Monday, December 12, 2016

Ink with the master and Christmas sharing (Buscalan Village, Tinglayan, Kalinga)

I was planning to go on Solo trip before the year ends that's why when my Boss confirmed that we can have a break on thanksgiving (US holiday) I immediately posted to some inquiry to Facebook group Tattooed by Apo Whang-Od.
I was actually PM'd by someone asking if I would like to join them as they will also do an early Christmas sharing to the kids of Buscalan.
The whole package is worth PHP 2800.
8:00 PM departed manila

6:20 AM Arrived at Banaue rice terraces.
It was cold and rainy morning and ta-dah! I was on shorts.
We ordered our breakfast.
Had to kill time taking photos while waiting for our food.
7:20 AM order finally arrived - We're dead hungry. Please be advised that you have to be patient waiting for your food especially if there's a lot of guests.
7:40 AM depart for Buscalan

We started cruising the two-way narrow concrete road.
There's no room for driver error as it is on the side of the cliff, one mistake could turn a happy trip into a nightmare.
There was no view that morning because verything was covered by fog and it rained.
We were stuck for few hours because there was a landslide along the way.
We were already behind our schedule but good thing the group maintained the positive vibes all throughout.
12:00 NN road was repaired but only passable for people only.
We prepared to leave and brought the important stuff only.

12:20 PM we started walking
12:30 PM rode a jeep to Bontoc
Fare: PHP 50.00

1:00 PM Arrived to Bontoc
From there we rode another jeep - top load.
I really thought i will not be able to experience it since we have a van but looks like the stars has aligned and there I was enjoying the view and the cold mountain breeze on my face. Who would've thought that a bad experience could turn out fun.
2:00 PM left for Buscalan
Fare: PHP 100.00

We started cruising concrete narrow road, every turn made our hearts skip a beat.
View is so surreal
Couldn't help but to stare in amusement and it was really beautiful.
It felt like the heaven opens for us.
No need to post process photos
Green mountains is so magnificent as if it was perfectly crafted by God
The place is clean too I did not saw any single trash.
Sunflowers abundance is highly noticeable too.
Our experience was very authentic as we get to experience the locals way of transportation

4:30 PM arrived to jump off with stop overs
Started trekking
It might look easy because there is a trail but do not be deceived this is not a walk in the park.
We did a quick turn to the falls halfway our destination - we were all tired but the water was so cold and relaxing at the same time.
5:30 PM registration
6:00 PM settled down

It is already dark when we arrived to the house that we'll spend the night
They have electricity at night but don't know if it stays until morning.
Pigs are like dogs to them and i like petting them especially on giving them a tummy rub.
8:00 PM No dinner yet.
Decided to take a bath. Water is freezing
No shower - please do not expect a lot. Please live a simple life back there.
After dinner, our guide called Beng-Beng, a 15 y/o mangbabatok in the village. She's not the youngest but she's been practicing it for a very long time already. She is one of Apo Whang Od's granddaughter.
I personally chose the crab design as it represent me as a traveler.
It was painful. if you experience the pain on machine made tattoo then double it.
She had to do my tattoo twice to make sure the ink is properly placed under my skin.
After tattoo they put virgin coconut oil to alleviate the swelling.
I paid PHP 500.00 pesos for my tattoo.


6:00 AM Breakfast, my arm is swelling but I am happy.
How life can be so simple
There's so many villagers already practicing batok and its nice to know that they are keeping the tradition.

9:00 AM We finally saw the master artist
Seeing her smile is one of a kind experience
Saw grace and elyang as well, they were both busy doing tattoo.
The number of people on queue is crazy
Felt little bad for Apo Whang Od
Had to steal few moments to have this once is a lifetime photo with her
2:00 PM no signature yet
Apo Wang Od took a quick lunch.

I guess it's better to visit the place on weekdays but if you chose to go on a weekend then you have to pack tons of patience as the guides are not well organized when arranging people for tattoo and I think they need to work more on that to avoid any commotion.

There was a heated convo between groups but per whang od (as translated) those who are patient will have a prize.

Before apo started tattooing me, she sounded upset and pointing to my tattoo that i got last night. The guide translated and he said that apo is asking what did i put after the session as it was scabbing. I told them they used coconut oil but i put petroleum jelly this morning.
I felt that apo is scolding me but of course  i Couldn't understand it lol.
Petroleum don't work on me so i used baby oil and Myra e lotion after few days (I recommend use Myra e lotion over baby oil)

2:42 PM done with wang ods signature
She smiled
No she giggled
Paid PHP 100.00

When we get back - we started the outreach program and then packed our bags to leave.
We may not understand the kids but we saw the glow in their eyes, everyone was very excited opening their loot bags.
3:30 PM trek down
4:45 PM arrived to the parking area waited for the rest of the group.

Photo ops
5:30 PM off to Baguio
Scary because road is zero visibility.
Kudos to the drivers for keeping us safe

11:50 PM Baguio late dinner at Good taste restaurant.

1:30 AM depart for manila
6:45 AM manila

1. Bring something for Apo
2. Pack light
3. Respect the locals
4. Respect nature
5. Bring wipes
6. Waterproof your valuables
7. Remind Apo/tattoo artist to change thorns

Tattoo progress:
Watch our Kalinga tour here

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