Ati-Atihan Festival 2011
Ati-atihan is a loud, frenzied and passionate festival celebrated in Kalibo, Aklan every January. It actually celebrates and symbolizes two major historical events: First is the landing of the 10 Bornean Datus on their boats or Balangays on Panay island. History says that the Atis worked a pact with the datus and sold them pieces of land for them to settle in.
However, it has also become a religious feast, giving honor to the Child Jesus or the Sto. Nino. This is said to have started back in 1750 when “…Fray Andres de Aguirre, a Basque companion priest of Fray Andres Urdaneta and explorer Miguel Lopez de Legaspi baptized in one day 1,000 inhabitants of the town and surrounding settlements in the place. To celebrate the eventful day, the drums of Aklan were sounded for this beneficial event and coincided with the existing Ati-Atihan feast. Thus, the present Ati-Atihan is tinged with religious fervor is now associated with miracles. Devotees nowadays participate in the street dancing, novena and masses or fall in line at the century-old Kalibo Cathedral just to let their bodies be massaged or rubbed with the image of the Sto. Niño” This is according to Aklanon historian Beato dela Cruz.
For this year’s celebration, here are the schedule of activities:
SAD-SAD OF SOCIO-CIVIC AND RELIGIOUS GROUPS
January 15, 2010
Whole day Ati-atihan street dancing for various socio-civic and religious organizations in Aklan.
DAWN PENITENTIAL PROCESSION
January 15, 2011, 4:00 A.M., Major Streets
Praying of the rosary with devotees and pilgrims before the festival music rises into a crescendo.
TRIBAL, BALIK-ATI AND INDIVIDUAL ATI-ATIHAN CONTEST
January 15, 2011, 7:00 A.M., Major Streets
Tribal and Balik-Ati tribes dance on the streets to the beat of the drums in their vibrant and indigenous costumes together with individually-costumed participants.
BLESSING OF CHILDREN
January 15, 2011, 11:00 A.M., Kalibo Cathedral
Children of different ages gather for the traditional blessing to honor the Holy Child officiated by the Parish Priest.
ATI-ATI IT MGA HIGANTE IT KALIBO
January 15, 2011
A parade of Higantes and individuals dressed up in giant images.
January 15, 2011, 12:00 Noon, Front of St. John the Baptist Cathedral
Simultaneous drum beating of Ati-atihan Tribes to pay tribute to the Santo Niño.
January 15, 2011, 11:00 P.M., Magsaysay Park
Spectacular display of colorful fireworks on the eve of the Ati-atihan’s biggest day.
KAPISTAHAN NI SEÑOR SANTO NIÑO
January 16, 2011
Feast Day of the Holy Child Santo Niño.
TRANSFER OF SANTO NIÑO DE KALIBO
January 16, 2011, 6:30 A.M., Kalibo Cathedral to Pastrana Park
Transfer of the venerated miraculous image of Santo Niño of Kalibo from the Kalibo Cathedral to Pastrana Park for the High Mass celebration led by the Bishop and concelebrated by all priests of Aklan.
January 16, 2010, 7:00 A.M., Pastrana Park
Concelebrated Pilgrims’ mass offering where devotees, guests and tourists flock in solidarity with Ati-atihan tribes as they take part in the highest form of Catholic worship.
January 16, 2010, 2:00 P.M., Town Plaza-Major Streets-Kalibo Cathedral
“Praise dancing” of Ati-atihan tribes, Aklanons and guests for hours together with beautifully adorned Santo Niño caros and devotees carrying Sto. Niño image and bamboo torches.
January 16, 2010, 7:00 P.M., Magsaysay Park
The finale and last hurrah of the three- week-long festival. Winners of the Ati-atihan Contest give their last energy as they receive their awards.
HOW TO GET THERE:
WHERE TO STAY:
There are several inns and pension houses for you to stay at. These are three that we highly recommend. Click on the name to get more information.
1. Ati-atihan Festival Hostel Bed and Breakfast – Located at 19 Martyrs St., Kalibo, Aklan.
2. Dona Crispina Beach Resort and Hotel – A bit far off from Kalibo but still a nice place to stay at. You can always flag a trike to take you to the Ati-atihan festivities. Make sure to haggle!
WHAT ELSE TO DO/SEE:
Of course the first on the list would be the Ati-atihan. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes (no flip flops though, unless you want to have your toes stepped on every three seconds) and bring a hat to protect your face from the sun. Bring a small towel as well to wipe the sweat off because it can get very hot and humid.
Here are some other places you might find interesting to visit:
1. Museo it Akean – The official museum of Aklan, housing rich cultural and literary treasures that tell the story of Aklan.
2. Tigayon Hill – A natural mountainous formation that rules stretches of flatland. One side is a shallow care with an arched entrance while inside there’s this altar like rock formation.
3. Fatima Hill – See the stations of the cross that cover a hillside and then visit the marble chapel atop the hill