Apo Whang Od is famously known as the last mambabatok of the Kalinga. Batok is a form of traditional tattoo; given to warriors with unprecedented achievement during the early times. Travelers, not just from the Philippines, all over the world visit her just to have this traditional tattoo as a form of lifetime and meaningful souvenir, but visiting her place is quite challenging. We visited Apo Whang Od on a 2D1N trip and this is our comprehensive travel guide to Apo Whang Od’s place: Buscalan Village, Tinglayan, Kalinga, Philippines.
This post is updated on November 16, 2020.
As of November 16, 2020: All tourism activities in the municipality of Tinglayan, Kalinga are still suspended until further notice. For now, feel free to read this blog post and save it for future reference. Stay safe everyone!
- Day 0: From Manila
- Day 1: Arrival in Tabuk City, Kalinga
- Day 2: Going Back to Manila
Day 0: From Manila
How to Go? Manila to Buscalan
Visiting Apo Whang Od is quite difficult and it took us a total of 17 grueling hours just to reach their village. There are two routes to choose from:
- Manila to Tabuk City, Kalinga to Tinglayan, Kalinga or;
- Manila to Bontoc, Mountain Province to Tinglayan, Kalinga
We are going to show the directions for the first route (Manila to Tabuk City, Kalinga to Tinglayan, Kalinga) since this is the route that we used for this trip.
Option 1: Victory Liner Bus to Tabuk City – (9 hours)
This is the first part of the trip: We took a bus from Victory Liner in Kamias, Quezon City going to Tabuk City, Kalinga. The fare is ₱887 (as of November 15, 2020) for Deluxe Class and the bus leaves at 1900H (7:00 PM) every day. There are only two bus classes for this trip – deluxe and first class.
Update as of November 15, 2020: There are now two (2) available Victory Liner Bus Stations in Manila going to Tabuk City in Kalinga. See the table below:
|Kamias Bus Station: 766 EDSA, East Kamias Road, Brgy. Pinyahan, Quezon City
Phone Number: (02) 920-7396
|Destination: Dagupan Weste Station in Tabuk City
Deluxe Bus: PHP 887/person (Departure Time at 1900H)
First Class Bus: PHP 1,092/person (Departure Time at 2030H) (Route is going to TPLEX-Roxas)
|Sampaloc Manila Station: 551 M. Earnshaw St., Brgy. 401, Sampaloc, Manila
Phone Number: (02) 559-7735
This Station Requires Advance Booking. Please call the station for ticket inquiry and reservation.
|Destination: Dagupan Weste Station in Tabuk City
Deluxe Bus: PHP 965/person (Depature Time at 1700H and 2030H)
First Class Bus: PHP 1,188/person (Depature Time at 1900H)
Destination: Bulanao Station in Tabuk City
Regular Aircon Bus: PHP 916/person (Departure Time at 2145H)
When we visited Buscalan, we took a Deluxe Bus from Kamias Station going to Tabuk City. Take note that there are now two available bus stations in Manila going to Tabuk City. You can take whichever bus station you prefer depending on your convenience and schedule. Just inform the bus conductor that you will alight in Bulanao near St. William’s Cathedral.
Make sure to purchase your tickets in advance! We bought our tickets a few days before our trip. There are many passengers going to Tabuk City every day and it is better to purchase your tickets in advance.
Option 2: Bontoc to Buscalan
This is the second option going to Buscalan: take a bus ride from Coda Bus Line in Quezon City going to Bontoc, Mountain Province. Here are Coda Bus Line’s updated bus schedule and fare:
|Bus Type/Schedule||Fare (as of November 15, 2020)|
|Semi Deluxe Bus (No On-board Lavatory)
Departure: 2000H and 2230H
|Super Deluxe Bus (With On-board Lavatory)
Departure: 2100H and 2200H
To prevent the long queues of buying your tickets at the station, it is recommended to reserve your tickets online in their website. Here’s the link: http://codalines.philippinebus.com
Pros and Cons
Both options has their own pros and cons. Choosing Option 1 will give you shorter travel time, but the trip going to Tinglayan from Tabuk City takes at 4-5 hours.
Option 2, on the other hand, has longer travel time at 11 hours but, the trip from Bontoc to Tinglayan is shorter at around 2-3 hours. Once you arrived at Bontoc, you can take a van, jeep or mini bus going to Tinglayan, Kalinga.
