Buscalan, Kalinga (2016 Travel Guide)

Home of Apo Whang Od: How To Get To Buscalan, Kalinga In A Limited Budget (2016 Travel Guide)

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Buscalan, Kalinga is an unusual travel destination in the heart of the Cordilleras that is gaining popularity because of Apo Whang Od, the last mambabatok (traditional tattooist) of the province. Just last February 2016, I visited Buscalan for two days and one night (2D1N) to get a bâtok (traditional tattoo). read my travelogue

In this travel guide, I will share to you how to get to Buscalan, Kalinga and get your bâtok even when you are on a limited budget. I’ll give you a travel guide that will cost you more or less PHP 3,000.00, all-in-expense.


Buscalan, Kalinga (Travel Guide) - Top Load
Top-loading on a jeep from Sagada bound to Bontoc (Photo Courtesy of Melvin Estolano)


How To Get To Buscalan, Kalinga

There are several ways to get to Buscalan, home of the Butbut people and home of Apo Whang Od:

  • Manila-Tabuk-Buscalan Route
  • Manila-Baguio-Bontoc-Buscalan Route
  • Manila-Banaue-Bontoc-Buscalan Route

My friends and I traveled from Manila to Banaue, Ifugao via Ohayami Trans. We left Manila at 10 PM and arrived at Banaue around 7 AM (average travel time MNL-BANAUE is 10 hours). We had a one-day side trip going to Sagada, but if you opt to go straight to Buscalan there are vans that can take you to Bontoc. From Bontoc, ride a bus bound to Tabuk that passes through Tinglayan, the town where Buscalan belongs. From there, you could walk all your way up. However, we opted to ride a habal-habal (motorcycle) until the Turning Point since it was raining when we arrived and the mud were foot-deep. Beyond the Turning Point, there is no other way but to trek your way to Buscalan.


Route | Cost | Travel Time

MNL-Banaue (Bus) | 450.00 | 10 hours

Banaue-Bontoc (Van) | 150.00 | 3 hours

Bontoc-Tinglayan (Bus) | 80.00 | 1 hour


Buscalan, Kalinga (2016 travel guide) - Habal-habal
The danger of riding a habal-habal over a ragged mountain (Photo Courtesy of Leah Caballero)

Pro-tip: Book your ticket at least one week before. Buses operating in Banaue (or even Tabuk) have limited number of trips and often gets fully booked during weekends.


Where To Stay In Buscalan

Homestays are the only accommodation available in Buscalan. Many families re-purposed their houses to accommodate guests. The price is fixed at PHP 250.00/person/night, this includes cooked rice and unlimited local coffee. There are stores around Buscalan where you can buy food but the choices are limited. So, if you are really picky with food, I suggest that you bring canned goods.

We stayed on a second floor of a house that is only a minute away from Whang Od’s workshop. It was clean, offers privacy, and has a spacious porch. Plus, it is near a sari-sari store.


Buscalan, Kalinga (2016 travel guide) - Homestay
The homestay where we stayed with its spacious porch (Photo Courtesy of Leah Caballero)

Pro-tip: Get a local guide beforehand. It will save you a lot of hassles, they will arrange everything for you from accommodation to side trips to your queue for your tattoo.

Contact our guides, Gilbert and Rustom, through 09084792012.


Sample Itinerary (2D1N)
Day 1: Travel Day + Waiting Day
  • 0700: Arrival at Banaue
  • 0900: Depart for Bontoc
  • 1200: Arrival at Bontoc | Depart for Tinglayan
  • 1330: Arrival at Turning Point | Trek
  • 1430: Arrival at Buscalan | Lunch
  • 1500: Free time
  • 2000: Dinner
  • 2100: Lights Out


We arrived at Banaue around 7 AM, decided to take our breakfast there and depart at around 9 AM. Our first day was a side trip to Sagada but for the benefit of those who want to go straight to Buscalan, you can travel to Bontoc, catch a bus bound for Tabuk and alight in Tinglayan. Be mindful that the last trip of Tabuk-bound bus in Bontoc is 12 noon.


