Make Way for the Ati-Atihan 2011

See what’s in store for this year’s Ati-Atihan Festival in Kalibo, Aklan.

By TravelBook
January 12, 2011

The Ati-Atihan Festival in Kalibo, Aklan has been around for centuries, starting in the 13th century when ten Malay datus fled from Borneo and sought a new home on Panay Island, which was then inhabited by people of the Ati tribe.

The story goes that the ten Bornean datus gave the Ati chieftain a golden salakot, bales of cloth, brass basins, and a trinket for the cheiftain's wife in exchange for a portion of their land. The trade signified peace between the tribes of the datus and the Ati people, and after their negotiations were over, they had a grand celebration. When one of the ten datus had established his own settlement in what is now known as Kalibo, he commemorated the purchase of the land during every harvest season.


Many years later, when the Spaniards arrived in the Philippines, they added a Christian element to the Ati-atihan, turning it into a festival in honor of the Sto. Nino, the child Jesus.

At present, the Ati-Atihan festival is celebrated during the second week until the third Sunday of January every year. This year, the Ati-Atihan Festival celebrations start at the beginning of January, with several main events lined up from January 11 until January 16. The people of Kalibo celebrate with spiritual street dancing, novenas, a re-enactment of the exchange between the ten datus and the Ati chieftain, as well as pageants, parades, contests, and other special events.

To learn more about the Ati-Atihan Festival, click here.

To see the Ati-Atihan 2011 schedule of activities, click here.