Kalibo, Aklan: On The Limelight
Kalibo, Aklan serves as an alternative entry point, catering to both local and international flights, to the world class tourist destination known as Boracay. Sometimes, this gateway leaves Kalibo on the shadows of Boracay Island‘s limelight. Now it’s time to put the spotlight on the Ati-atihan Town, and let’s get to know more about Kalibo.
Aklan East Road during the busy hours.
Pastrana Park is the epicenter of activities during the festival but on regular days, it’s a hub for recreation and sports.
Kalibo’s tourist influx densely multiply during the loud and vibrant celebration called Ati-atihan Festival. Local and foreign travelers join the festivities to commemorate the conversion of the primary settlers, the Ati tribe, into Catholics, and of course, to party. However, Ati-atihan Festival is held on January and unfortunately I came a bit too early. Nonetheless, the daily grind of Kalibonhons keep the streets bustling with liveliness and activity.
Centuries ago, Cathedral Parish of Saint John the Baptist or commonly known as Kalibo Cathedral has been moved from Numancia, 2 kilometers to the current location of the religious edifice. The church underwent reconstruction after being damaged by the 1947 earthquake. Today, Kalibo Cathedral stands in a modernized look but still serves the same purpose – as a home to the venerated Sto. Niño and a place of worship to religious advocates.
Museo It Akean
Ati-atihan costumes welcome visitors upon entering the museum.
There were no charcoal-faced drummers on the streets of Kalibo but I found some Ati-atihan Dolls.
Learn more about the rich history and traditions of Aklanons by visiting the oldest building in Kalibo, now a museum, Museo Ti Akean. Inside Aklan Museum is a vast collection ranging from excavated artifacts from the Ati’s and foreign merchants, to memorabilia of well-known sons and daughters of Aklan including that of the late Cardinal Jaime Sin, a local of New Washington, Aklan.
Aklan Provincial Capitol building.
Aklan Provincial Capitol building adopts a striking classic Greek architectural style, featuring eight massive columns on the structure’s bold facade. This government building may not be one of a kind but it certainly would catch anyone’s attention. Aklan Provincial Capitol must be one of the most impressive buildings I’ve seen during this trip.
Bakhawan Eco-Park & Research Center
About 170 hectares of land in New Buswang is home to a mangrove reforestation project called Bakhawan Eco-Park & Research Center. The park features different species of mangroves and swamp animals which can be seen by trekking a series of bamboo bridges.
Ati-atihan Festival is just around the corner as of this writing. Once you’re in Kalibo, spare some extra time to visit some nearby attractions which might make the trip to Aklan worth your while. These destinations may also be good way to pass time while waiting for your flight if you’re coming or going to Boracay via Kalibo.
Some fast facts that may help you on the trip:
1. Kalibo can be accessed by land and air. For more details, check out the local government website for airlines coming in and out of Kalibo International Airport.
2. I stayed at the Ati-atihan County Inn‘s dormitory for P150.00/night. It’s a good place to stay if you’re on a tight budget. The room has double-deck beds and common bathroom. Ati-atihan County is located at D. Maagma St., just beside the Kalibo Trial Court. For reservations, reach them +6336 268 6116
3. Tricycles are the most convenient way to get around Kalibo. They follow a color code scheme which determines their terminals and destinations.
4. Museo It Akean entrance fee costs 15.00 only, but donations are also gladly welcome.
5. Bakhawan Eco-Park entrance fee costs P20.00, and yes, donations are also welcome. I will expound more about the eco-park on my next post.
6. The tourism department’s office is separated from Aklan Provincial Capitol. Thanks to the personnel of the capitol building who assisted me to find my way to the tourism office which is located in Old Buswang.
7. This is the thirteenth post on my two-week long backpacking journey in Panay Island and Guimaras. Next stop would be in Kalibo’s Bakhawan Eco-Park
8. More Aklan destinations.
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11. Happy travels and be safe.