Ati-Atihan festival kicks off in Aklan | Inquirer News

Ati-Atihan festival kicks off in Aklan

/ 10:47 AM January 16, 2016

KALIBO, AKLAN—The Kalibo Pastrana Park echoed with melodic tunes of lyres and rythymic beatings of drums as thousands of revelers danced until late Friday evening in this year’s Ati-atihan festival.

The sadsad (street-dancing) which started on Monday spilled to the main streets of the town as tribes composed mostly of clans and organizations danced around the plaza square fronting the St. John the Baptist Cathedral.


The Ati-Atihan, held every third weekend of January, is considered the oldest among the festivals held in honor of the Child Jesus Senor Sto. Niño.

READ: Santo Niño through the ages


It is famous for its unique and spontaneous sadsad to the beat of drums and the melodic tune of lyres wherein revelers can join any tribe even during the tribe dance contest instead of just watching along the sidelines.

A 10-minute fireworks display at the Magsaysay Park capped Friday’s festivities.

On Saturday, 29 tribes will compete in the street-dancing contest along the main streets of Kalibo, according to Albert Menez, chair of the Kalibo Sto. Nino Ati-Atihan Foundation, Inc. (Kasafi).

Menez said the number of competing tribes is six more than the 23 tribes who joined last year.

The prizes for winners in the four tribe competition categories (Big, Small, Balik Ati and Modern) and the individual costume contests have also been increased to a total of P764,000, according to data from Kasafi.

The final day on Sunday will be highlighted with a morning Mass and a religious procession and street-dancing in the afternoon. The procession is expected to last from eight to 10 hours passing the main streets of the town leading to the Kalibo Cathedral.

At least 1,000 policemen, soldiers and other security personnel have been deployed for this year’s Ati-Atihan.


Hundreds of policemen from the Western Visayas police headquarters and municipal police stations have augmented Aklan Provincial Police Office (APPO) for the weeklong festivities, according to PO3 Nida Gregas, APPO information officer.

The policemen and soldiers will be supported by village watchmen and Barangay Peacekeeping Action Teams. Civilian agencies including those dealing with disasters as well as and emergency response teams have also been deployed.

Tens of thousands of revelers are expected in the streets of Kalibo on Sunday alone, according to organizers.

Menez said hotels have been fully booked since late last year. Many of the revelers are Aklanons based in other countries who habitually come home to attend the festival.

Tourists from Boracay Island have also been joining the festivities and street-dancing. CDG

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TAGS: Aklan, Ati-Atihan festival, Sto. Niño
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