Thursday, January 21, 2016

Kalibo, Philipines

Executive summary by Darmansjah

Why Go Now? Gambol amidst crowds of celebrants in sumptuously adorned indigenous costumes with soot-painted faces as they romp about in street parades and dance to a cacophony of beats from drums, trumpets, and xylophones. To take place from 10 to 19 Jan, Ati-Atihan is held annually across the entire town to pay homepage to the infant Jesus and to seek his blessing and protection.

Commemorated by residents of all religions, the stupendous event that was a pagan festival before evolving into a Christian carnival welcomes the participation of all tourist and even has various tribes engage in a contest to vie for their attention. The fiesta intensifies during the last three days and climaxes on the last day, also every third Sunday of January, with a mass outdoor procession from Kalibo Cathedral to Pastrana Park that is thereafter succeeded by a grand masquerade ball and fireworks.

Stay for an extra day or two after the fete to visit the prime sites in and around Kalibo, some of which include Bakhawan Eco-park and Research Centre, Jawili Falls, and Sampaguita Gardens. Trek up the lone knoll of Kalibo, Tigayon Hill for a view of the Aklan River and for some tranquility to neutralize the weary soul.

How Do I Make it Happen? Philipines Airlines flies from Singapore and from Kuala Lumpur to Kalibo International Airport with a layover in Manila. Make your hotel reservations fast if you intend to visit as rooms in Kalibo are fully occupied during this season Ati-Atihan Country Inn still has dorms and private rooms that are basic, clean, and low-cost available.

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