"Buscalan rose to fame because of Fang-od. But Buscalan is more than Fang-od. It is more than the tribal tattoo."

Thanks to blogging! For now, it has unselfishly enabled me to store travel memories close to forever. We don't know what might happen in the future. Of course, there's nothing permanent, even this internet and the cloud database...

The mountains that hide Buscalan


...but now that I still have the chance to share my experiences through this kind of platform, I will, and Buscalan occupies a piece of my heart and I want to keep those memories to last a lifetime through this piece I am writing now, on this blog. Now, allow me to share to you the great memories Buscalan has offered me. In Buscalan, I can't afford to forget the wonderful memories and the moment I spent with the people and the amazing culture that made me love the village. The following are the sweetest memories arranged randomly.

(1) KUYA CHARLIE AND THE NOSE FLUTE

First time to see (and hear) a nose flute


Kuya Charlie was my local host when I was in Buscalan. He showed me how beautiful the village where he lives. He cooked food for me. He welcomed me with warm open arms.

The most memorable is when he played a nose flute. Yes, nose flute, it creates musical sound by the air coming out from the nose. On how Kuya Charlie did it is a thing I can not explain. I never tried. I was already happy encountering a nose flute for the first time. Hearing the beautiful and relaxing sound was a bonus.

(2) THE WATERFALLS IN BUSCALAN

A practical way to refresh from the long hike


After a long, long tiring hike to Buscalan, this waterfall is a great and wonderful stop. It was like an aromatic coffee that awakens the senses while fighting the boredom of the night.

This time, this is the centerpiece of the energy-depleting adventure. This waterfall invites everyone before the final ascend to Buscalan.

(3) A SCHOOL AT THE HEAVENS

Buscalan Elementray School


The village of Buscalan occupies the top portion of the mountain. You can, in awe, see the surrounding lower mountains, the rice terraces from a perfect vantage point and the morning fog that is creating an enclosing magical wall around the village.

When the pupils grow old, how I wish they will forever appreciate the school they used to attend and spend the day to study the Philippine geography; and be very proud that their school is located at the heavens.

(4) LITTLE ACE HIKERS

Buscalan's little expert mountain trekkers, uphill or downhill.


The children of Buscalan are authentic mountain climbers and hikers. What's noticeable is they don't just hike, they run. They run fast as they go down the village using both the concrete stairway from and to their heaven and the rough ones too with ease to visit their rice terraces. After a day's work at the fields, they hike up again to their home fulfilled, happy and strong.

They are the real hikers and the trend continues even when they get old because people here have long lives. 90-year-old folks still do hike, pound their crops and go to the fields. Actually, one 93-year-old woman here can even give you a memorable intricate tattoo without using eyeglasses.

(5) NEW FRIENDS I MET

New Friends slash New Family slash New Housemates


Part of the great memories I collected in Buscalan is meeting a new set of friends. These people became my instant housemates. We have just skipped the 'stranger zone' and went automatically to the friend zone. Better, we became like one big family with a home. That is the kind of family that only Buscalan can give.

(6)THE SOLO HIKE

The memorable journey to the unknown


If there's something I will never ever forget, that would be my SOLO HIKE TO BUSCALAN WITHOUT A GUIDE

The Day I Hiked Solo to Buscalan, Kalinga (Part 1/2)

TEASER: "I am soliloquizing under the scorching strike of the sun that is adding more agony to my weary self. I hope I am not yet lost. But if ever I'm lost, at least I'm lost in a paradise."
. I have experienced a lot of physical and emotional bruises upon doing this. It has left a permanent mark in my heart, a permanent memory.

My destination was uncertain. I am going to somewhere I have heard but I do not know. That's the magic of Buscalan, magnetic, and I want to experience again the joy and success arising from uncertainties.

(7) BUSCALAN'S MOST ICONIC SIGN BOARD

Plastered at Fang-od's house


It was misspelled. But definitely, you can never be wrong visiting Buscalan. Meeting a living icon is the essence of visiting Buscalan, not this sign board.

I have only seen 2 sign boards here by far. This one and the Buscalan Elementary School. When I first saw this sign board, it was like: "Oh my God! Oh my God! This is Buscalan! This is Buscalan's version of welcome arch without the name of the place written on it!"

(8) SLAUGHTERHOUSE

This man prepares the food.


I can not also forget this villager who slaughtered a native swine inside Fang-od's house. People here are naturally skillful: from hiking, tattooing, blacksmith-ing and this one, slaughtering. In the city where I live, people enroll to slaughtering training school to learn. I think here, they learn it by heart from the culture that continually educates them. Wishing I may learn this too someday. But my instructor-of-choice would definitely be this man, or anyone from Buscalan.

(9) MY FIRST KALINGA COFFEE

My first cup of Kalinga coffee


If I am not mistaken, this is an Arabica coffee grown in the highlands. For such case, it is also my first time to taste an Arabica coffee.

It was Fang-od who served me this cup of coffee. Of course, I won't forget that moment. A cultural legend and trend setter is serving a conformist like me. Whew! Fang-od offered me something and that is something beyond what I could ask for.

(10) NATIVE PIG, FREELY ROAMING

Right to liberty


If detention for livestock is a crime, in Buscalan, only a little to none is guilty. The livestock here enjoy their right to liberty, and the right to travel. No detention. They share an equal right with humans. This is a village for everyone: pig, chicken, human.

(11) TEMPORARY HOME

My home in Buscalan


My local host in Buscalan and the people that reside there did not make me feel that I am away from my family. Truth to be told, this place is a totally different set-up from the place where I live but the community has made me feel like I am not a stanger. I felt like I was a member of the tribe. I was lucky. 

