Events + Entertainment

Your Event Guide to 5 Happenings in Kalibo during Ati-Atihan Festival

Start the New Year right by joining the Ati-Atihan festivities that are grander than ever.

By: Karen Bermejo | January 08, 2020
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ati atihan festival 2020

Ati-Atihan tribes showcase both the religious and festive sides of the event.

Image: Ati-Atihan Festival It Akean Facebook Page

Dubbed as the “mother of all festivals,” the Ati-Atihan, which is more than 800 years old, draws thousands of revelers and tourists every year. Due to its popularity, the festival has already had various versions in different parts of Aklan, the most popular of which is in the capital town of Kalibo and is celebrated every 3rd week of January.

The Kalibo Ati-Atihan festival in honor of Sto. Nino is where people from all walks of life come together on the major streets of the town. During the Ati-Atihan weekend—which is considered as the highlight of the event—revelers from different municipalities and groups perform on the streets of Kalibo, Aklan, mostly covered in soot or with colorful accessories. They dance their hearts out to the ecstatic beat of the drums. Unlike other festivities in the country, the people are not just spectators—they can also join the dancers! If you’re one of those attending the highly anticipated Ati-Atihan Festival this 2020, below is a guide to five activities you should not miss. But first, know more about Ati-Atihan Festival 2020.

Ati-Atihan Festival 2020

When: January 10-19, 2020
Where: Major streets of Kalibo, Aklan
Entrance fee: None

ati atihan

Dancers in elaborate costumes

Image: Ati-Atihan Festival It Akean Facebook Page

This year’s Ati-Atihan event will start as early as January 1, but the main events and official opening will start on January 10. The activity will open with a snake dancing tradition, where people hold one another, weaving together like a snake at Magsaysay Park near Aklan capitol. It will be a nightly activity simultaneous with a food festival. Another food festival will also be staged at Pastrana Park, near the Kalibo Cathedral. On each day throughout the week, people can also enjoy different exciting activities.

How to get there: During Ati-Atihan, most of the streets in Kalibo are closed. Hence, participants really have to walk to get to their destinations. If you’re coming from Boracay, take a van or bus going to Kalibo and get off at the main thoroughfare of the town, then walk towards the Pastrana Park to catch Ati-Atihan activities. If you’re going to Magsaysay Park, take a tricycle and ask to be dropped off near the area.

1. Sadsad Ati-Atihan Contest

When: January 18, 2020
Where: Major streets of Kalibo, Aklan
Entrance fee: None

ati atihan costume

Dancers are covered in soot to resemble the native Atis of Aklan.

Image: Aklan Province Facebook Page

Sadsad, or the non-stop street dancing and merrymaking of the Ati-Atihan spectators, is the unique characteristic of the festival. The people are free to join the performers who present their routines to the beat of gigantic drums and the melodic tunes of lyres. Sadsad is also a competition for the groups joining the activity, with the main contest officially starting at 8:00 AM on January 18. The groups will compete in various categories including the tribal, Balik-Ati, modern, and individual.

How to get there: The event will start at D. Maagma St. and will pass along the major streets of Kalibo, so simply get to any of the major streets and find a good vantage point.

2. Ro Hornada

When: January 18, 2020
Where: Kalibo Cathedral, W. Regalado Street
Price: Free

ati atihan date

Colorful and fun—that’s how Aklanons celebrate Ati-Atihan.

Image: Aklan Province Facebook Page

Following the sadsad competition in the morning is the celebratory activity dubbed as “Ro Hornada.” Starting from 12 noon, all competing tribes and even non-competing ones join the parade. This time, more vigorous drum beats and strumming lyres will be heard. Hornada is an activity where everyone celebrates and honors Sto. Nino.

How to get there: Get off at Roxas Avenue and walk towards Pastrana Park, which is the main venue of the events.

3. Dawn Penitential Procession

When: January 19, 2020
Where: Major streets of Kalibo
Price: Free

Kalibo Aklan

Devoted Aklanons do not mind waking up early just to show their devotion to Sr. Sto. Niño.

Image: AKLAN Festivals Facebook Page

Even before the sun rises, devotees of the Sr. Sto Niño parade along the major streets of Kalibo to show their devotion. Pilgrims from various parts of Aklan as well as other provinces join this dawn penitential procession. From the church, the pilgrims parade along the major streets of Kalibo. Following the procession, some faithful proceed to do the paeapak—a tradition where a Sto. Niño image is pressed on the head or body part/s that one wishes to be healed.

How to get there: To get there, get off along Roxas Avenue or any nearby street to Kalibo Cathedral.

4. Grand Procession

When: January 19, 2020
Where: Pastrana Street, Kalibo
Entrance fee: None

ati atihan festival 2020

Amidst the festive spirit of Ati-Atihan, people don’t forget its real religious significance.

Image: Ati-Atihan Festival It Akean Facebook Page

A perfect way to end the week-long event is a showcase of devotion to Sr. Sto. Niño, the main reason for the celebration. Following a mass at Kalibo Cathedral, a grand procession along Pastrana Street will start at 9:00 AM, with float parades and various groups carrying their own Sto. Nino image at Pastrana Park. Some spectators shout their praises while others prefer to dance.

How to get there: The procession will start at St. John the Baptist Cathedral or Kalibo Cathedral and will proceed along Pastrana Park. To get there, get off along Roxas Avenue and walk towards Pastrana Street.

5. Miss Kalibo Ati-Atihan 2020 Coronation

When: January 9, 2020
Where: ABL Sports Complex
Entrance fees:
PhP 100 – General Admission
PhP 200 – Silver
PhP 500 – VIP

ati atihan

The 16 ladies vying for the Miss Kalibo Ati-Atihan 2020 crown.

Image: Miss Kalibo Ati-Atihan Facebook Page

Another activity you won’t want to miss is the coronation of Miss Kalibo Ati-Atihan 2020. Sixteen young ladies from different barangays of the town are vying for the crown. This year’s queen is quite lucky as she will be donning a spear and shield-inspired crown made of crystals, which symbolizes the bravery of the Ati. The new queen will be crowned on January 9 at 7:00 AM at ABL Sports Complex.

How to get there: The procession will start at St. John the Baptist Cathedral or Kalibo Cathedral and will pass through the major streets of Kalibo. To get there, get off along Roxas Avenue of any nearby street to Pastrana Park.

With numerous things to do, this year’s Ati-Atihan is surely too good to miss.

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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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Disclaimer: All articles in the Consumers Magazine of Yoorekka are for general information and entertainment purposes only. Although careful research has been made in writing them, Yoorekka does not make any warranty about the completeness and accuracy of all information presented in our articles. Our content is not intended to be used in place of legal, medical, or any professional advice.
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