Because I'm not one of those people who crave to really "be one with nature", I have to say, this one was totally worth it because I've never done anything like it before.
My friend, Jordan, messaged me one day and said he was finally heading back to the Philippines. So, in the midst of our excitement, we decided to take a trip to Buscalan, Kalinga so he could get tattooed by Apo Whang Od. He arrived in Manila on January 23 and we were off to Kalinga on January 27. WE WERE PUMPED! We did our research. We planned. We were prepared. BUT YUP... we took the wrong route. We ended up being on the road for 18 hours. YES. EIGHTEEN (18). We left Manila at 9:00pm and arrived at Buscalan Proper at 3pm.
We took the Tabuk Route. When we could just have taken the Bontoc Route (this route would have been quicker, but most importantly, less scary!!!). I cannot even explain how terrified I was. Yes, the scenic views were much much better driving from Tabuk, but the aftermath of landslides and muddy roads were terrifying!
Despite the very long car trip and pretty much trusting Waze... we met new animal friends and saw nice sceneries. Haha.
When we reached Buscalan, we talked to the locals and luckily, we found a guide, even if we were super late. Our guide, Danny, told us to prepare for the hike and wow, we did NOT expect that hike. It wasn't horrible, but out of 10, i'd put it on 6. The steep steps plus mud were a challenge! It was slippery! However, when we reached the top, it was totally worth it because the place looked beautiful and the people were so friendly that you just want to give away all the hugs you could possibly give! hahaha!
The cold breeze, chattering of the people, and of course, the view made the long car trip + long hike totally worth it.
We had to wait the next day for Jordan to get inked because it was already late during the day. We were told that Whang Od was already tired. So, we settled in, rested for a bit, and started to socialize with the other people who were staying at the homestead. While smoking a cigarette on our home's balcony, I had a pleasant conversation with a housemate. He arrived a few hours before we did and this led to an Inuman inside the little hut right outside our homestead.
We all headed back inside by 10pm because we were told that curfew was at 10pm. Curfew meant, we could not be loud anymore... hahaha. Some still stayed, but I was crashing by 9:30pm. So, I headed inside and went to sleep.
Jordan finally got inked by Apo Whang Od the next morning and wow, it was definitely a great experience to watch her work. I didn't get a tattoo done because the purpose of going there was for Jordan to get his before he leaves for the States. I know I'm going to go back, so I'm willing to wait!
This was a good experience and I got to bond with my friend. I'm not the travelling type, nor am I a nature thrill seeker, so this was something different for me. I enjoyed it because I also learned to appreciate my roots so much more. I fell in love with the Philippines once again. It's nice to be reminded of how great life actually is and i believe it's experiences like this that make you see that.
I made a short video of my trip: