Call it perfect timing! I arrived at Kalinga, particularly in Buscalan, Tinglayan on the first day of the planting season. Buscalan in Tingalayan is known for Fang-od, the last remaining tattoo artist of Kalinga. She is featured by Lars Krutak of Discovery Channel for Tattoo Hunter.
I don’t have a guide going there- I know that I need to have a guide but this time I just trusted my instinct. I boarded a bus from Tabuk City and hoped that I will meet some tribesmen who are from the tattooing village of Buscalan.
Traveler’s Tip: Get a guide, contact Francis Pa-in: 0915-769-0843
It seemed that heaven is on my side as I was seated (on top-load) with a member of the Butbut tribe- from Buscalan. I actually begged him to bring me to his village. So on February 14th I arrived at Buscalan, Tinglayan, without any contact person. I was treated as one of them- offered water and food as we finished the 2.5 hours of serious hike.
Traveler’s Tip: When in Kalinga, ask for a glass of water the moment you arrived in their house. Its a way of saying that you trust them with your life.
The first thing I did was to check out their place- it was simply amazing. I loved their rice terraces more than Batad. The village is beaming with culture- tattoo-covered men and women, pigs and chicken under their huts, make-shift coffee makers and dialect I don’t understand. I was over the clouds- literally and figuratively.
The next morning I asked one of the chief elders if I can join the farmers- he said yes. I wanted to try planting rice but he was telling me to fix the paddies instead. I did plant rice stalks anyway. After more than 30 minutes of learning the art of planting I noticed that I was the only male planting rice. Turns out that women are in-charge of planting while the men prepare the fields. Funny! But I enjoyed it anyway. hahaha The women are laughing at me as I left the fields and explore more of what the village offers.
Traveler’s Tip: Listen to the local.
If you want to have a glimpse of what I experienced, you can watch my video: JourneyingJames as a Rice Farmer in Kalinga-
James Wearing Four Different Hats- a series os some unforgettable moments during my #isangdaan journey.
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This is post part of ISANG DAAN Journey. ISANG DAAN is a personal journey and challenge to backpack around the Philippines the cheapest way possible for 100 days.
If you want to follow my steps, I have an interactive map