Buscalan, Kalinga (2016 Travel Guide) - Trek
An hour trek to reach Buscalan, Kalinga (Photo Courtesy of Leah Caballero)


After an hour of trekking from the Turning Point in Tinglayan, we reached Buscalan, we had our (late) lunch and rested a bit. Rustom, our guide, informed us that we were scheduled to be tattooed the following morning. That meant we have the rest of the day to roam around and do whatever we wanted. I decided to visit Whang Od, Grace and Elyang (Whang Od’s granddaughters), and watch them tattoo other visitors. Afterwards, I decided to just rest and bum around. My friends, on the other hand, decided to visit Palan-ah Falls and Hot Springs in Tulgao West.


Buscalan, Kalinga (2016 travel guide) - Itinerary
Bummed the rest of the day (Photo Courtesy of Kat Fernandez)


Buscalan, Kalinga (2016 travel guide) - Falls
Our guide, Rustom leading the way to Palan-ah Falls (Photo Courtesy of Leah Caballero)

Pro-tip: Instead of bringing candies, which has been the practice, the village is requesting guests to bring school supplies, fruits, and dental equipment instead. Children are having dental problems from too much sugar.


Day 2: Tattoo Day + Departure
  • 0600: Wake-up | Breakfast
  • 0630: Queue for Tattoo
  • 0700: Tattoo Session (We were the first for the day!)
  • 0800: Done | See Rice Terraces of Buscalan
  • 1000: Lunch | Prep for Departure
  • 1100: Start of Trek
  • 1200: Depart to Banaue
  • 1600: Arrival at Banaue | Free time | Dinner
  • 1830: Departure to Manila
  • 0400: Arrival at Manila


Pressed by time since I already booked a flight 8 AM the next day, our guide asked us to come early to the workshop. Whang Od normally starts tattooing around 7 AM, we were there by 6:30 AM. Luckily, I was the first she tattooed that day (except for those asking for her three dot signature • • •). I decided to have the design of a crab – symbolizing safety for travelers.


Buscalan, Kalinga (2016 Travel Guide) Whang Od (2)
The painful and bloody process of batok (Photo Courtesy of Kat Fernandez)


Whang Od (MJDA - Making Journeys to Dream and Achieve)
The Crab – the symbol of the traveler (Photo Courtesy of MJDA – Making Journeys to Dream and Achieve)

Pro-tip: Remind Whang Od to change the thorn. Oftentimes, Whang Od forgets to change the thorn every after session, remind her. She’s cool with it. Also, bring wet wipes. Whang Od usually uses a single cloth to wipe the blood, but if you bring your own wipes, she’ll be happy to use it instead. It’s better safe, than sorry!


After I had my tattoo, I decided to explore the village while waiting for all of my friends to finish with theirs. Our guide brought us to the upper part of Buscalan and showed us their rice terraces. We arrived in time when their women are about to plant rices, two of my companions decided to join!


Buscalan, Kalinga (2016 Travel Guide) Terraces
The slow life – a tourist reading a book, coffee by his side, overlooking the rice terraces of Buscalan


Buscalan, Kalinga (2016 travel guide) - terraces 2
Two of my companions getting ready to join in the rice planting! (Photo Courtesy of Leah Caballero)

Pro-tip: As much as possible, plan your trip on weekdays to minimize the crowd, this serves as a breather for the village as well. If you go on a weekend or holiday, don’t expect to get a tattoo in just two days. Be ready to spend at least three days and two nights (sometimes, even more).


By 11 AM, we were on our way down and on our way home. Buses bound to Bontoc pass by Tinglayan everyday at 9 AM and 12 PM. You must be mindful not to miss them as you’ll have to spend another extra night or rent a van that cost three times.


Buscalan Kalinga (Homestay)
We bid farewell to our host for graciously accommodating us (Photo Courtesy of Leah Caballero)

Pro-tip: Buy some of their organic coffee as souvenirs. It only cost PHP 100.00 per pack, ask the locals for preparation instructions. Their coffee was one of the best coffee I had tasted.


