Buscalan Village

Buscalan, Tinglayan, Kalinga

Buscalan Village
4.7
4.5 Stars

7 Reviewers

  • 5 stars 5
  • 4 stars 2
  • 3 stars 0
  • 2 stars 0
  • 1 star 0
  • 10 Reviews
  • 51 Recommend
  • 7 Reviewers
Category:
Tourist Attraction

Most Recent Reviews

Sheena D.
5.0 Stars
3

This was one of the longest trip I've ever had in my life. We were supposed to spend only 12hrs in the bus to reach Tabuk but we actually spend 23hours in the bus. Traffic, accident and renovations contributed to this. We left the Victory Liner Kamias Terminal at 730pm and arrived at Tabuk at 630pm the following day. The guide (Kuya Amboy) that my friend contacted waited for us with the rented van and we travelled from Tabuk to Tinglayan for 3hrs. We decided to stay in Tinglayan for the night. We woke up early the following morning and took the habal-habal. But we actually had to trek for another hour to reach Buscalan Village.

We went to Buscalan to meet Apo Whang-Od, the oldest and last mambabatok in Kalinga. There were already few people at her place when we arrived there. We had to wait for our turn. There's no mobile signal, and that was really a good time to meet new people. Everyone's talking about their long trip, and the tattoo designs.

I chickened out a bit on Apo Whang-Od. When we arrived, she was doing the tattoo of this guy. The guy was in blood and in tears. I opted to be tattooed by Grace, the young master. She's only 20, mind you. She did the traveller's star at my lower back. After I had a go with Grace, I decided to go ahead with Apo Whang-Od. I went to Buscalan for her anyway. I settled for her signature though, the three dots. Apo Whang-Od has firmer grip, and a bit more forceful. I also adore Grace, mine didn't hurt as much as I have expected and it's beautiful. Both used sharp pomelo thorns as the needle.

Aside from meeting a legend, the place is picturesque. In places like this, one would feel closer to nature. Visit Buscalan and see if for yourself. Make sure to book your bus tickets prior the trip to reserve your seats. Bring lots of courage and be tattooed by the master!

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Patrick V.
5.0 Stars
8

It was a bumpy 12-hour drive and a muddy 2-hour trek but all of it was worth it upon seeing the smiles of the little kids, asking us for candies. We greeted every house with a cheerful "Magandang araw po!" on our way to our homestay. Kuya Santi, the head of the PTA in Buscalan, warmly welcomed us to his wonderful home which was just beside the school. It was raining hard so we asked if we could just do the gift-giving the next day. (Note: This trip was part of our annual outreach activity. Last year, 2015, we chose to give the kids of Buscalan Village a simple gift containing a raincoat, slippers, toiletries and towels.)

Kuya Santi's wife prepared some coffee for us and WOW it was soo good! I just had to ask if they sell it. And yes, they do!!! (One of the best coffees I've ever tasted, seriously.) We were also asked who wanted to get inked by the mambabatoks. I was hesistant at first, but eventually I said I would want to get inked.

So the next day, we watched an amazing cultural dance by the Grade 4 and 5 students from the elementary school in Buscalan village. We had so much fun watching them dance and after we gave them our simple gifts.

After having early lunch, we went to Apo Whang-Od's house to finally get inked. There are currently 4 mambabatoks, Apo Whang-Od, Grace, Ilyang and Renalyn. So we all got our assigned mambabatok and I drew the design that I wanted. An arrow. (To symbolize that when life pulls you back, it means it's going to catapult you to greater heights.)

Anyway, It wasn't THAT painful. It's the kind of pain that's tolerable naman. And after less than an hour, poof! Got my first tattoo!

On our last night, we had a simple chill slash inuman session with the locals. Battling out on jokes and other stuff. Hahaha.

