Sunday, January 15, 2012

day 235-230: Hala Bira!!

The mother of all Philippine festivals, Kalibo Ati-Atihan is consists of tribal dancing parade and ethnic music that accompanied by indigenous costumes and weapons. Its been observed every third Sunday of January in which people smear thmeselves of charcoal or any black substance to look like Aetas.

The name Ati-Atihan means "to be like Aetas" or "make believe ati's". It started at around 13th century wherein a group of Malay chieftains or "datus" fled from Borneo and accepted by the Ati's the early settlers in Panay Island. Its a celebration to seal a peaceful pact between two different races and cultures. It became a religious feast in 1750 wherein a companion priest of Fray Andres Urdaneta and explorer Miguel Lopez de Legaspi baptized in one day 1,000 inhabitants of the town and surrounding settlements in the place. Since then its been celebrated with masses and novenas to their Patron Saint Sto.Nino.

As time passes by,people add modern touch to the festival such as modern type of Ati-Atihan dance and used of creative masks instead of charcoals. The drum beats are also in tune of some pop music. But the spirit of the festival is still there and it became more lively with these new features. People from other provinces and even in Manila visit this place just to participate in the lively street dancing and witness the creativity of the costumes and props of the locals and the Aetas themselves. Many devotees are also flocking the church to attend the masses and novenas as they believe that they will be bless by the miraculous power of Sto.Nino.

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