THE PROVINCE OF KALIBO, AKLAN is in the northwest of Panay Island, Philippines with Kalibo as its capital. Kalibo is a 1st Class Municipality in the Western Visayas Region situated at the center of all coastal municipalities of Aklan province. The place is known as the best venue for Ati-atihan which is held every 3rd Sunday of January. Kalibo, Aklan has become a major tourism destination going to Boracay Island.
In the 15th century, Calibo or “Madianos” was founded by settlers coming from Malaysia. However, others say that the Madianos town was founded by Ferdinand Magellan before he was killed in Mactan. Calibo is already a flourishing trade center and meeting place of all Aklan municipalities prior to the arrival of the Spaniards. Upon the arrival of Spaniards in 1566, a thousand numbers of natives in Madianos attended the first Catholic Mass. Thus, the name “Calibo” was given instead of Madianos which was derived from the Aklan word “sangka libo”, meaning one thousand.
Calibo was the official name of the place till 1929 when it was formally changed to Kalibo. In 1785, the town was moved to another place where it is presently situated, and the original old town is now known as barrio Numancia. Then on January 1, 1904, Banga, Lezo and Numancia municipalities were engaged with Kalibo, making it as one municipality of Kalibo. However on January 1, 1910, the mentioned municipalities separated and became district towns of Lezo, Numancia and Banga respectively. Kalibo remained as another municipality.
Kalibo, Aklan has a total land area of 5,075 hectares or 50.75 square kilometers. Land use is primarily for agriculture with 66.29% of the total land area, followed by Industrial with 13.40 hectares of land, commercial with 39.68 hectares of land, residential with 20.13% of the total land area, institutional and others.
Currently, the province has a population of 62,438 people in 12,628 households with a population growth rate of 1.57%. The predominant language used by the Kalibonhons are Ilonggo, Kinaray-a, English and Filipino. Most of the residents are also Roman Catholics.
In terms of weather, Aklan has a third type climate in which dry season starts from the months of February to July and rainy season for the rest of the year. However, heavy rainfall occurs during September to January. The months of May and June are the warmest months.
COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY IN KALIBO, AKLAN
Agriculture plays a vital part in the economy of Aklan with leading crops such as rice in 1,096 hectares of land, corn, coconut, banana, and vegetables. Poultry and Livestock production is also an additional investment, such as carabao, cattle, swine, goat, chicken and ducks; as well as fisheries with some 241 hectares of fishpond.
Kalibo is the business center in the entire province, thus, various small and large-scale establishments are already present in the province such as manufacturers and producers, wholesalers and retailers, services, rice and corn millers, restaurants, banks, lending investors, boarding houses, bars, discos, billiard hall, securities, hotels, real estate, pawnshop, cinema, shopping centers, public market, computer centers. Today a total of 1,899 establishments exist. Tourism industry also adds up in the economy of Aklan.
ART AND CULTURAL HERITAGE IN KALIBO, AKLAN
Kalibonhons are generally religious; hence festivities are mostly related in honor of their patron saints and religious beliefs, such as the famous Ati-Atihan Festival in honor of the Holy Child, Sto. Niño. This is a week-long festival which showcases a nine-day novena, and street dancing. Another festivity is in honor of St. John the Baptist with various activities presented such as boat racing and kite flying. There is also a commemoration in the death of the XIX Martyrs of Aklan and the Separation of Aklan.
KALIBO, AKLAN PRODUCTS
Kalibo is the hub for the Piña Cloth industry of Aklan wherein the Piña and Abaca cloths are being exported to various parts of the world most particularly North America. The province is also known for other native products such as handbags made of buri leaves, beautifully woven abaca slippers and shoes.
Aklan also boasts of its one and only specialties like homemade tocinos, longganizas, embutidos, and the like.
MUNICIPALITIES OF KALIBO, AKLAN
Kalibo has 16 barangays:
Baklan Freedom Shrine
This Shrine was declared as one of the historical landmarks in the Philippines by the Philippine Centennial Commission. It entombs the memories of the 19 martyrs whose lives were sacrificed in the altar of freedom.
This Festival is similar to “Mardi Gras” in honor of the Holy Child, Sto. Niño. This is celebrated on the second week up to the third Sunday of January.
Golden Salakot Structure
This structure can be seen at the intersection of Toting Reyes St., Quezon Avenue and Osmena Avenue commemorating the trade exchange of the natives in earlier times.
Kalibo Ati-Atihan Gallery
This is a museum that houses various relics of the Sto. Niño Ati-Atihan Festival, such as costumes, photographs and display of Ati miniatures in full regal costumes.
Kalibo Beach Line
This is an ideal place for relaxation and unwinding, and one can enjoy sunbathing and fishing as well.
Manggad It Kalibo
This is located in New Buswang which features an Ati-atihan Village, a Pina Village and Bakhawan Eco-Park. This is an ideal place to visit and see the best cultural and ecological appreciation.
Museo It Akean
This museum houses century old artifacts and works of art of Aklan’s local artists.
St. John the Baptist Cathedral
This Cathedral was built in 1581 overlooking the town plaza and is considered as one of the oldest Catholic Church in the Philippines.
The XIX Martyrs Marker
This is the place where the XIX Aklanon Martyrs were imprisoned, tortured and afterwards summarily executed.
This is situated on top of the Hill with a perfect view of the Aklan River, the town and neighboring municipalities. Limestone formations and stalactite are also found in the caves of the hill.
Travel to Aklan by air from Manila and Cebu which is just 45 minutes travel time on a daily basis. From Cebu, there is a flight every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Kalibo Airport is about ten minutes from the main plaza. Kalibo can also be reached directly from Incheon, South Korea through international flights served by Asian Spirit and Pacific Pearl Airways.
Kalibo is a gateway to Boracay island through Caticlan port which is just 45 minutes away by land.
Aklan is also accessible via sea travel which takes 14 to 18 hours from Manila.