Performing Arts: Aklan Province Islands Philippines
page 1... Performing Arts: Aklan Province
The origins of Ati-atihan are buried in myth and legend; hence,
there are several versions. According to the Maragtas, there were
occasional skirmishes that occurred between the Malays and the Aeta
or Ati even after the barter of Panay. A peace pact ended the strife,
and the two formerly warring groups celebrated. To emphasize their
oneness in spirit, the Malays covered themselves with soot so as
to look like the Ati. And so began the first Ati-ati which translates
into the Tagalog word Ati-atihan, now the more popular term for
The famous ati-atihan festival in Kalibo is celebrated on the third
Sunday of every January. However, having become a hodge-podge of
Catholic ritual, social activity, indigenous drama, and a tourist
attraction, the celebration now stretches over several days. Days
before the festival itself, the people attend novena masses for
the Holy Child or Santo Niño and benefit dances sponsored
by civic organizations. The formal opening mass emphasizes the festivals
religious intent. The start of the revelry is signaled by rhythmic,
insistent, intoxicating drumbeats, as the streets explode with the
tumult of dancing people. The second day begins at dawn with a rosary
procession, which ends with a community mass. The merrymaking is
then resumed. The highlight of the festival occurs on the last day,
when groups representing different tribes compete. Costumes, including
the headdress, are made of abaca fibers, shells, feathers, bamboo,
plant leaves, cogon, and sugar cane flowers. The day ends with a
procession of parishioners carrying bamboo torches and different
images of the Santo Niño. The contest winners are announced
at a masquerade ball that officially ends the festival.
Another version, dating back to the Spanish Period, says that the
festival began with the Aetas practice every Christmas of
descending from their forest habitat and going from house to house
in Ibajay town, in northwestern Aklan, about 35 km from Kalibo.
The men played their gongs or bamboo flutes while the women danced.
They were given food and drink, old clothes, beads, knives and odds
and ends. When the Aeta stopped coming, the Ibajay townsfolk, who
realized they had begun to look forward to its yearly practice,
blackened themselves with soot, put on colorful headdresses and
loincloths just as the Aeta had done, and danced from house to house
requesting alms or gifts. Through the years it became a rowdy and
spectacular show performed on a grand scale by everyone in the town
wearing masks and costumes, beating cans, bamboo tubes and boards,
or blowing on whistles and trumpets, and parading through the main
streets until they wore themselves out. Every household was open
to guests who were offered sumptuous food. The celebration spread
to other towns and became a regional festival.
The Spaniards virtually ignored it but incorporated Catholic elements
into the feast. This was a practice often resorted to by the Spanish
friars whenever an indigenous practice persisted despite Catholic
influence. In the 18th century, a priest moved the date of the festival
to coincide with the feast day of the Santo Niño. Pilgrims
then traveled to the town to fulfill a religious vow, and the street
dancing imitated the playful pranks of the Santo Niño.
page 3 ... Performing Arts: Aklan Province
Travel Quotes: On long haul flights I always drink loads and loads of water and eat light and healthy food. Lisa Snowdon
If you travel first class, you think first class and you are more likely to play first class. Ray Floyd
Philippines Cuisine Characteristics
The traditional way of eating is with the hands, especially dry dishes such as inihaw or prito. The diner will take a bite of the main dish, then eat rice pressed together with his fingers.
This practice, known as kamayan, is rarely seen in urbanized areas. However, Filipinos tend to feel the spirit of kamayan when eating amidst nature during out of town trips, beach vacations, and town fiestas.
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Main Dishes Philippine Cuisine
Adobo is one of the most popular Filipino dishes and is considered unofficially by many as the national dish. It usually consists of pork or chicken, sometimes both, stewed or braised in a sauce usually made from vinegar, cooking oil, garlic, bay leaf, peppercorns, and soy sauce. It can also be prepared "dry" by cooking out the liquid and concentrating the flavor. Bistek, also known as "Filipino beef steak," consists of thinly sliced beef marinated in soy sauce and calamansi and then fried in a skillet that is typically served with onions.
More details at Main Dishes Philippine Cuisine