I could write all day about how much I loved Buscalan but the best thing would be having to meet these awesome locals who live a simple life but I was still able to get so much wisdom from them. My short visit to this little village hidden deep within the mountains has definitely been a life-changing experience. 128512

Tsaychi, Buscalan! Until next time.

#henrysinstaxgiveaway

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RB C.
5.0 Stars

Waking up with this view is just perfect.

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RB C.
4.0 Stars

The children of Butbut tribe basking underneath the sun.

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RB C.
4.0 Stars

The longest and most exhausting trip by far I've experienced yet the grandeur of this place captivates and comfort me. I'm in awe of such beauty.

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Louella D.
5.0 Stars

16hrs travel time Long road, no sleep late lunch/dinner. Another 16hrs going back to Manila but again everything is worth it.

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Rotchie B.
4.0 Stars

My body is my journal, and my tattoos are my story.
Why I just liked the place, alright, I love the tattoo and the traditional way of having it. With the use of a thorn, from a pomelo tree, and charcoal dust from the bottom of their pots & pans used as ink, your skin will be punctured over and over until the ink enters your skin. The process sounds very painful but for me, machine made tattoos are more painful. From Manila its a 14hrs travel by land & an hour trek up to the place, thats the sad part of it!

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Rotchie B.
4.0 Stars

Journey to Apo Whang Od.
At first we planned to go to Sagada, though we've been there several times already, we just missed the enchanted place. I was talking to a friend one night and he asked about my tattoos and asked if I have one from Apo Whang Od. I got the idea of why not visit Kalinga instead of Sagada? Apo Whang Od is now 98 years old, said to be the last 'mambabatok' (traditional tattooist) of Kalinga. Arguments is now going on for her to be proclaimed as National Artist. In my opinion, she's a real gifted artist, at her age, she still has a clear vision, a steady hand, & a good posture, she smiles when you say 'picture-picture' amidst her wrinkled skin, but warning she also has a temper! My overall assesment of our trip, it was a bit tiring but its worth it!
Actual Itinerary:
7:00pm Victory (Kamias)-Tabuk Php 700.00/px
12:38am Stopover: Sta.Fe, N.V.
5:00am Bulanao/ St. William's Church. Breakfast + we waited for a friend.
7:30am Off to Buscalan via rented van, Php 150.00/px, contacted by our tour guide Jonathan (+63920710 6397). Tour guides usually costs Php 1000.00.
9:40am Arrived at Sleeping Beauty Inn. Had an early lunch. Food costs about Php 50-70/px, not bad.
11:30am 'Turning Point', start Trek. The human trail is cemented and has steps in some parts. Its an open field so get ready for your trail water, hats or umbrellas if you're trekking at noontime.
12:45 Arrived in Buscalan. The small community made up of the 'Butbut Tribe' is quiet & friendly. We went straight to our Homestay (Ana's House, Php 250.00/px) & then lined up for our tattoo session, but not all of us was tattoed 'cause of the long queue. Dinner / Socials with our guide Jonathan, his friends & Gracia Palicas, who's the successor of Apo Whang Od, it was a night of revelations & laughter. BTW: During our stay, Kalinga Coffee is on the house, and if you're interested in taking home, they sell for Php 100/pack. As well as steamed rice, its also on the house so we just opened our canned tuna.
6:00am Woke up for our early morning Tattoo session before going back to Manila, my tattoo cost Php 300.00. The price varies according to size, Apo Whang Od reveals it.
9:20am Descent after our tattoo.
10:00am Arrived at Bugnay. Waited for a van to Tabuk. Php 150.00/px
11:00am Off to Tabuk.
1:20pm Arrived in Tabuk. Went to Victory Liner for tickets to Manila (Php 700.00/px). Late lunch.
5:30pm Off to Manila.
4:30am Arrived in Manila.

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Luisa E.
4.0 Stars

On our journey to Kalinga, we joined a friend of a friend of my boyfriend for this trip. We were a group in a van who all met at Petron station across Dusit Thani, there are vans there that go on trips to north Luzon. What a cool discovery. We left at 10pm on Friday, July 24, 2015 and we got to our destination by July 25, 2015 by 9am.

