The fun just doesn't stop in Aklan as the province is one of the liveliest in the country throughout the year. Located in the northern part of the island of Panay in Visayas, Aklan is blessed with stretches of silky white sand and aqua waters that travelers just couldn't resist during the warm season. The cheerful locals love their festivals and their industries continue to thrive all over the Philippines. Aklan is the place where you can live out your tropical dream while learning a thing or two about the culture of religious and fun-loving people.
The premier summer destination in the Philippines will have to be the Boracay. Situated in the northwest corner of the province, the world-renowned island is packed with fun activities to do like swimming, diving, boating, island hopping, and many more. Restaurants and shops fringe the shoreline as well as numerous resorts and upscale hotels. Boracay becomes even more alive at night as tourists flock to the bars and nightclubs around the island.
Speaking of parties, the grandest celebration in Aklan is no other than the Ati-Atihan Festival. The feast is held every January to honor the Sto. Niño, the Christ child and the oldest Christian image in the Philippines. Participants put on dark face paint, dress in colorful costumes, and parade the streets while dancing to the rhythm of drums and tribal music. The festivities also include street parties, bazaars, variety shows, and dance competitions.
Aklan is also the source of the "Queen of Philippine Fabrics." Made from the fibers of pineapple plant leaves, the Piña Cloth is a one-of-a-kind material used to make the Barong Tagalog and the Baro't Saya, the national costumes of the Philippines.
Aklan is served by two airports: Caticlan Airport in the town of Malay and Kalibo Airport in the town of Kalibo. You can fly to Caticlan from Manila or Cebu via Cebu Pacific Air, Philippine Airlines, or Skyjet. Kalibo Airport is also served by Cebu Pacific Air, Philippine Airlines, and AirAsia. Travel time to either airport takes approximately an hour.
2GO Travel offers scheduled ferry trips from Batangas Pier to Caticlan Port. If you're coming from Metro Manila, JAM Liner buses have daily trips from Cubao or Pasay to Batangas Pier. Sea travel from Batangas to Caticlan takes about 10 hours.
How to Get Around
Tricycles are the main mode of transportation in Aklan. Fares start at PHP 10.00 per person.
Jeepneys are available in some parts of the province, particularly in Kalibo. The minimum fare per ride is PHP 7.00.
By Motorcycle and Bike
In Boracay, you can rent motorcycles or bikes from any of the shops if you want to explore the island at your own pace.
What to See
The St. John the Baptist Cathedral, also known as Kalibo Cathedral, is one of Aklan's oldest churches, having been built in the late 1500s. It is a popular pilgrimage site as it serves as the shrine for the image of the Holy Child or the Sto. Niño de Kalibo, which is regarded as miraculous.
The Aklan Freedom Shrine in Kalibo is a monument built in honor of the 19 Filipino martyrs from Aklan who fought for freedom during the Philippine revolution.
Aklan is a coastal province with Boracay being its most famous beach destination.
The island of Boracay is best known for its four-kilometer-long stretch of fine white sand and azure waters called White Beach. Another notable attraction is the Bulabog Beach, also known as the island's watersports hub. It is a favorite hangout among adrenaline junkies who want to experience thrilling activities such as kitesurfing and windsurfing. In fact, Bulabog Beach is recognized as Asia's premier kitesurfing destination. Meanwhile, those who want to enjoy the peaceful company of nature opt for the less-crowded Puka Beach, Balinghai Beach, and Diniwid Beach instead. Since Boracay is located in the town of Malay in Aklan, make sure to visit the town's other natural attractions: go spelunking at Pangihan Cave or have a refreshing dip in the Agnaga and Nagata Falls. If you're up for it, you should also hike up Mt. Luho to get an amazing view of the island.
Aklan's natural beauty, however, is not just limited to Boracay alone. Kalibo is also the perfect destination for nature lovers. Go on a nature walk at Bakhawan Eco-Park, a mangrove reforestation area, where you can see the various flora and fauna and challenge yourself to eating a live tamilok or woodworm. Tingayon Hill is another popular destination because of the terrains for trekking and its mysterious caves to explore, but its Stations of the Cross are what draw tourists in, especially Catholic pilgrims.
