As the gateway to the resort island of Boracay, Kalibo acts as a transport hub for most travellers, but for those who spend a day or two exploring the capital of Aklan Province, Kalibo has plenty of treats up its sleeve. For fashion-conscious travellers, Kalibo is famous for its luxurious woven pineapple silk, which is crafted into beautiful clothing, scarves and other textile products.
For visitors arriving in January, Kalibo is buzzing with excitement. Every year the city hosts the raucous Ati-Atihan Festival, which sees locals swathe themselves in soot in a bid to imitate the legendary Ati-Atihan himself. There’s also a natural beauty to be found, with Kalibo’s 220-hectare Bakhawan Eco-Park mangrove forest renowned for its biodiversity.
Most visitors arrive by plane, with Kalibo Airport welcoming several flights a day. Vans and jeepneys from Caticlan take around 2-3 hours. Once in the city, motorised tricycles whisk passengers around for next to nothing.
While today Kalibo is as busy and congested as most major Philippine cities, it wasn’t always so built up. It was first colonised in 1213 by Bornean settlers, with the local Aklanon dialect still existing to this day. Having only gained independence from neighbouring Capiz in 1956, it’s one of the country’s youngest provinces. For a glimpse at the province’s rich cultural heritage, a visit to the Museo it Akean is a must.