Bottom line, it all depends on your preferred schedule. We chose option 1 since the bus schedule of Victory Liner is more appropriate in our condition than in option 2.
Day 1: Arrival in Tabuk City, Kalinga
We arrived in Tabuk City at 0400H (4:00 AM) and alighted in front of St. William’s Cathedral. The next step is to take either a jeep, van or minibus going to Tinglayan, Kalinga. The problem is that, the first trip will start at 0700H (7:00 AM).
We stayed in the nearest police station for the next three hours of the trip. The police station is located in front of St. William’s Cathedral. Just ask permission to the police on duty before staying in their place. You can also stay in a sari-sari store in front of the cathedral where you can buy snacks or sip some brewed Kalinga coffee.
There is also a Mister Donut just beside St. William’s Cathedral. This is where we had our breakfast at 0630H enough to refuel ourselves for the upcoming trip ahead.
Tabuk City to Tinglayan, Kalinga – (4 hours)
There are three options available going to Tinglayan, Kalinga:
- Take a Van – there are vans available located a few meters away from St. William’s Cathedral and the Police Station. These vans will go directly to the turning point. (The TURNING POINT is the starting place of hike going to Buscalan Village). The fare costs at ₱150.
- Take a Minibus – you can also stay in front of St. William’s Cathedral and wait for a minibus bound to Bontoc, Mountain Province. The fare costs at ₱130. Just inform the driver that you will alight in Barangay Bugnay in Tinglayan.
- Take a Top Load Jeep – if you want to be adventurous, then you can also ride a top load jeep bound to Bontoc, Mountain Province. Just tell the driver or conductor that you will alight in Barangay Bugnay in Tinglayan. The fare costs ₱130.
For this trip, we took a top load jeep for 4 hours from Tabuk City to Barangay Bugnay in Tinglayan, Kalinga. Top loading is a common form of transportation here in the north and it is not suitable for the faint-of-heart.
WARNING: The route from Tabuk City to Tinglayan is considered perilous because of its tortuous highways. Its road is absent of guard rails and there are ravines waiting for a vehicle to dive into. Just look into the photographs I took during our top load ride.
The experience is both a mixture of fear and amazement. Without minding the danger, I just enjoyed the view of towering mountains, endless forests, and cool winds brushing off my body.
FRIENDLY REMINDERS FOR RIDING A TOP LOAD JEEP
- Always stay hydrated! The top load ride from Tabuk City to Tinglayan is a total of 4 hours. Make sure to have adequate supply of water to keep yourself hydrated.
- Protect yourself from the sun! This type of transportation is also a form of respect. The passengers staying inside the vehicle are designated for women and elders. To protect yourself from the scorching heat of the sun, I advised wearing sunscreen or clothes with long sleeves.
- Stay alert! Always stay alert during the top load ride. Do not fall asleep or you might fall into the waiting cliffs of Cordillera Mountain Range.
- Bring snacks with you! The 4-hour top load ride is a no joke, and bringing a snack will give you a quick fix for a rumbling tummy. However, there’s a stopover available in Good Samaritan Restaurant in Tinglayan, Kalinga. A few kilometers away from Good Samaritan Restaurant is the Barangay Bugnay.
Take a Habal-Habal from Barangay Bugnay to Turning Point
We arrived in Barangay Bugnay at 1100H (11:00 AM). From there we met our guide Bulut (cousin of our contact guide, Oliver). It is a must to have a contacted guide before heading for this trip. We contacted sir Oliver a week prior for this escapade.
Oliver – 09397741477 (Our Recommended Tour Guide)
Please be patient when contacting sir Oliver or the other guides in Buscalan, because the signal reception in their area is incredibly weak and expect delays in text messages; rest assured that these people are very accommodating. Without them, our trip will not be possible. Here are the contact numbers of other tour guides in Buscalan.
|Tour Guide||Contact Number|
|Esten||+63 946 725 8781|
|Eddie||+63 928 402 4973|
|Mikael||+63 907 0315411|
|Joel||+63 910 617 7241|
|Charlie||+63 939 748 4707|
|Amboy||+63 999 728 2869|
|Gilbert||+63 939 977 8934|
|Lorena||+63 948 844 8326|
|Romy||+63 916 403 1208|
From Barangay Bugnay, we took a habal-habal up to the turning point; the fare costs ₱100. This is the advantage of taking a van I mentioned earlier in this post. These vans will take you directly to the turning point. Since we are feeling adventurous that morning, we opted for a top load jeep instead.
