CANDIDO I. IBAN
One of the 19 Martyrs of Aklan
Born in Lilo-an, Malinao, Aklan on October 3, 1863, Candido Iban was to become known
as one of the “19 Martyrs of Aklan.” He was the fourth son of Florentino Iban and the former
Maria Irruegas. Both his parents were farmers. He received his primary education at the parochial
school of Malinao.
Iban was the adventurous type. As a young man, he went to Iloilo and, from there,
proceeded to Negros, where he worked as a laborer in the sugar haciendas. After some time, he
took a boat to Manila together with Francisco Castillo. Later on, his parents learned that he was
working in Australia with Castillo.
After winning in a lottery in 1894, he sailed back with Castillo to Manila. On the boat, they
met and got acquainted with Procopio Bonifacio. Upon landing in Manila, he and Castillo joined
At that time, the Katipunan badly needed to have its own printing press, which, however, it
could not afford to buy. Upon learning of this, Iban and Castillo donated their funds, which they
saved from their earning in Australia and their winnings in the lottery.
The press was set up temporarily in a small house on the corner of what are now Oroquieta
and Zurbaran Streets. This was also where Andres Bonifacio lived. The press had to be moved
from place to place to avoid detection by the Spaniards. That press printed not only the forms and
the Kartilla of the Katipunan but also its periodical, the Kalayaan.
Later on, Iban joined Castillo in Capiz. There, Castillo had already organized a local
Katipunan branch with Albino Rabaria, Roman Aguirre, an others. Iban enjoined his brother
Benito to be part of the organization. He also went around the barrios and towns of Kalibo,
Batang, Balete, Banga, Lezo, and Jimeno (now known as Altavas) to enlist prospective members.
With the assistance of Nemensio Yonsal, the local Katipuneros were able to build a house in Liloan
for their headquarters.
On March 16, 1897, the men under Yonsal and Castillo were poised to enter and take the
town of Kalibo. They had planned to attack it the following day. However, when Castillo entered
the town and demanded an audience with the capitan municipal, he was met with a volley of shots,
which caused his men to disperse. Iban was supposed to join this force, but he was seized on the
road and consequently jailed in Lezo.
Colonel Ricardo Monet, the head of the Spanish force assigned to quell the uprising, issued
a proclamation granting pardon to insurgents who would surrender to him. It turned out to be a
ruse. Instead of pardoning them, he threw those who had surrendered into the stone prison of
Kalibo. Later, he picked out 19 of the many incarcerated insurgents and, without a trial, ordered
them shot on March 23, 1897. Among them were the brothers Candido and Benito Iban.
In memory of these 19 martyrs to freedom, a monument has been erected in Kalibo.
Agoncillo, Teodoro A. History of the Filipino People 8th ed. Quezon City: Garotech, 1990.
Quirino, Carlos. Who’s Who in Philippine History. Manila : Tahanan Books,1995
Zaide, Gregorio F. Great Filipinos in History. Manila: Verde Bookstore, 1970.