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Kalibo is a class 1 municipal zone and also the capital of the Aklan province in the Philippines. The region is spread across an area of about 51 square kilometers with a population of about 80,600 people as per the census of 2015. Kalibo is located in the north-western portion of the Panay island of the Philippines, and is the main transport hub for adjacent resort island Boracay. This town is yet to gain its cityhood as the bill is pending for a long time now. In the Philippines, the smallest geographical administrative divisions are known as ‘barangays’ or ‘barrios’. It is a native Filipino term used to refer to a village or ward. The term is also sometimes used to refer to suburbs or inner portions of big cities. The municipality of Kalibo is divided into 16 barangays for ease of administration. The main language spoken in the region is Aklanon, and some other languages are Capizon and Hiligaynon. The major industries of the region include coconuts, rice, Manila hemp, pina fiber, etc. The place also exports beautifully crafted handbags made out of Buri leaves. The culture of the place is also filled with vibrancy owing to magnificent festivals like the Ati Atihan Festival. This festival is believed to have existed since the year 1212 and it even made its way to the list of “World’s Best Festivals” by Fest 300.
Tip: As per a 2000 survey, more than 60 percent of people in the Philippines speak English and it is also one of the official languages of the country. Hence, communication won’t necessarily be a problem, but still, you can learn a few common phrases in local Aklanon to ease out your experience.
The Kalibo International Airport (KLO) is an airport that serves the municipal area of Kalibo and also lies close to the resort island of Boracay, being one of its gateways apart from the Caticlan Airport (MPH). The KLO airport is situated about 2 kilometers to the east of central Kalibo. It might be a bit tough to find direct flights to Kalibo but one can easily find flights to Kalibo which are connecting via a major airport like that of Manila, the capital of the Philippines. Almost all major airline operators including Etihad Airways, Gulf Air, etc. provide services to Manila. From Manila, it is easy to find domestic carriers like Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, etc. which offer cheap flights to Kalibo. The frequency of these domestic flights to Kalibo increases in the month of January when the Ati Atihan Festival takes place. The KLO airport is considered to be the fastest-growing airport in the whole of the Philippines n terms of passenger traffic. The airport has seen a whopping 50 percent growth in that aspect in the year 2010. The distance between KLO airport and MPH airport is about 65 kilometers.
Tip: Do not forget to visit Boracay Island when you are in Kalibo. The place is known for its exotic resorts and serene beaches.
The best means of commuting in the municipality of Kalibo is definitely to go for public transport. The most popular form of public transport there is the use of motor trike Taxis, which are a unique crossbreed of taxis and tricycles. Many of these are in the form where a motorbike is attached to a sidecar which has the capacity to seat about seven people at a time. It is really easy to find these taxis anywhere in the town. The fares are on the cheaper side and another added advantage is that these small-sized unique taxis can go into congested streets with ease that can’t be matched by cars. Another way of commuting is by availing bus rental facilities. Now, this can be a very reasonable choice if one is traveling with a group of people. The procedure to avail one is simple; you just call beforehand and make arrangements as per your requirements. The overall experience, however, is one of ease and luxury as you can ask the driver to take you anywhere as per your choice, so it is kind of a chilled-out private journey with your companions. Apart from these, there are jeepneys and minivans traveling across the town too.
Tip: Ask around with the locals or research a bit beforehand about standard travel fares across the city, so that you don’t end up being that naive foreigner who got fooled into paying extra owing to his ignorance.
As mentioned earlier, the Ati Atihan Festival is one of the best things to experience in the whole of the Philippines. The festival takes place on the 3rd Sunday of every January and includes colorful processions, upbeat music, and people dancing around with joy. Another fun thing to experience in Kalibo would be to get on an amazing cruise at the Lagatik River. The cruise takes it course through panoramic sights and makes its way through mangroves, bird sanctuaries, and oyster farms among others. The Lagatik River Cruise also offers a buffet of freshly cooked seafood on- board. Next on your itinerary can be the Bakhawan Eco-Park which is the premier tourist destination for anyone who visits Kalibo. This is a 220-hectare mangrove forest turned park which falls under the Philippine government’s Mangrove Reforestation Project of 1990. You can also explore around to see the Kalibo Cathedral, or to experience the magnificence and delicacy of the indigenous Pina Silk.
Tip: You can consider buying a local SIM card when you visit the Philippines because it gets difficult to find a reliable Wi-Fi connection in most places owing to the fact that such a connection is either limited or unusable. A local SIM card would give you a sense of self-dependence and will make the overall experience of travel more convenient for you.
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