Baker's Hill is a famous hang out place in Palawan, known for their freshly baked goodies like hopia, munchies and crinkles. It is located on top of a...
The Ati-Atihan is a festival in honour of the Santo Niño, celebrated in the third week of January. During the last three days of this week-long festival (fiesta), a parade is characteristic. A colourful happening with celebrants who paint their faces in many different ways and who are dressed in the most exceptional costumes. The dancing on the rhythms of the drums makes this festival comparable with carnival in Rio in Brazil! The fiesta is celebrated in Kalibo on the island of Panay (Visayas).
In the thirteenth century, long before the Spaniards came to the Philippines, light-skinned immigrants from the island of Borneo (Kalimantan) in Indonesia arrived on Panay. The local people of Panay, the Ati (negritos), a small and dark (black) kinky-haired people, sold them a small piece of land and allowed them to settle down in the lowlands. The Atis themselves, lived more upland in the mountains.
One time the Ati people was in need of food because of a bad harvest in their homelands. They came down to the lowlands of the Maraynon and asked them food. Every year since then, the Atis came down to the lowland inhabitants to ask for some food. They danced and sang in gratitude for the helping hand. A real friendship was born and the Maraynon started to paint their faces black in honor of the Atis and took part in the fiesta.
After the Spaniards settled down in the Philippines, some Catholic elements infiltrated in the fiesta, especially honoring Santo Niño. A Spanish representative arranged a deal with the local leaders of the Atis and the leader of the immigrants from Borneo. The outcome of the deal was, that in the future the existing native celebration would be dedicated to the Santo Niño. Nowadays it is a mix of parades, procession and dancing people on the rhythms of monotonous music of drums or the rhythmic tinkling of metal and stone on bottles. It looks as if the dancing never stops! The ritual dance originates from the Atis. The name Ati-Atihan means "make-believe Atis."
It is said that the procession is the climax of the fiesta. It is held on the last Sunday. The street dancers never fail to enter the Kalibo church every time they pass by.