BY BOY RYAN B. ZABAL
Disney princesses and heroines turned the Sto. Nino Ati-Atihan festival in Kalibo, Aklan into a magical ‘Disneyland’ with festive music and high-energy street dancing on January 16.
Inspired by the Disney-themed characters, the Aklan provincial government sponsored Aklan Higante Parade and Contest became a fantasy parade, an entertainment extravaganza and fairytale dreams come true for young and old.
The parade started in Mabini Street in the afternoon, proceeds around the major streets of Kalibo and into Kalibo Pastrana Park.
All dressed-up in colorful apparel and fantastic floats, this Higante Parade and Contest has 11 popular and larger-than-life Disney character entries competing for grand prizes of P210,000.
Princess Merida of the town of Malinao was declared this year’s Aklan Higante Contest champion.
Merida, an animated character in the film Brave, is sporting curly locks and gorgeous velvet blue dress, with her bow and arrow.
The Higante of the town of Malinao received the grand prize of P40,000. Blue Fairy of the town of Balete was in second place and took home P35,000.
Daisy Duck of the town of Nabas came in third for P30,000 while Ariel The Little Mermaid of the town of Tangalan received P25,000 for fourth place.
Snow White of the town of Libacao was also declared fifth place for P20,000.
The consolation winners are Pocahontas of Kalibo, Belle of the film Beauty and the Beast (Numancia), Cinderella of Madalag, Red Riding Hood of Altavas, Rapunzel of Tangled (Banga) and Tinker Bell of the film Peter Pan (Ibajay).
Each of them received P10,000 as consolation prizes.
Joining Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores to present the awards for Higante Contest winners were Vice Governor Gabrielle Calizo-Quimpo and Aklan Rep. Teodorico Haresco, Jr.
Town mayors – Wilbert Ariel Igoy (Malinao), Maria Lourdes Miraflores (Ibajay), William Lachica (Kalibo), Denny Refol (Altavas), John Yap (Malay), Quezon Labindao (Buruanga), Gene Fuentes (Tangalan), James Solanoy (Nabas), Erlinda Maming (Banga), Dindo Gubatina (Madalag), Victor Fernandez (Lezo) and Jozyl Isidore Templonuevo (Numancia) also graced the event.
This year’s judges were Philip Yerro Kimpo, Victor Pagayunan and Melanie Ortega.