Budget (per person | group of 6)

Transportation (round-trip) | PHP 1,360.00 + 100 habal-habal (optional)

Food (brought canned goods) | PHP 300.00

Accommodation | PHP 250.00

Tattoo | PHP 500.00 (average)

Environmental Fee | PHP 75.00

Guide | PHP 200.00

TOTAL | PHP 2,685.00


Watch: The Tattooing Process

Pro-tip: If you really want to minimize cost travel on a group of five or more. In case that you don’t have friends who are interested, try to tag-along with other groups. You can visit the Facebook group Tattooed by Apo Whang Od to find other who are planning.

Most importantly, read through the page to learn the issues concerning Buscalan now due to the “commercialization of the batok experience”. Let us learn to respect their culture and their way of life.



If you plan to get a bâtok from Apo Whang Od and have questions or concerns, feel free to leave a comment. I’ll try to answer them as best as I could once I am available.

153 thoughts on “Home of Apo Whang Od: How To Get To Buscalan, Kalinga In A Limited Budget (2016 Travel Guide)

    1. Hi Juan Carlos,

      If you’re asking the cost of my tattoo, it was 500.00. But there’s no fixed priced, it depends on Apo. Sometimes she asks different price for entirely same tattoo.

    1. Hello Dads! Yes, it is just the same with a regular tattoo. Also, Petroleum Jelly works fine. If you’re visiting this rainy season, I discourage you getting a tattoo on your feet/leg area, as you’ll have to trek down. And it’s just infection-prone.

  1. Hi Keith,

    Thank you for your very informative and awesome page! ^_^ I just have one quick question tho, Do you have any contact person (Tour Guide) that we could call to guide us going to Buscalan? We are planning to go there this October. hoping for your response! ^_^ Thanks in advance!

    1. Hello Marvin,

      Thank you for your kind words. You can contact this number 09084792012; Gilbert, Rustom, and Oliver share that number. All of them are awesome guides, you can pick any of them. They will fetch you in TInglayan, queue you for your tattoo session, prepare coffee and rice for you, and basically take care of all your needs while your in Buscalan.

      I look forward to hear from you after you go there in October. I am sure you’ll enjoy the experience as much as we did!

      1. Hi Keith,

        This is really helpful and a nice read for a backpaker like me.

        How much did you pay for the tour guide going to buscalan. My husband and I are planning to get a tattoo this coming July 31st.

        Thanks 🙂

        1. Hello Avi,

          Greatly appreciate your kind words. I am glad this article helps.

          Guide fee is racked at PHP 1,500.00/day. Although, you could still haggle. I hope you’ll enjoy your journey to Buscalan on the 31st. Share your experience afterwards! I want to hear from you. 🙂

        2. Regular tour guiding fee is 1,000 a day. Ask for Gilbert, he’s popular among regular hikers in Buscalan.

      2. Hi Keith, are Gilbert and co available on Whats App? I’m located in the US and trying to get a guide set up before I am there on the 22 of November. Thank you for the super helpful guide!

  2. who whant to go at Buscalan Tinglayan,Kalinga to experience our culture and have a ink by Apo Whang-Od … im BENJIE as a Tourguide just PM ME here my # 09480774818

  3. Hi. My fiance and I are planning to go to Buscalan and get a tattoo. Is it ok if we travel just the two of us? Just wondering since we are from Australia

    1. Hello Kia,

      Yes. Talking from experience, Traveling to Buscalan is safe and free from any dangers; all the people are friendly. Also, the guides are one of the most accommodating and hospitable guides I’ve ever met.

      I am excited for your travel to Buscalan. I am interested to learn of your experience. 🙂

  4. hi there. my friends and i are planning to get a tattoo this july, is it ok to travel with private vehicle?

    1. Hello Allan,

      Personally, I don’t recommend traveling with a private vehicle because you’ll have to leave your vehicle in Tinglayan as you have to hike from there going to Buscalan. You might have to stay for a few days to get a tattoo, and having a vehicle unattended for that long could be a liability. If you can find a driver who’ll be left behind with the vehicle while you’re getting your tattoo, then fire away! 🙂

    2. My cousins and I were planning to visit buscalan this october 29-31 and get ink. We already book to gilbert house and hire him as our tour guide. See you there!!!

