In a scale of 1-10, Kalibo Sto. Nino Ati-Atihan Foundation, Inc. (Kasafi) chairman Albert Menez gave this year’s Ati-Atihan festival a rate of 8.
Although the Kalibo festival in honor of Senor Sto. Nino was a successful event, the festivities were never perfect, he said.
Menez said the Kasafi is riding high in the success of the holding of the Ati-Atihan festival due to fair weather, the increasing number of tourists and devotees and the gigantic support of sponsors and benefactors.
It was a far cry from 2011 event in terms of crowd numbers, this year’s festival had also lived up to its reputation as a premier festival in the region.
The Ati-Atihan contest Saturday was also an event that Kasafi believes went very well. There were more than 30 Ati tribes and a dozen individual Balik-Ati participants registered with Kasafi.
“A festival of this magnitude obviously had a fair share of problems and criticisms such as the zero vendors’ implementation. By next year’s festival, we know there are areas we can improve,” Menez said.
He lauded the volunteers and supporters, the unsung heroes of the festival, who contributed their experience, time, efforts and energy for the smooth operation of the festival events.
Menez said the Kasafi is preparing the festival’s financial statement to know where the money went within 60 days after the festival. Last year, the Kasafi submitted the financial statement of the festival operations in less than a week with a net income of P1.835 million.
The Ati-Atihan festival is an annual event that takes place on the third Sunday of January. Each year many come for the traditional street dancing and others come to enjoy the various events lined-up by Kasafi and the municipal government of Kalibo from January 9 to 15.
The festival enticed the tourists and pilgrims with a variety of events like the Ati-Ati Bazaar, Aklan Products Expo, photo contest, pageant night of Mutya ag Lakan it Kalibo Ati-Atihan, art exhibit, Hala Bira Ati-Atihan nights, Aklan Festivals Parade and Higante contest, Kapuso Ati-Atihan night, Kaean-an sa Plaza, spiritual street dancing and sadsad panaad.
With smiles and soot smeared on their faces, the devotees embraced the paeapak or pahilot, 9-day novena, the dawn penitential procession and the traditional religious procession with their unwavering faith and devotion to the Holy Child.