(12) BLACKSMITHING IN BUSCALAN

Man-of-Stone


Buscalan rose to fame because of Fang-od. But Buscalan is more than Fang-od. It is more than the tribal tattoo. Roaming around the village is free. So while being in a queue to get a tattoo, explore the village and see the blacksmiths, up there. Blacksmithing here is an industry that helps bring in money for the villagers.

(13) EATING FROGS IN THE MOUNTAIN

Ready for the Frog Adobo (adobong palaka)


Eating frog is not new to me. I grew up eating frogs in my hometown. Before I encountered this, I thought these frogs are only seen in the lowlands where swamps and ponds appear after the rain. During rainy season at home, our backyard becomes noisy as frogs start to appear and shout ko-kak, ko-kak, ko-kak until after midnight.

I have to say I am surprised when I saw this, highland frogs. I am just wondering where did they get it. I didn't see any swamp, pond or wetlands except the well-irrigated rice terraces at some parts of the village.

(14) THAT ACCIDENT

Typical Buscalan House


Many houses in Buscalan are piled-dwellings, elevated from the ground. So everyone needs to step onto the stairs, even children. During my stay, I was surprised when I heard panicky sounds coupled with people rushing to the direction of the source of the sound. I was curious. I followed them only to find out that a little girl has fallen from the house to the ground. The girl was unconscious. There was no hospital there. I went to the center of the helpless crowd. At the middle of the thick build up of people was the little girl cuddled by her mom crying on the ground. I checked her pulse. It was beating. Great news.

I asked her mother if the little girl vomited. The mother told me her daughter didn't vomit. I checked her extremities and it seems like there are no signs of injury aside probably that her brain was jarred (concussion) by the impact of falling. The girl was still unconsious that time but she was breathing. One thing I wasn't sure is if the girl had spine injury. I hope she is fine now.

(15) CANDLELIGHT DINNER

The cold, black dinner


Power in Buscalan is not infinite. It has limits warranting us to have our first dinner as housemates in the presence of a candlelight. We can no longer decipher the shape of the frog and we're eating it as if it was a real chicken. This is indeed memorable.

[Read the RELATED ARTICLE

[TINGLAYAN] Chewed, Swallowed Frogs in Buscalan"

TEASER:"We talked with joy behind the darkness. That dinner unleashed the real us. The candlelight was a silent witness of our fears, happiness and life's perspectives."
]

(16) IRRIGATION SYSTEM

Buscalan's irrigated parcels of land


The tribesmen of Buscalan are the genius type of architects and engineers. Imagine that, they have designed non-conventional ways to keep their rice fields flooded. Clever. The source of the water is something to ponder about for a first time visitor.

(17) THE TATTOO ARTIST

Fang-od


She is the reason why I visited Buscalan and I won't forget that; there will be no regret. Because of her, I was able to learn more about Buscalan and she is the reason why I was able to discover the other 16 things above. After all, she is the reason why I have these memories now. She brought me here. I saw Buscalan. I gained 17 beautiful memories. Thank you Fang-od. /to be continued...

*BUSCALAN SOLO INVASION SUB-SERIES | 1

[TINGLAYAN] The Day I Hiked Solo to Buscalan, Kalinga - Part 1/2


TEASER: "I am soliloquizing under the scorching strike of the sun that is adding more agony to my weary self. I hope I am not yet lost. But if ever I'm lost, at least I'm lost in a paradise."
| 2

[TINGLAYAN] The Day I Hiked Solo to Buscalan, Kalinga - Part 2/2


TEASER: "So I thought the hike is over, but as I took a turn on that road, I saw the other side of the mountain and it doesn't look like I am getting any closer. It goes farther, and farther..."
| 3

[TINGLAYAN] Fang-Od (Whang-Od): The Last Tribal Tattoo Artist of Kalinga


TEASER: "She is unwittingly ending a tradition she is not supposed to end. She's ending the tradition not by her choice but by the call of our ever changing society."
| 4 | 5

[TINGLAYAN] Chewed, Swallowed Frogs in Buscalan, Kalinga

TEASER: "We talked with joy behind the darkness. That dinner unleashed the real us. The candlelight was a silent witness of our fears, happiness and life's perspectives."
| 6

[TINGLAYAN] There was No Sunrise in Buscalan, Kalinga

TEASER: "So the sun didn't shine that morning. However, I was able to understand the other side of the story."
| 7

[TINGLAYAN] Buscalan Rice Terraces Kissed the Clouds

TEASER: "This is my story about the Buscalan Rice Terraces. At first there is a foreplay with the clouds but it always ends up with a satisfactory finish."
| 8

[TINGLAYAN] Blacksmith Kingdom of Kalinga: Turning Stones into Fire

TEASER: "If there is no concept of poverty, there shall be no poverty. But poverty has been introduced by greedy kingdoms while the little kingdom dwellers of the mountains recognized it's presence."

Tinglayan #TownExploration Series

Map showing the Location of #Tinglayan

Click map to view latest articles covering Kalinga


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Axact

EDMAR GUQUIB

Born and Raised in Vigan, Philippines. Hardcore Ilocano. Genuine Bigueño. Sucker of Long Land Trips. Loves the Highlands. Professional Nurse on Weekdays. Coffee Addict. Travel Blogger in Between. For sponsorship, advertising, event invites and collaborations email me at edmaration@gmail.com.

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2 comments:

  1. You're lucky bro, to meet Fang od! Nagpa tatoo ka ba? I wish I have the luxury of time to visit this remote areas in the Philippines.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sky Summer | How I wish I got one bro, but time was running out and I didn't have that extra day to wait for my turn. So I opted to go home but it was alright! :)

    ReplyDelete

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