  5. Hi Keith, nice blog. Exactly what I’m looking for. Will you please share your itinerary with the Sagada part? We plan on doing same route as yours, just wondering how the sagada portion would fit in. Thanks!

    1. Hello Van,

      Thank you. Appreciate it!

      After visiting Banaue in the morning, you can proceed straight to Sagada the same day (you’ll arrive by lunch) and spend the night there. Then go to Buscalan early morning next day – preferably right after Kiltepan sunrise. Basically, it’ll be Banaue-Sagada-Buscalan. I’ll try to publish a Banaue-Sagada-Buscalan itinerary soon.

      Just remember, a 3D2N itinerary will be tight. Expect spending quite some time on the road.

        1. Hello Van you can contact Gian with this number +63 915 192 3892 for a tour guide in Sagada. Gian is an official tour guide of Sagada and you can also hire him to drive you on your tour. He will also be willing to assist you on loooking for a place to stay there.

          @ Keith,

          Great job! You have a very informative blog here. Just wondering though how to reach Buscalan via Tabuk and what are their bus schedule going to Buscalan? My friends and I are planning to go there this coming January 27th to 28th via Tabuk since we need to do some errand in Tabuk before going to Buscalan.

          Thank you.


        1. There’s no straight ride. You’ll have to ride (top-load, yeah!) a Bontoc-bound jeepney then ride a Tabuk-bound bus in Bontoc. Alternatively there are van owners who can arrange straight routes, more expensive though.

  6. Ok lang ba pumunta ng dalawa lang.. Ako ska ng biep ko.. Swak pa din ba ung expense nun sa deniklare mong expense? Lage bang my byahe papuntang buscalan.. Thanks sa response

    1. Hello,

      It’s fine to go even if you’re just two. However, the expenses will be higher since you’ll need to shoulder the Guide Fee. I suggest you find other groups and tag-along.

      Yes, there’s daily trips going to Buscalan. However, those are limited.

    2. Hello, my boyfie and I are planning to go also, by 2nd week of Aug (12-14), we’ll be leaving thursday night I think. If the preferred dates suit you, we can share for the tour guide expense 🙂

  7. hi, Im planning to go there this December. some blogs said that it is better to get a Tour Guide which costs 1000php per day, i would like to seek for your advise, need ba talaga namin kumuha ng Guide? if yes, can you give any contacts suggestion? Thank you! 🙂 btw, planning to get the same tat too! 😀

    1. Hello,

      I would really recommend for you to get a tour guide. It’ll help you a lot from trekking, to securing homestays, to queuing. Plus, it’ll help the community with their livelihood and you’ll become familiar with the culture (and its challenges, currently) more. Personally, I’ve mingled with Kuya Gilbert, Rustom, and Oliver as tour guides (Contact No. on this article). They’re awesome! But from what I’m hearing, almost all have great experiences with their tour guides. So, I think, It’ll not matter whoever you get.

      Cool! Welcome to the club soon of having a crab tattoo. Going to Buscalan and having a tattoo is a life-changing experience (I am not exaggerating!). But please, as a favor, let’s respect their customs and not overwork Apo. That’s been a problem there lately.

      I wish you well on your December trip. I want to hear your experience. Please share your experience afterwards!

    2. Hi Senyoralakwatsera!

      We’re planning to go to Buscalan this December, too. How many are you in a group? Baka gusto niyo kumuha na lang tayo ng tour package going there para convenient sa lahat. 🙂

      Awesome entry, Keith. Very informative and detailed. I find the wet wipes part the most helpful of all. Thank you very much!

      1. Hello we are going this dec 6,2017 too, for sure we are 5 but might be more, manila to buscalan tattoo then go to banaue maybe 1 night or 2.

    1. Hello Minette,

      What I can recommend is for you to join other groups who’ll visit Buscalan. You can check the FB group “Tattooed by Apo Whang Od” to find other groups. This’ll minimize your expenses, plus it’s always better to travel in groups and with newfound friends! 😀

    1. Hello Jizelle,

      When you are in Buscalan, you can ask the locals about the meaning of the designs. Also, you can check the book “Tapping Ink, Tattooing Identities” by Analyn Amores (one of my profs) for a scholarly work on the traditional tattooing.

