Aklan, Philippines · 28 hotels available
Kalibo is the capital of Aklan, located in the north-west of Panay. It is an alternative jump off point for the famous resort Island of Boracay. Kalibo is also home of the mother of all Philippine festivals, the Ati-Atihan Festival which consists of tribal dance, music accompanied by indigenous costumes and weapons as they parade along the street.
Aklan’s capital Kalibo is a treasure trove of natural attractions that not so many people know about. For most tourists, the idea of exploring this town’s off-the-beaten-track destinations—which include white sand beaches, waterfalls and mangrove parks—might be more interesting than squeezing into crowded beaches and pricey hotels along with hordes of other tourists.
The fastest way to get to Kalibo is by air. Air travel to Kalibo from Manila is about 45 minutes under four major airlines: Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, AirAsia and PAL Express.
Kalibo has four ports near the town. The New Washington port and the Dumaguit port are 20 minutes away from Kalibo. Batan port is accessible via Dumaguit and Altavas while the Malay port is approximately two hours. Travel time from Manila to Aklan is 14 to 18 hours through sea travel.
The Caticlan Jetty Port is part of the Roll-on Roll-off (RORO) Strong Republic Nautical Highway that connects Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, and it passes through Kalibo to Capiz or Romblon. There is a jetty port in barangay Pook of Kalibo.
Manila to Kalibo via RO-RO bus is the cheapest way to go to Kalibo. This is the way to go if you have ample time to spare and armed with adventurous souls as travel hours approximately take around 15 hours. CERES bus has direct trips to Kalibo from Manila.
The tricycle is the main form of public transport. Kalibo’s version of a tricycle is larger than the ones in Manila and it can accommodate from 6 up to 8 passengers including the driver.
Bask in the wonders of Kalibo’s natural tourist attractions. Walk into Bakhawan Eco-Park’s Mangrove forest and enjoy activities such as kayaking and bamboo rafting. Dine in al fresco as you cruise the Lagatik River.
Visit Sampaguita Garden’s Precious Moments and explore the mansion. Dip into the crystal waters of the legendary Jawili Falls. Don’t miss out the Museo it Akean and learn about the local history and rich culture. Visit the Tigayon Hill and Cave in Barangay Tigayon,
Kalibo’s most famous attraction brings thousands of local and foreign tourists to the town every third week of January featuring the country’s grandest and oldest festivals, the Ati-atihan. Costumed soot-faced performers take the streets to dance to drumbeats in honor of the Santo Niño. The Lagatik River Cruise in New Washington town lets visitors enjoy a sumptuous lunch of the town’s best seafood and fresh tropical fruits while cruising the serene river fringed by lush mangroves.
The crystal-clear waters of Jawili Falls in Tangalan town never fail to entice passersby to take a quick dip.
A haven of eco tourism, Bakhawan Eco-Park is a mangrove reforestation area built in the 90’s to address the frequent flooding in Kalibo. Take a relaxing walk around the eco-park, crossing man-made bamboo bridges to reach the picture-perfect scenery of a tranquil river with a lush mangrove forest as backdrop. Be sure to reach the end of the path of the lush forest mangrove to get the fascinating view of the sea. The serenity that this place brings is more than enough to stay in this town.
The Aklanons are also famous for their hand woven pineapple silk (piña), fabrics used for Barong Tagalog. Aklanons are known to have pioneered the 8th century tradition of pineapple fiber weaving. If you want to check out some of the weaving, visit the La Herminia Arts and Crafts and the Dela Cruz House of Piña.
Shop for delicacies like suman (sticky rice) called Ambugong. Kusina sa Kalibo serves the best tapas in town. Saylo Cuisine’s Chicken Binakol (native chicken simmered in pure coconut juice, lemongrass, and other spices.) is also a must-try.
New Peking House offers good Chinese food, despite its humble ambiance, while Nakon Thai Restaurant serves authentic Thai cuisine on that side of town. Also worth checking out are Nino’s Ihaw-ihaw, Mix and Match Bar and Restos and the grill restaurants along Barangay Tambac in New Washington, Aklan.
If you’re quite the adventurous type, there’s the woodworm delicacy called “tamilok” served at Bakhawan Eco-Park.
In Kalibo, nighlife usually buzzes around the Kalibo International Airport area with its numerous rows of restaurants. Nightlife does pickup during the Ati-Atihan Festival and the Aklan Foundation Day with streets blocked off for grills, beer and a good night of dancing to live bands.
The Sampaguita Gardens is the most comfortable place to stay in Kalibo and it is usually the top pick for visiting families. La Esperanza Hotel has surprisingly quiet rooms considering it is right next to the bus and mini-van station. This is ideal for people on the go, who want to hop on the next bus to Boracay.
Ati-Atihan Country Inn is also clean and affordable place to stay. Bakhawan Eco-tourism Center and Mangrove Park have 6 private rooms A little bit far from the town center but it does give guests peace and quiet.
You may get approached for some package tours and prices might be marked up for tourists so you must know how to haggle.