Travel Guide: Buscalan (Tinglayan)

Categories Luzon, Travel Guide
Tinglayan

Immerse with the unique culture and tradition of the mountain people and be awed with the natural beauty of one of the least explored provinces of Cordilleras – Kalinga!

An off-beat travel destination, the province of Kalinga offers beyond what most expect. And where’s best to experience the place aside from its provincial capital Tabuk? Well Tinglayan is one!

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A sleepy town southwest of Tabuk, Tinglayan is dotted with panoramic rice terraces and surrounded by verdant mountains including the legendary Sleeping Beauty, a mountain range consisting of Mount Patukan, Mating-oy Dinayao and Mantingoy. The range is called as such because its silhouette resembles that of a sleeping woman.

Tinglayan is also home to tattooed women and warriors that are common in all of Kalinga, particularly the tribes of Bangad, Basaso, Botbot, Dananoao, Tinglayan and Sumadel. There are 20 villages or barangay that make up the town and the most prominent is the village of Buscalan where the great Whang-Od (Fang-Od), the the oldest and last surviving hand-tap tattoo artist lives. Tourists endure the one-hour trek to this village to meet and/or get a tattoo from this legendary woman.

Tinglayan
The junction from the highway in Bugnay to Buscalan, Loccong and Butbut.

But more than Whang-od, there are more in Tinglayan that will surely delight nature and adventure lovers. Check out the rice terraces of Buscalan-Loccong, Bugnay, Tulgao, Dananao, Luplupa, Padjao and Ambato Legleg; trek to Palan-ah falls and Hotsprings in Tulgao West; bike the trails of the town; or hike the great Sleeping Beauty.

Choose the road less traveled. Explore Tinglayan and bring home a whole new Cordillera experience!

How to Go There

The town of Tinglayan can be reached from either Tabuk in Kalinga or Bontoc in Mountain Province.

via Tabuk

To date, the Tabuk route is the most convenient since there is no direct trip from Manila to Bontoc.

From Manila, Victory Liner has daily trips to Tabuk from Kamias Terminal. It is a 10 to 11 hours ride via NLEX – Maharlika Highway passing through the provinces of Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya and Isabela, fare is around P680 (as of 2014).

From Tabuk, catch a jeep or bus to Bontoc or Tinglayan across Saint William’s Cathedral. The ride passes through Tinglayan, travel time takes approximately three (3) hours and fare is around P130 (as of 2014). Get off at Bugnay if you take the Bontoc jeep, otherwise you will have to transfer to another jeepney going to Bugnay if you take the Tinglayan jeepney.

If you are coming from Tuguegarao, there are jeepneys and vans available in the city for an hour ride to Tabuk, jeepney fare is around P60. Last trip is around 4PM.

Tinglayan
Rice terraces in Bugnay

Via Bontoc

If you are coming from Bontoc, jeepneys and buses are available to Tabuk that pass through Tinglayan. First trip is at 7 AM and last trip at 11AM. This is a scenic route, passing by the rice terraces of Sadanga, Betwagan and Bugnay.

There is no direct trip to to date to Bontoc from Manila, it can only be reached from Baguio via seven hours of bus ride or from Banaue via three hours of bus or van ride.

Going Around and Away

Public buses and jeepneys from Tabuk to Bontoc and vice versa pass through the town of Tinglayan via the Tabuk – Lubuagan – Tinglayan – Sadanga – Tocucan – Bontoc Road. The road is in good condition. The trips though are limited with the last trip at around noon for both route. From Poblacion, there are double track trails going to the villages of Dananaw, Tulgao, Butbut and Ngibat that are accessible mainly to two-wheeled vehicles. The other villages including Buscalan can only be reached through human trails.

Apo Whang-od, the last "mambabatok"
Apo Whang-od, the last “mambabatok”


 


Where to Stay in Tinglayan

There is no big hotel or resort in Tinglayan, only small inns and lodges that offer basic accommodation and homestays. To date there are only three commercial accommodations, one in the village of Luplupa and two in Poblacion.

  • Luplupa Riverside Inn
    Luplupa, Tinglayan, Kalinga
    Rate: P250/person/night
    Contact: +639177501204
  • Sleeping Beauty Inn
    Poblacion, Tinglayan
    Rate: P200/person/night

Homestay is the only accommodation option in the village of Buscalan. Just ask around and the locals will direct you to one. Rate is as low as P175/person/night.

Tinglayan
The rice terraces of Padjao in Buscalan

What to Do in Tinglayan

  • Get a tribal tattoo from Whang-od in Buscalan Village, tattoo rate varies and usually starts at P300 for a small one
  • Visit the only surviving Kalinga warrior Fa’wad Accad in Luplupa
  • See the rice terraces of Buscalan-Loccong, Bugnay, Tulgao, Dananao, Luplupa and Ambato Legleg
  • Don’t miss their coffee!
  • Trek to Palan-ah falls and Hotsprings in Tulgao West
  • Take home some local products such as coffee, local wine and knives
  • Go mountain biking
  • Hike the great Sleeping Beauty, trekking usually takes eight (8) hours
  • Go white water rafting in Chico River
  • Explore Tabuk, Balabalan and the other towns and attractions of Kalinga
  • Head to the neighboring Mountain Province and visit the attractrions in Bontoc, Maligcong and Sagada
Tinglayan
One of the best mountain biking destinations in the Philippines

Sample Overnight Itinerary and Budget in Buscalan (Via Tabuk)

Day 0 Manila to Tabuk
1930H: Departure from Victory Liner Kamias to Tabuk

Day 1 Tabuk to Buscalan
0600H: Arrival in Tabuk, heavy breakfast
0700H: Catch a jeep or bus to Bontoc or Tinglayan
1100H: Arrival in Bugnay, trek to Buscalan
1230H: Arrival in Buscalan, find homestay, lunch
1330H: Free time, tattoo session, see the rice terraces, etc
1800H: Dinner, socials, lights out

