Kalibo Cathedral, also known as Cathedral Parish of St. John the Baptist, is the seat of the Diocese of Kalibo. The church is located in downtown Kalibo, or more specifically at GM Reyes Street, right across the Kalibo Plaza and right beside Aklan Catholic College.
The Kalibo Cathedral is said to be the oldest church or religious structure in the province of Aklan. The church dates back to 1581 when the Augustinians founded the mission in Kalibo, which eventually became a parish in 1680 with St. John the Baptist as the patron saint.
The church’s location back then is not the present-day location of the cathedral, but in a barrio a few kilometers away called Barrio Laguinbanua in Numancia. The church relocated to its present site in 1804 where a new structure was completed in 1826. Since then, the church survived a massive fire (1885) and an intense earthquake (1990), but went through several reconstructions and restorations to become a beautifully elegant cathedral it is now, and a popular destination for tourists in Kalibo, Aklan.
The feast day of Kalibo Cathedral’s patron saint is celebrated every June 24, but the main celebration of the church and of the entire province of Aklan, is the Ati-Atihan Festival held annually during the 3rd Sunday of January in honor of Santo Niño (Holy Child or Infant Jesus). During the festival, the cathedral holds masses, processions, and other activities – together with the province’s colorful dances and parades.
The Kalibo Cathedral has a modern architectural design but retains several structural characteristics to that of its post-war iteration. The church was designed by the National Artist of the Philippines for Architecture, Leandro V. Locsin.