Kalibo City is located 154 kilometers northwest of Iloilo city and 67 kilometers east of Boracay Island. Often referred to as the “International Gateway” of the Visayas Kalibo City serves as a center point for all the major ports and locals of Pinay Island. Accessible by land, sea and air the city of Kalibo retains a regional airport which supports those heading to Boracay.
The name Kalibo City is derived from the Spanish era word of “Sanga-libo” which means “one thousand”. This Aklanon dialect word was used to describe the first Catholic Church mass in the city as this was how many people were said to have attended. The Ati-atihan Festival is in celebration of the event and the city comes alive every 3rd week of August.
A main attraction to the city of Kalibo is the Sampaguita Gardens. This stunning resort consists of multiple gardens, a working carousel, a great hotel and a stunning storybook house gift shop. The resort is owned by Sam Butcher, the artist and creator of the Precious Moments line of products. The resort has its own museum and gift shop filled with everything Precious Moments along with a stunning array of Christmas decorations throughout. The full service hotel is well kept and retains a beautiful piano bar, restaurant and swimming pool. The entire grounds is perfect for those who are looking to spend the day or better if staying overnight in an upscale hotel.
Not far out of town everyone should take a walk through the Bakhawan Eco-Park Mangrove forest. This unique forest was started in the late 20th century on reclaimed ground and has gone from 50 hectares to 220 hectares today. The wooden deck plank walk through the forest is a true testament to nature and has been compared to some of the best Eco-parks in the Philippines.
Lezo a small town just on the outskirts of Kalibo City is home to some beautiful potters. Lezo is a unique pottery village with many stalls throughout the region. The pottery industry is a livelihood for the town and those who want to see live demonstrations can simply walk through the streets everywhere.
Like most cities in the Philippines the city of Kalibo retains many Spanish era structures from homes, commercial buildings and churches. A city favorite is the St. John’s Cathedral which is a simplistic white church with bell tower. The church interior is adorned with an oversized gilded alter which is the highlight of this stunning structure.
For those who love to see beautiful waterfalls be sure to find your way to Jawili Falls. This unique tumbeling falls has 7 basins which is beautifully set in nature. The basin pools will call you in so be sure to bring along a swimming suit. Pack a bag and a lunch cause the picnic pavilions are a great way to spend an entire day. For those who love beaches over waterfalls then head out to the Tangalan Beach. This peacefully set beach is a nice get away from the heavy crowds of other local destinations. The entire area of Kalibo is lined with beaches and though many are not white sand they are very inviting with crystal clear waters with the beauty of the sea.
Kalibo City is often passed over by millions on their way to Boracay Island. For those who like more peaceful vacations with some unique out of the way settings then Kalibo should be on your list of vacation destinations.