The road to Kalinga was extremely zigzagged, bless my heart I was asleep while we were on that rode. Although on the way back home I experienced the zigzagged road take a toll on my head.

Anyway before arriving at Buscalan in Kalinga's mountains, we stopped over at Bontoc, where we bought succulents & cacti and ate breakfast, then we hiked going to a small village where we immersed ourselves to live in for a day and a half. It was great taking in Kalinga's beautiful mountains, lush rice paddy fields and remnants of the whole lifestyle up the mountain. The climb was fairly hard, one of the girls said it was harder than Mt. Pulag. It was simple living up there, no mattress, shower heads, Wi-Fi and fast food.

The last tattoo artist of Kalinga, Whang-Od was a superstar in the village, her picture was in every house. She is a cultural gem. Their coffee is real good too! I bought a pack of pulverized beans for my sister, local's finest! The locals were friendly and hospitable, if you try to go up this tribe bring lots of candies for the kiddies.

This experience tried me, my patience, temper and body, to be fair I didn't know I'd be climbing up a mountain while PMSing (tmi), but I was glad to have gone through this. This was actual travel, immersive and culture is evident, you live how they live. It's challenging and fulfilling!

We only stayed overnight, on the way back home we left at 11am then stopped by Bontoc for brunch then Baguio for dinner and got back in Manila by 2am. It was the longest car ride of my life so far. I wanna thank my man for being patient with me and for making this happen.

#loolooexplorerpackgiveaway

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Marjorie G.
5.0 Stars

Last year I had the privilege to experience the traditional tattooing procedure under the hands of the legendary mambabatok of Kalinga, Apo Whang-Od. We went all the way to the Buscalan Village just to see Apo.

One thing you should expect when traveling in the Cordillera region is that you will spend a considerable amount of time for trekking. Just like in Batad, reaching the barangay of Buscalan entails an hour worth of hiking. Armed by trekking poles, hats and cloth to cover our heads with, we walked under the midday sun and followed the lead of our host, Charlie Dekalidad.

Though the trail was not as challenging as the one we took in Batad, it was still long, strenuous, and exhausting. It had my heart racing, so painful I had to stop several times to catch my breath. To survive I tried to distract myself with the beautiful view and imagining myself coming face to face with one of my life’s icons. After what seemed like forever, we reached the small village of Buscalan, to the sight of smiling people, black pigs walking about like they were dogs, the simple houses made of wood.

We settled ourselves in Charlie’s humble abode. The guest house of the Dekalidad is a character of its own. Bones of animals, wood knickknack, and whatnot hanging by the ceiling. Charlie’s family welcomed us with warmth. As we settled ourselves in our room, they served us hot Kalinga coffee, which I swear to you is one of the best I’ve ever tried.

After we have showered and settled our things, we went to the house of Apo Fang-Od. The old artist and her niece, Grace, were already bent on their work, inking tribal designs to another group of tourists. Seeing Apo Fang-Od in person is synonymous to the bliss you feel upon seeing your favorite celebrity; I was really excited and happy.

As we waited, we busied ourselves watching how the others winced in pain as Apo Fang-Od and Grace worked their magic on their skins. We also checked out the books that bear photos of different ethnic designs. This is the first time I’ve taken a tattoo without an image in mind. But it didn’t take long for me to find the design that I want. It’s of a cross that says to help ward off evil spirits.

Seven of us braved the pains of this tattoo technique, which was three times more painful than the modern alternative. The pain was so intense I bit my lips and inside cheeks several times to keep myself from crying out.

This was the trip where we exhausted more time for the journey than appreciating the view or getting acquainted with the life of the locals. But I consider it as the most meaningful trip I have ever had. I have been given a rare opportunity to meet a national treasure, a legend, and an artist most respected for her craft.

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