Meanwhile, the town of Nabas is famous for its cold springs: Hurom-hurom Cold Springs and Basang Cold Springs. Cool down from the heat with a dip in either of these fresh water pools. There are also several waterfalls around town that you should include in your itinerary, including Sayaw Falls, Pinatuad Falls, and Sumalaysay Falls to name a few.
For adventure seekers, a white water rafting adventure at the river of Libacao and cliff diving at Ariel's Point in Buruanga shouldn’t be missed.
Aklan is considered one of the oldest settlements in the country, having been established in the 13th century. The Museo it Akean in Kalibo is the best place to know more about the province's colorful past. See the ancient relics and the artwork displays to have a better understanding of the culture and traditions of the Aklanons.
Meanwhile, the Motag Living Museum offers a unique experience for visitors. This interactive farming-themed museum not only lets guests witness traditional rural living but also try their hand at the traditional ways of agriculture.
Aklan is the country's leading producer of the piña fabric used to make traditional attire like the barong tagalog. In Kalibo, you can visit the Piña Village to see this proudly Pinoy fabric is woven.
Events and Festivals
Kalibo's Ati-Atihan Festival is considered the "Mother of All Philippine Festivals." Held every third weekend of January, it is one of the oldest and biggest festivals in the country and one of the most prominent festivals held in honor of the Sto. Niño. Some of the much-awaited events during the festival are the parade and the traditional street dances where participants are covered in body paint and traditional garb.
Every month of May, the town of Nabas celebrates the Bariw Festival as thanksgiving for the bountiful harvest. Costumes made from bariw leaves are worn by muses and street dancers participate in parades as part of the festivities.
Where to Eat
Fast Food Chains
There are many popular fast food chain branches in Kalibo like Jollibee, Chowking, and McDonalds. Boracay also has a McDonald's branch as well as a Mang Inasal branch and several Andok's stores.
Kalibo is the best place to enjoy authentic Aklanon food. Saylo Cuisine's menu consists of Aklanon delicacies such as chicken binakol, inubarang manok, and linapay. Meanwhile, Niños Ihaw Ihaw is a haven for seafood lovers: their dishes are made from the freshest catch of the day. Latte Cafe, on the other hand, offers rice meals, light fare like sandwiches, and an assortment of coffee drinks.
Boracay's food scene is more diverse as it caters to the different tourists all over the world. Sunny Side Cafe's breakfast dishes are guaranteed to perk you up no matter which part of the day. The Mediterranean dishes at Lemon Cafe and Restaurant and the Greek food at Cyma will definitely complement the tropical ambiance of the island. Meanwhile, the affordable Filipino fusion meals at Smoke Restaurant will get you the best bang out of your buck.
When in Boracay, don't miss having a taste of their delicious seafood dishes. D'Talipapa is the famous market where you can buy fresh fish, crabs, prawns, shellfish and many more and have them cooked the way you like at any of the paluto restaurants nearby.
When in Kalibo, try Ramboy’s and order their sinful but tasty crispy liempo and the delicious grilled chicken.
Bars and Clubs
If you're looking for some after-hours fun, Boracay is known to have a pulsing nightlife. There are many bars all over the island, but the best ones are found in Station 2, dubbed as Boracay's party central. Epic Bar, Summer Place, Coco Bar, and Chill Out Bar are just some of the best places for a drink and some music.
Where to Shop
City Mall and Gaisano Capital Mall in Kalibo and D'Mall in Boracay offer shoppers a wide selection of goods and places to eat.
Kalibo Market is the best place to buy pasalubong in Kalibo. There is so much to choose: native handicrafts and woven bags to souvenir items like T-shirts and keychains.
In Boracay, you don't have to go far to buy pasalubong as there are many stalls and vendors that sell various items like T-shirts, trinkets, and shell necklaces.
What to Buy
When you're in Kalibo, don't forget to buy a pack of crispy shrimp snack as well as a kilo of Kalibo's sweet longganisa. And when in Boracay, swing by Real Coffee and Tea Cafe in Station 2 for their sweet and tangy calamansi muffins.
ATMs and Money Changers
There are available banks and ATMs in Aklan if you need to withdraw some cash.
Fare: PHP 1,200.00 (By ferry); PHP 2,000.00 to PHP 4,000.00 (By plane)
You'll spend a total of PHP 1,200.00 if you choose to travel by ferry to Aklan via Caticlan Port. The bus trip from Manila to Batangas Port costs PHP 175.00 and the ferry ride from Batangas to Caticlan is at PHP 1,000.00.
