"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."

That day, I defied the common belief that Buscalan is all about getting a tattoo from Fang-Od. In Buscalan. there's great joy from simple things; there are great experiences from a short moment; there is ample food from little amphibians, represented by frogs.

This set of frogs jumped to my stomach

Buscalan is a village where every visitor has no right to complain, even Justine Bieber. This is a village for resiliency. Residents here can survive with ease without the presence of continuous supply of water, power (to charge their cellphone battery) and Wi-Fi.

In terms of food, this is not a problem here. They till their fields with crops that supply them food. Sometimes, they get frogs and cook them. Yummm.

Preparing for the food

This piece you are reading now is a documentation of how I spent my first dinner and night in Buscalan. This is not the usual dinner I experience often in many restaurants. This dinner has a heart, a soul. It is very special that it is not easy to move this to the trash section of my memory.

My local host showed me what is our meal for that night. He showed me what's inside that silverware he is handling. I saw frogs.

Frogs, destined to be eaten

Frogs aren't new to me. I eat frogs in my hometown #VIGAN


FAST FACTS: Vigan is the only UNESCO World Heritage City in the Philippines.

PHOTO: A girl handles an image of San Pablo during the city's Longganisa Festival Street Dancing.
, actually. This is a childhood food. I grew up eating frogs.

As a frog-eater, I know where and when is the right time to capture them based on my childhood experiences. We get them from the pond at our backyard created by a heavy downpour of rain. We get them at night wherein they turn noisy and active because these frogs are nocturnal.

But here in Buscalan, there is a twist and it was not present in my childhood experiences. My thinking is that these frogs dwell in swamps, ponds or any stagnant temporary accumulation of water. 

Frogs on the plate

In Buscalan, never have I seen a pond, let alone a swamp. But since I saw flooded rice fields, my theory is that these frogs reside there. At least, my ignorance that these edible frogs are only present in the lowlands has ended. I just killed that kind of ignorance and buried it to the trash section of my memory.

No frogs here. They have jumped to our stomach.

This is my first night in Kalinga, indeed memorable. I spent dinner with my local host's family and some other strangers-turned-friends I met for the first time.

This was the best meal ever. It was not just about the frog but it was about the essence of the dinner. I ate the local way. We sat on the floor with the food therein. We created a circle with the food at the center. Until...


The power supply wasn't able to wait for us to finish our dinner. We spent that moment with a candlelight and a chilly air. This is a moment where there is no room for complaining. This is the life here. It's simple, kind of deprived yet no one seems to complain. 

It was that dinner where my heart is pumping joyously; not that I am lucky to have a continuous supply of power in my place but because I am learning to appreciate the little things.

Sometimes, we only get to appreciate the value of a thing when it's gone. We also tend to realize the good deeds of a person when he dies. In Buscalan, I learned the value of little things around that without these little things, there will be no big lessons in life that make us better persons. I always tell this, I travel to learn. I treat it as a form of education that our present curriculum can not teach.

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. All is well.

The talk went long, even longer than street conversations under street lights. The darkness cloistered us in one place. It bound us as one soul. It was a long night of exchanging stories of victories and heartaches. Then we called it a night. As the candlelight is about to be defeated by the darkness, I searched for that plate-of-frog. I should have picked another piece only to find out that the plate is already empty.

The next day I woke up and what happened was disappointing yet beautiful to the contrary. /to be continued...


[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

[TINGLAYAN] 17 Great Memories + First Time Encounters in Buscalan, Kalinga

TEASER: "Buscalan rose to fame because of Fang-od. But Buscalan is more than Fang-od. It is more than the tribal tattoo."
| 5 | 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


[BATAC] Batac Empanada | So What Makes it Special?

TEASER: "I have to say that I was so tired and had no breakfast at all but this 30-peso empanada gave me the energy."

[VIGAN] Exotic Vigan Food | Edmar is Certified Frog-Eater

TEASER: "If you don't have a strong stomach, tasting it would let you vomit. But I must, say, it is all in the mind. It is 'safe' to eat anyway."

[NAGA] Camarines Sur | I Ate Squid After 13 Years (Bicol Express Squid)

TEASER: "I thought I will never eat squid again but my travel infection is manifesting that conquering your fear and eating the food you never attempted to taste (or eat again) is part of the symptoms."

[VILLASIS] I Didn't Know there's Tupig in Villasis, Pangasinan

TEASER: "Villasis is booming, many industries are flourishing, trade and commerce are doing well, but tupig, one little cheap food remains to soar high with pride from the community."

[BANGUED] Peace for Abra | Roasted Cow for Peace

TEASER: "The roasted cow served as a sign for unity, it was only one yet it can feed many which can simply be related to the goal of P.E.A.C.E. for Abra group to unite the people in one with peace and harmony."

[SAN MANUEL] Pangasinan | Witnessing a Bayanihan Cooking Culture

TEASER: "I know it was not easy to sacrifice a time, your strength and effort but it was so enlightening that what I was seeing at their faces are marks of smile and sincerity rather than stress or expression of being tired."

[SAN FERNANDO] Halo-Halo de Iloko Balay - Refreshed in La Union

TEASER: "...this blue-colored old house-turned-restaurant has many surprises to keep that can only be experienced if you try to visit this restaurant."

[SAN FERNANDO] Halo-Halo Inside a Buko in Two La Union Restaurants

TEASER: "I can say that this two restaurants have come a long way and they are topping the list in terms of restaurants with nice halo-halo."



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. I want to try this. Hahaha! Astig!

  2. Hindi ko gusto itsura nila lalo na sa first photo but I've tasted one sa isang exotic restaurant in Laguna. Tasted like chicken haha!

  3. Katherine de la Cruz | Ya! That's why it's best to eat frogs at dark haha!


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