Many devotees participate in processions carrying images of Santo Niño (the Child Jesus), paying homage to their patron saint while dancing joyfully along with fellow revelers.
One highlight of the festival is “sadsad,” where people form circles around musicians playing traditional instruments like drums or bamboo flutes called “horns.” They move rhythmically together while chanting “Hala Bira!” which means “Let’s go, warriors!” This communal dance symbolizes unity and camaraderie among participants.
Another significant event during Ati-Atihan is the “Higante Contest,” where giant papier-mâché figures are paraded around town. These larger-than-life creations depict various characters from folklore or satirical representations of current events. The contest showcases the creativity and craftsmanship of local artisans who spend months creating these magnificent works of art.
Aside from the festivities, visitors can also explore Kalibo’s rich cultural heritage by visiting museums and historical sites such as Bakhawan Eco-Park, Museo It Akean, and Kalibo Cathedral. They can indulge in traditional Filipino cuisine like lechon (roast pig) or sample local delicacies such as binakol (native chicken soup cooked with coconut water) and inubarang manok (stewed chicken wrapped in banana leaves).
The Ati-Atihan Festival is not just a celebration; it is an experience that immerses you in the vibrant culture of Kalibo, Aklan.
It brings peopleJoin the Fun and Frolic of Ati-Atihan Festival
The Philippines is known for its vibrant festivals that showcase the country’s rich cultural heritage. This week-long celebration attracts both locals and tourists from all over the world who come to witness and participate in this colorful extravaganza.
The Ati-Atihan Festival traces its roots back to the 13th century when Malay settlers arrived on Panay Island. Legend has it that these settlers traded with a group of dark-skinned people called “ati,” who were believed to be indigenous inhabitants of the island. To show their gratitude for a bountiful harvest, they invited these atis to join them in a feast and dance ritual.
Today, this ancient tradition lives on through the Ati-Atihan Festival. The highlight of this event is undoubtedly its street parade where participants don traditional Visayan attire adorned with face paint resembling black soot or charcoal – imitating the appearance of atis.
The streets come alive with music as drummers beat their drums while dancers sway gracefully to rhythmic beats.
What sets Ati-Atihan apart from other festivals is its inclusive nature. Unlike most celebrations which are exclusive to certain groups or tribes, anyone can join in on the fun regardless of age, gender, or nationality. It promotes unity and camaraderie among participants as they immerse themselves in an atmosphere filled with laughter and joy.
Aside from dancing along during parades, visitors can also indulge in various activities throughout the festival week. Food stalls line up offering mouthwatering local delicacies such as lechon (roasted pig), pancit (noodles), bibingka (rice cake), and many more treats that ati atihan festival will surely satisfy any food lover’s cravings.
For those seeking adventure beyond dancing and eating, the festival also hosts a range of competitions and games.