KALIBO, Aklan–The “new normal” will call for reinventions. And in Boracay, where parties and large gatherings have taken a backseat to more pressing matters, this will be true.
Malay Sangguniang Bayan member Dalidig Sumndad recently disclosed that organizers of the Ati-Atihan in the island are proposing a different take on the yearly celebration held there every second week of January.
“It will be unlike before but still Boracay-style, which means it will attract tourists from far and wide,” Sumndad said, adding, “The proposed ‘reinvention’ will surely lift the spirits of people in Malay, Aklan, and generate positivity after many months of restrictions and lockdowns due to the pandemic.”
For his part, Malay councilor Dante Pagsuguiron said the new approach will bring people together while keeping the COVID-19 situation under control.
“This will be a come-on to the tourists: visit Boracay again and celebrate the Ati-Atihan tradition with the community,” he said in a regular session on November 12.
While it is still unclear what modifications will be made to the festival next year, organizers are sure to include live online streaming like in Cebu and Iloilo, home to the Sinulog and the Dinagyang, respectively.
These regional festivals are reportedly determined to put up “pandemic-proof” celebrations for revelers and devotees with enhanced COVID-19 protocols in place to contain the spread of coronavirus.
As for the Ati-Atihan, the Sangguniang Bayan committees on tourism and laws said they will hold inquiries with parish church leaders and officials of the Municipal Tourism Office, Municipal Health Office, Sangguniang Kabataan, barangay councils of Yapak, Balabag and Manocmanoc, Office of the Municipal Mayor, and the Philippine National Police to discuss the possibility of holding the revamped Ati-Atihan in Boracay Island not just as a fiesta for islanders but also as a tribute and devotion to Senor Sto. Niño./(Boy Ryan Zabal/INews-Aklan Bureau)