"Kalibo" derives from Akeanon sang kalibo (one thousand), referring to the thousands of Ati (Negritos) who attended the first Catholic Mass in Panay. It was also named as Akean, from another Akeanon word. Kalibo is also spelled as Calivo during the Spanish era.
The town was inhabited by Akeanons, a people believed to have originated from Borneo and sailed into Panay. When the Spaniards under Miguel Lopéz de Legaspi arrived, Kalibo has a population of about 2,000. Lopéz de Legaspi hired about 500 of the locals to help him in the conquest of what will become the Philippines.
Kalibo was then, part of Capiz. The town was where the Nine Martyrs of Aklan, a group of nine revolutionaries, are executed. Kalibo became part of Aklan after it was made its own province, and is made its capital. It has since expanded to become a large town, with a population of 80,000
Kalibo is served by regular domestic flights from Manila and Cebu, and its airport has a runway long enough for widebody jets. It is a hub for three airlines, Cebu Pacific, Pan Pacific Airlines, and Philippines AirAsia, and also has international flights.
- AirAsia - Busan, Seoul-Incheon, Shanghai, Taipei.
- Air Busan - Seoul-Incheon
- Cebu Pacific - Hong Kong and Seoul-Incheon
- China Eastern Airlines - Chengdu
- Juneyao Airlines - Shanghai
- Pan Pacific Airlines - Busan, Chengdu, Muan, Seoul-Incheon
- Philippine Airlines (and PAL Express) - Beijing, Nanjing
- T'Way Airlines - Seoul-Incheon, Daegu
- Tigerair Taiwan - Taipei
- XiamenAir - Fuzhou
- Ceres Liner and Ceres Transport, terminal: National Highway, Estancia. Buses arrive at Kalibo from Manila, Caticlan, Roxas City, Iloilo City, and San Jose de Buenavista. Ceres Liner buses are bright yellow, while Ceres Transport are blue, and take the ferry. The company-owned terminal is not so large, with just one waiting area and an eatery, and the rest being unpaved ground used as parking for buses. Tricycles wait in front of the terminal.
There are UV Express vans from Caticlan, with fares starting from ₱175, and the trip lasting 1.5-2 hours. You can also catch a van from terminals in Iloilo City and Roxas City. Terminals at at the West Aklan Transport Terminal and CityMall.
A jeepney to Kalibo from Caticlan port costs about ₱100 and takes 1.5 to 2 hours.
Motorized tricycles will take you just about anywhere in Kalibo for a standard rate of ₱6.50, and can take up to 8 passengers. Foreigners or tourists are commonly asked for much higher rates.
Kalibo Mangrove Park is one of the places that must not be missed as well as the piña weaving industry.
- 1 Kalibo Mangrove (Bakhawan) Ecotourism Park. One of the most successful mangrove reforestation projects in the country.
- 2 Museo it Akean, Martelino Street, ☏ . Town's museum. It is a repository of the province's rich cultural heritage.
- 3 Kalibo Cathedral. During the Ati-atihan festival, don't forget to visit the Kalibo Cathedral and witness the Catholic faithful get a brief respite with the "paeapak" or the massaging of a small Santo Niño (Christ Child) statuette onto the devotees.
- The renowned Ati-Atihan Festival is held every 3rd week of January, celebrated with frenetic dancing, and drinking to the wee hours of the morning.
Kalibo is famous for woven pineapple silk (piña) that is the darling of Philippine fabrics and the choice of the elites and the landed. The silk was the fabric used in making the barong that was worn by the leaders of the APEC countries during its conference in the Philippines in 1996.
Banana chips, coconut products, dried fish, mangoes, rambutan, lansones.
Shopping malls & supermarkets
- Gaisano Capital Mall. Roxas Avenue. 8AM-8PM.
- CityMall Kalibo, 19 Martyrs Street. 9AM-9PM.
- [formerly dead link] Unitop, Pastrana Street. 9AM-8PM.
During the Ati-atihan festivals and the run-up to Aklan Day, food festivals abound where seafood, and copious amount of pork and beef are grilled and served al fresco at the town's main streets.
Alcohol is cheap like everywhere in the Philippines and is very much readily available at supermarkets, convenience stores, corner stores, and literally alongside the road. The coldest beer in Kalibo -- sometimes literally frozen -- is at Lakapaya, an eatery two blocks from the city plaza which serves pilsner for ₱25), along with arroz caldo (rice soup) at the same price. For some local brew, tuba (fermented coconut wine) is popular amongst the locals (usually in far-flung barangays) and might be worth the taste if you are offered one.
Fruit juices are widely available and made fresh owing to the abundance and proximity of fruit-producing provinces including Aklan.
- Big Bean. The cheapest coffee shop, located near the rotunda (which lights up like a Christmas tree at night) and next door to Chow King.
