Tinglayan, Kalinga: Simple Life in Buscalan
Life seems difficult in far-flung towns of the Cordillera’s where arduous roads and rough terrains bring modern day developments to a crawl or a grinding halt. But as long as there are fertile lands to grow crops, livestock, and a roof to sheath its people from the frigid climate, the people of the mountain thrives. For the Igorots of the remote Buscalan village (and many other Cordilleran communities), the modest living has been the way life then, and it still is the way of life today.
This set of photographs are glimpses to the mundane scenes of Buscalan, a Kalinga-Igorot settlement situated deep in the heartlands of Cordillera Mountain Range renowned for its tribal tattoo culture called “batok“. Buscalan is home to the famous mambabatok Fang-Od Oggay who continues to practice the traditional art, with her grand nephew, Grace. I also met Fang-Od’s brother, Rudy Oggay, who lives isolated atop on top of Canaan spending most of his time cultivating land to grow crops and vegetables.
My trips to Kalinga taught me that content prevails in a world where less material desires exist. The modest living in this distant Cordillera settlement shows that there are still things in the world that even the most highly urbanized city cannot give. Life in the mountains is not easy yet there were no hints of discontent or desire beyond the essential needs. I personally believe that content or satisfaction are keys to genuine happiness. Maybe genuine happiness is also key to a century-long lifespan.
1. There are three ways to commute to Buscalan Village from Manila.
Baguio Route: Take a bus bound for Baguio (Victory, Genesis, Viron, Dagupan, etc.) which takes around 5-6 hours travel time and costs around P500.00 on an average depending on the bus liner. From Baguio, go to Dangwa Terminal and take a GL Bus bound for Bontoc which takes another 6 hours. In Bontoc, take a 2-hour jeepney ride bound for Tabuk and get off at Bugnay Junction. Finally, hike another 2 hours to Buscalan Village.
Banaue Route: Take a bus bound for Banaue via Ohayami Trans which leaves Sampaloc Terminal around 9PM daily. Travel time takes 8-9 hours and costs around P450.00. From Banaue, there are vans and jeepneys that go to Bontoc. Travel time is 3 hours. In Bontoc, take a 2-hour jeepney ride bound for Tabuk and get off at Bugnay Junction. Finally, hike another 2 hours to Buscalan Village.
Tabuk City Route: Take a Victory Liner bus bound for Tabuk City which takes about 12 hours from Kamias Terminal. From Tabuk City, take a jeepney or a bus headed for Bontoc and get-off at Bugnay Junction. Finally, hike another 2 hours to Buscalan Village. This was the my route when I first went to Buscalan.
2. For a guide, you could contact Kuya Gilbert (0908 479 2012).
3. For more information about the tattoo, you could check out my previous post “A Memento From The Mambabatok of Buscalan”
4. More about Kalinga
5. Like Biyaherong Barat on Facebook..
6. Follow @BiyaherongBarat on Twitter
7. Be safe and happy travels.