One of the famous side-trips you should consider when travelling to Boracay is Bakhawan Eco-Park, ranked as the NUMBER 1 tourist attraction in Kalibo by Tripadvisor and one of the top things to do in Aklan.
Bakhawan Eco-Park is a 220-hectare mangrove forest located in Kalibo, Aklan. It is a home to over 20 species of mangrove trees, 28 species of birds, and a wide variety of marine life. The eco-park is operated by the Kalibo Save the Mangroves Association (KASAMA). “Bakhawan” means “mangrove”, and this so-called lifesaver prevents floods and storm surges during bad weather and protect the shoreline of the community. From the city proper, you need 20 to 30 minutes tricycle-ride to get to the area with a fare of less than P50. There are tricycles waiting outside so no need to worry about your ride going back to the city.
The eco-trail is more than 1KM walk and we spent more than 2 hours to maximize the visit/eco-tour. There is a snack bar at the end of the trail offering drinks like “buko” juice and beers. If you want, you can rent a kayak and do bamboo rafting. Your reward for a long walk is remarkable – nice view, refreshing scenery, experiencing nature at its best, clean air, and serenity.
We stayed in Ati-Atihan Festival Hostel located at 19 Martyrs Street, City Proper, Kalibo. The hotel is near CitiMall and price for one night is P1,239 for Double Economy. We decided to spend an overnight in Kalibo since we have a midnight flight from Manila and going to Boracay directly will not be easy. But you can arrange one if you want since there are various tour agencies and vans offering that service. As we all know, Boracay is open for everyone 24/7.
The colorful festival parade consists of tribal dance, music, accompanied by indigenous costumes and weapons, and being held annually in January to honor Santo Nino (the Infant Jesus), concluding on the third Sunday.
Museo It Akean
This is a good starting point of your Kalibo exploration, just across the Cathedral. The museum showcases town’s history, with artifacts showcasing different periods of town’s culture and heritage.
Cathedral Parish of St. John the Baptist is just beside Aklan Museum and in front of Plaza Pastrana. It was originally built in the year 1581 and one of the oldest structures in the province. The church was renovated in 1993 and the designs are one of the works of Leandro V. Locsin, a national artist.
Located in the heart of the city, it is the converging place of the Ati-atihan Festival.
Budget and Tips
Your Kalibo adventure will not require you to spend more than P1,000 per head for an overnight stay. We spent less than P2,000 including accommodation and meals.
Bakhawan eco-park entrance is P150.00 with operating hours from 7am to 7pm. Best time to go here is in the morning and late afternoon.
Guys, do not throw your trash anywhere. Be responsible and dispose it properly.