Hike from Turning Point to Buscalan Village (1 hour and 30 minutes)
This is the last part of the trip going to Buscalan Village. The total hike time from the turning point to the village is a total of 1 hour and 30 minutes; depending on your pace and fitness level.
TAKE NOTE: Every traveler needs to hike starting from the turning point because the path going to the village is inaccessible by any land vehicles. This hike is not designed for people with certain medical conditions and physical disabilities since the trail is dangerous.
FACING THE BUSCALAN CLIFF
Part of the trail of this hike is the Buscalan Cliff. Yes! You need to climb down a cliff, and it is the only way going to the village. Always be careful while stepping down on this cliff. There are no available guide ropes in the area to hold on. See the pictures of our hike down in the Buscalan Cliff.
The cliff is very steep and one wrong move you’ll fall into the ravine. Keep it slow, take your time and do not rush. Your guide will be there to help you in this hike.
UPDATE: Based from recent travelers who went to Buscalan, there’s already a man-made rail in this area. Hiking to the village is now safer than before. (February 26, 2018)
TAKE NOTE: Always keep yourself hydrated during the hike to prevent heat exhaustion. You can rest for a while during the hike to restore energy and prevent fatigue.
Hello Buscalan Village!
Finally, we reached the village! We arrived at 1230H (12:30 PM) and went to our accommodation at Vista Resthouse. This lodge is the home of our tour guides, Sir Oliver and Sir Bulut. They converted a part of their home into a relaxing rest house for travelers. The accommodation fee is ₱250 a night, per person.
Our tiny bedroom is made up of wood and it can accommodate up to 2 persons. There’s a thin bed mattress on it with available pillows and blankets.
Part of our accommodation is the unlimited Kalinga coffee and free rice. For our meal, we just brought our canned goods adequate for our whole stay in Buscalan Village.
This is the highlight of our trip and your guide will help you sign up for the tattooing session. Receiving a tattoo either from Apo Whang Od or Grace (Apo Whang Od’s grandniece) is both an honor and a humbling experience. This is your reward after that long travel going to this village.
You can choose a design presented in this piece of plywood, or let Grace or Apo Whang Od choose a design for you.
TAKE NOTE: We recommend taking a bath first before having a tattoo. Our guide told us that you are not allowed to take a bath after the tattoo session to prevent the ink from being washed off.
The price of your newly inked tattoos depends on its size and complexity. It can range from ₱100 to ₱2,000. My tattoo was a standing eagle/hawk design which means a messenger and freedom; it costed ₱500.
TAKE NOTE: Please do not haggle or ask for bargain. Apo Whang Od will determine the price of your tattoo. The price provided is just right and it’s also a way of helping the community of Buscalan.
OTHER ACTIVITIES IN BUSCALAN KALINGA
- Socialization with the locals and other travelers
- Picture taking of the amazing mountainous topography of Buscalan Village
- Play basketball with the locals in the nearby court
- Try farming with the locals
- We also donated school supplies to the children of Buscalan. – I highly recommend this activity.
Day 2: Going Back to Manila
Tinglayan, Kalinga to Bontoc, Mountain Province (1 hour and 30 minutes)
We woke up around 0600H (6:00 AM) the next day; had a quick breakfast, and packed our things. Before hiking back, we paid sir Bulut for the guide fee (₱1,000 good for 2-4 people). We started our hike back to the turning point at 0800H (8:00 AM). From the turning point, a minibus bound to Bontoc, Mountain Province was waiting for us.
We took the minibus bound to Bontoc, Mountain Province and once again we rode on top load again.
The route from Tinglayan, Kalinga to Bontoc, Mountain Province offers a more beautiful view than the route we took the previous day. Though it’s more scenic, the path is also more dangerous than the first because some roads are positioned at the edge of a cliff.
The bus fare costs ₱100, and we arrived in Bontoc, Mountain Province at 1100H (11:00 AM)
From Bontoc, Mountain Province to Manila
We had our lunch in Bontoc, Mountain Province in one of the available eateries in the area, and made our reservations for a bus bound to Manila. We took the Coda Bus Line at a fare of ₱685.
TAKE NOTE: Make sure to contact Coda Bus Line for reservation first. Their contact number is 09159596377. The bus will leave at 1600H (4:00 PM) and their station is located inside Cable Cafe and Restaurant after crossing Samoki Bridge. It’s just a few meters away from drop off point of the minibus so you could walk from it with ease.