  8. Hello!
    Really helpful blog here. My bf and I are planning to visit Whang od next month. Its just the two of us and will backpack our way to see her. How do we get a guide and how necessary is it? Plus, how do we go back to Manila?

    1. Hello Irene,

      Thank you for your kind words. You can contact Kuya Gilbert (his number is on the blog). Go to this page as well to ask for more info.

      In my own opinion, getting a guide is a must. It doesn’t only ease you on your journey but they also serves as a mediator between us (tourists) and the community. For me, it is a form of respect for the community.

      You can go back to MNL via Tabuk, Kalinga or Banaue, Ifugao.

  9. Planning to go to buscalan tomorrow cant seem to contact the guides using the number youve given.. is there any way to contact them?or where can we possibly find them.thank you

    1. Hello Jamy,

      Sorry for not responding earlier. You can find some guides on the Jump-off point if you can’t contact them. Anyway, I hope you had a fruitful visit to Buscalan.

  10. Hi,

    Is it safe to travel to Buscalan on September? and is it possible to do it in 2 days and 1 night travel?


    1. Hello Jennifer,

      Depends on the weather, really. As long as it is not continuously raining, it’s safe. Minimum is 2 nights and 2 days, but that is still a very (very) tight schedule. I suggest you visit during weekdays.

    1. Hello Eric,

      Thanks for your concern! The villagers would really appreciate medicines rather than candies. I suggest that you bring in the typical over-the-counter meds; paracetamol, ibuprofen, antihistamine, vitamins.

      Enjoy your visit.

  11. Hi Keith.

    I enjoyed reading this guide and will hopefully visit there soon.

    Btw, I was wondering like was there any price range for the tattoos?

    Thank you!

    Hope you can respond to my email, will leave it below! Thanks!

  12. Hi,
    I might be traveling to buscalan maybe next week but im not sure what to bring for the villagers and whang-od. Is there anything you would suggest bringing them?
    And thank you for writing such an informative blog!

    1. Hello Catherine,

      You’re welcome! Bring medicines for the locals, they’ll appreciate it.

      I might be in Buscalan this weekend or next week, see you just in case.

      1. Is there anything else you’ll recommend bringing? Cause i’ll be there with my mom and i think she’d kinda be weird out if i buy medicine for the People hehe. I read somewhere that people can also bring matches? Anyways thank you for replying and it would be awesome to see you there!

        1. Hi Catherine,

          You can bring matches, candies, or whatever your heart desire 🙂
          The locals are appreciative. Also, it is not really a requirement for you to bring anything.

  13. THANK you for this wonderful blog / We will be in Bontoc / from Bontoc are there many vans or buses in the MORNING ? Buses in direction to Tinglayan ?
    And — Please — How long to go from bontoc to Buscalan ?
    Thank you for help

    1. Hello Abram,

      You’re welcome and thank you for such kind words.
      Yes there are buses (PHP 80.00 fare; 9:00 AM and 11: AM trips; there may be earlier trips) in Bontoc. Around 1-2 hours from Bontoc to Tinglayan.

  14. Thank you Keith, I was able browse on others blog, yours(informative) my Bestfriend from indonesia is coming to a visit only to have an ink anywhere in the country. (A thing to remember)Oct. 1 is our date..never been on that area,although infos are flying through google but I think it would be best to personally ask you whou’ve been there. We love and welcome adventure, come what may…Keith, What to expect regarding weather on our travel? ( lastly) I deed plan this trip supposed to be by my own abyear ago, was a timely coincidence to have my bestfriend tagging along. I bought a gift back then for whang-od. Saklay (metal stick) just a thought that this would help her as she is not any younger. On your Honest opinion keith, is it ok to give it, talking about the belief and etc.? Thank you keith in advance.hope to hear from you ASAP.

  15. Hi sir. My friend and i are planning this Oct 20 to go to wang Od. Is true that tabuk route is safer than bontoc route?

