A former Malayan settlement established in the 13th century, Makato is now one of the seventeen municipalities of Aklan, the Ati-atihan province and unique in its autonomous celebration of the Sto. Nino and Ati-atihan Fiesta week ahead of the Kalibo Ati-atihan Festival. In celebration of the Sto. Nino and Ati-atihan Festival on the 13th – 15th of January every year.
Makato is now considered as one of the most progressive municipalities of the Ati-atihan province.
In 1800, during the Spanish colonization period, the name makato was changed to Taft in honor of the then United States President, William Howard Taft. But in 1923, Representative Manuel Terencio, representing the third district of Capiz, authorized a bill restoring to its former name Makato which inhabitants revered up to this day.
The name Makato is said to be a product of lingual failure between the natives and the Spaniards. When the latter came to the place by the way of “Tigao River” later christened by Spaniards as “Rio de Makato,” they asked the natives of the name of the river and promptly replied: “Makato,” which means “That Way”. The Spaniards believed they got the right answer and just as promptly, named the place Makato.
Situated nine kilometers northwest of the capital town of Kalibo, Makato lost a substancial portion of its territory in 1947 with the passage of legislation raising the status of Tangalan to a township.
The 22,444 inhabitants continue to enjoy socio economic progress and prosperity from its 66,011 hectares of productive upland, lowlands and coastal areas. It is composed of eighteen barangays including the Poblacion. It has two market days; Saturday and Tuesday, where merchants and housewives bring their fresh fruits, fish, corn, rice, vegetables, root crops and other staple foods for sale.
With its four (4) public and one (1) private secondary schools and two (2) tertiary level of educational system, the literacy rate of its populace is high. It has a public library with adequate books for research and reading pleasure by the general public. For indoor sports and social activities, the Gov. Augusto B. Legaspi Memorial Hall is available to provide venue.
The town’s Sto. Nino and Ati-atihan Festival dates back to the time when the Spaniards came to plant the seeds of Christianity into this land. The Ati-atihan Festival, however, was alleged to have been started way back before the Spaniards came. In this joint celebration, thousand of devotees to the Holy Child from all over the country and those abroad feel the urge to come and join in the wholesome frolic and religious fervor of thanksgiving to Santo Nino, the Patron Saint of the town. The observance of these festivities has always been resounding success.
ABOUT THE MIRACULOUS CHILD
A story that relates after the establishment of the Spaniards in the Panay Island, they warned the natives of impending pirates attack. The natives had to defend the seacoast and had to camouflage themselves to blend with the surrounding vegetation. When the pirates landed on the shore, they saw a little boy playing unmindful of the presence of the pirates. The pirates presumed that the boy must have been left out of neglect by his scampering parents. The leader of the pirates took and cuddled the boy in his arms while his men looted the house of valuable items. Finding the place desolate, the leader left the child and ordered his men to leave.
Seeing the pirates from the seashore, the inhabitants searched for the child. He simply vanished and the people concluded it must have been a miracle of the Sto. Nino, an occurrence which strengthen their faith in the Holy Child.
Another miracle tells of the fisherman who found a driftwood in his net only to discover later it was the image of the Sto. Nino. The people built a chapel for the image. The people in the Poblacion wanted the image for their own church so they brought it to the town church only to find later that it disappeared and returned to the barrio chapel. It only stayed in the Poblacion church after the people vowed to celebrate the feast of the Sto. Nino every year. The people of Makato devotedly adopted him as their patron saint. His festivity is highlighted by a coronation of a child who symbolizes the Holy Child Jesus.