonians of the past as a show of support to the Filipinos' revolution against the Spaniards. A commemorative marker was put up in the area where the event took place in Barangay Ochando. While the patronal fiesta is characterized by pious reflection, the civic fiesta involves three days of merry-making.
As of October 2013, the municipal officials are as follows:
- Mayor: Atty. Edgar R. Peralta
- Vice Mayor: Jesus B. Quimpo
- Sangguniang Bayan members:
- Jessica R. Panambo
- Junie Repiano
- Jazel Bautista
- Gerry Andrade
- Sonie Crisostomo
- Ruperto I. Cayetano
- Celia C. Dela Cruz
- Raul Sucgang
The municipality has an abundance of beach resorts located near the shores from Mabilo to Dumaguit. The past decade saw an influx of inland resorts, which became a hit among Aklanon tourists. The inland resorts in the town are mostly in Poblacion, examples of which are Sampaguita Gardens Resort, Maria Mercedes Resort and Frogs Hollow Resort. For free means of leisure and entertainment, residents go to the town plaza, which houses the Jaime Cardinal L. Sin Park, the Rizal Park, the Municipal Children's Park and the Municipal Auditorium and Sports Complex.
Restaurants are also present in the municipality. Among the more famous are Oriental Flavors (fine-dining) and Poolside Restaurant at Sampaguita Gardens, the Residence River Restaurant (Seafoods) in Tambak and the unnamed restaurant in the heart of Poblacion, which offers well-loved Filipino dishes by the Nanay Puring.
- "Municipalities". Quezon City, Philippines: Department of the Interior and Local Government. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
- "Province: Aklan". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
- "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010" (PDF). 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 5 February 2013.