Buscalan, Kalinga: Of Culture & Pride

Seeing new places and meeting new people gives me a very rare delight. But there are just too many elements that make Kalinga very special. This province which started as an underrated tourist spot in the 70s has risen as one of the top destinations in the country.

Buscalan is one of the most visited places in Kalinga. For many, it is the heart of the region. It has preserved its traditions and culture which they gladly shared with the world!
 
Apo Whang Od - The Last Mambabatok
Apo Whang Od - The Last Mambabatok
Traveling to Buscalan is a grueling experience - however calming. If you want a break from the big city and you just hope for a weekend like no other – Buscalan, Kalinga is the place to be. After all, this place deserves all the recognition in the world.
Buscalan, Tingalayan, Kalinga
Buscalan, Tingalayan, Kalinga
Whang Od Graffiti Art In Buscalan
Whang Od Graffiti Art In Buscalan

In this blog, I am about to unveil the 5 things I stole from Buscalan.

The picturesque view 

I bet you would not want to take your eyes away from this view – the rice terraces. Kalinga is filled with these landforms for a reason: agriculture.

 

Since they are surrounded by Cordillera Mountain Range, the terraces are man-made modifications to grow staple crops like rice.The terraces are an ingenious idea by farmers against devastations caused by erosion and water.

Mountain slopes are prone to erosions that may cause severe damage to crops, but reforming these mountains in a ladder-like structure will not harm the farmers’ crops when natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons come. Strategically, terraces optimize rainfall so each layer of this ladder-like structure is quenched with water in a very clever way. 


TL;DR: Terraces are not only pleasing to the eyes, they are agricultural landforms that are a major livelihood in Kalinga.

Rice Terraces, Buscalan, Tinglayan, Kalinga
Rice Terraces, Buscalan, Tinglayan, Kalinga
Rice Fields, Buscalan, Tinglayan, Kalinga
Rice Fields, Buscalan, Tinglayan, Kalinga
Rice Fields, Buscalan, Tinglayan, Kalinga
Rice Fields, Buscalan, Tinglayan, Kalinga

Its unique culture

From its ancient art tattooing, unlimited authentic brewed coffee refills, medical herbs, down to the randomly roaming wild boars, everything atop this mountain is nothing ordinary. The icing on the cake is the locals who welcome guests with open arms. Visitors are free to stay in their homes at a very reasonable price (Php 250/head, rice, and coffee included).

Lines of tourists hiking to get atop the Buscalan Mountain
Lines of tourists hiking to get atop the Buscalan Mountain
Buscalan Souvenirs for $2 each
Buscalan Souvenirs for $2 each
Buscalan Souvenirs for $2 each
Buscalan Souvenirs for $2 each
Cute Dog from the Butbut Tribe, Buscalan, Kalinga
Cute Dog from the Butbut Tribe, Buscalan, Kalinga

A signature tattoo from a century-old lady

There is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. In this journey, it’s a century-old lady – Apo Whang Od. She earned the title, “The Last Mambabatok”, and just recently had been recognized as a National Artist. Being the oldest tattoo artist in her tribe, Apo taught her grandchildren and grand grandchildren the traditional way of inking.

Tribal Tattoo using traditional method in Buscalan, Tinglayan, Kalinga
Tribal Tattoo using traditional method in Buscalan, Tinglayan, Kalinga
Tribal Tattoo using traditional method in Buscalan, Tinglayan, Kalinga
Tribal Tattoo using traditional method in Buscalan, Tinglayan, Kalinga

A moment of tranquility

Without access to Wi-Fi and phone signal, Buscalan encourages you to interact with other people and nature. Otherwise, it provides you all the time to confront your thoughts and find peace from within. Buscalan is the breath of fresh air from decades-worth of hustle and bustle in the big city, the calmness you never thought you need.

Kalinga tattoo pattern wall graffiti in Buscalan, Tinglayan, Kalinga
Kalinga tattoo pattern wall graffiti in Buscalan, Tinglayan, Kalinga
Apo Whang Od Signature Tattoo
Apo Whang Od Signature Tattoo
Apo Whang Od Signature Tattoo
Apo Whang Od Signature Tattoo
Kid from Buscalan,Tinglayan, Kalinga
Kid from Buscalan,Tinglayan, Kalinga
Kid from Buscalan,Tinglayan, Kalinga
Kid from Buscalan,Tinglayan, Kalinga
We give treats to kids in Buscalan, they love it!
Kid from Buscalan,Tinglayan, Kalinga

The journey

Before you can enjoy this beauty, be physically prepared for a long hike. Wondering why Apo Whang-Od reached up to a century old and longer? It's the hike, baby! The route going to their mountain is a daily route for the locals, hence their strong stamina.

You will be done complaining before you even know it. The hike route is a holiday itself. Everything is panoramic, heck, Thanos can be anywhere near.

 

Dream Catcher Souvenir in Buscalan, Tinglayan, Kalinga
Dream Catcher Souvenir in Buscalan, Tinglayan, Kalinga
Dream Catcher Souvenir in Buscalan, Tinglayan, Kalinga
Dream Catcher Souvenir in Buscalan, Tinglayan, Kalinga

What to bring when going to Buscalan?

  • Bring as many candies or fruits, medicines, and any other treats as you can for the locals and the kids. These people are very generous after all!
  • Respect their traditions, their people, and their environment. Remember, we are the visitors. Be grateful for their kindness and hospitality.
  • Make sure you are mentally and physically prepared for this journey. Tiring for the body, nourishing for the mind, tranquilizing for the soul.
  • Never come unprepared. Buscalan has no phone signals and banks. Make sure to bring cash for a flawless vacation.

Time and time again, Kalinga, you take my breath away. Tag your friends along with visiting Kalinga. Help this underrated province boost its tourism.

Visit this piece of paradise soon! Share your photos with Batik Atbp.

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