UPDATE: You can reserve your bus tickets online for convenience for Bontoc to Manila trip. Here’s the company link: http://www.codalinesph.com/online-bus-ticket-booking/
Our Trip Expenses (excluding food)
|Bus from Victory Liner Kamias to Tabuk City||₱730|
|Top load jeep from Tabuk City to Brgy. Bugnay in Tinglayan, Kalinga||₱130|
|Habal-habal from Brgy. Bugnay to Turning point||₱100|
|Minibus from turning point to Bontoc, Mountain Province||₱100|
|Bus from Bontoc, Mountain Province to Cubao, Quezon City||₱685|
|Accommodation: Vista Resthouse||₱250/night|
|Guide’s Fee||₱1000/2 persons = ₱500/person|
|Tattoo – Apo Whang Od||₱500|
|TOTAL TRIP EXPENSES (excluding food)||₱2,995|
Our Buscalan Itinerary
|DAY 0 – 1900H||ETD From Kamias, Quezon City to Tabuk City, Kalinga|
|DAY 1 – 0400H||ETA in Tabuk City, Kalinga|
|0400H – 0700H||Waiting time in Police Station of Tabuk City|
|0700H||ETD from Tabuk City (take either a van, minibus or top load jeep)|
|1100H||ETA in Brgy. Bugnay, Tinglayan, Kalinga (take habal-habal going to turning point)|
|1115H||ETA Turning point and start of hike to Buscalan Town Proper|
|1230H||ETA in Buscalan Town Proper|
|1300H||Lunch and wash up|
|1400H – 1700H||Meeting Apo Whang Od and tattoo session. Socialization with the locals and other travelers.|
|1700H – 2000H||Early dinner and free time|
|2000H||Lights off (Sleeping time)|
|DAY 2 – 0600H||Wake up, Quick breakfast and pack up|
|0800H||Start of hike down to turning point|
|0930H||ETD Turning Point (take a minibus going to Bontoc, Mountain Province)|
|1100H||ETA Bontoc, Mountain Province (lunch and free time)|
|1500H||ETD Bontoc, Mountain Province|
|0000H||ETA Cubao, Quezon City|
Come and visit Buscalan Village and experience an unforgettable adventure. Learn about the culture of Butbut tribe and their way of life. Get a tattoo from the last mambabatok of Kalinga – Apo Whang Od, and bring a meaningful mark that you will carry for a lifetime.
If you find this travel guide helpful and relevant. Please share it to your friends! Always remember that sharing is caring 🙂
This post was originally published on May 15, 2017 and updated on November 15, 2020.
hi, may idea ka ba kung okay pumunta ng buscalan sa july?
Yes, pwedeng pwede naman. The only problem is the weather. Just keep an eye on the weather. The rainy season can mess up the road, making it unsafe for tourists.
Hello po. Magtatanong lang po kung mas ok po ba na sumama sa mga groups or mas ok mag commute? Tsaka kung safe naman po ang daan sa pag trek ngayon. Mas ok po ba na konti lang ang bitbit basta madadala ung importanteng gamit? At anu po usual na magandang token or dala para sa mga native pp ng Buscalan? Thanks po in advance sa pag sagot. God bless 🙂
To be honest, it’s been 3 years since the last time I visited Buscalan Village. Pero, I know a group that is a good resource about traveling to Buscalan. Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/164620733642453
I ‘d mention that most of us visitors are endowed to exist in a fabulous place with very many wonderful individuals with very helpful things.
Hi sir blaine ganda ng blog mo super detailed, i just want to ask if yung bus/van from turning point to bontoc is available to regularly or pag peak days lang? Thank you sir 😊😊😊💖💖
Hey PandaBear, sorry for the late reply. As of now, Buscalan Village is temporarily closed to the public due to the pandemic. But during our trip, the bus from turning point to Bontoc has a twice a day schedule. Not sure though if they updated the trip schedule. Stay safe always!
Hi Sir Blaine,
tanong ko lang po kung may idea kayo, what if may dala sariling sasakyan? san kaya possible iwan sasakyan upon going to buscalan village? thanks!
Hello Mark, sorry for the late reply, I just moved in here in Houston, TX. Yes pwedeng magdala ng sariling sasakyan, pwede ring ipark yung private vehicles sa Turning Point.
Hi Blaine. Just checking if you know a guide who can provide us a tour, itenerary package for 2 days and 1 night for Tinglayan Tour. We will be coming from Tabuk so no need to include fare from Manila going to Tabuk. Thank you and I look forward to your response.
