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From: 2014.01.01 To: 2014.01.20
Pounding drums, painted faces and gyrating bodies await attendees at the mesmerising Ati-Atihan. The festivals owes its origins to when some mountain folk had to sing for their supper. Many moons ago, a group of light-skinned fellas, the Maraynons, arrived in Panay from Borneo in Indonesia and were sold some of the lowlands by the darker-skinned Ati. The Ati meanwhile went to live in the more mountainous region. Years later the Ati had a bad harvest and went back to their lighter skinned cousins asking to be fed, happily they were and the Ati responded by dancing and singing in gratitude. The Maraynons wanted to join in the dancing action too, so slapped some black paint on their faces and got down to boogie. Years later, when the Spanish arrived, they also wanted a piece of the party action and thus informed the partying locals that they were now partying in honour of baby Jesus (Santo Niño). Some agreed and some didn't but all agreed that the party should continue and thus today the event is celebrated by Christians and non-Christians alike all pulling on exceptional costumes, painting their faces in startling ways and banging on drums till the wee hours of the morning. The whole celebration is mind-bogglingly brilliant, but if you've got to choose just one day to attend it would be the wild and colourful procession on the final Sunday.