Expect a colorful and exciting Kalibo Ati-Atihan festival this January.
Three of the 2012 Kalibo Ati-Atihan festival highlights - the spiritual street dancing, religious procession and the Ati-Atihan contest, for sure, will attract thousands of devotees, guests, balikbayans and tourists.
The highly anticipated Ati-Atihan contest for modern, tribal big and small and Balik-Ati will be staged on January 14 starting at 8 a.m. Thirty tribes and groups, so far, have registered with the Kalibo Sto. Nino Ati-Atihan Foundation, Inc. (Kasafi) that will compete through street dancing with their virbrant Ati-Atihan costumes.
The 'free-wheeling' spiritual street dancing is an evolving tradition of people from all walks of life. The 'sadsad panaad' of young and old alike, is a celebration of no equal - frenzied dancing, merrymaking of Ati performers and spontaneous cries of “Viva! Kay Señor Santo Niño, Viva!".
The religious procession on January 15 will culminate the fiesta with Senor Santo Niño ‘’caros’’ and devotees carrying Sto. Niño images and statues in different forms and sizes. It begins in the Saint John the Baptist Cathedral and ends at the church.
Other activities of the week-long celebration are:
Higante Contest and Aklan Festivals Parade - January 12, at 2 p.m. This is a competition of floats with the fantasy-themed characters and a showcase of the richness of many fascinating and diverse festivals participated in by the 17 municipalities in Aklan.
Hala Bira Ati-Atihan Nights - January 9 to 15, at 7 p.m. Kalibo Magsaysay Park. Pinoy bands will be invited to relive the Ati-Atihan 'snake' dancing that also features music and food for local tourists and balikbayans.
Spiritual Street Dancing - January 1 to 15, major streets of Kalibo. Merrymakers and devotees, smeared in soot, dance to the beat of the drums in honor of the Holy Child. An expression of long-lasting devotion and tribute to Senor Sto. Nino de Kalibo.
Pahilot / Paeapak - January 6 to 15, Saint John the Baptist Cathedral. A traditional and unique healing traditions of the devotees of Senor Sto. Nino.
Kaean-an sa Plasa - January 9 to 15, at 6 p.m. Kalibo Pastrana Park. Popular cuisine prepared by local restaurants with nightly entertainment.
Lakan ag Mutya it Kalibo Ati-Atihan - January 6, pageant and coronation night at 7 p.m. Gov. Augusto B. Legaspi Sports and Cultural Center. This is the search for the best Mutya and Lakan of the Kalibo Ati-Atihan festival. Thirty-two young men and women will be presented in their long gown, malayan barong, interview, swimsuit and cultural performance.
Ati-Atihan Product Expo - January 9 to 15, Kalibo Pastrana Park. Explore Aklan's best products in display for the week-long festival. Aside from the world-class pina, raffia, nito and abaca products, local entrepreneurs will also showcase their latest collections available for shoppers.
Ati-Atihan Bazaar - January 9 to 15, Veterans Avenue. Satisfy your cravings for a wide array of products at affordable prices.
9-days Novena, January 6 to 15, Saint John the Baptist Cathedral. Huge throng of devotees from all sectors in the community prayed the novena in honoring the Sto. Nino.
As this developed, all available hotel accommodations in the capital town of Kalibo, at the start of January 2012 and leading up to ‘Kapistahan ni Senor Sto. Nino’, are also expected to be fully booked.
The week-long revelry, slated from January 9 to 15, is run and organized by a private-sector led Kasafi in partnership with the municipal government of Kalibo.