Hello Emmanuel, sorry for the late reply. I just moved in here in Houston Texas. You can try checking the FB group “Tattooed by Apo Whang Od”, it’s a great source of tour information.
hi,blaine. salamat po sa blog mo,salamat dahil naka tulong po kayo sa amin.dahil gusto kong pumonta sa buskalan,para makita ang the last manbabatok.at higit sa lahat gusto kong mag tatto..blaine salamat tinuro mo ang DAAN nga gusto kong puntahan,salamat
Sobrang nakakataba naman ng puso ang iyong comment. Sobrang salamat po ^_^, nga pala sorry sa late reply, I just moved in here sa Houston Texas kaya sobrang busy po. Salamat po ulet.
Hi Kuya Blaine,
We’re planning to go up and visit Apo Whang Od this coming August and because of your napaka informative na blog, di ko feel na mawawala kami 🤣 Napaka helpful kuya dahil detailed siya. 😂 Wala pa pero excited na kami tumawa este mag hike 🤣
Thanks for your comment. Just FYI, it’s been a while since we updated this post. I recommend visiting the FB group “Tattooed by Whang Od.” It’s a great resource; many travelers use this group to ask questions and look for travel guides. Stay cool!
I found your blog very helpful however just want ask if you have any idea if there are any parking space if will bring our own car? is it safe as well? how much will we pay per day?
Hello JV, I know you will kill me for my late reply hahaha. I just moved in here in Houston Texas kaya sobrang busy po. Anyway, there’s parking available in Turning Point. The parking is free that time but I’m not sure today.
Your blog is very useful and informative. I’m planning to visit by April 2019.
Ask ko lng po once we conctacted Sir Oliver automatic na din po ba may reservation kay apo whang od? para atleast once we arrived in the morning by afternoon dretso na kay apo whang od sana. limited ang kasi ang bakasyon pag uwi.
Oh no! You have 2 comments pala for follow-up I’m so sorry. I think, I updated this post for 2019 and I included the other contact numbers of other guides. You can contact them for reference. Sorry po talaga sa late reply T-T
after I read 4 other blogs, I think this one was really helpful and accurate and updated. Thankyou 😊
Wow super salamat Angelica ^_^
Hey there Blaine!
I am planning on going to the Philippines just to head to Buscalan. I am super nervous about it yet so excited. I don’t have internationally calling for the tour guides, is there any other way of getting in contact with them?
Long story short, where do I start for my trip? It will be me and one other person.
Hello, would like to ask how long would the travel period be should we be travelling from Cubao bus terminal? Thank you and your blog is really helpful.
Hi Jeni! Thank you for visiting our blog. Are you talking about the Coda Bus Line in Cubao going to Bontoc? Travel time is 11 hours. For Victory Liner Bus from either Kamias or Sampaloc Manila to Tabuk City in Kalinga, travel time is 9 hours.
Good thing I stumbled upon your blog. It’s really helpful. I’m going to Buscalan this coming weekend. You said that you guys donated some school supplies. How many children are there? Is it okay to just distribute it to them or do I need to talk to someone from the municipal. Also, is it okay to give them some chocolates & candies? Will appreciate your response! Good day!
Sorry for the late reply Gena, we’ve been updating this website for almost 2 weeks now. I think we donated to at least a hundred children in the village. We just asked Bulut, our guide, in helping us to dustribute the school supplies. We do not recommend giving chocolates or candies as it may affect the dental health of the kids. You may opt for healthy and nutritious snacks instead. 😊
Hi Blaine! Nice blog btw, Very informative :). However, is there any chance I could catch a bus de route to the town from Pampanga? (since plane ticket bought is direct flight from Dvo-clark) Thank you. 🙂
Hello Gladys! Upon checking, there’s a Victory bus station in Dau, Mabalacat, Pampanga. That’s around 10 kilometers from the airport. I’m not sure if there are buses going to Kalinga from that terminal. You can check their website for further info.
Hello Blaine, I have to visit your blog again for some info that might help us (tour guide number etc. since your blog got the most updated info so far).. Hahah. Anyway, We will be coming to Buscalan nextweek with a friend but we decided to go there thru motorcycle ride ( roadtrip 😀 ) Do you happen to know if may pag iiwanan ng motor sa turning point before going to the village?. 🙂
May i ask? Is it okay for a Solo backpacker to go in Buscalan?
