Top 10 Things To Do in Aklan

Aklan is very famous for having one of the best white beaches in the planet. This province is not just all about Boracay, it also has other interesting tourism spots that tourists can explore. Listed below are the top 10 things to do in Aklan.


1. Experience the Ati-atihan Festivall

Ati-Atihan Festival
Ati-Atihan Festival

The Ati-atihan Festival is a feast honoring the Santo Niño. It is a weeklong celebration culminating on the third Sunday of January. It is one big mardi gras where the audience get to interact with the contingents coming not only from within Aklan but also from neighboring provinces.

Ati-atihan means "to be like Aetas" who are small people with dark skin, kinky hair and large flat noses. Participants paint their faces with ashes or charcoal powder and wear colorful costumes as they dance to the beat of the drums along the streets of the town.


A short video of me during the 2014 Ati-atihan Festival.


2. Have your own face paint

Face Paint
Face Paint


Fully embrace the Ati-atihan Festival and have your face paint. Well, you do not have to put black soot all over your face like I did, simple designs are available just like the one above. Prices vary according to the design.


3. Hear mass at the Kalibo Parish Church



Kalibo Cathedral

The Kalibo Parish Church or Cathedral Parish of St John the Baptist is the oldest place of worship in Aklan. The construction of the church started in 1804 and was finished in 1826. However, just like any other old structure, it also suffered some calamities. The first one happened when a fire hit the town in 1885 and destroyed the convent. The convent was reconstructed the following year.

The last ordeal took in 1990 when an earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale struck the island of Panay causing cracks on the church's brick walls. Restoration and improvement was done while retaining some features of the old church. The Kalibo Cathedral houses the image of the Santo Niño, to which the Ati-atihan festival is honored.


4. Visit the Museo it Akean

Museo it Akean
Museo it Akean

Located just across the Kalibo Cathedral is the Museo it Akean. This museum showcases the attractions and colorful traditions of Aklan. It also has the memorabilia of Archbishop Gabriel Reyes aside from the piña textiles and old jars dug up in Aklan.


5. Try the Aklanon Cuisine

Trying the local cuisine has always been a part of traveling and I recommend the following restaurants to eat in Kalibo.

Saylo
Saylo

Saylo is the only restaurant in Kalibo that features Aklanon dishes. A must try is their Chicken Binakol, which is similar to Tinolang Manok but uses coconut meat and juice as flavoring. What makes it different from the usual preparation is the way it was cooked. Instead of using a big pot, Saylo cooks the dish inside a bamboo stalk.

For a list of their menu, click here.


Latte Coffee Cafe

Latte Coffee Cafe has two locations in Kalibo. The first one is located along the road leading to the airport and has a big space. It is one of the busiest place to eat especially during the Ati-atihan Festival. They open as early as 7:00AM in time for breakfast. They serve sandwiches, waffles, rice dishes and as the name suggests, different variations of coffee based drinks. They also have a smaller branch near the Pastrana Park, a perfect place to have breakfast before joining the parade. Service is quite exceptional.

For a list of their menu, click here.

Ramboys Lechon Kawali
Ramboys Liempo

Ramboys Lechonan and Restaurant serves the best tasting Liempo I have tried so far. The meat is tender and the skin was very crunchy. Yummy! The serving is also quite generous for its price. One order is more than enough for three people. One problem I have encountered with the restaurant is they have a small space and service is a bit slow.

Niño's Ihaw-ihaw
Niño's Ihaw-ihaw

Located just across the border of Kalibo and Numancia, Niño's Ihaw-ihaw serves mostly local and grilled dishes. And if you want to get some beer after a meal, this is the best place to have dinner.

For those who live on breads and pastries, Bread and Butter is the most recommended. I even bought some food here before I went to Antique.

A complete list of restaurants in Kalibo can be found here.


6. Have a tour around the Bakhawan Eco-Park

Bakhawan Eco-Park
Bakhawan Eco-Park

The Bakhawan Eco-Park began as a project in 1990 to prevent flood and storm surges in the area by converting the muddy shoreline of Barangay New Buswang into a mangrove reforestation. Get around the 220 hectares of mangrove while walking on 1-km bamboo boardwalk that leads to the shores of Kalibo.

Tamilok
Tamilok

Another tourism lure of the Bakhawan Eco-park is the "Tamilok" or woodworm tasting. I was not able to try this since the guy doing the demo and looking for the woodworm was not around during my visit. But if you happen to be here and brave enough to take the challenge, try to taste some of this delicacy. Some friend I know said they tasted better than oysters. Best eaten when dipped in vinegar. Will try this when I get back in Kalibo.


7. Explore Tangalan

Tangalan is a municipality 20 minutes from Kalibo or 45 minutes away from Caticlan. This sleepy town may not boast of beaches as beautiful as Boracay but it has other attractions that are worth exploring.


St John Nepomucene Church

This 125-year old church was constructed for twenty-eight (28) years as men, women and children carried limestone and coral blocks everyday from a far barangay to the town proper. It was built through "polo y servicio" (forced labor) and is the oldest church in Aklan still intact.

Jawili Falls
Jawili Falls

Jawili Falls is a seven-basin waterfalls made of limestone. Crystal clear water cascade from basin to basin that were formed through time. Though a park has been built, a pristine forest still surrounds the waterfalls. A concrete pathway has also been constructed to make it easier to climb on the side of the cascades. Get adventurous and trace the origin of the water streaming to the falls.

A five-minute walk from the falls will take you to Jawili beach. A popular destination for locals to bond with their families. Another must-see attraction in Tangalan is the Afga rock formations. This is where the limestone and corals used for St John Nepomucene came from.


8. Cliff Jump at Ariel's Point, Buruanga

Ariel's Point
Ariel's Point

Cliff jumping or diving has become popular over the last few years. Feel the thrill of jumping into the turquoise water of the Sulu Sea from a cliff when you visit Ariel's Point. For those who are not amazing swimmers (like me), you can go kayaking or snorkeling around the area. Vans from Kalibo and jeepneys from Caticlan going to Ariel's Point, Buruanga are available daily.

A day trip package on a first-come-first-serve basis is also available from Boracay, which include boat ride, lunch, snacks, unlimited drinks (beer included), snorkeling gear and kayak for Php 1,500 as of this writing. Boat leaves Boracay Station at 11AM and goes back by 5PM.


9. Relax in Hinugtan Beach, Buruanga

Hinugtan Beach
Hinugtan Beach (credits to Vera Venus)

Ever thought of an alternative to the overcrowded Boracay Island? Why not Visit Buruanga's Hinugtan Beach? Find serenity at this hideaway, perfect for couples and family who wants a quiet and relaxing vacation.


10. Stay in Boracay

Boracay
Boracay

Boracay is the one of main reasons why Boracay is flocked by international tourist. There are countless ways to enjoy a vacation here. Party all night. Get drunk and wild. Sleep on the beach. Go island hopping. Enjoy seafood and sumptuous dishes. Or simply enjoy the powdery white sand beach.

There is also a saying here that goes, "What happens in Boracay, stays in Boracay!"

Sunset at Boracay
Sunset at Boracay

What do I love most about Boracay is the stunning sunset. It never ceases to amaze me.

Describe your Aklan experience at the comment section below.






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