1-20 January 2019
Whilst Filipinos are known worldwide for their gracious hospitality and friendly nature, this feast festival held annually in January, in honour of the Santo Niño (the Infant Jesus), allows us a glimpse of their wild, colourful and playful side, a facet of these devout and thoughtful people rarely seen in public. The ultimate Filipino fiesta experience and believed to be around 800 years old, Ati-Atihan is an enthralling festival of constant movement, drumming and feasting, not to mention a non-stop riot of exhibitionism, costume, music and dance. The grandest Ati-Atihan celebrations in the Philippines take place in its capital, Kalibo, where soot-black painted faces, feather headdresses and animal bones create a show-stopping visual treat. After days of relentless drumming and festivities, it is nigh on impossible for even the most reluctant traveller not to get covered in soot and become part of the romping, all-night closing masquerade ball.