27 Feb Princess Isa meets Whang Od of Kalinga Mt Province
The Bus to Baguio via Victory Liner costs 750 Php. It comes with free water bottle, snacks and wifi. The seats are more comfortable too. The ride takes about 5 hours.
All I had was my Rudy Project backpack, but Isabella brought her “Princess Maleta” which I teased her for as this roadtrip was supposed to be all about roughing it out.
Isabella and I stopped over at Oh My Gulay in Session Road in Baguio for a quick lunch before proceeding to make our way to Kalinga Mountain Province to get our ink from the Legendary National tattoo artist, Whang-Od.
We proceeded to Dangua Station, near SM Baguio and just a short walk away from Oh My Gulay to take the G-Liner Bus to the town of Buscalan. The Village that connects Kalinga, Banaue and Sagada to Baguio.
The G-Liner bus to Buscalan costs us 230 Php. The ride was about 6 hours.
We met Marcus and Madelein from the G-Liner station and have accidentally shared our trip with them since as our route were the same.
We stayed in Archug Hotel in Buscalan for 800 Php a night, but you can opt to stay in Pines for 250 a night for a common room with a common restroom.Other inns the area would cost about the same.
We arrived in Buscalan from Baguio at 7pm, so we decided to have dinner in the hotel.
Most of the food in Buscalan is traditional Filipino food, as seen above. It usually ranges from 100 to 200 Php a plate. Always good for sharing.
The road to Tinglayan, Kalinga;
The Bus to Kalinga leaves Buscalan Terminal at 730 am and arrives in Tinglayan, Kalinga at 9 am. Fare is 110 Php.
Once in Tinglayan you can choose to stay in Inns like Sleeping Beauty or Lulupan inn for 250 Php for a common room or 500 Php for a private room.
CHICO RIVER in TINGLAYAN
The river is pristine in its cleanliness, but the current is fast and strong. You cant miss swimming in these waters but make sure to tread slowly and to anchor you self amongst the rocks lest you get swept away by the strong currents.
The Trek to Buscalan Village to meet Whang-Od
The Trek to Buscalan Village requires you to climb the Mountain, it takes about two hours from the road. For this hike, I strictly advise that you have a guide as the path is tricky and its easy to get lost. Francis normally charges 1000 Php for a day trip but we haggled for 800 Php.
Our guide Francis even had the Mountain slope as a tattoo on his chest, that’s how revered this view is to him.
In Makati, water is distilled and is stripped off all its vital minerals and nutrients. The water from Kalinga comes from its Mountain Water falls, it is pristine, it is pure, and it is mineralized. Ive never had anything like it…
A bottle can quench 2 hours of climbing, something that not even a litter of distilled water can fill.
Rice farming is still the official livelihood by the people of Buscalan, although from the looks of things, they may not be planting enough as a lot of planes are empty…
Many Igorots have abandoned rice farming due to poor compensations for their harvests, that along with the neglect and deforestation of our government has stripped Banaue off the 7 wonders of the world.
Trivia; The wild boars of Buscalan are free-roaming and are treated as family until a feast is due and that is when they are slaughtered for the village’s consumption.
The villagers and the boars are very familiar with one another, easily distinguishing each one from the rest.
Whang – Od is a local celebrity and a national treasure. At 96 years old her eyesight is better than mine and she is able to navigate the village with more familiar agility. A wise woman who has very few words or patience for that matter to spare, she is the last of her kind with only a grand daughter from her sister, Grace as her successor.
Isabella’s 1 cm tattoo cost 100 Php.
I was hoping Id get fresh vegetable harvests but it seems that commercialization has taken over the pantry in the village, with only packed bread, canned foods and bottled condiments as options. I was a bit confused why the villagers just didnt make rice cakes out of their harvests and meals out of the lush vegetation of the forests or dessert out of the bananas, passion fruit and the famed sagada orange.
I was hoping to feast on those, not 7-11 packs.
With rice commanding small value, villages have resorted to planting the Green Gurb, the miracle herb of the mountains. For a few hundreds of pesos, you can get your hands on this wonder drug by Mother Nature.
It is legal here in the Cordilleras, but passed the boundaries to Buscalan, it is not and most especially to and out of Baguio.
Enroute to Manila from Baguio, we walked to the new branch of Cafe by the Ruins a few blocks from Victory Liner terminal
If youre taking the terminal bus to Manila make sure youre on time, we were 5 minutes late and missed our bus and had to wait a full hour for the next one.