  16. Hi sir good morning by december kc punta kme ng baguio,sagada,buscalan using motorcycle ask ko lang po kung san namin pwede maiwan yung motor bago kame mag trek going to buscalan village thanks

  17. Hello! My family and I are planning to travel to Kalinga on Feb 9th. Please advise where should I start to reserve a tour guide and who could you recommend to be our tour guide. We are all from US. There are about 9 of us traveling together. my information is listed below.

  18. Whoa! This is very helpful. thanks bro for this guidelines.

    just for clarifications, applicable din ba na additional (3 dot tattoo – signature ni Whang Od) dun sa choice na design? 🙂

    Your response is highly appreciated.

    Thank you!


    1. Additional, possible ba since na sa benguet narin ako, Mt. pulag then side trip sa la trinidad and Kalinga. What would be the best Itinerary/route for that? Gusto ko talaga sulitin pag akyat 🙂 Thanks

  19. Hi there!,

    I’ve read your very informative blog! im also planning to go there (found a group you plugged here) by Dec 10-11, i just would like to ask as a joiner like me what are the main essentials to bring when going to buscalan, im also planning to bring some goodies for the locals if my budget permits 😛

    Thank you!

  20. Keith,

    Thank you so much for this blog. Very informative! I plan on going back to PI in February 2017 and getting Whang Od’s signature tattoo. Is the contact # for the guides good for phone call or text? Thanks again


  21. Hi Keith,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am visiting the Philippines (from Los Angeles) to learn more about my heritage and culture, and am hoping to get my last tattoo from Apo Whang-Od. I saw a contact number you posted in a reply for a tour guide. I will contact them. In the meantime, can you recommend how I should plan my trip to her from Pampanga? Thank you in advance for your time and assistance.


    1. Hello Tiffany,

      If you plan to use public transpo, I suggest you go to Cubao, Manila and ride a Coda Bus until Bontoc, Mt. Province. From there there’s a bus plying to Tinglayan. Alternatively, you can find groups going to Buscalan as well on the FB group I posted.


      Keith Cruz

  22. Good job for a nice and very informative page man! I will be there with my friends this coming January! You’ve mentioned that there are only limited public vehicles going from Bontoc to Tinglayan and vice versa until 12noon. What if, we run of out jeeps and buses in both places due to a delay of whatever reason, what would be the best thing to do? Are there vans in Bontoc and Tinglayan until afternoon or evening? And another question dude, how long does it take to Bontoc from Sagada?

    Thanks much!

    1. Hi Frenchester,

      In case you miss the Buses and Jeeps, there are vans that can bring you to Tinglayan. However, they are more expensive. As for the travel time from Bontoc to Sagada, it would be around 1 to 2 hours.


  23. Hi. I am planning on visiting Buscalan in January. I am coming from Baguio. Do you happen to know the best route to take and how long will be the travel time? I am excited and worried at the same time for I will be traveling alone. It’s fine by me even if I won’t be able to get a tattoo. I just want to witness the culture and meet Apo in person. Thanks!

  24. Good Day Mr Keith, me and my friends are going to buscalan this January I just wanted to know if it’s OK if I’m going to contact them for our guide this early?? Thank you and advance happy new year.

  25. This is the best and most honest write-up/travel guide to Buscalan. Everything here is accurate. I highly commend the one who wrote this. Very good!

  26. Hi,

    How much do the guides charge for someone traveling alone? Also, is it considered offensive to their culture if I simply do not wish to get tattooed and just want to take photos of Whang Od instead?

  27. Hi Keith! We’re planning to travel (Manila-Banaue-Bontoc-Sagada-Buscalan Route) too this coming weekend with friends and i find your travel article very informative. Please continue doing this!

    Thanks 🙂

  28. Hi Keith. Super nice and informative blog:)

    You mentioned there are three possible routes that we could take, among the three what is the most convenient and cheapest route? We are only two so we need to have the cheapest route. Salamat

  29. Hi Keith!

    We’re planning to go this feb. Any tips for first time travelers?
    Also, is it possible to go there with a car?

