When traveling, an advantage of knowing locals is finding where all the fun, non-touristy activities are. That’s exactly what happened here. The Ati Atihan festival in Kalibo was like nothing I had ever experienced before. Granted, I had very little idea on what the festival was about so I started the day with no expectations.
I remember arriving at my hotel and one of the receptionists had mentioned a few events/activities that I might want to see. I recall her telling me about Ati Atihan, but if not for the people I met in Boracay a few days later, I probably would not have gone to this once-in-a-lifetime festival.
Getting to the festival, itself, was a task. It was about 1.5 hours away from Boracay Island. We took a boat to Caticlan (on a nearby, bigger island) and then a van from Caticlan to the town of Kalibo. The road was not forgiving. And the driver didn’t help because–I swear–he didn’t know how to use his brakes in unison with the curves of the road.
That nauseous feeling didn’t last long because as soon as we got to Kalibo, it was as if the color wheel had exploded in this town. The festival was filled with music, tribal dancing, parades, and the most unique costumes! The music was so loud that you could literally feel the echoes of the drums meeting your chest. But man, what an experience!
Here, check it out:
It was a sight to see. The people on the streets dancing to the beat of the drums and having the time of their life.
There is so much culture in the Philippines that I still, have yet, to see. But going to Ati Atihan is an experience I’ll never forget.