Ati-atihan Festival celebrations in front of the Kalibo Cathedral (Photo: Lester Ledesma)

Where to stay

  • Hotel Carmen at NVC, Pastrana St; +63 36 268 8880. Basic lodgings located in the heart of the city.
  • Marzon Hotel Kalibo, Sta. Monica, Andagao; +63 36 268 2188; www.marzonhotelkalibo.com. This clean and comfortable hotel is just a ten-minute drive away from the airport, making it ideal for travelers in transit.
  • RB Lodge, Pastrana St corner N. Roldan St; facebook.com/RBLodgeKalibo. A pleasant budget hotel with rates starting at PHP300, depending on room availability.

Where to eat

  • Aquafresh Manokan, Osmeña St. Order the resaurant’s famous chicken inasal, a juicy grilled chicken dish that’s best eaten with your hands.
  • Grande Royale Restaurant, Jaime Cardinal Sin Ave; +63 998 574 7745. Order the seafood platter, which comes with grilled fish, squid, clams and shrimp, doused with garlic lemon butter sauce.
  • Hernani’s Mix n’ Match, L. Barrios St; +63 36 268 4240; facebook.com/hernanismixnmatch.bar. Fill your belly with affordable yet tasty fare, such as baby back ribs.
  • Kitty’s Kitchen, J. Rizal St; +63 36 268 9444. A homegrown restaurant best known for its BBQ ribs.
  • Latte Coffee Café, Quezon Ave Extension (Jaime Cardinal Sin Ave), Andagao; +63 36 268 9026. Enjoy coffee, waffles and an array of superb cakes at this cozy café. There’s also savory fare to be had, like sizzling bulalo and baby back ribs.
  • Niño’s Ihaw-Ihaw Restaurant, Bulwang, Numancia; +63 36 268 1198. Have your fill of local cuisine, including blue marlin and spicy shrimp, at this popular restaurant.
  • Ramboy’s, Toting Reyes St; +63 36 262 8327. Its famed liempo (pork belly) is unapologetically crispy and juicy.
  • Residence River Ihaw-Ihaw Resto Bar, New Washington, Tambak; +63 947 530 7875. Catch your own fish and then cook it at this popular eatery.
  • Saylo Cuisine, Magno Bldg, Quezon Ave Extension (Jaime Cardinal Sin Ave), Andagao; +63 36 268 6800; facebook.com/saylo.kalibo. Enjoy rib-sticking Aklanon delicacies like binakol (chicken soup) and inubarang manok (coconut-simmered chicken).

What to do

  • Ati-atihan Festival. A colorful street celebration held on the third Sunday of every January, in honor of the Santo Niño (Infant Jesus). Smear yourself in soot and dance to pounding music — it’s a religious experience that is anything but somber.
  • Bakhawan Eco-Park. A 220-hectare mangrove forest and research center with trails that open into stunning views of the sea. Use bamboo rafts to get to the sandbar, where you can picnic in huts. Kayak rentals are also available.
  • Brgy Tangalan. Here, you’ll find natural attractions like Jawili Falls, Jawili Beach and the beautiful Agfa Wave Rock Formations — a terraced rock face sculpted by wave action. It’s around a 30-minute drive from the city.
  • Dela Cruz House of Piña, 81 New Buswang; +63 36 262 3267. Shop for high-quality piña fabrics, which are made from the leaves of the pineapple plant.
  • Finds Museum, Osmeña Ave, N Capitol Subdivision; +63 36 268 3907; facebook.com/FindsMuseum. This fine-arts museum near the Aklan Provincial Capitol houses a large collection of Asian antiques, European and American paintings (featuring Picasso and Pollock), First World stamps, jewelry, and more.
  • Kalibo Cathedral, Martelino St; +63 36 262 4246. Get in touch with your spiritual side at this cathedral, which was originally built in 1826.
  • Museo it AkeanMartelino St; +63 36 268 9260. Also known as Museo de Aklan, this downtown museum is the perfect place to learn more about the province and its rich history.
  • Sampaguita Gardens Resort, 1 Sampaguita Ave, New Washington; +63 36 264 3422; www.sampaguitagardensresort.weebly.com. Feel the holiday spirit every day at this resort, which features a Christmas store that’s open all year round — the first of its kind in the Philippines.
  • Tigayon Hill and Caves. Explore the intriguing rock formations of one of Kalibo’s newest tourist spots.

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