When & Where The Ati-Atihan-Festival is usually in January (the last 2/3 weeks) in the town of Kalibo in the province of Aklan on the island of Panay, Philippines. It's a 2 week fiesta but get there for the last 3 days. The dates of Ati Atihan can change depending on what town you are in.
Why According to legend, a group of Malay Datus, fleeing from nearby Borneo, bought land from the local Panay people, the original inhabitants of Panay Island. The Malay Datus celebrated their purchase by holding a massive feast and painting themselves black to look like the islanders.
Getting there The Philippine islands are very accessible and you can fly direct to the island of Panay in the Philipines.
Tradition If you have been to the Philippines then you know how hospitable they are. They have an expression for this festival which sums up their devotion to strangers : "No-one should drink alone". Being Irish this really stuck with me!
Accommodation There are great Hotels available in Aklan, Kalibo & all over the island of Panay available here.
What to expect Everyone wearing black facepaint, Ladyboys, very loud drums, gyrating females, "Viva kay Santo Niño!", very late nights, bullfights, beauty pagents the cross of Chinese and Voodoo cultures: the Snake Dance, live exorcisms, 70% Gin. Anything goes in the Philippines especially during the Athihan festival.