Ati Atihan!

Trip Start Jan 13, 2007
Trip End Jan 28, 2007

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Flag of Philippines  , Visayas,
Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sunday morning we headed off to Kalibo for Ati Atihan, the biggest party of the year in Panay!  It is a celebration of the early native roots as well as the Christ Child.  For days prior to this, residents have practiced and paraded the streets in bright coloured costumes, drums and other instruments.  The parades go on for hours.  While many communities have their own version of Ati Atihan, people come from all over the Philippines to celebrate.  Many people darken their skins with charcoal to look more like the Ati, the aboriginal inhabitants of the islands.

Once on the main road traffic was so bad we got out and walked.  It was sunny, hot and an altogether pleasant walk.  At one point we passed some soldiers (with guns) and asked if we could have a picture taken with them.

While there were lots of fumes from the buses and tricycles, watching the cars slowly go by was well worth the walk.

As we walked into town the crowds got thicker, as did the vendors.  One vendor really wanted to sell "Joe" some ice cream, but I got away :)

We started off standing near Jollibie (a local version of Macdonalds) and watched the bands start off. Later we took a short trip to a family home for lunch, and then back to the parade - the police were in force to keep control, but drinking and carousing still went on all in fun.

We did some souvenier shopping, and found a booth run by the Lezo Pottery, and we got some pottery as gifts for family and such.

Dinner at Jollibie next, burgers, Fried chicken and spaghetti!! Busy place being right in the middle of all the party action at the town square. 

We next went over to the Kalibo Catherdral, a beautiful church near the centre of town. We saw one kid with a Toronto Tshirt, but he was too "partied out" to talk to.  Allan got a few pictures and then got blessed by the Christ Child.

It was starting to get dark and we started walking back to the tricycle station, but on the way we came across the procession again....several hours later they are still drinking and marching!!!  The kids looked tired, but on they went.

Some lady boys even wanted their pictures taken by Joe...and one old man tried to feel under my shirt, likely to see if I had a money belt on, I pushed him away, and Alvin, Allan's Brother in law, and our military body guard made sure nothing else happened!

We got in the bus, and headed home, for a few days in Lezo!
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