There’s still time to book a flight to Kalibo for the Ati-Atihan Festival, held annually on Panay Island in the Philippines. It’s a huge event where everybody paints himself or herself in honor of the Santo Niño (baby Jesus). It started back in the 13th century when there was a bad harvest season and the starving Ati people went down from the mountain to beg the Datus people in the valley for food. The Datus were very generous so the Ati sang and danced for them.
Everybody had a great time and they decided to have the celebration every year. Then, around 1530 the Spanish came along and the missionaries said the dance was a pagan affair. Since they had backup from conquistadores with guns, it was agreed that future dances would celebrate the birth of Jesus. Whatever…the dance goes on.
Photograph by Jeremy Villasis.
- Arts & Entertainment