Posted by January 28, 2013on
Many people come to the Kalibo Ati-atihan Festival because of the seemingly endless street partying and the street dancing where the locals pain themselves in black and wear brightly colored ati costumes.
But the real deal of the festival is the Santo Nino procession which is held in the afternoon of the third Sunday of January. This year, the Procession was held January 20th.
The procession starts at around 2 or 3PM. But prior to that, several images of santo Nino coming from the differnt barangay (villages) of Kalibo, borne on carriages make a beeline in front of the Kalibo cathedral. The carriages were adorned with flowers and lights.
It was so hot during that time, and got tired of non-stop dancing in the street so we decided to leave the town center first, then headed towards the Bakhawan Eco-Park. I will write a separate post on this.
After two hours, we went back to the town center and the procession has already started. It was a sight to behold! Hundreds, or probably thousands of devotees, locals, as well as tourists, gather and joined the procession.
but what made this procession different from the others, is how they do it. with one hand holding the image of the Santo Nino, the other,holding a bottle of beer or a glass of alcohol!
It was a wild, crazy, but fun celebration of the fest of Senor Santo Nino. It is not very solemn as compared to Cebu Sinulog. The mood of the procession in Kalibo is very festive. With drum and lyre corps spread out in between the Santo Nino carriage.
Instead of just walking silently or saying the rosary prayer, the people dance to the beat of the drums and the lyre. It was a totally different kind of procession. It is something that you only see and experience in Kalibo.
But do you know what the best part of the story? Here:
It was already late in the afternoon. And I was dancing in the street. I don’t care what other people will say. I just danced as if there’s no tomorrow, and as if nobody’s watching me,. Dance to death!
from afar, I spotted a foreigner. A white guy. Dunno what’s his nationality. I don’t have the time to ask, as I am busy with my dancing. Then he walked towards my direction. Our eyes crossed. And I am now pretty sure that he’s walking towards my direction. then he stood right in front of me smiling. I just said hello to him, but I was surprised at what he did: He gave me a tight embrace. Hmmmm OK.an embrace from a white guy.
He then took my hand. held it briefly. Holding hands? Whats this? Then I suddenly felt something in between our hands. He then left and continued his dancing on the street. I dunno what I was holding. I took a quick glance a it. I instantly knew it was a paper money. I then tried to rub the paper money against my two fingers. I knew from that instant that it was a real money. I was kind of shocked. But of course I was so excited. Guess how much theforeigner guuy gave to me.
P1000 Peso Bill. Yes Dear, One Thousand Pesos!
Oh, god! In this day and age, it is not easy to earn a thousand pesos. Hindi napupulot ang pera! I am so thankful.
And so with that One Thousand Peso bill safely tucked in my wallet, I continued to dance even more. Sayaw lang ng sayaw! it was almost eight in the evening when the procession ended.
And with all these non stop dancing, I decided to have a rice-all-you-can dinner at one of the barbecue shops in the nearby mall before heading home. I was so tired, really really tired. But the experience of dancing in the street for three days is something that will never be easily forgotten.
Check our my entire Kalibo Ati-atihan photos here. These wonderful moments were all captured using the Nikon 1 J1. So compact, as small as the typical digicam, but so powerful that it can do all the functions a DSLR can do.
Many thanks also to AirPhil Express for flying me to Kalibo and let me experience the Mother of all Philippine Festivals!
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