I was weighing my options during my last few hours in Kalibo in the province of Aklan. The past day has me scrambling at the town of Tangalan to view its seven-tiered Jawili Falls, its neighboring Jawili Beach and its old St. John Nepomucene Church.
Earlier in the day, I strolled through Kalibo’s very own Bakhawan Eco-Park. I was tired, but still have enough energy not to waste my stay in the town famous for its Ati-Atihan Festival.
I walked along aimlessly around town. Just letting my two slow feet lead me to anywhere it might. I chanced upon Kalibo’s town plaza and found a cream-colored belfry complete with a weathervane jutting out from the trees just above the horizon.
Aha! A church! I’m not sure if it’s an old one, but I decided to check it out nonetheless.
Having no prior research on Kalibo, I was clueless what this church was. After asking a few of the locals, I found that this is the church in Kalibo. It’s the Kalibo Cathedral. The same cathedral where the image of Sto. Niño of the world-famous Ati-Atihan Festival is enshrined.
The Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, it is officially ordained.
Like most old churches, it has been a victim of natural calamities like fires and earthquakes. Its latest ordeal took place during the massive 1990 earthquake where the original brick church suffered cracks on its walls.
As a reminder of its past, its old massive church bells are displayed right in front of the cathedral; now with a patina of green due perhaps to copper oxidation.
Año de 1884, an inscription on the bell reads.
Restoration and renovation of the church began soon after. Modern construction techniques were utilized but they made sure to retain the post-war era character of the church; as is evident on its form, moldings and façade decors. Gone were its brick walls though.
One however can still see a shadow of Kalibo Cathedral’s brick-laden past once you enter its dim halls. Here, its meter-thick walks are still finished in warm bricks. Combined with its modern-styled barreled roof, it makes for an interesting interior combination.
The Ati-Atihan Festival season was still a few months away and the pilgrims which usually flock the church was nowhere in sight. The Kalibo Cathedral was quiet except for a few tourists gawking and taking photos (and selfies) of the place.
Saint John the Baptist Parish
Address: G.M.Reyes corner Martelino st., Kalibo, Aklan
Contact Number: (036) 268-6039 | (036) 262-4246
GPS Coordinates: +11° 42' 36.03", +122° 21' 48.44"
How to Get There: Ride a tricycle from town and ask to be dropped to the Cathedral. Or you may simply walk to the plaza, you’ll see the cathedral from there.