As I said in a previous post, Eazy Traveler and I went to Kalinga to check out the province and be among the last witnesses to a dying tradition of tattooing among the indigenous people of Tinglayan. Much of Kalinga still has bad roads making a full fledged splash into the tourism market a bit difficult to say the least. The road from Mountain Province’s capital Bontoc is very rough and the completion date of the project is uncertain due to incessant rains and landslides that wipe out sections of the road.
For adventurous travelers however, Tinglayan and the rest of Kalinga is a good opportunity to see how tourism encroaches and develops in a community. Some parts of Tinglayan only had electrical services four years ago. There is no tourism infrastructure and for the most part, all rates and payments to home stays and meals prepared at the host’s home are to be determined by the guest. It’s an almost raw and unadulterated experience – just a few notches below being a regular family friend who happened to be visiting.
Here’s how we did it:
2030 – Bus departs from Cable Tours terminal in E. Rodriguez (the terminal is near Trinity College and St. Luke’s Hospital). Fare: 650
0830 – Bus arrives at Bontoc.
0900 – Bus departs for Tinglayan. Cost: 110
1200 – Bus arrives at Tinglayan.
1230 – Lunch at Sleeping Beauty Guest House (the sole guest house in town – around 1-2 hours by motorbike from the villages). Cost: 70
1400 – Jeep leaves for Tulgao. Cost: 50
1430 – Jeep arrives in Tulgao.
1600 – Ed goes around to look for the elders with tattoos. Elders would appreciate it if you would give them a small token for taking their photos. A small box of matches (around 2 pesos each) would do. Ed has gone the extra mile and has sent prints of the photos to the elders via snail mail. You would have to ask for a local to guide you around the village to know where the elders live. You may give around 100 to 150 to your guide. Again, there are no set rates.
1800 – Dinner time. Ed and I elected to pay 50 pesos for each meal.
2100 – Sleep
0700 – Breakfast
0800 – Trek to waterfalls. Again, no rates for the guide. Our guide was our a young son from our host family. I think we gave around 100 to 150 each.
0920 – The supposed 40 minute trek takes longer than expected.
1030 – Heading back home.
1200 – Lunch
1300 – Walking up the junction. Ed gets absolutely distracted by pitcher plants T_T. We end up waiting 1.5 hours for a motorbike that will take us to Butbut village.
1500 – Motorbike ride to Butbut. It was exciting but my life was flashing before me. Haha. Cost: 100 each
1530 – arrival at Butbut. We quickly located the Baccoy residence. This family is written on the pages of Lonely Planet Philippines.
1630 – Ed goes around to take photos. It rains really hard. I take this as my queue to sleep the afternoon away.
1800 – dinner time!
2100 – The Baccoy’s send us to their ancestral house just a few paces from their current house. It’s a gorgeous traditional wooden house with cogon roof! Again, no rates. You will be asked to pay based on how much you want to give.
0700 – Breakfast
0800 – Motorbike ride to Tinglayan
0900 – Jeep departs for Tabuk cost 100
1200 – Jeep arrives at Tabuk
1300 – we reserve seats for the LONE bus that leaves Tabuk for Manila everyday. The bus leaves at 430 PM. Cost 493
1315 – Lunch at some nearby carinderia. Cost 70 each
1630 – Bus departs for Manila
0500 – Bus arrives in Manila
Manila – Bontoc Bus = 650
Bontoc – Tinglayan Jeep = 110
Tinglayan – Tulgao Jeep = 60
Tulgao – Butbut Bike = 100
Butbut – Tinglayan Bike = 200
Tinglayan – Tabuk Jeep = 100
Tabuk – Manila Bus = 493
Home stay = 100-150/night
Meals = 50/night