Monthly Archives

January 2013


KALIBO: Planning Your Kalibo Escape with the Family

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We want our boys to be grounded with the right Filipino values and culture. We want them to experience what a real Filipino fiesta is all about with us, and tell stories about the Ati-Atihan in Kalibo.

We know that someday they will outgrow us and experience the fiestas with their own set of friends. 

However, it was very difficult to research on Kalibo’s Ati-Atihan because the internet searches are dominated by the hotel-booking companies, and the festival itself is overshadowed by the marketing-savvy Sinulog Festival in Cebu. 

Also, we did not know anyone from Kalibo and the official website does not help either in explaining what to expect from the Ati-Atihan.

That’s why I am very passionate about completing this Kalibo Ati-Atihan blog series to share with other families on how to plan their own Ati-Atihan experience even if you don’t know anyone in Kalibo. This also serves as my own notes of learning and what to do differently next time we attend a fiesta.

Here are the Final Tips on Planning Your Kalibo Escape with the Family:


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    Sampaguita Gardens-14.jpg
    SAMPAGUITA GARDENS is a 2.6- hectare boutique resort located in Aklan of Sam Butcher, the artist and creator of the Precious Moments doll with its signature teardrop loving eyes.

    The center of the gardens is Jojo’s Christmas Cottage which is a Victorian cottage that offers Christmas Everyday Experience. It has a Precious Moments store in the ground floor and the JCC Museum of Christmas in the upper floors showcasing Precious Moments collectibles.

    It is 15 minutes away from the Kalibo Airport and most families that travel to Boracay would make it a point to stay one more night in this Resort before flying out of Kalibo.

    Some of the areas of the Resort are a bit dilapidated, but still functional. It is best to go as a side-trip during the Ati-Atihan festival or during the cold BER season in time for Christmas.

    Check out what’s inside Sampaguita Gardens: 


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    JAPANESE MOCHI CREAM: Authentic Japanese Mochi Now in Manila!

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    A food craze in Manila is never complete without the imported original versions opening up in Manila shores. 

    The Mochi craze in Manila was started by Dezato (Read: Dezato Cafe – Home of the Yummy Mochi) and thenMochi Ice Cream was popularized by Mochiko when Mercato Centrale opened in 2010.  

    Ever since then there  has been  a lot of Mochi offerings around the Metro and finally, an authentic mochi brand from the leading Japanese Mochi Deli opened recently – the Japanese Sweets Deli MOCHI CREAM.

    Here are our Mochi Cream favorites:

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    KALIBO: BAKHAWAN Eco-Park’s 1.1km Mangrove Eco-Trail

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    Kalibo’s Bakhawan Eco-Park is a 220- hectare Mangrove forest which started in 1990 with just 50 hectares of reclaimed land created by the Kalibo Save the Mangrove Association (KASAMA for short)and with 200 members to date. 

    I was skeptical at first to go to this Mangrove forest as I thought it was one of those tourist-trap sidetrips. But after walking through the 1.1km. eco-trail and back, we concluded that this is one of the best eco-walks we’ve ever seen even better than the Mangrove forest in Sabang, Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

    It’s a must-visit if you have time to explore Kalibo and don’t miss to try the mangrove woodworm delicacy called “Tamilok” 🙂

    Here’s our BAKHAWAN Eco-Park’s 1.1km Mangrove Eco-Trail experience:


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    ILOILO FOOD TRIP: Where are the BEST Places to Eat in Iloilo?

    ILOILO FOOD TRIPIloilo is the center of commerce in the Western Visayas region. It is the home of the famous Batchoy, Breakthrough and Miag-ao Church. Here are the must-visit foodie places in Iloilo:

    1. Breakthrough

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    The undisputed king of fresh seafood in Iloilo and the number one tourist spot in the city. It is famous for its Aligue Rice and the Managat fish (also known as red snapper or mangrove jack). Native Chicken Inasal and fresh/baked oysters are also served here.

    The restaurant is the brainchild of marine biologist Raymundo Robles, who just wanted to have a side restaurant business for his wife. It was named after every scientist’s aspiration, which is to achieve a breakthrough in his/her field.

    The best part of the Breakthrough experience is being able to enjoy the glorious food (and the popular vinegar called Sinamak) with the fresh sea breeze blowing around you.

