Aside being the capital of Aklan, Kalibo is better known for its annual Ati-Atihan Festival and as the gateway to the world-famous Boracay Island. This bustling provincial and commercial center hosts the Kalibo International Airport, the major transit point going to Caticlan (en route to Boracay) to Boracay and the nearby provinces of Antique and Capiz. Despite its strategic location, few tourists really have explored and experienced what this town has to offer.
The people of Aklan are referred to as Akeanon/Aklanon. The local language is also Akeanon but Kinaray-a and Hiligaynon are used widely. Every third week of January, thousands gather to visit Kalibo to take part in a grand religious celebration honoring the patron saint, Sto. Nino. Ati-Atihan Festival features colorful and festive street dances and parties. During a trip to Boracay last year and a recent visit in Roxas City, we were able to capture Kalibo’s key attractions and tasted some of its fine local delicacies in a day.
What To See
Bakhawan (Mangrove Eco-Park)
Aklan Provincial Capitol
Pina Village | Museo it Akean | Tigayon Hills | Cathedral of St. John the Baptiste
All domestic carriers and several regional airlines fly daily to and from Kalibo International Airport. The bulk of flights cater to tourists going to Boracay. Kalibo can also be reached via Caticlan’s Godofredo Ramos Airport and Roxas Airport in Capiz. Commercial shipping vessels also ply the Manila & Batangas routes going to Caticlan. By land, one can take the daily trips of buses going to Iloilo City/Estancia and pass by Kalibo via RoRo connecting mainland Luzon and Panay. Going around the town is convenient through motorized tricycle. The airport is a only 5 to 10 minutes’ drive from the city center.
Where to Eat
When in Kalibo, don’t miss trying authentic local Akeanon cuisines at Saylo Cuisine: Chicken Binakul (Php 290), Seafood Special (Php 190), the veggie-based Linapay (Php 70), spareribs (Php 190), and Inday-Inday, which is similar to Suman sa Latik. Saylo Cuisine | Quezon Avenue, Kalibo, Aklan | (036) 268-6800
For some casual Ilonggo-style grilling, go to Ramboy’s Lechonan & Restaurant along Toting Reyes Street and La Nena’s Lechon Manok. Kalibo is a small town, so tricycle drivers are quite familiar with these establishments.
Where to Stay
Accommodations in Kalibo range from budget inns to classy hotels, with relatively cheaper rates compared to Boracay. During our trip, we stayed at La Esperanza Hotel and RB Lodge.
La Esperanza Hotel (Php 150/pax Dorm-Type)
Osmena Ave., Kalibo, Aklan (near Ceres Bus Terminal, right beside Landbank)
(036) 262-3989 | (036) 268-9254
RB Lodge (Php 450/AC Room)
Pastrana and N, Roldan Streets., Kalibo, Aklan
(036) 268-5200 | (036) 262-4155