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Tourist Guide for Shopping in Kalibo, Aklan

Kalibo, the gateway to the paradise island of Boracay, offers more than just a convenient layover. This vibrant city in Aklan boasts a unique shopping scene that is waiting to be explored by curious travelers. Kalibo caters to every budget and shopping fancy, from modern malls to bustling public markets. So, ditch the souvenir shops at the airport and delve into this shopping in Kalibo guide.

Kalibi Shopping Malls: Convenience and Comfort

For a familiar and air-conditioned experience, head to Kalibo’s shopping malls. You’ll find many international and local brands and convenient amenities like cinemas and restaurants here.

shopping in Kalibo - CityMall Kalibo
CityMall Kalibo
  • CityMall Kalibo: The largest mall in Kalibo, CityMall offers a diverse selection of stores. Browse international fashion brands like H&M and Uniqlo, or discover local favorites like Penshoppe and Bench. Don’t forget to check out the department stores for a wider selection of clothing, electronics, and homeware. [Insert image of CityMall Kalibo]

  • Stall 24 Kalibo Shopping Center: Open 24/7, this smaller mall caters to a slightly different budget. Here, local shops sell clothing, accessories, and everyday essentials. It’s a great place to grab some last-minute souvenirs or travel necessities. [Insert image of Stall 24 Kalibo Shopping Center]

Public Markets: A Feast for the Senses

Kalibo’s public market, also known as “tiangge,” is an immersion into the heart of local life. Prepare for a vibrant atmosphere with sights, sounds, and smells that awaken your senses. Here’s what you can find:

  • Fresh Produce: Stock on exotic fruits like mangoes, rambutans, and lanzones. Explore the colorful displays of vegetables like okra, winged beans, and local leafy greens. Don’t miss the chance to taste fresh seafood from the nearby waters.
  • Dried Goods: Purchase dried fish, mangoes, and seaweed to take home a piece of Aklan’s culinary heritage. These are the perfect ingredients for recreating local dishes.
  • Handicrafts: Look for locally made souvenirs like woven baskets, mats, and bags crafted from natural materials like “buri” and “nito.” These beautiful and sustainable pieces make excellent gifts or keepsakes.
Native Products from Aklan
Native Products from Aklan

Local Specialty Stores and Delicacies: A Taste of Aklan

Kalibo offers a treasure trove of local specialty stores brimming with unique Aklanon products and delicacies. Here’s where to find them:

  • Bakhawan Eco-Park: This park offers a stunning natural escape and houses a handicraft stall. Here, you’ll find a curated selection of locally made souvenirs, such as woven crafts and home decor items made from indigenous materials.
  • Native Delicacy Stores: Seek out local stores selling Aklanon favorites like “binagoongan” (shrimp paste stew), “manioc” delicacies like “espada” (cassava cake), and “puto maya” (purple glutinous rice cake). These are perfect for adventurous foodies or as unique souvenirs.
Bakhawan Eco-Park
Bakhawan Eco-Park

What Tourists Love to Buy: Mementos and Must-Haves

Tourists flock to Kalibo for various reasons, and their shopping choices reflect that:

  • Beach Essentials: Kalibo, the gateway to Boracay, naturally sees a high demand for beach essentials like swimsuits, cover-ups, sunglasses, and hats. Stock up on these before heading to paradise.
  • Souvenirs: Handwoven bags, hats, and mats made from natural materials are popular choices. Tourists love taking home keychains, t-shirts, and trinkets featuring the iconic Ati-Atihan festival.
  • Local Delicacies: Tourists with a taste for adventure often grab some “binagoongan” paste or dried mangoes to recreate local flavors back home. Others purchase pastillas de leche (milk candy) and other Aklanon sweets.

Beyond the Usual: Uncovering Unique Products

Kalibo offers a few unique finds that set it apart from other tourist destinations:

  • Handwoven Fabrics: Aklan is known for its skilled weavers who create intricate designs using natural fibers like “jusi” (banana fiber) and “piña” (pineapple fiber). Look for shops selling clothing and accessories made from these beautiful fabrics.
  • Marine Products: Aklan’s rich marine life is reflected in its unique products. Explore the public market for “tahong” (mussels), “oysters,” and other seafood delicacies you might not find elsewhere.
  • Indigenous Crafts: Explore shops selling handcrafted items from nearby indigenous communities. Use traditional techniques and materials to look for jewelry, musical instruments, and decorative items.

Shopping Tips for Savvy Travelers

To get the most out of your shopping spree in Kalibo, here are some handy tips:

  • Haggling: Haggling is a common practice in public markets and smaller shops. Don’t be afraid to negotiate for a better price politely. Start with a lower offer than the initial price and find a fair middle ground for both parties.
  • Carry Small Bills: Many smaller vendors might not have change for large bills. Carrying many small denominations will make transactions smoother and avoid delays.
  • Eco-conscious shopping: Choose reusable shopping bags instead of plastic ones. Look for shops and products that emphasize sustainability and support local artisans using natural materials.
  • Learn a Few Local Phrases: A few basic phrases in Aklanon will go a long way. Vendors will appreciate “Magkano ito?” (How much is this?) and “Salamat po” (Thank you), which will create a more positive shopping experience.
  • Timing Your Visits: Public markets tend to be bustling with morning activity. If you prefer a calmer experience, consider visiting later in the afternoon. On the other hand, malls typically have longer operating hours and offer a more consistent shopping experience throughout the day.

Beyond Shopping: Exploring Kalibo’s Charm

Kalibo isn’t just about shopping; it’s about experiencing the vibrant local culture. While you’re busy acquiring treasures, don’t forget to explore the city’s other offerings:

  • Historical Sites: Immerse yourself in Aklan’s rich history by visiting the Aklan Provincial Capitol Building and the Museo it Akean, showcasing artifacts and exhibits on the province’s heritage.
  • Ati-Atihan Festival: If you happen to be in Kalibo in January, witness the electrifying Ati-Atihan Festival, a vibrant celebration of cultural diversity with colorful costumes, energetic dancing, and a festive atmosphere.
  • Local Cuisine: Don’t leave Kalibo without indulging in its culinary scene. Sample authentic Aklanon dishes like “chicken inasal” (barbecued chicken) and “lapaz batchoy” (a noodle soup with pork and shrimp) at local restaurants or food stalls.

The Bottom Line

Kalibo offers a unique shopping adventure that goes beyond the usual tourist fare. From bustling public markets to modern malls and hidden specialty stores, there’s something for every budget and taste. Explore the warmth of local hospitality, discover unique handcrafted items, and savor the flavors of Aklan. So, ditch the souvenir shops at the airport and embark on a shopping spree that unveils the true treasures of Kalibo!

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