Buscalan: Cultural in Immersion in Tinglayan


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!

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!

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.

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.

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.

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
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

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


  1. carlo

    hi, I’m planning to go to buscalan and get a tattoo sesh to apo whang-od. Is it advisable to bring private car from Manila to Buscalan? Also, if we are coming to Baguio to Buscalan, is it possible to bring private car instead of commuting to go to Buscalan?

    Thanks in advance 🙂

  2. Vanessa

    Hello! I am planning to travel from Manila to Buscalan from 5/27 to 5/30 (or 5/31). Is anybody else traveling on those dates? Also, where can I find a guide and get tickets for the buses and vans/make sleeping arrangements?
    Thank you!

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