Day 2 Trek down
0530H: Call time, see sunrise in Padjao Rice Terraces
0630H: Breakfast
0700H: Trek back to Bugnay
0830H: Catch a jeep back to Tabuk or Bontoc then Sagada

*Estimated budget P2000

Tinglayan
Chico River and the rice terraces of Bugnay


 


Other Tips

  • In compliance to the new municipal ordinance, all tourists are now required to pay eco-cultural fee of P75 per person
  • Relative to the new ordinance, all tourists are also now required to have a guide with fee as follows:
    • P1,000 per day for one guide (1 to 5 tourists)
    • P2,000 per day for up to two guides (6 to 10 tourists)
    • P3,000 per day for up to three guides (11 to 15 tourists)
    • P4,000 per day for up to four guides (16 to 20 tourists)
  • No ATM in town
  • Best time to go is during dry months from December to May
  • Mobile signal is very weak to non-existent
  • Guide to Buscalan is not required but advisable specially if you are going to the waterfalls and hot spring
  • There is no restaurant in Buscalan but you can order food from where you are staying
  • Tattooing schedule is on first-come-first-serve basis

Updated: 05Nov2015; 15Jan2016

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274 thoughts on “Travel Guide: Buscalan (Tinglayan)

  1. hello plano ko bumyahe ng oct 24 galing manila. may pwede bang sabayan? bigat ng fees e. here’s my number 09979509777

  2. Hi we are planning to go to Apo Whang-Od tumityempo lang pag d n madalas umulan anyone ineterested pwede po kau mg pm… Btw we’re not really barkadas but we often hike together 09258800666

  3. Hi po! Anyone planning to go there on August 26-29? Baka pede makisabit! Thanks!! Heres my #09399323242

    1. Hi CJ! want to go there too at naghahanap din ng kasama. Pero I’m planning Sept.15. Naghahanap din ng masasabitan. 🙂

      1. Hi CJ! want to go there too at naghahanap din ng kasama. Pero I’m planning Sept.15. Naghahanap din ng masasabitan. 🙂

  4. Hi guys, baguio-banaue October 30-november 1. 🙂 kailangan q ng makasama para may ka share sa fees:) baguio-banaue.thanks

  5. hai everyone,,,sa mga planong punta kay Apo whang od sa amin s\dto sa buscalan pls. pm me am raffy guide po sa buscalan 09467637948,,,,thakhs po ,,,wecome po kayu sa amin,,,,,

    1. Kuya Mike – this is Rishi, and I am planning to come over to Kalinga on July 2 to July 4. I plan to get my own car and drive from Manila – what do you suggest? and at the drop off point, is there a place where I can park my car, safely.. my # is 09989672254 and if you can text me the details, I can confirm the visit time. Also please let me know how much would be your charges – guide fees.

      Salamat

      Regard
      Rishi

      1. Hi Rishi,

        How is your trip to Kalinga? I just want to ask where did you park your car when you went there? Is it worth to drive or better to take bus & jeep/van? Im planning to go there on January 9 or 10 2017. Any advice you can share?

        Thank you.

        Regards,

        Eric

    2. Hi Mike,
      I’m coming with two friends to Banaue on the 7th of march (arriving at 7 am), and we would like to go and hike around tinglayan, and I would like to get a tattoo from Whang Od.
      Can you arrange tarnsportation, visits and ttatto for the 7th of march?
      Thks for your reply, you can send me a mail to “zonme @ hotmail . com”
      BR

  6. who whant to go at Buscalan Tinglayan,Kalinga to experience our culture and have a ink by Apo Whang-Od … im BENJIE as a Tourguide just PM ME here my # 09480774818

    1. Hi Benjie,
      I’m coming with two friends to Banaue on the 7th of march (arriving at 7 am), and we would like to go and hike around tinglayan, and I would like to get a tattoo from Whang Od.
      Can you arrange tarnsportation, visits and ttatto for the 7th of march?
      Thks for your reply, you can send me a mail to “zonme @ hotmail . com”
      BR

  7. Need a guide Going to Buscalan? just contact this number: 09467031664, my name is Kaylie. thanks.

    1. Hi Kaylie,
      I’m coming with two friends to Banaue on the 7th of march (arriving at 7 am), and we would like to go and hike around tinglayan, and I would like to get a tattoo from Whang Od.
      Can you arrange tarnsportation, visits and ttatto for the 7th of march?
      Thks for your reply, you can send me a mail to “zonme @ hotmail . com”
      BR

  8. Hi. Can someone advise me if is it advisable and safe to travel to Buscalan on month of August? Thanks.

    1. For as long as there’s no weather disturbance in the area (LPA, typhoon, etc) 🙂

      1. Thanks. Regarding estimated budget written on your blog, are those on your sample itinerary were the inclusions of that 2k (accomodations, food and activities), or are there any side expenses. If we are a traveler of two, can you suggest us a safe budget we can bring that’ll suit our overnight stay? We are planning to have a tattoo too.

    1. Hi Raffy,
      I’m coming with two friends to Banaue on the 7th of march (arriving at 7 am), and we would like to go and hike around tinglayan, and I would like to get a tattoo from Whang Od.
      Can you arrange tarnsportation, visits and ttatto for the 7th of march?
      Thks for your reply, you can send me a mail to “zonme @ hotmail . com”
      BR

  9. Hi! Planning to go in July. Medyo scary kasi wet season, but if you’re interested or if you already have plans of going, let me know! There are just 2 of us.

    Also, can anyone refer me to Charlie? Does he have a number I can contact? Thanks a lot!

    Joyce
    miss.joyce@ymail.com

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