Thursday, January 30, 2014

Kalibo: Ati-Atihan Festival

Ati-Atihan in Kalibo, Aklan is annual celebration in honour of Santo Nino. It is a two-week festival, which the highlight is on the third Sunday of January. During this day, participants of the street dance parade wear colourful and exceptional costumes, paint their faces in different styles and it consists tribal dance and music. 

It is also known as the mother of all festival in the Philippines. Other neighbouring provinces encouraged to have their own version of festivity like Sinulog in Cebu and Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo.

The major street in Aklan fills with locals bringing drums and dancing very lively with their colourful costumes, shouted “Hala! Bira!” The Aetas are the earliest and the primary settler in the Panay Island, the festival named Ati-atihan means “to be like Aetas” or “make believe Ati’s”, that’s why, all participants of this event get darkened with bright color of dress, which attracts tourists.

The best part of the festival happens on the last day, when the groups representing the different tribes to compete and it ends with a procession with thousands of people joined carrying torches and various images of the Santo Nino.

It was my first time to witness the Ati-Atihan Festival in Kalibo, Aklan and I wanted to visit there again, maybe next year. And, I will recommend this also to my co-travellers and friends. I was there on the last day of the festival after my Boracay adventure –will blog it next time. 

How to get to Kalibo, Aklan?

It can be reached by sea, air and by land. You can book flights via Kalibo Internation Airport with the following airline companies:

Cebu Pacific
Philippines Airlines
Airasia Zest

By sea, it consumed 12 hours from Manila North Harbor going to Aklan –it has three ports; Jetty Port in Caticlan, the port in Dumaguit, and the port of New Washington.

Moreta Shipping lines (Caticlan, Dumaguit, and Kalibo)
The Caticlan Jetty port caters Roll-on and Roll-off (RORO) shipping lines like Montenegro Shipping Lines
MBRS Shipping lines (Caticlan & Dumaguit, Aklan)
WG&A Super Ferry - Our Lady of Medjugorje (Dumaguit, Aklan)

By land (bus), it takes 12-15 hours from Manila bound to Aklan. The following bus companies are:

PHILTRANCO Bus (Cubao, Quezon City)
Bachelor Express
Dimple Star Transit (Araneta Center, Cubao)

Happy travelling!


  1. So nice and colourful, Marco!

  2. Wala pa ata akong napupuntahan na festival dito sa Pilipinas. Sana this year, makaisa man lang ako. :) Or at least maabutan ang ati-atihan next year. :)

    1. Hmm, Panagbenga Festival in Baguio. Punta na! Hehe

  3. colorful fiesta! hopefully next year ma witness ko na to :)


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