November Travel: {KALINGA} Apo Whang Od, Buscalan Village, Tinglayan, Kalinga


This isย my most awaited month since I’ve got to visit the world-known mambabatok and the oldest tattoo artist, Apo Whang Od. I saved most of my allowance for me to be able to spend it in Kalinga since going there would take a couple of bucks. (My most expensive travel yet).

AND THIS IS MY FIRST EVER TATTOO so it would be a priviledge to be tattooed by the oldest mambabatok.

I also got something that money can’t buy.

See Full Itinerary and Budget (And experiences and tips!) below

I went solo but brought 2 American friends with me (actually acquiantances since we just talked on Facebook. And unfortunately we don’t have pictures together)

So if you’re going to Manila, you need to take a CODALINES bus going to Bontoc. But unfortunately, I didn’t take the trip (busy from school).

Sooooo what I did is a cutting trip from Pasay to Baguio. Then from Baguio I waited for a bus in Slaughterhouse going to Bontoc. And from there, I waited (again) for a bus/jeep going to the turning point to Buscalan.

Day 1
10pm-8am = To Bontoc
8am-10am = Bontoc – Bugnay
10am-11am = Reg/ Trek to Buscalan
11am-12am = Lunch
1pm-4pm = Tattoo sesh
4pm-6pm = Go around the village
6pm-7pm = Dinner
8pm = Lights Off
Day 2
6am-7am = Sunrise/Breakfast
7am-8am = Pack bags/Ready
8am-9am = Trek down
9am-11am = To Bontoc
12nn-10pm = Bontoc – Manila

Just so you know:

Land Transpo
Total of 12 hrs
BY BUS: CODALINES (to bontoc) – 740-800
BY JEEP: (from Bontoc) To Bugnay- 80
Ride a habal to reg area : 100

Homestay- 250-300/Night (w/free rice and coffee)

Traditional Tattoo to Apo
Go to the falls
Taste the Kalinga Coffee
Experience the culture of Butbut Tribe

Experiencing the culture of Butbut Tribe was one of the main highlights of my trip. I went up for the tattoo, I got down with a tattoo and culture full of love for family and tradition.

TRANSPO – 1960
ACCOM – 250
FOOD – 100
GUIDE – 1000/5 = 200
TATTOO – 300++ / 100 – Apo’s sig
TOTAL – 2500-3000

Envi fee – 50
Required guide – 1000 good for 5

The total budget would really depend on how many persons you are in the group. So if you’re going solo, byebye kaching. Or find a stranger that will help you split the bill, like what I did.


Take the sleeper bus/ Codalines bus straight to Bontoc.

Jeeps and bus has specific time

Jeep going to Buscalan 6 am up until 12 PM

Jeep going back to Bontoc up until 2 PM

Tour Guide is mandatory since Apo can’t speak English nor Tagalog
No signal in the village. You need to contact your tour guide beforehand so they can fetch you in the turning point
1 hr trek to the village
If you wish to have a tattoo, go on weekdays. Allot 2 days in the village
Good for groups


My experience here was supeeer intense.

Starting from going to Buscalan was a total drama. Let me tell you the story in bullets

  • I need to take a longer route since I didn’t take the bus to Codalines. What I did was take the bus to Baguio and from there, waited for a bus going to Bontoc. So that would be 6 hours + another 6 hours going to Bontoc
  • I hopped on the bus from Pasay to Baguio at 4 am and I arrived at Bontoc 7 pm. So basically, I didn’t catch the bus going to Buscalan.
  • I rented a small room in Buscalan to sleep. And rise early catch the 6 AM jeepney ride
  • Jeepney ride will take 2 hours
  • And from the turning point, you need to take a habal ride, then trek. What an adventure

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Tickets going to Baguio

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Bus going to Bontoc

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Signage alight Bontoc

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Chilly mornin @ Bontoc | My temporary room in Bontoc proper. Paid for 300

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Top Load!!!!!!! Jeep Topload Going to Buscalan and Bus Topload going back to Bontoc

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The VIEW!!!

Everything was so worth it when we arrived to the village. The tribe was very warm and hospitable. Their lives was so peaceful and simple. One of the greatest encounter I had with people. Luckily when I went there, there was a gathering and their were programs, and I saw their ritual dance. I was able to eat papaitan and dring Buscalan coffee. How I wish I could go back and give something to the tribe but I was only visiting for 2 days, but for 2 days they gave me something that I could forget, simplicity, love and kindness.

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The dance. Apo also danced during the program

As for my tattoo, I chose the ‘crab’ or knalat meaning travel or safety for travellers. The process was slightly painful but quick. Apo tattooed it in my thighs and also her signature. And I was able to take a picture with her!

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The “crab” tattoo means “travel”

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Me and Apo


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Top Load realness

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The famous kubo

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Till next adventure!




3 thoughts on “November Travel: {KALINGA} Apo Whang Od, Buscalan Village, Tinglayan, Kalinga

  1. Hello Gina. Nice blog by the way ๐Ÿ™‚ I am planning to get to Buscalan this March for solo trip as well. Is there any chance you still have the number of the guide? Or will I be able to get one when I’m already at the place? Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚


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