When I woke up at around 0630H this morning, it was raining outside my hotel room in Kalibo. Bad, I said to myself as I was trying to get a few more minutes of sleep before preparing for the day’s trips.
I arrived in this city yesterday, trying to catch up with the Boracay International Funboard Cup, even for a few hours and eventually go down Panay Island for Iloilo’s Dinagyang. But that wasn’t meant to be that I instead decided to witness this Sunday the Ati-Ati Festival of Ibajay, a town located between Caticlan and Kalibo.
Despite having second thoughts of going to Boracay, I dragged my feet to Caticlan later after lunch, ate at D’ Mall and walked to Bulabog Beach where the water sports tilt was held.
Unfortunately, it was a bad day. Despite the sunshine and blue skies, the wind was kind of erratic and the windsurfing and kiteboarding participants were just at the beach, lying in wait for the wind to pick up.
For almost an hour, I just preoccupied myself with taking photos of a few people in the waters: a man practicing how to windsurf, a pair of sexy ladies paddling atop a surf board, and greeted and chatted with friends like Nenette, the organizer of the event as well as those from Sports Unlimited who I have caught up in several sporting events across the country.
Bored with no action in the waters, I left Boracay and returned to Kalibo.
Earlier in the day, I went to Ibajay, to Barangay Naisud for its Mangroves Eco Park that is the pride of the municipality. Despite drizzling when I went down the jeep at the waiting shed, I still proceeded to hire a tricycle.
Unfortunately, the office at the eco park was closed when I reach the place. Padlocked and chained. The driver told me that the people might be at the town plaza as there was a parade, part of the fiesta activities.
With no other recourse, I decided to proceed to the town proper of Ibajay and look at the place, scouting it for tomorrow’s and Sunday’s shoot.
The town is quite lovely with huge open spaces, a park with a 1930’s monument of Jose Rizal, the national hero, a 19th century church and convent. Except for a tacky structure, everything would’ve been beautiful with the municipal building at one side, imposing.
There’s more to the western part of Panay than Boracay. In fact, there are many interesting places in the provinces of Aklan, Antique and western Iloilo that just amazes without driving all the way to Caticlan. Ruins, churches, food and rowdy festivals are there waiting. But what really made me happy was the discovery of the ruins of the old church perpendicular to the current one. From the remaining shell of a building, probably the presbytery and nave walls, it looked to be huge and imposing. I don’t have much information, however, about the structure and will just leave it as it is.
As it was fiesta time, leading up to the big event on Sunday, people were everywhere and every kind of shops were set up along the open spaces selling from used clothes, imitation shoes, and food. With the festive spirit, I just hope that tomorrow and Sunday’s visit for the Ati-ati festival will be fruitful with wonderful images.
Ang Langyaw’s Panay Island trip made possible by Airphilexpress, the fastest growing budget airline in the Philippines!