Plane tickets to Kalibo are cheaper than Caticlan. If you're coming from Manila, airfare to Kalibo ranges from PHP 2,000.00 to PHP 3,000.00. Meanwhile, airfare to Caticlan is about PHP 3,000.00 to PHP 4.000.00.
Food: PHP 100.00 to PHP 300.00
With the wide variety of dining establishments in Aklan, tourists can enjoy sumptuous meals regardless of their budget. Meals at a fast food chain usually cost from PHP 100.00 to PHP 150.00. Meanwhile, restaurant meals cost about PHP 200.00 to PHP 300.00.
Shopping: PHP 100.00 ++
In Kalibo, you can buy a pack of crispy shrimp for more or less PHP 100.00. Meanwhile, one pack of Kalibo longganisa sells at about PHP 150.00.
In Boracay, a box of calamansi muffins from Real Coffee and Tea Cafe costs PHP 320.00. Souvenirs are PHP 50.00 to PHP 100.00 for trinkets like keychains, bracelets, and shell necklaces. Souvenir shirts, on the other hand, are about PHP 200.00 to PHP 300.00, depending on the design.
Accommodation: PHP 500.00 to PHP 3,000.00
Whether you'll be staying in Boracay or Kalibo, you'll find inns and hostels that offer basic rooms at PHP 500.00 a night. Meanwhile, if you want to stay at a midrange hotel or resort in Boracay, prices for an overnight stay range from PHP 2,000.00 to PHP 3,000.00.
Activities: PHP 100.00++
It only costs PHP 15.00 to see the displays at Museo it Akean. Meanwhile, you can enjoy the immersive agricultural tour of Motag Living Museum for PHP 700.00. There is also a PHP 100.00 entrance fee for Bakhawan Eco Park.
If you want to try the watersports and activities in Boracay, make sure to set aside a budget of PHP 500.00 to PHP 1,500.00 per activity.
Day 1 (Boracay Itinerary)
||Arrive at Kalibo Airport. Board a van bound for Caticlan.
||At Caticlan Port, ride a boat to Cagban Port.
||Arrive in Boracay. Have breakfast at Sunny Side Cafe.
||Explore White Beach. Go sunbathing or build sandcastles.
||Have lunch at Andok's then grab a fruit shake from Jonah's Fruit Shake.
||Check in at the accommodation of your choice.
||Go beach bumming at White Beach. Make sure to try out the thrilling watersports like parasailing.
||Ride a boat to Ariel's Point in Buruanga.
||Arrive at Ariel's Point. Try your hand at cliff diving.
||Arrive back in White Beach and wait for the sunset.
||Enjoy a beachfront massage to soothe your muscles after an action-packed day.
||Have dinner at D' Talipapa.
||Hit the bars at Station 2 for a fun night out.
Day 2 (Kalibo Itinerary)
||Arrive in Kalibo from Boracay.
||Have breakfast at a fast food chain like Jollibee.
||Visit Kalibo Cathedral and see the image of the Sto. Niño.
||See the artworks and relics on display at Museo it Akean.
||Ride a jeepney to Bakhawan Eco Park. Once there, enjoy a relaxing nature walk.
||Have lunch at any of the carinderias at the eco park. If you're brave enough, you can also try eating the tamilok or woodworm.
||Go pasalubong shopping at Kalibo Market. Make sure to take home packs of crispy shrimp and Kalibo longganisa.
||Head back to Kalibo Airport for your flight back to Manila.
Boracay has two seasons: the Amihan season (cool northwest wind) and the Habagat season (southwest monsoon), as identified by the locals. The Amihan season usually falls under the months of October until June and is characterized by a prevailing wind coming from the east and scarce rainfall patterns. The Habagat season runs for the rest of the year and is usually identified with hot and humid weather and frequent rainfall.
Since Boracay is a touristy area, there are many prevailing tourist traps there. For instance, some tricycle drivers often overcharge. Be aware that there is a fare matrix set by the local government. Familiarize yourself with the appropriate fares so you won't get caught in the tourist trap.
Safety and Security
While Aklan is generally a safe place, there's no harm in taking extra measures for your safety. Make sure to always be mindful of your surroundings.