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


This is the fraudulent Code of Kalantiaw which first appeared in Ancient Legends of the Island of Negros (volume 1, chapter 9), a book ascribed to a ficticious friar named José María Pavon but was actually a forgery by José E. Marco (1877?-1963) who claimed to have discovered it in 1913. 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. Unfortunately, it is still thought to be true in many circles today.

See the list of web sites that still perpetuate this hoax in the main article.

  * There are actually 18 laws which cover about 40 different offences.
** Later writers added the words "Aklan, Panay" to the title but it was supposedly written for the island of Negros.

The Laws Notes
1 Ye shall not kill, neither shall ye steal nor shall ye hurt the aged, lest ye incur the danger of death. All those who this order shall infringe shall be tied to a stone and drowned in a river or in boiling water. Actually 3 laws - for killing, stealing & elder abuse. Beware. If you break this law you may "incur the danger of death" before you are actually killed.
2 Ye shall punctually meet your debt with your headman. He who fulfils not, for the first time shall be lashed a hundred fold, and if the obligation is great, his hand shall be dipped threefold in boiling water. On conviction, he shall be flogged to death. If you're not convicted of defaulting on a debt you get a lashing or a scalding. "On conviction" you die. - Neither a borrower nor a lender be, I guess.
3 Obey ye: no one shall have wives that are too young, nor shall they be more than what he can take care of, nor spend much luxury. He who fulfils not, obeys not, shall be condemned to swim three hours, and, for the second time, he shall be scourged with spines to death. Actually 3 laws - for statutory rape, extreme polygamy & extravagance (or possibly lust, depending on the translation). "Swim for 3 hours". Ancient Filipinos did not divide the day into 24 "hours" and they had no clocks.
4 Observe and obey ye: Let not the peace of the graves be disturbed; due respect must be accorded them on passing by caves and trees where they are. He who observes not shall die by bites of ants or shall be flogged with spines till death. Actually 2 laws - for disturbing graves & disrespecting graves. "Observe and obey" - what's the difference? Also, if you break this law you die but if you break similar laws, #6 & #9, you pay a fine or become a slave.
5 Obey ye: Exchange in food must be carried out faithfully. He who complies not shall be lashed for an hour. He who repeats the act shall, for a day be exposed to the ants. The western measurement of time, the hour, is mentioned again here. Also, "Obey ye" (but don't "observe ye"?). Why the faux mediaeval English? It's silly. Did the author of this "translation" think it made the work more believable?
6 Ye shall revere respectable places, trees of known value, and other sites. He shall pay a month's work, in gold or money, whoever fails to do this; and if twice committed, he shall be declared a slave. Many people say that Kalantiaw was a Muslim but here he demands that his subjects must "revere" trees and other sites like animists do. Also, don't confuse this with Law #4. You might get the surprise of your life - your death! 
7 They shall die who kill trees of venerable aspect; who at night shoot with arrows the aged men and the women; he who enters the house of the headman without permission; he who kills a fish or shark or striped crocodile. Actually 4 laws - for tree killing, assault with a deadly weapon, trespassing & poaching. More animisim from the supposedly Muslim datu. Is it permissible to shoot the elderly during the day or to shoot them with something other than arrows at night? The penalty for trespassing here is death. But don't worry, take a look at Law #8.
8 They shall be slaves for a given time who steal away the women of the headmen; he who possesses dogs that bite the headmen; he who burns another man's sown field. Actually 3 laws - for adultery, assault with a vicious animal & vandalism. The penalty for trespassing on a headman's property is death (See: Law #7) however you may fool around with his wives and sic Fido on him and still just get away with a stint of slavery.
9 They shall be slaves for a given time, who sing in their night errands, kill manaul birds, tear documents belonging to the headmen; who are evil-minded liars; who play with the dead. Actually 5 laws - for night singing, bird killing, document tearing, being a politician and necrophilia. Did the ancient Filipinos have paper documents? Isn't this what tearing implies? If you kill a manaul bird you risk slavery but if it's a young bird you will be scourged. See: Law #15. More "Muslim" animism? And if you enjoy necrophilia you are only risking temporary servitude but if you disturb the peace of a grave while doing so you will be killed. See: Law #4
10 It shall be the obligation of every mother to show her daughter secretly the things that are lascivious, and prepare them for womanhood; men shall not be cruel to their wives, nor should they punish them when they catch them in the act of adultery. He who disobeys this shall be torn to pieces and thrown to the caymans. Actually 2½ laws - for sexual ignorance, spousal abuse & spousal abuse with jealousy. "Torn to pieces and thrown to the caymans" - wow! There's an incentive for sex ed. Dad should be understanding if there's another man in the house; he's probably just helping Mum with an educational demonstration.
11 They shall be burned, who by force or cunning have mocked at and eluded punishment, or have killed two young boys, or shall try to steal the women of the old men (agurangs). Actually 3 laws - for thumbing your nose at the law, double child homicide & adultery. I guess killing young girls or a single boy was o.k. in Kalantiaw's kingdom. Here's a tip: Don't try to steal the old men's women; just do it! Or just go for the headmen's women instead and you won't get burned. See: Law #8.
12 They shall be drowned, all slaves who assault their superiors or their lords and masters; all those who abuse their luxury; those who kill their anitos by breaking them or throwing them away. Actually 3 laws - for assault, taking a superior for granted  & vandalism. The penalty for breaking this law is death by drowning. If you want to fight authority just get your dog to attack a headman. The penalty is less severe. See: Law #8 again. Anitos? Kalantiaw is supposed to be a Muslim, not an animist.
13 They shall be exposed to the ants for half a day, who kill a black cat during the new moon or steal things belonging to the headmen. Actually 2 laws - for cat killing & theft. "Exposed to ants" - aray! If you're going to steal anything from a headman make sure it's his women. The penalty for that may be less painful. See: Law #8 yet again.
14 They shall be slaves for life, who having beautiful daughters shall deny them to the sons of the headman, or shall hide them in bad faith. Fairly straightforward but "hide them in bad faith" is a bit redundant. Pity the pretty.
15 Concerning their beliefs and superstitions: they shall be scourged, who eat bad meat of respected insects or herbs that are supposed to be good; who hurt or kill the young manaul bird and the white monkey. Actually 2 laws - for eating bad meat etc. (huh?) & animal abuse. In the first clause it seems that Kalantiaw has suddenly become a detached annotator of his own work. Law #9 states that slavery is the punishment for killing a manaul bird. This law says that if you hurt or kill a young one you will be scourged. Respected insects and other animals are more evidence that Kalantiaw was an animist not a Muslim.
16 Their fingers shall be cut off, who break wooden or clay idols in their olagangs and places of oblation; he who breaks Tagalan's daggers for hog killing, or breaks drinking vases. Again, if Kalantiaw was supposedly a member of a Muslim ruling class he would not be protecting "wooden or clay idols".
17 They shall be killed, who profane places where sacred objects of their diwatas or headmen are buried. He who gives way to the, call of nature at such places shall he burned. Already covered by Laws#4 and #6. And diwatas are more evidence that Kalantiaw was not a Muslim. 
18 Those who do not cause these rules to be observed, if they are headmen, shall be stoned and crushed to death, and if they are old men, shall be placed in rivers to be eaten by sharks and crocodiles. This is a good law because anyone who tried to enforce the other seventeen laws would probably fail due to their insane and self-contradictory nature.

Source of this version of the Code of Kalantiaw:
Political and Cultural History of the Philippines, Volume 1
published as fact by Eufronio M. Alip, 1954


Created 8 August, 1999
by Paul Morrow
Updated 30 January 2003