We had a British expat with us, and while he enjoyed his American breakfast, he couldn't help but notice how the male officemates of my daughter enjoyed their brunch: Tapsilog and Longsilog. Because he knows very few local words yet, we had to explain to him what the names of the meals meant. Tapsilog is an acronym for "tapa" (cured/marinated beef), "sinaing" (steamed white rice) or "sinangag" (fried garlic rice) and "itlog" (egg). Longsilog is an acronym for "longanisa" (native sausage), "sinangag" or "sinaing" and "itlog". Tapsilog and Longsilog are perfect for breakfast or brunch, since rice is a staple food of Filipinos. Almost all over the country, they serve and eat tapsilog and longsilog.
Last time I joined the Ati-Atihan, I spent a hectic couple of days partying in the streets with friends. Luckily I had a place to stay, as all hotels were fully booked and toilets were scarce. Many people just stay up all night, or crash out wherever they fall.
If you are headed back to Boracay Island, be sure to leave plenty of time to get there, as there will be crowds of people all going in the same direction.
Ati-Atihan is a full on assault on the senses - the mixture of fabulous, flambouyant costumes and heady drum beats can leave you feeling quite exhausted. All the most eccentric characters come out to play - expect to see the Lizard Man, numerous drag queens and a mixture of party people of all nationalities.
Here are some more images from the colourful Ati-Atihan festival
The small town of Kalibo, Aklan, is most famous for it's yearly Ati-Atihan parade. This is a week long traditional festival celebrated on the 3rd week of January in honour of the 'Santa Nino' (holy infant Jesus). Hoards of people dressed in fabulous, flambouyant costumes dance through the streets, faces blackened with soot, and marching musicians play drums and xylaphones.
The highlight of the festival occurs on the last day, when groups representing different tribes compete. Costumes, including the head-dress, are made of abaca fibers, shells, feathers, bamboo, plant leaves, cogon, sugar cane flowers, beads, trinkets and an assortment of pieces of glass, metals and plastics.
Much drinking, dancing and merrymaking goes on in the streets, and you'll be offered drinks on every street corner. Bring your camera, but take good care of it as there is always a risk of theft in a large crowd.
Hotels are usually booked up months in advance for the Ati-Atihan, so many people choose to stay on Boracay Island, which is an hour and a half away by bus or taxi.