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Traveling

Defaulting to Kalibo, Aklan Dec 17, 2016

Defaulting to Kalibo, Aklan

GPS waypoint: 11°41'46.7"N 122°22'23.5"E
Location: Kalibo (municipality), Aklan (province), Philippines

Kalibo Curve Ball
Kalibo was not in the plan. From Caticlan, I was to go to Buruanga as a final destination in covering the North West Panay peninsula. But my shoes fell apart. I didn't want to explore caves and waterfalls on flip-flops. Assured I'll get Merrell shoes in Iloilo, I boarded the bus. But when passing through Kalibo, I just got off the bus - it just felt right, even though shortly after, I was caught in the driving rain with a leaky umbrella with all the heavy backpack behind me. What the heck am I doing here?

Merrell Shoes
It seems odd that I would forego my Buruanga plan to go buy a pair of shoes in Kalibo, 2 hours away! But I wanted Merrell shoes. It's comfortable and lasts me about 2 years with everyday use. At Gaisano Mall, I saw a section of Merrell shoes and got one on a 20% discount - P3350! Yey, my socks don't get soggy now everytime it rains!

Marzon Hotel KaliboMarzon Hotel
While at Gaisano Mall to deposit my heavy luggage while I look for a hotel deal, 2 locals suggested Marzon Hotel. Failing my initial tries to get a deal close by and almost drenched in rain, I made the trip to Marzon Hotel. It felt right being there. Talking to the manager brought us to common grounds. Even if I didn't get my terms, I shook hands with them. It would have been utterly arrogant to walk away from it after being taken there - like I said, I wasn't even supposed to be in Kalibo in the first place. At the end of the day, I was resting my weary back on a very comfortable bed in an elegant room in a wonderful hotel. I'm glad I trusted my instinct.

Defaulting to Kalibo, Aklan
photo bombed at the public market

About Town
Kalibo is big so it's not possible to take a leisurely walk to see the whole town. There are no jeeps plying the inner town. The transport mode is a tricycle starting at P8. Because there is no mass transit, the tricycles swarm like flies, clogging main arteries and causing traffic. They have 2 malls - the ageing but popular Gaisano Capital and the new, small and modern City Mall. For trendy cafes, there's Latte Cafe and Cafe Sicilia - just to name two, but there are a few others. There is a McDonalds, which is a usual benchmark on how big/progressive a town is, but no, there is no movie house (another litmus test).

Increasingly, I find the rarity of a movie house in a big town. Perhaps it's because pirated DVDs are so cheap, and also, movies have become so expensive - at least for the minimum wage earner. I remember the time when I was in high school, movies were cheap, I could see one everyday. If I do that now, I'd go broke.

Overtime Music Bar
Close to the hotel was a music bar with a live band. It was popular with the young locals - nothing fancy but not a dive either. The band played good music. It's been a long time since I had a night life. It was a relief and it felt good. I ordered a cold beer and huge platter of oysters. When I got the check, I was dumbfounded! Live music, cold beer and a huge platter of oysters for.....drumroll please, P83.00!!!!! It wasn't until the following day when I told someone about Overtime and the remark was, "...good thing a fight didn't breakout while you were there."

Market Scene
A walk around the market didn't reveal anything unique from the usual wet market in the Philippines. The place was a good size, organized, clean and a bit crowded. I notice they sell the big sea weed (lato, P160/kilo) which I only saw in Surigao. I had a good helping. Seaweed is the only vegetarian seafood you can get.

Plaza
Similar to Luneta, they have a sizeable park, the Pastrana Park, across the street from the cathedral. At night, the locals hangout there for chills and eats. That night I went, a bingo event was happening with a P5000 grand prize - good turnout of people. I guess the park and the surrounding area is what they call "Plaza".

Ending Thoughts
Kalibo is somewhere between a big town and small city with a disproportionate share of tricycles that dominate the roads. The people are still friendly and cost of living still within bounds. With its most popular tourism draw, the Ati-Atihan, coming closer, already the air is rife with preparation. I could stay a little longer, but somehow, the die is cast for me to pack-up again and move on south.

