It will be a busy week in Aklan with the week-long celebration of the Ati-Atihan Festival at the capital town of Kalibo. Special events are scheduled every day for the duration of the festivity. But throughout the week, never-ending street dancing, food festivals, bazaars, and a lot of other attractions can be expected.
Road closures and traffic
Some roads in Kalibo are closed for the festival.
Many of the major streets in Kalibo will be closed for the whole week, including big portions of Osmeña St. and Mabini St. This is to give way for the sadsad or street dancing parade during the festival. People joining the festival should prepare to take long walks. With these road closures, the public can also expect heavy traffic at the poblacion (central business district) so bringing cars should be avoided. Locals and tourists should allot extra time to reach their destination as the crowd could become heavy, especially as the weekend nears.
Barrakka Café Food Park
Barrakka Café is the only food park in Kalibo. (Image: Barrakka Cafe Food Park)
Barrakka Café Food Park, a new food park at Roxas Avenue in Kalibo, will participate in the Ati-Atihan Festival for the first time. The food park has a number of stalls serving rice meals, pizzas, burgers, sisig (chopped pig’s head and liver), as well as coffee and frappes. The café also has a spacious indoor setup for groups. Aside from Barraka Café Food Park, there are also food stalls in major streets at the poblacion which Ati-Atihan revelers can try.
Hacienda Maria tour
The verdant environment of Hacienda Maria (Image: Hacienda Maria)
Visitors can take a day trip tour to Hacienda Maria, a 14-ha. tourism site in Buruanga town. Part of the package is a private van transfer to and from Kalibo. The tour includes a visit to a cave, waterfalls, and other natural sites. Guests can also experience a relaxing dip inside a large metal bowl similar to a giant wok. The bowl is filled with water that is infused with herbal leaves and is kept warm by a fire underneath.
Ampao is made of cooked rice. (Gie-Steve Austin Walk)
If Bacolod has piaya (muscovado-filled unleavened flatbread) and Iloilo has biscocho (baked bread topped with butter and sugar), then Aklan has ampao (sweet puffed rice cake). The light and crunchy snack is the most popular pasalubong (take-home gift) from the province. The most popular variant of this local delicacy is ampao from Lezo town, where it originally came from. Lezo is just 30 minutes away from Kalibo. Ampao is also sold at major department stores and markets in Kalibo.
Giants on parade
A giant nurse is one of many entries at the Higantes Parade. (Image: Ronjel Delfin)
The street dancing competition every Saturday is the most anticipated event during the weeklong festival by revelers. Another favorite event during the festival is the Higantes Parade scheduled on Thursday, January 18. The parade showcases papier-mâché giants towering up to 12 ft. tall which depict the culture, industry, and livelihood in the 17 towns of Aklan. The parade will start at 1:00 PM and will pass by major thoroughfares in Kalibo.
Ati-atihan revelers during sadsad (Image: Writer)
Staying hydrated is advisable to avoid exhaustion during the Ati-Atihan Festival. Putting sunblock is a must to protect the skin during the long walks one must endure due to the road closures. Revelers are also advised to wear comfortable clothes and shoes during the event.
Ban on smoking and guns
The smoking ban will be enforced for Ati-Atihan.
The gun ban will be implemented for the duration of the Ati-Atihan Festival. Checkpoints and police personnel will be deployed in different locations during the festival to ensure public safety. Along with the national gun ban, the smoking ban will also be enforced. Smoking in public areas is prohibited in Kalibo. Smokers can light cigarettes in designated smoking areas only.
About Karen Bermejo
Karen writes to earn a living, tell stories and promote her advocacies. She’s a traveler and a volunteer. Her adventurous soul makes her more comfortable to sleep on the couch of a stranger than pay bucks for accommodation. Her ultimate dream is to travel the world, master a foreign language and learn how to swim. To keep her sanity while chasing her dreams, she chases waterfalls on weekends.
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