KALIBO, Aklan – Balete, Aklan made a grand comeback in Ati-Atihan Festival’s Higante Contest 2019 with its entry landing the top spot.
The town’s “Makawieihag Ati” bested nine other higantes that joined the annual competition.
The higantes paraded around the streets of this capital town on Jan. 17, a day before the festival’s three-day highlights.
Balete – which has been an Ati-Atihan Higante Contest hall of famer for being champion from 2015 to 2017 – received a trophy and a P45,000 cash prize from the Aklan provincial government.
The awarding ceremony led by Gov. Florencio Miraflores and Vice Gov. Reynaldo Quimpo was held at the Pastrana Park.
Last year, Balete did not join the contest, paving the way for Nabas, Aklan’s “Uray Hilway” to secure first place.
Makawieihag Ati, according to its makers, is a “good-natured soul who protects the environment by warning poachers and opportunists.”
It is made of woven pineapple fibers dyed using syrups of endemic plants in Balete.
Placing second in this year’s Higante Contest is Nabas, bringing home P40,000 cash prize.
Batan town, meanwhile, landed in third place. It received a cash prize worth P35,000.
The municipalities of Ibajay and Kalibo were declared 4th and 5th placers with cash prizes worth P30,000 and P25,000, respectively.
The other participating towns also got consolation prizes worth P15,000 each. (With Aklan Forum Journal/PN)