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Kalinga is a silent sanctuary for the consummate traveler looking for adventure and to reconnect with indigenous culture. Found along the grand cordillera mountain range at the northern region of Luzon island in the Philippines. it offers unimaginable beauty for those who are willing traverse its peaks and acclimate to its customs.
HOW TO GET THERE
Travel by plane to Tuguegarao Airport (TUG) from three of the main cities of the country: Manila, Cebu, and Davao. There are also charted flight to and from Basco (Batanes), which will serve as a great way to connect Kalinga to your trip.
Carriers: PAL Express and Cebu Pacific, Private chartered flights
Operating Hours: Open 7 days a week with flights 2 hours per day. From the airport take a 45 minute ride by bus or van to Tabuk, Kalinga.
Head straight there from Manila-Tabuk riding a Victory Liner bus which takes about 12 hours. .
You can also opt to take an 8-10 hour bus ride from Manila headed to Banaue. The Ohayami air-conditioned buses have daily trips to Banaue that leaves at 9pm. From Banaue, take a 3 hour jeep to Bontoc headed for Tabuk (the municipal capital of Kalinga Province).
Alternatively, consider taking a Tuguegarao bound route and at the terminal take a van bound for Tabuk.
If you’re interested in a serious long drive then the panpacific highway is a straightforward 12 hour drive.
Gathered from previous travels of Living Asia Channel correspondents and fellow explorers, with cooperation of local tour guides, is a collection of information on various Asian countries and its provinces to make traveling easier for the common tourist.
The roads heading to Kalinga are already paved but those in and around the province are less so, be ready for a dusty paths. The destinations in Kalinga are at least a few minutes away by jeep and offer a different experience for those daring to ride on the top of the jeep.
Because the access is at times difficult to reach by car, some areas are more easily accessible by bike. Some treking points can be cut short on bike as well.
Where to Stay
Tabuk has small inns and economy hotels to stay at, as well as a few hostels in Tinglayan where some of the main nature treks begin.
Dry season starts from November till April but are wet for the rest of the year.
WHAT TO DO
- Enjoy the quiet small town comforts of Tabuk Town. The capital is certainly busy but the still a far cry from an urban jungle.
- Plunge into the Chico River for some white water rafting. Classified as a Class 3 - Class 4 level it’s for more advanced rafters.
- Spot the Mt. Matingoy the sleeping giant, and have them tell you the legend of the sleeping beauty of Tinglayan who turned into Mt.Matingoy.
- Race up the Rice Terraces and be part of its two thousand year old legacy
- Splash into the basin of the Palan-ah falls in the Village of Tulgao, Tinglayan. A 100 foot high waterfall the trek to this spot is grueling, with a moderate amount of fitness
needed. Getting there involves hitching by motorbike ride to the trek point. THe trek itself can take 2 hours depending on your pace. Prepare physically and mentally as
the experience is rewarding. We highly advise that you acquire a local guide to help you not only with the trail but also to maneuver through some of the tribal customs.
- Capture some of the best landscapes the Philippines has to offer. Form the terraces to the people to the town atmosphere, Kalinga is rich in culture worthy of every shot.
Other Notable Sites
Tingli Falls of Lubuagan
Local Customs and Culture
The Kalinga are some of the most resilient people. In relative isolation, they have maintained their traditions throughout the centuries resulting in a strong sense of tribal filiality and warrior culture. They are humble people, soft spoken but also equally proud of their heritage and way of life.
The Kalinga have grown to welcome tourists openly. However visitors are encouraged to respect the local customs. Most locals are endeared to travelers who attempt to speak their language. A few phrases like in Butbut may earn you some rapport with the locals:
• hughuicat! – Good morning!
• Manjaman ah – Thank you!
• Surud – Friend/Brother!
• Acho’a si-a. – For you.
What to Eat?
Unoy Red Native heirloom rice harvested from their rice terrines (seasonal)
The food in Kalinga province resembles much of the highland food in South East Asia.
Fresh vegetables blanched or boiled with ginger served with small portions of meat. It also has an assortment of sticky rice dishes that are ideal for trails and are meant to last the day.
Kalinga’s highland coffee is slowly gaining ground as more and more people are discovering its flavor. They brewed in batches and are served by the ganta or salop, which is usually measured by the can. This is a place for coffeelovers.
• Kalinga Province Foundation Day, Month
- Cultural shows
- Trade fairs
• Laga Festival in Lubuagan
• Celebration of the weaving tradition and the Laga (cloth) made by the town which
now primarily supplies the rest of the province.
• Ullalim Festival (Kalinga Day), Feb 13-16
- Cultural festival
- Sports fests
- Trade fairs
- indigenous food banquets
• Salidummay Festival in Lubuagan, Kalinga
- Cultural presentations specific to the people of this municipality.
- ethnic songs, dances and rituals
• Matagoan Festival, Tabuk, June 16
- Celebrates the eight sub-tribes of Tabuk with cultural presentations
(Biga, Tobog, allac, Malbong, Naneng, Gaddang, Guilayon, Colminga)
- Dornat - renews the Bodong ties between tribes.
- Matagoan Run a 6-kilometer marathon from Bulanao up to the municipal hall.
What to Bring Home:
• Unoy Red Native heirloom rice
• Woven baskets
• Laga Woven Cloth in Lubuagan(bags and sarongs)
Silang-bituwon Cloth is among the most luxurious of the their patterns and may also be the most difficult to make. Classic black and red patterns are broken by the shapes of a star to symbolize the dignity of death.
• Kalinga Highland Coffee
• Decorative knives and shields
• Clay potters
• Wooden carvings
• Consider getting a native tattoo from Whang Od
• Soft Brooms or Walis Tambo Mountain tiger grass and bamboo