    Read More: ILOILO FOOD TRIP: Breakthrough, Number 1 Tourist Destination in Iloilo!

    Breakthough now has a branch called Ponsyon by Breakthough located in Plazuela de Iloilo. Another alternative is Tatoy’s, which offers almost the same cuisine and is located near the same beach area. Some foodies like Villarosa by the Beach and look for Orly’s.

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    KALIBO: Where are the Best Places to Eat in Kalibo?


    KALIBO is a melting pot and transit hub of the Aklan province. Its food offerings are most often overshadowed by the best fresh seafood in the nearby province of Capiz or the yummy Ilonggo food in Iloilo. Most people just pass by this municipality that aspires to be a city one day.  

    It was a bit hard to research online about places to eat in Kalibo. Most of the recommendations online are intended for the transit tourists or the Ati-atihan backpackers but not for foodies looking for yummy local food to better appreciate the Aklanon culture.

    After a three-day food trip during the Ati-Atihan Festival with more misses than home runs, here are the best places to eat in Kalibo:


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    KALIBO: LATTE Coffee Cafe @ Marzon’s Hotel

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    LATTE is the best place for breakfast in Kalibo. It opens as early as 7am and offers your breakfast favorites, comfort food and yummy cakes. 

    It’s conveniently located in the road that leads to the airport and beside the best hotel in Kalibo. 

    It gets mixed reviews because of inconsistencies, but we love the selection of comfort food.

    We kicked off Aidan’s 8th birthday celebration with a yummy breakfast here:


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    KALIBO: SAYLO Cuisine – The Best Restaurant in Kalibo?

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    SAYLO is a Visayan term which means “to welcome” or “to invite to come in“.

    It is also a term which means “to transfer” which has a double meaning — it’s a good transfer stopover when you are flying via Kalibo International Airport, or if you are tired of Latte –  you transfer to Saylo.

    We love the hip ambiance, offering of authentic Aklanon food with a good presentation and the yummy pasta. The only thing that turned us off  was the “provincial” service from the staff – lax, not trained well, and inattentive. 

    Still, SAYLO gets our vote as the Best Restaurant in Kalibo! Check out our Saylo Experience…


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    #Philippines, Kalibo

    KALIBO: What to Expect in the Sto. Niño ATI-ATIHAN Festival in Kalibo?

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    Kalibo’s Ati-Atihan is the mother of all the big Sto. Niño festivals of Sinulog in Cebu and Dinagyang in Iloilo.  It’s the biggest fiesta that is “non-commercialized” and stays true to its Filipino Fiesta vibe. It’s a “participative fiesta” where you dance with the performers vs. a “spectator fiesta” where you just watch in the sidelines. They say you have not experienced a Filipino fiesta unless you’ve been to Ati-Atihan.

    Ati-Atihan means “to become like Aetas” or in modern terms an “Ati Cosplay“. It was originally a pagan animist festival that the Spaniards adapted in honor of the Sto. Niño celebrated every third sunday of January.

    It started when 10 Bornean Datus escaped from the island of Borneo and migrated to the Island of Panay in the 13th century (c.1200 A.D.). They bought the Panay Island plains from the Ati’s who were the original settlers in Maharlika (former name of the Philippines before the Spaniards) with gifts of golden salakot, brass basins,  bales of cloth and a very long necklace for the Ati chieftain.

    The Aetas celebrated the occasion with eating, dancing, and merry making that became the inspiration of what we now call as the Filipino Fiesta.

    Finally, I was able to bring the three boys to a cultural immersion and had fun in celebrating the mother of all fiestas — The Ati-Atihan in Kalibo. Here’s our Ati-Atihan experience:



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    POCO DELI Now Open in the Makati Neighborhood :)

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    POCO DELI is one of our favorites for its artisan sausages, comfort food and signature cakes in the Kapitolyo Food Street in Pasig.

    Most foodies are happy that they are now open in the Ayala Triangle Neighborhood because the main Pasig store is quite small, and secured parking is difficult to find. In Makati, the store is bigger, has better parking options and the food is still as yummy as in the original Pasig outlet. 

    It was a perfect place for a Sunday Brunch after a Sunday Mass in Makati.

    Related PostPoco Deli, the Blossoming of the Little Neighborhood Deli

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