How much will be the damages?
Hello Nadine, yes this trip is good for solo backpackers and the expenses will be higher than with a group. Just check our expenses on this post and calculate it. I think it will cost you around PHP 4,000.
Hi po. Magkakaproblema po kaya if weekdays ako pumunta? Plano ko po kasi Monday ako pumunta. Okay lang po ba siya gawin mag-isa?
Hello Roger, there will be no problem if you’re going to visit on a Monday. In fact, we visited Buscalan on a Monday too. The tourists are few in which you will surely enjoy your stay. 🙂
Good day. Ask ko lang po kung may byahe pa victory liner pa tabuk? Nagttry po kasi ako magbook walang choices to tabuk. Ty po
Yes there is, but Victory Liner do not have an online booking for Kamuning to Tabuk yet. You have to go the bus station in Kamuning for advance booking. 🙂
Loved your blog. Tinglayan looks like an amazing remote site to visit. Would you know how many tourists/trekkers visit Tinglayan annually? I would love to get in touch with any tourism officer or tour guides there if you have their contacts. Thank you
Sorry for the late reply Joyce, I don’t know the estimated number of tourists in Tinglayan every year. You can contact the Kalinga Tourism Office for more details.
Office on Tourism Services
Governor’s Office, Provincial Capitol, Bulanao, Tabuk
Provincial Tourism Officer: Ms. Grace Kidang
Provincial Tourism Council
Chairperson: Ms. Nancy Tuazon
c/o Kalinga Provincial Capitol
Tel # 0918-715-7402
Hi Blaine, may pila ba kay Whang-od?
Yep! Merong pila. You have to register your name in the souvenir shop in Buscalan Village 😊
Hi Blaine! This blog is indeed very helpful. I have one concern though, we are taking option 2 in going to Bontoc, that means if we continue all along our ETA in Buscalan will already be 6pm. Is it doable? If yes, would it be safe? If not, is sleeping in an inn near terminal a good option? Will be glad to hear your advise on this one. Muchisimas gracias.
Hi Bernadette! Thank you for passing by our blog. If you’re going to try the route going to Bontoc then Tinglayan Kalinga, then the ETA is estimated around lunch time too. Bontoc to Tinglayan Kalinga is shorter than Tabuk to Tinglayan route 😊
Hello Blaine! Thanks so much for this wonderful and informative blog. Me and my cousins (8pax) are planning to visit and meet Apo Whang-Od this Sunday. We are planning to bring our private vehicle. San kaya pwede iwan yung vehicle? And active pa din ba number ni Sir Oliver?
Thank you for visiting our blog 😊 You can park your car/van at the jump off point. Yes, this is Oliver’s current number. Just be patient because the signal in their area is weak. You can also join the “Tattooed by Apo Whang Od” group in FB and check out for any updates like safety since it’s the rainy season, you can ask if the roads going there are passable or not 😊 Have a safe trip this Sunday. 😁
Hi Blaine, Thank you for your very useful information. 🙂
You’re welcome Arnel! Glad to know that you found useful information from our blog. 😊
Hi sir blaine… i saw your blog and napaka useful. may ask lang po ako about sa tourguide and accomodation na pag stayyan po? and sir pwede ko din po makuha ung contact niyopo. salamat po.
Hello Angelo! Sorry late reply, Been busy these past few days. Our guide, Oliver, provided their place for our stay. The name is Vista Homestay and it’s only for PHP 250 a night last year. I’m not sure if the prices are still the same. Also, you can go to “Tattooed by Apo Whang Od” FB group, you’ll find more info about homestays and guides in that group 😊
hi Blaine, very helpful blog… would schedule sometime soon when I come home for vacation.
btw, I would like to invite you to visit our province in Davao…Food and Accommodation on me.
Revert if you are interested.
you may start reading about our place, see and let me know yea?
LOCATION: MATI, Davao Oriental
Cheers! and keep up the great work.
Hello. You’re blog is very useful and I’m using it as reference. I’m planning on going to Whang Od this August and will be departing from Manila on the eve of Aug. 18th. However I’m doubtful about the weather condition if it’s safe to go this August.
Hello Franz! Thank you so much for passing by on our blog. August is still under the rainy season here in the Philippines. Wherein the risk of landslides are high and most highways are impassable. I would recommend to reschedule your trip maybe on November where there’s less rain and typhoon.
