Ati-Atihan 2017 Colorful Beyond Comprehension:
Above all, Ati-Atihan is a nine-day exhibition of costume and dance. Soot-black painted faces, feather headdresses, and animal bones create an arresting visual impression.
Drumming and dancing break out at dawn and continue on until the festival ends three days later at a masquerade ball. A mass outdoor procession follows a sacred image of Santo Niño from the Kalibo Cathedral to Pastrana Park. By early afternoon, even reluctant residents come out in their soot-covered best. The street dancing called sadsad is such a spectacle of downright exuberance that it seems a more apropos name would be happyhappy. In the evening, the infamous masquerade ball romps through the night, while thousands of people show up for the closing event, an atmospheric torchlight procession honoring the Santo Niño.
Ati-Atihan 2017 Tips:
Don’t miss the masquerade ball. The creativity and color of the traditional costumes are matched only by Brazil’s Carnival and Papua New Guinea’s Mt Hagen Cultural Festival.
Stay for the final day. The highlight of the festival takes place on the last day when groups don their most bizarre costumes and perform choreographed dances in an effort to get the crowd's attention.
Stay an extra week. Check out the sister festival of Dinagyang on a neighboring island, or use Kalibo as a jumping off point to the famed holiday island of Boracay.