Monique Diana Fandagani

The Code of Kalantiaw was a mythical legal code in the epic story Maragtas. It is said to have been written in 1433 by Datu Kalantiaw, a chief on the island of Negros in thePhilippines. It was actually written in 1913 by Jose E. Marco as a part of his historical fiction Las antiguas leyendas de la Isla de Negros (Spanish, "The Ancient Legends of the Island of Negros"), which he attributed to a priest named Jose Maria Pavon.

"The 17* Theses, or Laws of the Regulos [Datus] in use in 150 since 1433 (sic) Issued in the year 1433 Kalantiaw - 3rd Regulo" **

neither shall you do harm to the aged. . lest you incur the danger of death. neither shall you steal.Article I You shall not kill. or in boiling water. All those who infringe this order shall be condemned to death by being drowned in the river.

Article II You shall obey. If the debt is large. Let all your debts with the headman be met punctually. he shall be beaten to death. . he shall be condemned to thrust his hand in boiling water thrice. For the second time. He who does not obey shall receive for the first time one hundred lashes.

and observe this order shall be condemned to swim for three hours for the first time and for the second time. to be beaten to death with sharp thorns.Article 3 Obey you: let no one have women that are very young nor more than he can support. He who does not comply with. nor be given to excessive lust. obey. .

or beaten to death with thorns. . He who does not observe this shall be killed by ants. let no one disturb the quiet of the graves.Article IV Observe and obey. give respect to them. When passing by the caves and trees where they are.

let it be always done in accordance with his word. shall be beaten for one hour.Article V You shall obey. . He who does not comply. he who repeats the offense shall be exposed for one day among ants. he who exchanges for food.

He who fails to comply shall pay with one month's work in gold or in honey.Article VI You shall be obliged to revere sights that are held in respect. . such as those of trees of recognized worth and other sights.

he who enters the houses of the headmen without permission.Article VII These shall be put to death. who shoot arrows at night at old men and women. . he who kills trees of venerable appearance. he who kills a shark or a streaked cayman.

by him who keep illtempered dogs that bite the headmen. .Article VIII Slavery for a doam (a certain period of time) shall be suffered by those who steal away the women of the headmen. by him who burns the fields of another.

kill the Manaul. . are malicious liars. or who mock the dead.Article IX All these shall be beaten for two days: who sing while traveling by night. tear the documents belonging to the headmen.

let not men be cruel nor punish their women when they catch them in the act of adultery.Article X It is decreed an obligation. that every mother teach secretly to her daughters matters pertaining to lust and prepare them for womanhood. . Whoever shall disobey shall be killed by being cut to pieces and thrown to the caymans.

Article XI These shall be burned: who by their strength or cunning have mocked at and escaped punishment or who have killed young boys. or try to steal away the women of the elders. .

or their owners or masters. all those who abuse themselves through their lust. those who destroy their anitos (religious icons) by breaking them or throwing them down.Article XII These shall be drowned: all who interfere with their superiors. .

Article XIII All these shall be exposed to ants for half a day: who kill black cats during a new moon. or steal anything from the chiefs or agorangs. . however small the object may be.

and with bad faith hide them away. .Article XIV These shall be made slave for life: who have beautiful daughters and deny them to the sons of chiefs.

Article XV Concerning beliefs and traditions. who wound or kill the young of the Manaul. or the white monkey. or the herb which they consider good. . these shall be beaten: who eat the diseased flesh of beasts which they hold in respect.

or break the drinking jars of the latter.Article XVI The fingers shall be cut-off: of all those who break anitos of wood and clay in their alangans and temples. . of those who destroy the daggers of the catalonans(priest/priestess).

Article XVII These shall be killed: who profane sites where anitos are kept. and sites where are buried the sacred things of their diwatas and headmen. He who performs his necessities in those places shall be burned. .

they shall be put to death by being stoned and crushed. and if they are agorangs they shall be placed in rivers to be eaten by sharks and caymans. .Article XVIII Those who do not cause these rules to be obeyed: if they are headmen.

Marco (1877?-1963) who claimed to have discovered it in 1913. .This is the fraudulent Code of Kalantiaw which first appeared in Ancient Legends of the Island of Negros (volume 1. it is still thought to be true in many circles today. a book ascribed to a ficticious friar named José María Pavon but was actually a forgery by José E. Unfortunately. chapter 9). Almost nobody questioned the authenticity of the Code for over 50 years until historian William Henry Scott exposed it and many other historical frauds in 1968.

as told in an ancient and mysterious document called the Maragtas. This document. . Monteclaro never mentioned a chief by the name of Kalantiaw in his Maragtas.The story of Datu Kalantiaw is often mistaken to be part of the epic of ten intrepid chiefs who founded Visayan civilization as much as 800 years ago. was an ordinary book written in 1907 by Pedro Monteclaro in which he compiled the local legends of the Visayas from mainly oral traditions and a few written documents that were fairly modern in their origins. however.

combined with the blatant dishonesty of other writers who embellished his work.But while Monteclaro's misguided nationalism. the story of Kalantiaw is more alarming because he was never a part of the Philippines' history or even its oral traditions. . Kalantiaw was an utter hoax from the beginning. blurred the line between legends and hard historical facts.

