Buscalan Travel Guide: Immerse with Nature, Culture and Adventure in Tinglayan

Buscalan

About Buscalan

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? Tinglayan is one!

Buscalan
Sunrise over the rice terraces of Buscalan

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.

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!

Buscalan
Most villages of Tinglayan are accessible only by foot, bicycle or motorbike

How to Go to Buscalan/Tinglayan

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.

If you are going to Buscalan, proceed to the junction to Buscalan and trek for an hour to reach the village.

Buscalan
Bird-eye-view of the village of Buscalan

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.

If you are going to the village of Buscalan, ask to be dropped off to the junction to Buscalan and trek for an hour to reach the village.

Coda Lines Corporation has a daily trip from Cubao HM Terminal to Bontoc. The bus leaves daily at 8PM, 9PM and 10PM, arriving Bontoc after eleven hours of the next day, regular fare is P760. For more inquiries, contact +639771860548 and +639394677863, or visit their Facebook page.

Tinglayan
The rice terraces of Tulgao

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.

Buscalan
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.

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
Buscalan
The rice terraces of Padjao, Buscalan

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 P2500

Buscalan
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 weak to non-existent
  • There is no restaurant in Buscalan but you can order food from where you are staying
  • Tattooing schedule is on first-come-first-served basis

Updated: 05-Nov-2015; 15-Jan-2016; 25-Mar-2018

Comments

  1. Need a tourguide going to apo whang-od. Pls txt me. 09291888777. Respect❤️❤️❤️

  2. Hello, were planning to hike this mid of May, specifically May 17 to 20. If you wanna join us, please dont hesitate to message me in my Facebook. Gerson Gallo. The more, the less expenses. Thanks!

  3. grezel

    s mga gustong sumabay to buscalan. my group will go there March 10-12, text me,,09167020281

  4. Angelu

    Do you have the contact number of jonathan?

  5. […] out Lakwatsero’s Travel Guide to Tinglayan for more […]

  6. Leoanrdo

    Okey lang ba po si Apo whong od, baka na apektohan sila sa bagyong lawin,

  7. lance

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

    1. ron

      HEY.txt me 09062155047

  8. desiree Javier

    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

    1. tere

      hi meron po ba pupunta doon thic coming weekend? baka pwedeng makisabay po.. thanks

    2. KMR

      Hi. Also planning to go there Sept 10 to 12. Natuloy na po ba kayo?

  9. dave

    hi, kung meron pupunta sa dec pasabay po kmi ng gf ko. thanks

  10. Cj

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

    1. D

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

      1. D

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

        1. nikko

          sir. planning to go there on sept12 monday baka gusto mo.

    2. Kine

      maulan po ng sobra ng august 26-29.

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

  12. 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,,,,,

  13. mike

    hi, im a guide in buscalan this is my no. 09094467718 my name is mike bayog thanks you.

    1. Rishi

      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. Eric

        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. MAISONNEUVE Cedric

      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

  14. mike

    hi, im a guide in buscalan this is my no. 09094467718 my name is mike bayog thanks.

  15. 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. Grace

      Hi. We are planning to go by october.

    2. MAISONNEUVE Cedric

      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

  16. kaylie domene marconi

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

    1. MAISONNEUVE Cedric

      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

  17. […] In the recent months (or is it years?), there has been buzz about Whang Od, the tattoo master from Buscalan in Kalinga Apayao. I read about Whang Od from a travel article (forgot if it's CNN or BBC). Last Feb., when I did the Mt. Pinatubo trek, one of the Spanish backpackers I went trekking with said that after Pinatubo, they would go to Baguio, then on to Kalinga to see Whang Od. One of them wanted to get a tattoo from her. My friend R, who was my travel buddy for the Sagada trip, said that she heard about Whang Od from a (white) friend of hers, then upon hearing from her foreign friend, that's when she turned to google. Seems that Whang Od is more famous among foreign backpackers than among Filipinos. However, nowadays due to social media, Whang Od is becoming famous among the younger crowd here too. My friend and I joked that we should go to Kalinga and get a tattoo from Whang Od! Well, we didn't have enough time (and I don't want a tattoo). But I do want to see Whang Od! Many in my next adventure… Anyway, here are some blogs about Whang Od and Buscalan. Whang Od Tribal Tattoo – The Broke Backpacker Travel Guide: Buscalan (Tinglayan) | Lakwatsero […]

  18. Precious

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

    1. Lakwatsero

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

      1. Precious

        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. grezel

          hi po,we have groups na umaakyat sa buscalan.. 2800 po all in na with van,accommodation,food,and all fees .

          https://www.facebook.com/events/1923050227915363/

  19. to all planers going to buscalan to get a tatoo pm this # 09467637948 guide yan sa buscalan

    1. MAISONNEUVE Cedric

      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

  20. Joyce

    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

    1. hi joyce just contact me i’m charlie’s cousin i can surely bring you there. this my no.;09467031664 ako po ay tourist guide sa Buscalan, my name is Kaylie.

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