Participants and spectators parade across the streets of Kalibo. (Image: Writer)
Your Ati-Atihan experience will not be complete without joining the street dancing parade or sadsad. Throughout the week, government officials, students, and members of the private sector from all over Aklan join various sadsad activities. The grandest sadsad activity is held on the Saturday of Ati-Atihan week as different tribes compete in the street dancing competition. Some group members cover themselves in soot, while others don colorful costumes mostly made from indigenous materials. Others wear superhero costumes or dress up as famous personalities.
Rather than be mere spectators, tourists can dance and take photos with tribe dancers. You can even join these groups and march in the parade with them until you get tired. You can also try body painting or ask people along the street to put some color on your face.
Tip: Wear comfortable shoes to protect your feet if you plan to join the festival. Expect to do a lot of walking since major streets are closed for the parade.
Though it’s not as grand as other Philippine festivals, the charm of Ati-Atihan lies in its simplicity and religiosity. Experience the Ati-Atihan festival and enjoy exploring Kalibo!