The people of Malinao are mainly of Malay stock. If we are to believe the legends that now pass as a legitimate history, the Aklanons are descendants of the settlers who fled the oppressive rule of makatunaw, Sultan of Brunei. Led by DATU PUTI, ten datus settled in the plains of the island of Panay. The colonization by the Spaniards, the trading by the Chinese have infused blood to the original Malay race into what are now the present people of Malinao..
The area of what is now Malinao was part of the adjacent municipality of Banga. The Poblacion of Banga then was the Poblacion of Malinao today. In 1792, the town authorities transferred the Poblacion of Banga across the Aklan River at the foot of the Manduyog Hill where it is presently located.
Some prominent families decided to live in the “old town” which was reduced to the status of barrio and named MALINAO – – derived from the name of the placid river that traverses the western and southern portion of the area as it empties into the Aklan River.
The people who remained in Malinao led by Don Juan Nepomuceno agitated to separate the lands west of the Aklan River to form a new town with Malinao as its Poblcaion. Malinao as a Municipality came into being in the year 1796 with Don Casimiro Barrera as its first Gobernadorcillo.
Little written history is known of Malinao in its early existence, except for church records of baptism which starts on the year 1796, the same year Malinao became a town. The Spanish decree on change family names for easy identification of inhabitants led to the assignment of the initial letter “Y” / “I” for families originating from Malinao.
By the close of the 19 century, the political, economic and even the physical structure of Malinao conform to the classical colonial feudal set-up existing throughout Christian Philippines. The layout of the Poblacion follows the classical Spanish town plan of the church facing the municipio with the plaza in between streets laid out in grid pattern. The principalia partook of choice residential lots around the plaza. Their importance and influence reflected in the proximity of their lots to the center of power.
It must be noted that there was no concentration of land holdings by few families, unlike in other areas of the country. Original families in Malinao have their own pieces of land to work on. The land west of the Aklan River, because of its topography, must have escaped the encomienderos and hacienderos in the early part of the Spanish colonization.
Despite its seeming ordinariness and unimportance in the national or provincial scheme of things, Malinao rose in prominence during the struggle against colonial rule at the end of the 19 century.
Native of Lilo-an, Malinao, CANDIDO IBAN, was a member of the inner circle of the original Katipuneros directly Andres Bonifacio. Candido Iban was the first overseas contract worker from Malinao, diving for pearls in Australia. As luck would have it, he won a considerable sum in a lottery and came back to Manila. He was befriended by Procopio Bonifacio the brother of Andres, and was inducted as a katipunero by Andres in the caves of Montalban. The first printing press of the katipunan was paid for by the lottery winnings of Candido Iban.
Eventually in 1897, Candido Iban, together with Francisco Castillo, was sent to Aklan to organize the Katipunan in the Visayas. Barrio Lilo- an became the base of the Katipunan. And in the 1897, believing that the time was ripe for the start of the revolution, eighty-two (82) Katipuneros from Lilo-an marched to the Poblacion to persuade the local authorities to join the revolution . The uprising failed and the leaders captured. Candido Iban, Benito Iban and Gabino Yonsal were among the 19 Martyrs of Aklan executed by the Spoanish authorities on March 23, 1897.
Consistent with the Filipino trait of celebrating our defeats, a monument of Candido iban and the failed uprising called El Levantamiento de los 82 de Lilo-an stands prominently beside the town hall.
The heroic traditions of Malinaonons surfaces at critical junctions of the nation’s history. When the Japanese Imperial Army invaded the country during World War II, young men from Malinao were among the first to organize the guerilla movement in this part of the country. During the dark days of the Marcos dictatorship, many young Malinaonons took up arms to fight tyranny. Malinao has given many sons and daughters to the cause of freedom.
The leadership of the town since the Spanish regime always comes from the leading families of the Poblacion. From Juan Nepomuceno in 1792 to Joji Ilio in 2001, this reflects the political and economic clout of the leading families. Leaders were appointed by Spanish authorities during the Spanish period. When democratic elections were started during the American colonial regime, the leading families divided into two factions, each vying for leadership of the town. Wheteher it is the Nationalist Party or Liberal Party, KBL or Laban, Puersa ng Masa or LAkas, these politicos come from these two factions.
As a 4th class municipality, Malinao is relatively prosperous. The incidence of poverty is not as pronounced as in other areas of the country where land holdings are concentrated in few individuals. As a consequence of the relatively egalitarian land distribution in the town, education became a route to further rise in the standard of living. Lack of employment opportunities led to immigration to urban centers and abroad, still, remittances from outside Malinao constitute a major portion of the town’s income. A survey of the Poblacion shows that more than two- thirds (2/3) of households have family members working abroad.
Malinao has the capacity to transform into a progressive town. Its resources and its people are strong foundation of a bright future.
Malinao is politically subdivided into 23 barangays
8. Kinalangay Nuevo
9. Kinalangay Viejo
17. San Dimas
18. San Ramon
19. San Roque