Offences to the law ranged from as light as singing at night to as grave as murder. chopped to pieces or fed to crocodiles. stoned. were exposed to ants. usually having no relation to the severity of the crime committed. lashed. Those convicted supposedly were made slaves. beaten. Many of his commandments contradicted each other and his punishments were extremely brutal. burned. boiled. drowned.THE INCREDIBLE CODE OF KALANTIAW the 20th century Throughout the latter half of Filipino students were taught about the vicious and bizarre laws that were said to have been enacted by one Datu Kalantiaw in the year 1433 on the island of Panay. had fingers cut off. why should we not believe this story that has been taught as history for so many years in Filipino schools? . So.

There are three (3) good reasons. .

The early Spanish accounts tell us that Filipino custom at that time allowed even the most serious lawbreakers to pay a fine or to be placed into servitude for a time in cases of debt. There is also no evidence that Philippine culture ever spawned such a barbaric set of laws.There are simply no written or pictorial documents from that time in Philippine history. . There are no documents from other countries that mention the great Kalantiaw either.

.As the missionary Francisco Colín wrote in 1663: In the punishment of crimes of violence the social rank of the slayer and slain made a great deal of difference. all his kinsfolk took the warpath against the slayer and his kinfolk. and the slayer could not pay the blood price. If the slain was a chief. K1 Arbitration is still the custom of those Philippine cultures that were never conquered by the Spaniards. and this state of war continued until arbiters were able to determine the amount of gold which had to be paid for the killing… The death penalty was not imposed by public authority save in cases where both the slayer and slain were commoners.

claim that he has long been a part of Visayan culture and heritage. In almost 400 years of documented Philippine history – from Magellan's arrival in 1521 until the second decade of the 20th century – no such legend was ever recorded.Many ardent admirers of the Datu. This is simply not true. This is very suspicious considering that there are more stories today about Kalantiaw . who disdain all historical evidence to the contrary. Kalantiaw even escaped the attention of Pedro Monteclaro when he published the Maragtas legends in 1907.

If the Spaniards were aware of such a legend they had no reason to suppress it because those Spaniards who were sympathetic to the Filipinos could have presented the mere existence of the Code as proof that their ancestors were civilized – just as many Filipinos do today – while detractors could have pointed to the maniacal Datu himself as proof of their savagery – even though his methods of torture were no more sadistic than those of the Spanish Inquisition. .Did the Spaniards suppress the legend of Kalantiaw? This accusation is usually the first thing that history buffs reach for when they need to explain a gap in Philippine history.

K2 . did not the old folks of Aklan have stories about Kalantiaw even before the discovery of the Pavón documents in 1913? Were there no popular legends or folklore that the elders told their grandchildren? To which Alba replied in a letter from Kalibo. Aklan dated May 15. Scott wrote to Alba and asked him: When you were a child. The Aklanon historian Digno Alba was a young man at the start of that century.It is certain that there were no legends of Kalantiaw before the 20th century. He looked for Kalantiaw in local folklore in the 1950s but did not find him. Don Digno. 1967 the historian William H. On May 5. 1967: I had tried to get stories or legends from the present generations of Aklanons living in Batan… but not one old man can tell me now.

Negros Occidental. . José E. Marco of Pontevedra. Scott eventually traced the ultimate origin of Kalantiaw back to a single person. like Digno Alba.If Kalantiaw was not a historical figure or a legendary character. were in fact Marco's own creation. Kalantiaw eventually became the most successful of many hoaxes in Marco's career of almost 50 years as a forger and fraud. These documents. Some. In 1913. simply created "facts" from thin air. where did he come from? Many writers on this subject didn't bother to mention where they obtained their information. which contain the Code of Kalantiaw. Marco claimed to have discovered the Pavón documents that were mentioned in Scott's letter to Digno Alba. who definitely did not live in the 1400s.


294). . depicted Kalantiaw issuing his commandments. That same year a beauty pageant winner was crowned "Lakambini ni Kalantiaw" on the supposed anniversary of the Code (December 8). On March 1. and the artist Carlos Valino Jr. 1971.William H. President Ferdinand Marcos instituted the "Order of Kalantiaw". Scott's exposé did not have an immediate effect on Filipino society. an award "for services to the country in the areas of law and justice" (Executive Order No.

The NHI finally admitted that Kalantiaw was a hoax in 1998 when Chief Justice Andres Narvasa. President Joseph Estrada gave him the award. since most of the old guard has passed on. who was about to receive the Kalantiaw Award. that the new generation of historians have been able to set the records straight. . asked Malacañang to look into the matter.It is only now. anyway.

of course. made their opinion official when they submitted a resolution to President Arroyo to revoke the national shrine status of the Kalantiaw Shrine in Aklan. . under the leadership of Ambeth Ocampo.In 2004. which. enraged some Aklanons. the NHI.

However. .Today some people still cite the courage and wisdom of Kalantiaw as they continue to heap accolades upon him and the oblivious recipients of those Kalantiaw awards. a sober look at Kalantiaw's Code reveals that his magnificent courage was merely brutality and his exalted wisdom was in fact incredible insanity.

they disregard what gross slander they lay on the character of all Filipinos. But while they portray such a maniac as a Filipino hero. Fortunately. . the people of the Philippines need never bear this shame because Kalantiaw never really existed.Kalantiaw's defenders insist that his legend must be true simply because he has always inspired them as a part of their heritage.

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