Your blog is very helpful and informative. My husband and I are planning to go this December. We’re bringing our motorcycle and coming from Manila to Bontoc. A rider here at work recommended to leave Manila at night and we’ll arrive at Bontoc around afternoon. Are there any sights you can recommend in Bontoc? We were also told we need to leave our motorcycle at the town proper. You may not have an info about this but I would still ask if you know where we can entrust our mc? With your blog, we’re planning to stay 2 days at Buscalan and enjoy the scenery and peace. Then take a side trip to Sagada and Baguio before returning home.
Thank you for visiting our blog Annie. I haven’t explored Bontoc yet, but we have plans in visiting Mt. Kufafey and Mt. Fato soon (located in Bontoc, Mountain Province). With regards to your MC, I think you can leave it at the jump-off point in Tinglayan, Kalinga. You can contact a local guide there, like Oliver, and ask for assistance before your planned trip. If you have a Facebook account, you can join the group “Tattooed by Apo Whang Od” and ask questions about your trip. You’ll get insights and feedback from fellow travelers and locals of Buscalan. Have a safe trip ahead 😊
Hi Blaine! Sobrang helpful nitong blog mo and thank you for that, by the way, I’m a college student and I am planning to visit the village a week or two from now for my thesis about “Batek” tattooes. I have no experiences and ideas about sa mga travel but I would love to try. Gusto ko lang tanong if ok lang ba to conduct interview kay Wang Od and if may bayad ba? Is it also ok to shoot documentaries dun sa village about the people? pumapayag ba yung people magpainterview and kung may bayad ba? Thank you! 🙂
Also to add if may electricity ba dun? Like pwede po bang magcharge ng kahit anong devices? Thank you!
Thank you for passing by on our blog Jay. Pwede namang mag-shoot ng documentaries around the area for educational purposes. With regards to the interview, I am not sure if you need to pay a certain amount to Apo. You can try contacting Oliver, our recommended tour guide, and inquire about your purpose of the trip. There’s also electricity in the area so you can charge your electronic devices.
Thank you for the response. I’m planning to travel next week July 19, do you think its safe now? And also what is the difference between the Deluxe and First Class Bus? May aircon yung isa ganun po? Thank you!
Hello! Both has Deluxe and First Class have AC. My only concern is the weather since it’s the rainy season. There might be risk of landslide in some areas so proceed with caution.
Hi Blaine! Thanks for a really helpful blog! I just want to know at what point of the trip should I contact the guide (Oliver) ? And is there anyway to contact him in advance to the trip from overseas? (e.g facebook, email, etc) Thank you!
Thank you for visiting our blog! He has a Facebook account, but he seldom goes online. You have to text/call Oliver in advance (2 weeks before the trip is recommended) before going to Buscalan. Just a heads up, the network signal in the area is very weak. Text him multiple times, so he can receive your messages.
If you’re planning to go on July, I am concern with safety because of landslide risks in the mountainous highway of Kalinga. I prefer you join a travel and tours group for this. You can join the group “Tattooed by Apo Whang Od” group on Facebook, and there are a lot of travel companies there offering package tours to Buscalan.
If you have further questions, just let me know and have a safe trip!
Hi Blaine, thank you for sharing this very detailed experience ! 😉 I plan to fly to Manila end of August 2018 and go for this trip to see Whang Od. Will the weather be okay (I know it’s stormy/typhoon season in the summer) and could I still proceed with the trip? Thank you.
Good evening Audrey!
Thank you for visiting the blog, and I’m glad that you find it really helpful. Yes you are correct! The weather will be rainy by September based on the previous weather records of Kalinga by Accuweather. I am quite concern with safety of travel, since the road going to the village are perilous and risk of landslides are high during the rainy season. With the risks involved, I would not recommend visiting this place during the rainy season due to safety concerns.
If you have further questions, feel free to send an email. Thank you 🙂
Sir Blain, why I can’t contact Mr. Oliver? was trying to call him but out of coverage area. Is there any way? any option. It’ s hard to go there without appointment. Planning to go there when the weather is good. Thanks alot
Hello Pamela, thank you for visiting the blog. The signal reception in Buscalan is extremely bad. You have to text Mr. Oliver frequently, because he might not receive these messages due to weak network coverage. Upon checking, the number posted in our website is still the updated contact number of Oliver. Just have patience, and he will reply to you soon.
Alternatively, if you have a Facebook account, you can join the group “Tattooed by Apo Whang Od”, you can post your inquiry there and ask for contact numbers of other tour guides in the village.