--- TheLoneRider

Next stop: Bakhawan Eco-Park

finally getting my new Merrell shoes...the reason I came to Kalibo tricycles swarm like flies in Kalibo in the absence of jeeps having a good time at Overtime music bar my comfortable oasis in Kalibo - Marzon Hotel
by the pool side of Marzon Hotel checking out the market scene a slice of daily life at the pasalubong section
the meat section humongous sea weed at P160/kilo crabs, presumably from the local mangrove forest seafood stall
peanut butter maker makers of lumpia wrapper at Bahay Kubo for live music oysters and beer !!!
my home in Kalibo...Marzon Hotel promenading at night....the Cathedral this statue points to the cross? don't really know the story here the Plaza comes alive at night
giant Christmas tree inside Pastrana Park the park becomes a community hangout at night    

Google Map Kalibo, Philippines

tourist attractions in Kalibo essentials
  • Kalibo International Airport Kalibo International Airport - the gateway to Boracay via Kalibo
  • Gaisano Capital Kalibo Gaisano Capital Kalibo - the go-to mall in Kalibo
  • City Mall City Mall - latest mall offering
tourist attractions in Kalibo tourist attractions hotels in Kalibo hotel
  • Marzon Hotel Marzon Hotel - near airport, swimming pool, latte restaurant
    Jaime Cardinal Sin Ave., Andagao, Kalibo, Aklan
    +63.36.268.2188 | +63.36.268.2184 | +63 917.321.0011 | +63 939.925.9008
    °11°41'46.7"N 122°22'23.5"E | reservation@marzonhotelkalibo.com

Kalibo FYI / Tips

  • the center of town is at the Plaza where you have the Pastrana Park and Cathedral
  • no movie house in Kalibo
  • no inter-town jeeps or bus...just tricycles

How to Get to Kalibo

  • from Boracay - usually, it's the other way around. People go to Boracay via Kalibo airport because air fare is cheaper in Kalibo rather than Caticlan. But from Boracay, take any Ceres bus heading south for Iloilo via Kalibo (not Pandan) and you get off the main terminal in Kalibo.
  • from Iloilo - any Iloilo bus heading for Boracay will pass by Kalibo

Local Aklanon Food to Try

  • tamilok - grubs taken from decaying wood - looks like worms, best with vinegar, eaten raw
  • binakoe - native chicken in thick sauce inside a bamboo
  • Inubarang manok - chicken simmered in coconut
  • Linapay or Tinamuk - river shrimp cooked in coconut milk

Kalibo Cost Index

(US$1 = Php 49.94 as of Dec 20, 2016)

Kalibo is still inexpensive and the dollar goes a long way specially with food. Lodging though, compared to Cambodia or Thailand is expensive.

  • PHP 30-120 platter of oysters in a bar
  • PHP 8 minimum tricycle tariff
  • PHP 80 coffee in a trendy cafe

Kalibo Blogs by TheLoneRider

Suggested itinerary on the WEST coast of Panay Island from Boracay going south

  1. Boracay - most popular beach in the Philippines
  2. Malay - Nabaoy River, Pangihan Cave, Nagata Falls, Agnaga Falls, Naasug Point, Malay Ecological Park, Motag Living Museum
  3. Nabas - wind tubines, Hurom-Hurom Cold Springs
  4. Pandan - Malumpati Spring
  5. Libertad - Maanghit Cave, Ati Cave and Bungan-Bungan Spring
  6. Sebaste - Igpasungaw Waterfall
  7. Culasi - Malalison Island
  8. Tibiao - hot kawa-bath, white water river rafting, Bugtong Bato Waterfall, rice terraces, Tibiao Bakery, pottery, fish spa
  9. Anini-y - Nogas Island, scuba diving

Suggested itinerary on the EAST coast of Panay Island from Boracay going south

  1. Boracay - most popular beach in the Philippines
  2. Malay - Nabaoy River, Pangihan Cave, Nagata Falls, Agnaga Falls, Naasug Point, Malay Ecological Park, Motag Living Museum
  3. Nabas - wind tubines, Hurom-Hurom Cold Springs
  4. Kalibo - Bakhawan Eco-Park, Tigayon Hill
  5. Tambak - oysters
  6. Capiz - Roxas City
  7. Carles | Estancia - Gigantes Island Boat Tour, Lighthouse of Gigantes Island and Bakwitan Cave of Gigantes Island
  8. Iloilo - Batchoy Indulgence
Facebook Users
Dec 17, 2016


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Kalibo, Aklan


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near airport
swimming pool
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