  30. Hi Keith
    Totoo po ba na yung ibang roads ppnta sa buscalan is matatarik…may nkita kse akong travellers blog na nksakay sila sa isang tricycle ata un or jeep then he took picture of the roads on their way…as in inches na lng tlga is bangin na may river…ngwworied ako kse ung nkita kong picture is tlgang dadaanan pa nung mode of transpo na masikip na daanan sa cliff ata un…ktkot nman kung ganun ung roads na dadaanan hehehe

  31. Hello everyone ,This is very helpful but I want to ask if its ok to rent a private van from manila to buskalan or it is more easy to take a bus ride?I was planning to meet Apo whang Od. My stepson wants to have a tattoo with this lady . Please email me,Cleng774@gmail.com

  32. hi I’m going there January 22 to 24 im a solo backpacker does anyone here wants to tag along? I can also do 27-29 or 28-30. I’ll just rearrange my itinerary since I’ll be doing an 8provinces backpacking starting on January 19.
    please let me know.😊😊
    you can send me a msg on my Facebook account Carrie Cenabre Manaloto

  33. Hi keith,
    Thank you for this blog/ travel information you did going to Buscalan.
    My husband & I were planning to visit Buscalan to get my husband a tattoo on July. We’ll be coming from Bacolod. I’m wondering what & where are the buses should we take from Manila to Banaue? I’m so cautious to take buses from Manila. I haven’t stayed in Manila for so long so I have no idea anymore. Hope it’s safe.
    Thanks in advance!

  34. Hi Thank you Keith this is a informative blog balik namin pumunta ng gf ko jan this feb.
    ngayon may idea na kame bicol pa kase kame maraming salamat ulit

  35. Hope you can still respond! My friend and I will be heading in July. We know it’s the rainy season but July/August is the only time that will fit because we’re students. Any advice and do you think we’ll still be able to do it despite risk of rain?

  36. hi Keith.. I am planning to visit Apo Wang-od on Feb. 19,2017 after I go to Kilte pan but I think I am running out of time since I need to go back to Manila coz I have a flight on Feb. 20,2016 at 6pm. Do u think I could make it? I am a solo traveller. I know you could give me the best advice since you already went there. Thanks.

  37. This was a lovely read, really enjoyed it!
    Me and my girlfriend are traveling to the philippines from england, in hopes of getting a tattoo. I myself am a half filipino tattoo artist, so it would be an absolute honor to be tattooed by such an inspirational, amazing artist! Even if for some reason I cannot get tattooed, just being in the presence of apo whang od is enough personal fulfilment.
    We will be arriving mid april, do you think we should start booking a guide soon? Due to the popularity of this adventure?

    1. Hi Keith,

      I am from Mindanao and I am planning to visit to Kalinga with my girlfriend this coming April 20. I would like to ask if where is the Bus Terminal bound to Kalinga? My starting point would be from Naia Airport.
      Your direction would be highly appreciated.

      Thank you

  38. Hello Keith, I’m planning to go a trip to whang od alone. Does the guide fee really costs 1500/day?
    Also, do Whang Od ink during sundays? Thanks.

  39. Hello Keith… Awesome and very informative blog indeed!! Just wanted to know how long do we need to travel/trek going to whang od’s place? 🙂

  40. I watched how Wang Od tattooed you, you seemed emotionless. Not a single moment you showed a wry face. I wonder if it’s really that painful. Or perhaps, you are just strong enough to endure.

  41. Hi keith..my husband and I are planning to go there this april.any tips for us on what to bring and not,etc.?
    we haven’t been on a trek.Thank you.

    1. I went there last April 26, look for Gilbert (09084792012), he is pretty well known among the regular hikers in Buscalan. Just be patient with his reply, because they need to go to a specific spot outside of Buscalan just to get a reception.

  42. Hello there Keith! Your blog is a big help.

    I’d like to know how long did it take you to go to Palan-ah Falls? We hope to see the falls while one of my friends is getting a tattoo in Buscalan. Is that possible?

  43. Hi Keith, can you please rate the pain of batok? haha from 1-10, 10 being the painful. aakyat kame on April 5 with friends. thank you…

  44. Hi there. Is the environmental fee per head?
    Also the guide fee you mention in the comment is 1500 is that for my whole group already?

