So all this talk about the Sinulog made me nostalgic about the Ati-Atihan Festival. The last time I joined the festivities was last year. Sadly, I couldn’t make it this year because I had to shoot a documentary in Cebu (thus, my presence there during the Sinulog). And so, I did the next best thing: look at my old photos and videos and search the great wide web using the hashtag #atiatihan2019. Sad, no?
After going through several Ati-Atihan photos, I stumbled upon this wonderful album of vintage Ati-Atihan photographs over at Ro Akeanon (@TheAkeanon on FB). These were taken in 1963 by the American Fred Marinello who, at the time, was vacationing in the Philippines. It was his Filipina girlfriend who brought him to Kalibo and Ibajay (my hometown) to take part in the festival. And did he take amazing photos!
One of the things I love about the Ati-Atihan is the overall good vibe during the fiesta. Even then you can see and feel that in these photos.
Another special thing about the Ati-Atihan is how well the Aklanons make the costumes and the floats. Each year there’s always something different, something new. And everything has to be better than the year before. Never mind that it’s more complicated or more difficult to make. As in their everyday life, Aklanons will not settle for anything less.
And because it’s essentially a street party, people from all walks of life and in all shapes and sizes dance and have as much fun as they can. Even to this day!
Some of those who attended the Ati-Atihan were also drawn to the Eden Cheese booth in Kalibo. And it looks like they had fun as well. I can’t blame them! Just like how Ati-Atihan is a Filipino tradition, Eden is a heritage Filipino brand and has always evoked fond memories of family gatherings and special meals. Personally, I’ve always had this notion that the more cheese there is on my food, the more special and delicious it becomes. And so one must not scrimp on good quality cheese especially during fiestas. Because at the end of the day, it’s always best to choose goodness over averageness, right?
I do hope to attend next year’s Ati-Atihan. In fact, I think I’ll book my ticket now. Hala bira!
Here’s a cool documentary about the Ati-Atihan made in 1978.
You can also see more of Vintage Ati-Atihan photos here.