One of the best things about staying somewhere for a while, is that opportunities present themselves. Nida wanted to go to Singapore. Well, I did a little research, and off we went. The directly from Kalibo to Singapore were quite expensive, so Nida told me to look at Kuala Lumpur instead. They were much cheaper!
We went into Kalibo in the morning with Jigg and Emmanuel. Our flight wasn't until 3:15, and Jig wasn't leaving until 4pm, but the Kalibo Festival was on, and the roads would be impassible in the afternoon.
Emmanuel dropped us at one of the abundant fried chicken fast food restaurant chains. Nida and Emmanuel had coffee and snacks and I went to find a mask and explore the festival.
It was amazing.
This festival is about the native mountain people of the country, the Ati Atihan, and it also about baby Jesus. I was told it was about Santa Nina, a statue of the baby Jesus that was moved around, and was finally lost on a burning ship. In a miracle, the statue was found later, washed to shore, burned, but still intact. I think it would be a great thesis, to write about why people would feel that a boat burning and many people dying, but a carved piece of wood being found is a miracle.
Native people do not seem to have a part in this festival. All the people just dress up as wild native people and play drums and music and dance and parade and sell religious statues, hot dogs and head dresses! Apparently there are some native people that sell charms and other little native trinkets at the edge somewhere.
All the groups that want to participate, get their own theme together, and develop what they want to do in the parade, and what costumes they want to wear. Now here’s the interesting part. Each group also decides on their own parade route. Some make it up as they go, I think.
There are very few tourists at the festival - it is really still a local tradition. I guess the one in Boracay is the tourist one.