"My blunt brain due to being deprived of sleep was instantly reset to sight-seeing mode after it hibernated for a while when I started seeing this wonderful view that temporarily locked my jaw."

It took me 5 waking-up-at-night events, moderate to severe anxiety, 3 sleepless nights in my hotel in Bontoc and Sagada (tourist towns of Mt. Province) and 7 rounds of mild acute panic attacks in the four corners of my cheap hotel room before I was able to convince myself to pursue this dream destination.

Scenic Bontoc-Tabuk Road: Near Sadanga-Tinglayan Boundary

Waking up early became so easy for a person like me who turns the morning to a snoring holiday during days-out-of-work where life starts at high noon and not on the usual 7am or 8am finger print disclosure to biometrics. The reason is, the emotion was mixing different elements that I can't contain prompting me to become insomniac.

At 5:00 am, I woke up! That was unbelievable on my part that I was able to do it (to wake up early). It made me think that I can be an early bird during backpacking. 

The main road of #BONTOC


FAST FACTS: The capital town of Mountain Province, #Bontoc hosts majestic ancestral rice terraces, a prehistoric village, burial caves and the melting pot of culture in the province. / Photo: Palali Rice Terraces @ Alab Oriente, Bontoc
under the dawn was devoid of noisy vehicles making me feel I owned the street. I walked along the street on my way to the area where mini-buses bound for Kalinga are parked. It was an unhealthy cardiovascular work out for a sleepless solo backpacker in the person of me. I saw several people who are early birds at the town market wearing bonnets and thick jackets probably ukay-ukay.

Bontoc-Tabuk Road: Sadanga, Mt. Province Segment

I was the first person to enter the bus bound for KALINGA


FAST FACTS: Kalinga is believed to be the home of the last headhunters of the Cordilleras.

Photo: Bugnay Village @ Tinglayan, Kalinga
Province. I took the front seat just behind the driver. This will be my first time to enter the land of the last headhunters, for real.

Several minutes after, half of the bus was filled while two white American backpackers occupied the back seats. 

Someday, I'll also backpack here with my motorbike

The road has to pass through some RICE TERRACES


Click here to view the latest articles under the topic *Rice Terraces*.

Photo: Bugnay Rice Terraces @ Tinglayan, Kalinga
. Some rice paddies have been concreted to become a road. Should I wish to snap a photo, it was just not easy to get a good angle.

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Bontoc-Tabuk RoadBontoc-Tabuk RoadBontoc-Tabuk RoadBontoc-Tabuk Road

There are some parts of the route where the road bed is sinking. During this time, some bridges are under construction and vehicles have to pass one at a time with caution.

I remember a narrow part of this mischievous highway wherein our bus has to stop for several minutes to allow another bus to pass even though it was very far yet.

After successfully traversing out of Sadanga, the two white American backpackers at the back shouted under a controlled volume uttering words of amazement while seeing the beautiful view that welcomed us, first-timers, in Kalinga. We're now in Bugnay, Tinglayan, Kalinga!

A Grand welcome in Kalinga, finally!

My blunt brain due to being deprived of sleep was instantly reset to sight-seeing mode after it hibernated for a while seeing this wonderful view that temporarily locked my jaw. The first ever village I have seen in Kalinga is Bugnay. I alighted from the bus and finally stepped to a Kalinga soil for the very first time!

But now, what am I doing here? In fact, I don't know where to go now. All I know is, a legendary tribal tattoo artist is living in the village at the mountains of Buscalan but where is Buscalan? Where shall I go and what are the things that happened to me during my stop-over in Bugnay? I have to say I met tattooed women face to face for the first time! Whoahhh!! I soliloquized, "Is this Kalinga? What an enchanting, somewhat unusual, exotic province where all I can see are festivals to my eyes! Fascinating!" But then again, I have to look for the trail to Buscalan. I hope I can find it and ask someone for help, and for direction. I am alone, and if I have to hike alone, I will. /to be continued...


Bekigan Rice Terraces: Cultural Heritage in Sadanga, Mt. Province

TEASER: "...not every beautiful beach should be crowded, not every mountain should be hiked and for the case of Bekigan Rice Terraces, not every rice terraces should be flocked by visitors."
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Bugnay Rice Terraces and that Lucky Village in Kalinga

TEASER: "The Kalinga prima facie evidence in terms of beauty should not be a subject for debate because if I were to be the judge, the evidence is too strong to put the case to rest."

Disclaimer: The road as shown and described in this post is the condition on March 2013. Road construction is under way so the description here may be different from your experience after March 2013 since the landscape and condition of places constantly change by time.

Sadanga #TownExploration Series

Map showing the Location of #Sadanga

Click map to view latest articles covering Mountain Province


Challengingly Sweet Journey to Licuan-Baay, Abra

TEASER: "No complaints. I am loving it not that I want to do it so that I have something to write but because it activates my brain cells to think, analyze and think again."

Licuan-Baay: an Introduction to the Town-of-Gold

TEASER: "The scope of Licuan-Baay is extensive and expansive. You need to get a guide beforehand who is familiar enough of the town. Reaching the barangays and communities of the Tingguian (Itneg) people is tricky"

My First Habal-Habal Ride... in Search for the House of the gods

TEASER: "The ride was full of adventure. I spotted a lot of waterfalls, hanging bridges, and the endless charm of the towering mountains with the Amburayan River flowing in between them."

Sablan, Benguet | Surviving the Threats of Thick Fog

TEASER: "A look at the driver's area and seeing the road ahead, I can not see the road and everything has just turned to white! This gave me fear."

San Manuel, Pangasinan | The Backride Tour

TEASER: "How I love the experience of getting familiar to a place while riding at the back of a pick-up. I was able to see the left and the right side of the road and smile at the driver of the vehicle coming next to us."

Cervantes, Ilocos Sur | It's All Fog at the Historical Bessang Pass

TEASER: "I came here under the scorching heat of the sun in the extended summer for June but reaching the place seems like it is already December..."

Campo Bulag - Bantay, Ilocos Sur | Visiting the Military on Fire

TEASER: "Entering the area is like you're in a hidden forest. It is enclosed with fences and a lot of trees planted. It is not an exposed place. It's just really in a secret place."

Narvacan, Ilocos Sur | My C2 Experience in Sulvec Bay

TEASER: "I didn’t ask about the price at first because I was expecting it to have the usual price. However, we have opened the drinks and there’s no way of turning back."



Born and Raised in Vigan, Philippines. Hardcore Ilocano-Cordilleran. Professional Nurse on Weekdays. Coffee Addict. Travel Blogger in Between. For collaboration or partnership, email your business proposal at admin@edmaration.com.

Post A Comment:


  1. Get a Tatoo bro! Hehehe. Yeah, waking up early is really tiresome but too see that view of Kalinga, it's all wort it. Hey you just remind me to wake up early as well, on next weekend escapade. :)

  2. Sky Summer | Oo nga bro worth it. Iba ang ganda ng Kalinga sa umaga na malamig-lamig pa. :)


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