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Candido Iban monument
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Candido Iban was born: Oct. 3, 1863

On this day in 1863, Filipino migrant worker and revolutionary Candido Iban was born in Lilo-an, Malinao, Capiz (now part of Aklan).

Born from a poor family, Candido Iban initially worked as a sugar laborer in a plantation in Negros. He and fellow Aklanon from Malinao, Francisco Castillo, later traveled to Australia where they worked as divers in the lucrative pearl industry. They were the first overseas Filipino workers from their hometown.

In 1894, while in Australia, the duo shared in buying a lottery ticket, which won a prize amounting to P1,000, which was already a huge sum at the time. They decided to return to the Philippines and in the following year, they were recruited to the secret society Katipunan, whose sole purpose was to espouse armed revolution against Spain.

When the Katipunan needed funds to buy a printing press to print membership forms and to publish its newspaper Kalayaan, Iban and Castillo donated a portion of their lottery winnings for the purchase of the printing press.

The Kalayaan, whose sole issue was printed on Jan. 18, 1896, contained nationalist writings by Bonifacio, Katipunan secretary Emilio Jacinto, and Kalayaan editor Dr. Pio Valenzuela. The newspaper was printed by Valenzuela with the assistance of two printers, Faustino Duque and Ulpiano Fernandez.

When the Katipunan began its uprising against Spain at the end of August 1896, Iban and Castillo heeded the call to spread the uprising to other parts of the country. They returned to Capiz and established a local branch of the Katipunan in Malinao, which attracted membership from several local men.

On March 17, 1897, the Katipunan cell in Malinao, led by Castillo, attacked the Spanish garrison in the town of Kalibo but were met with overwhelming firepower from the Guardia Civil. Nineteen members of the Katipunan, including Iban and Castillo were arrested and jailed. On March 23, 1897, the 19 men were executed in Kalibo without trial. They are known today as the 19 Martyrs of Aklan.


Rafael, Vicente. The Promise of the Foreign: Nationalism and the Technics of Translation in the Spanish Philippines. Durham: Duke University Press, 2005. p. 211

Serag, Sebastian SC. The Remnants of the Great Ilonggo Nation. Quezon City: Rex Bookstore, Inc., 1997. p. 263

Batongbakal, Luisito Jr. “Rediscovering Candido Iban the lottery winner who changed Philippine history.” Manila Bulletin. April 30, 2017.

Aguirre, Jun. “NHI declares Aklan Freedom Shrine of national importance.SunStar Iloilo. April 26, 2019

Historic people-to-people ties form bedrock of PHL-Australian relations.” BusinessMirror. September 12, 2019

Trivia Question:

Who recruited Iban and Castillo to join the Katipunan?

Yesterday’s answer: Ghalib Andang a.k.a Commander Robot

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