Hi Blaine! Is there another minibus trip from Turning point to Bontoc aside from that 9:30 am trip? thanks for your reply!
Thank you for visiting the blog. The usual check out time in the village is at 8:00 AM. The hike back going to the turning point takes around 1-1 hour and a half, and usually the local guides will charter a mini-bus for travelers going to Bontoc.
If you’re planning to leave the village at a later time, you have to ride a habal-habal from the turning point going down the highway; and from there, you have to wait for a jeep or minibus going to Bontoc.
If you have any further questions, just let me know 🙂
Hi.. Just an update.. I went there last monday and the man made rail has been removed… So it’s the same experienced as yours.. It’s really hard going to the village but it was all paid off after getting tattooed by apo whang od
Thank you for the information. We highly appreciated your update. I am surprised that the man-made rails are removed; the hike going to the village is once again difficult and challenging as before.
Yeah. Our tourist guide showed us the man made trail and it’s not passable at the moment. She said that they’re fixing it to be safer and easier for travellers.
Sounds great! Hope they can fix it immediately. Thank you for updating us AJ, we appreciate it. 👍🏼
Good info sir. My wife and I are coming from California. I think we might need to stay 2-3 days to take good photos of the whole town. I don’t need a tatoo just there to take photos. Salamat.
Good day Jong,
Sorry for the late reply, I just came from a short trip in the Mountain Province. The tattoo is optional, it is up to you if you will have it or not. I agree with your plan of staying in the village for 2-3 days, you will surely enjoy the scenery of the village and its simplistic lifestyle. Don’t forget to bring your camera though, I know you will capture a lot of good photos of the place.
Planning to go in Buscalan this July 2018, given the trekking needed is it fine or safe if we can bring a toddler 20 months old by then? Hope you’ll respond. Thank you!
Thank you for passing by in our blog. Base in my experience, I haven’t seen any travelers bringing their kids going to this place. The hike going to the village is physically challenging, and I think a 20-month old toddler will be stressed going to this place.
I have a reader who asked the same question last year; but in the end, they didn’t bring their children going to the village. They realized their decision was right when they saw the trail going to Buscalan.
The village is beautiful and picturesque, you’ll be amazed in their culture, tradition and way of life; but I think the long hours of travel going to Buscalan is not fit for kids.
Again, thank you for passing by in our blog Erica. Feel free to share this travel guide to your friends. 🙂
Have a safe and wonderful trip ahead!
Your blog is very helpful. I’m going to follow your guide. Is it safe to go to Apo whang Od on solo? I don’t have company in going there. Is your travel guide Oliver ok? Can he be trusted? Thank you.
Good morning Pam!
It’s possible to do a solo travel in Buscalan Village, Tinglayan, Kalinga. I saw a number of travelers, especially foreigners, who went solo for this trip. But I do recommend for you to have a companion in going in this place for safety purposes. If you don’t have any company going there, it’s also fine. You will love the beauty of the place, and it’s isolated from the modern life we usually live in. Always remember that safety is our priority in every trip we have.
With regards to the guide, Oliver is one of the popular and recommended tour guides in the village. He’s been doing it for 2-3 years now, and he caters both locals and foreigners. If I’m going back to Buscalan, I will choose Oliver and his cousin Bulut as my guide.
Hope you have a wonderful trip!
Hello…read and love your Buscalan adventure. Now me and my fiance want to try this adventure…question is…Is it possible to travel by car? Thank you
I am planning to get a tatoo in sept-nov 2018 and i would like you to provide me with a travel agency contact number that organize such tours.
Hi Coralie, from which country you’re coming?
Really enjoyed reading your blog about visiting Buscalan. What’s your recommendation in the event of wet weather? It looking like a dry ascent, but our return could get a bit wet.
Should we continue with our plan, or reschedule to a dry time of year? Keep in mind, I’m traveling from half a world away.
Hi Blaine! I really like your shots, can you please share any techniques sa shooting while on a moving car? Bago lang po ako sa photography and would like to learn paano po kau nkakuha ng malinaw na shots.
and nga po pala wala ko DSLR and olympus pen model po ang gamit ko na camera, possible pa rin po ba na makakuha ako clear shots?
Hey Kristine, thank you for visiting my blog. The ideal technique in capturing your subject while you are inside a moving vehicle is to increase the shutter speed of your camera to prevent any blurry photographs. You can google it for further info 🙂