- Latte. Between the rotunda and the airport is Latte, a swanky, western-friendly coffeehouse and restaurant. Like most upscale restaurants in Kalibo, the service will be extremely polite but sometimes incompetent and often slow.
- Latte. There's also a smaller Latte in downtown Kalibo with sandwiches and espresso. The comparably-priced Third Cup is located in the city plaza, nearby.
- Euro-Asia Bakery. One place definitely worth checking out is Euro-Asia Bakery, located down the street from the plaza past the gay-friendly nightclub Mezzanine. It has a variety of breads without sugar added, plus brewed coffee. They serve a decent but unspectacular American-style breakfast with tea, eggs, ham, and toast.
Due to the boomtown character of Kalibo- there is a shortage of places to stay in. Department of Tourism has devised a Homestay Program for tourists where visitors are welcomed into local homes for a fee. Please ask the Philippine Department of Tourism office in your area when planning such.
- Ati-Atihan Festival Hostel, XIX Martyrs Street, Kalibo, Aklan (near Kalibo Public Market). 16-bed dorm with common bathroom. ₱150 per person.
- Airport Line Inn, Quezon Ave (300-400 m before right turn to the airport). For overnight stays near the airport. Convenient if your flight departs in the morning. 10 minutes walk from the airport - however, tricycle drivers in the airport do not hesitate to ask as much as ₱100 for a 2-minute ride. Bargain hard or just ignore them and walk (till the main road, then approximately same distance along it to the left). Fan room from ₱300 / 12 hours.
- Glowmoon hotel, s martelino St, ☏ . Fan single and double rooms with shared bathrooms. AC rooms with own bathroom and cable TV. ₱500.
- Shemaja inn, 647 mabini St, ☏ . Single rooms with shared bathrooms. ₱500.
- Gervys restaurant and pension house, pastrana street., ☏ . Singles and doubles with fan and shared bathroom. ₱400.
- La Esperanza hotel, Osmena Ave (at the back of the land bank), ☏ . 8-bed fan dorm with common bathroom. ₱150 per person.
- Allen Christ Ians Lodge. Fan rooms. ₱250.
- Aranas-Carillo Travellers Lodge, Regino Roldan Street. Check-out: 12:00. Fan double room with cable TV. Has a shared bathroom. ₱350.
- R B Lodge, Pastrana Street & N Roldan Street. Check-out: 12:00. Fan double room with cable TV. Shared bathroom. Free wifi. From ₱500.
- N P Festival Inn, Pastrana Street.. Check-out: 12:00. A/C double room with shared bathroom. Free wifi. From ₱500.
- Garcia Legaspi Mansion., 159 Roxas Aveune., ☏ . Double A/C rooms with own bathrooms. TV. Double fan rooms with outside bathroom. ₱700..
- Kalibo Hotel (formerly Beachcomber Inn), 476 N Roldan St, ☏ . 3 km from the airport but in center of town. Modern amenities, free Wi-Fi internet, and good service. ₱1200.
- Kalibo Queens Hotel. ₱1500.
- La Esperanza Hotel, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Osmeña Ave. A large 5-storey hotel with no elevator but an attractive lobby and breakfast room slap in the middle of town. Air-con rooms have cable TV and shower rooms where the switch between faucet and shower needs careful nursing. Visa and MasterCard accepted. ₱1200.
- Agzam Spa and Resort, Liberato Rd, ☏ . Nice bungalows with views over the rice fields, has a pool. US$20-40.
- [dead link] Dona Crispina Beach Resort and Hotel, Navitas, Numancia Aklan. Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00. as low as ₱400.
- Sampaguita Garden. about 10-20 minutes away from Kalibo. It is a small sea-side resort which boasts a butterfly park, a mini-fair grounds, a year-round Christmas cottage, a Chinese and a Filipino restaurant, swimming pools and a sprawling Thai-Balinese type mansion by its owner. At the back of the resort is a beach. ₱2500 up.
Local Police tel. 166
Kalibo is relatively safe - although cases of pickpockets and an occasional brawl arises especially during the Ati-atihan festival rush where people from other provinces flood the town. Kalibonhons are naturally peaceful and religious folks.
Like most Filipino cities, Kalibo is home to many street children, who may ask you for money (especially if you look western) with their palms out. Any money you give them may be taken by their parents or spent on drugs or cigarettes. If you really want to help them, buy them a nutritious meal or, better yet, a toothbrush and toothpaste (some corner stores ["sari-saris"] sell them). You can also donate to an aid organization. "Walang pera" is Tagalog for "I have no money." See also begging.
- Dr Rafael S. Tumbokan Memorial Hospital. Mabini Street. Phone 36-2687062.
- Bureau of Immigration Kalibo Office. ABL Sports Complex Provincial Capitol.