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Friday, January 13, 2012

ItsMoreFun in Ati-Atihan

Blazing red, sunny yellow, screaming blue, dominating orange and more eye catching colors, energetic street dancers, heart pounding sounds of the drums, and perfectly complimenting music of lyres greeted me in Makato and Kalibo on the day of 15th of January as the two municipalities celebrates their versions of Ati Atihan Festival.

Once again the the two towns of  Aklan, burst in beautiful and übër bright colors. Drums and lyres gives life to the week long celebration of the feast of the Child Jesus. Devotees and visitors alike are once again one in shouting Viva kay Señor Sto. Niño!!!

The municipality of Makato celebrates its version of Ati-Atihan every 14th and 15th of January, while Kalibo celebrates it every 3rd Sunday of the same month. This year, the celebration of the feast of the Child Jesus or popularly know as the Ati-Atihan Festival of both municipalities falls on the same date, thus, giving locals and foreign visitors a choice to choose where to spend their Ati-Atihan experience. It is expected that in Kalibo, many groups will join the street dancing contest (modern, tribal, balik ati) as it is the capital town of  Aklan but Makato also, is very spectacular in its own special way, as how the capital town celebrates its festival. In fact, most of the tribal group in Makato also joins the tribal contest in Kalibo.

This once a year spectacle is considered as the "mother of all festivals" in the Philippines, Ati-Atihan means "to be like Aetas". According to history books, aetas are the primary settlers of the island. Maybe you're wondering why the participants wear black make-up and or charcoals to cover most part of their bodies, thats because, aetas basically, had short curly hair and is dark skinned.

Unlike any other celebration (sinulog of Cebu and dinagyang of Iloilo) honoring the Sto. Niño, in Ati-atihan, everyone, devotees and visitors alike, can join the street dancing parade of the participating groups. No marshals and everyone is welcome, as they say "the more the merrier, happier and better"

So as everyone is on mardi gras mode despite the scourging heat of the sun and the pounding of the drums and beautiful lyre exhibition is giving beautiful music all around the place, I was also busy playing with my favorite toy, my camera. Let me share you some :-) Disclaimer: this trying hard blogger is not a professional photographer so please bear with me. :-)