This province has always been noted for its pristine beauty. Nature seems to have gifted Aklan with so much and its people are equally commendable. It has painted its own niche into the global tourism map. Aklan of course is home to the famous Boracay Island, among the most popular beaches worldwide because of its azure waters, sugary fine white sand, rare seashells, and magnificent coral reefs.
There are still many more delights that this province has to offer. Aklan is considered by many historians as the oldest Philippine province, having been established supposedly in the 12th century, long before Spanish conquerors came to the country.
Aklan is occupying a third (at the northern tip) of the total land area of Panay Island in Western Visayas. It shares the same border with the provinces of Capiz in the east, Antique in the southwest, and Iloilo in the south. Sibuyan Sea is at its north. The island of Boracay is at its northwestern tip.
Because of its unique geographic features, Aklan has a natural diversity, which ranges interestingly from mountainous landscapes, mangroves, and white sandy beaches. Akean River runs through it, appearing as if boiling or frothing.
Kalibo is the capital of the province. It is a first-class municipality. Situated at the heart of Aklan, along all the coastal towns, it serves as a main gateway to tourists especially those who come to enjoy the pristine Boracay Island. The town is where Kalibo International Airport is, the main link connecting the province and the tourism island of Boracay with the rest of the Philippines and several international destinations. It also has its own port.
The province is not dubbed as ’Queen of Philippine Festivals’ for nothing. The events culminate the locals’ man-made attractions. Aklan Fiber Festival (Piña and Fiber Festival) is held every third week of April as part of the province’s foundation day celebrations. It aims to promote and at the same time showcase the provincial cottage industry, which consists of pineapple fiber cloth, abaca, and sinamay weaving.
Kalibo is the site of the popular Ati-Atihan Festival, held every third week of January. The festivity is symbolic of the treaty entered by Ati natives from the mountains and Malayan tribes long before Spanish friars came. It is believed that the festival has been around for centuries, but when the Spaniards came, the celebration was moved to coincide with the feast of the Holy Child (Santo Niño). Today, it is one of the main reasons why tourists flock the town in January. Aklanons gather in Kalibo streets disguising as Negritos, with charcoal painted all over their bodies. They dance to the loud beats of ambulant ethnic troubadours.
How to get to Aklan
The fastest and most convenient way to reach Aklan is through flights offered daily from Metro Manila or Palawan to Kalibo. Ferry rides are also facilitated through shipping lines WGA, Negros Navigation, and Moreta Shipping Lines. There are bus rides from Iloilo to Kalibo. From Kalibo, a traveler needs to ride a bus going to the nearby island of Boracay.