    Hope to hear from you soon Thanks.

    1. Just went there last week, guide fee is only 1,000.00 and is normally good for 4 (depends on the tour guides I guess). Ask for Gilbert 09084792012, he can help you with anything you need. Environmental Fee is less than 100.00/Head, around 50.00 I think, I can’t remember exactly.

  45. Hello sir tanong ko lng if dito kmi galing manila may daan ba if sa tabuk kalinga kami daan papuntang buscalan??? Balak kasi nmin na dumaan muna sa isabela …naka sked na kasi kmi dyan sa friday …

  46. Hi we are planning to go to buscalan this sat 04/29/2017 . I already contacted the tour guides you have posted but no reply yet. Is there a group that we can join since this will be are first time to go there?

    1. hi were planning to go there on june 9-12 with my friend. just the two of us. who wants to tag along? you can contact me @ 09208178422

  47. Hello! Thank you so much for your wonderful blog.

    I was wondering if your guides spoke English? My friends and I are traveling at the end of May, and would really like to book reliable guides that can speak our language and Tagalog 🙂

    Thank you!

  48. hELLO Keith 🙂

    Thanks for this very informative and wonderful blog. 🙂 Question po, we’re from Cebu City and we’re planning to go to kalinga and d pa po final ung decision kung mg pplane kmi or landtrip na lng from manila to buscalan. The nearest airport is in tuguegarao. Okay lng po ba ung byahe nyo going to Buscalan? marami bang mga nice place na pwde mg stop along the way?

    Thank you!

    1. Erica,

      I suggest for you to take a land trip instead of riding a plane going to Laoag. Not only is Laoag out of way but you’ll miss to stopover places like Banaue Rice Terraces and Sagada which are technically nearby when you opt to travel by land.


      Keith Cruz

  49. Hi Keith,

    Got a wonderful review out there. We are planning to go there this coming June 10 and i was hoping you could help us. From Baguio going to Whang Od, What route should we take and what time? i have been reading some blogs and the trips going to whang od are limited.

    Many Thanks,


  50. hi,thanks for your informative blog. would like to ask if there are anyone going to Buscalan for a batok on 25th of July? and onwards? Daughter and I would love to have one, looking forward to have it done.

  51. Hey Keith,

    Thanks for the very informative and detailed article. Let it be known I staled your website.

    Question: how’s the road? I’m thinking of going there in October to do a solo travel ( I have friends, just wanna do those travelling alone echos) but too worried that it might not be safe. Did you manage to sleep overnight during travel time? (cos I know for sure I’ll be sh*tting my pants because of anxiety).

    Also, is the number of the guides updated?


  52. Hi Sir keith..
    Good Day..

    i was planning to take a Visit Apo Whang Od this July..
    and i was alone..

    any idea how much money i will need??
    From Laguna – Tinglayan…

  53. Hi Keith! Your blog is very helpful for us who really wanted to go to Wang Od. I’m just curious because I’m planning to go there alone, how much budget should you think I have for the whole trip? Please help me out. I’ll wait for your reply! 🙂

    1. Hi Keith I’m jessica,my husband and I were going home to the Philippines this October and we’re planning to go see this tattoo artist. We will be coming from ilocos Norte because that’s where we will be staying at. Do you know if it’s already close to buscalan? We need some information to go there. We’re not planning to stay overnight but just to see the artist and get our tattoos done. Hope you respond to me asap. We’re serious about this trip because we don’t know when we will be back again. Just email me your response if ever, I appreciate it!

  54. Hello Keith. This post is amazing and so informative. I am going to Buscalan next week September 6 but I am flying from Manila to Tuguegarao and start to commute after. What month did you visit Buscalan? I am worried about the heavy rains. I am also going solo. Do you think it is dangerous to start trekking at night? I tried to join a group but did not get one that travels on the same date. I also tried to contact some tour guides including the one contact no. you posted here but no reply yet and also did call but it’s “unattended” or out of coverage. Any additional tips will be much appreciated. Salamat.

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