From  ‘Wikipedia’  — “The Maragtas is a work by Pedro Alcantara Monteclaro titled (in English translation) History of Panay from the first inhabitants and the Bornean immigrants, from which they descended, to the arrival of the Spaniards. The work is in mixed Hiligaynon and Kinaray-a languages in Iloilo in 1907. It is an original work based on written and oral sources available to the author. “

Pedro Alcantara Monteclaro.

“The Maragtas is an original work by the author, which purports to be based on written and oral sources of which no copy has survived.[2]The author makes no claim that the work contains a transcription of particular pre-Hispanic documents.[3] The work consists of a publisher’s introduction by Salvador Laguda, a foreword by the author, six chapters, and an epilogue.[4] The first chapter describes the former customs, clothes, dialect, heredity, organization, etc. of the Aetas of Panay, with special mention of Marikudo, son of old Chief Polpulan; the second chapter begins a narrative of the ten datus flight from Borneo and the tyranny of Rajah Makatunaw there, and their purchase of the island of Panay from Marikudo; the third chapter tells of the romance of Sumakwel, Kapinangan and her lover Gurung-garung; the fourth chapter concludes the tale of the ten datus, telling about their political arrangements and their circumnavigation of the island; the fifth chapter describes language, commerce, clothing, customs, marriages, funerals, mourning habits, cockfighting, timekeeping techniques, calendars, and personal characteristics; the sixth and final chapter gives a list of Spanish officials between 1637 and 1808; the epilog contains a few eighteenth-century.”

Pedro Alcantara Monteclaro became the first mayor of Miag-ao when the American government instituted civil rule in Iloilo on April 11, 1901. He served only one term until 1903. It is presumed that he finally had the chance to write Maragtas after 1903. Maragtas was published in 1907. He died 2 years later at age of 59.

About the physical book

The original book published in 1907 by Pedro Alcantara Monteclaro was a hard bound, black-brownish book measuring about 7.5 cm x 25 cm x 5 cm. This dimension is from an approximation from the recollections of Salvador ‘Jun’ Acsay and Flor Monteclaro who remembered seeing the book when they were young.  Today, not a single copy of the original book has yet been found in Miag-ao or any other archival repositories, so far. The front of the book did not have title. Contrary to Wikipedia’s description above, the original 1907 book was written in the language of Kinaray-a, the language of the Karay-a people in most of the island of Panay.

Illustration of the book from memories of the few people who remembered seeing 1907 Maragtas

Translations and Reprinting

The first reprinting of Maragtas was in the 1929 publication in the newspaper called “Makinaugalinon.” However, this was a translation by Salvador Laguda to Hiligaynon (spoken primarily in the Iloilo City area) and not in Kinaray-a. Because Iloilo City was and still is the center of trade, industry and culture, there was a tendency for the need to translate Kinaray-a language to Hiligaynon. This was a clear example of the phenomenon called the “Language Shift” whereby a more dominant language, considered of higher status, begins to overtake usage of another more provincial language (Read more >>> Because each language has its own nuances and words are not often always directly translatable, the actual sentiments of Pedro Alcantara Monteclaro’s Kinaray-a version may not be fully expressed in Hiligaynon.

The copy of this 1929 translation can be accessed through this link:

In 1943, During the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines, Maragtas was translated into English by Manuel L. Carreon from the 1929 Hiligaynon publication in Makinaugalinon by Salvador Lagunda and published in the Sarawak Museum Journal in 1956. A copy of the book was donated by Ayala Corporation to Filipinas Foundation. See a little of the editorial comments prior to the translation below:

This copy was made available electronically through the Filipinas Heritage Library and can be viewed by clicking the link: ISSUU MARAGTAS

In 1957, Juanito L. Monteclaro, Pedro Alcantara Monteclaro’s son from his second marriage to Andrea Liboon, re-printed the 1929 Hiligaynon translation of Salvador Laguda. A very few extant copies of this 1957 still exists. Here is the front page of this 1957 reprint.

To read the entire book, courtesy of Flor Monteclaro (Pedro Alcantara Monteclaro’s granddaughter) , please click HERE. 


In defense of MARAGTAS and Pedro Alcantara Monteclaro. Over the last hundred years, academics had maligned Maragtas as a work of fiction.  Pedro Alcantara Monteclaro was a Colonel in the Philippine Revolutionary Army, fought the Spanish and then the Americans. Then became the first municipal mayor of Miag-ao while writing Maragtas. His story of the Ten Datus from Borneo had been misinterpreted later by non-Kinaray-a speaking historians, misused by unscrupulous ‘writers’ and unfairly maligned by academics. This article, link shown below, by Paul Morrow re-examines the writings of Tan Pedro and corrects the misconceptions about Maragtas.

Meaning of the word Maragtas

No one seems to know what Maragtas means. It is not an old Kinaray-a word as far as we can ascertain. In the editorial notes of the 1956, English translation of Maragtas in the Sarawak Museum Journal, they interpreted the word Maragtas as Spanish ‘historia.’ There is no old Spanish term Maragtas that refer to history. Also the editors suggested that Maragtas is the corrupted version of a Sanskrit word. This too is suspect since we have asked scholars of Sanskrit language and the do not recognize any word close to Maragtas.

To read more about Pedro Alcantara Monteclaro, click HERE.


For Miagawanons, it’s time to learn about Maragtas and appreciate the true intentions of the man who wrote the Tale of the Ten Datus.

Written by: Jonathan R. Matias   
Salvador “Jun” Acsay

The Tale of the Ten Datos is not simply a fictional story propagated by Pedro Monteclaro. Below describes the writings of Fr. Tomas Santaren and Fr. Agustin Ma. Castro in The Augustinians of Panay which already described the same tale 60 years before Pedro Monteclaro’s publication of Maragtas in 1907

Please read the Santaren documents by clicking HERE.