The Kalinga culture is one of the most fascinating in the world. Known for its indigenous people, breathtaking landscapes, and rich history, visiting this region of the world soon is an adventure worth taking.

ABOUT KALINGA PHILIPPINES

The Charm of Kalianda Coastal Beach...
The Charm of Kalianda Coastal Beaches, South Lampung

Kalinga is a landlocked province in the Cordillera Region’s northernmost region. It is bounded to the north by Cagayan and Apayao, to the south by Mt. Province, and to the west by Abra. The provinces of Cagayan and Isabela are located to the east. Tabuk is the capital town. 

The name of the province comes from the Ibanag and Gaddang noun “kalinga,” which means “enemy,” “fighter,” or “headtaker.”

Music, dance, and artisan work are among Kalinga’s rich cultural heritage. They continue to enforce “bodong,” or peace pacts, within the sub-tribes to resolve tribal conflicts. Scholars and enthusiasts from all over the world are flocking to the province to learn the ancient tattooing technique known as “batok,” or hand-tapped tattooing.

Photo of Kalinga, Philippines
Kalinga, Philippines

THE KALINGA TRIBE

The Kalinga people are an indigenous ethnic group whose ancestral domain is the Cordillera Mountain Range in the northern Philippines. They are mostly found in the province of Kalinga. Some of them, however, have already moved to Mountain Province, Apayao, Cagayan, and Abra.

LANGUAGES IN KALINGA

Kalinga is a dialect continuum spoken in the Philippines by the Kalinga people alongside Ilocano.

THE KALINGA TATTOO

Tattoos symbolized courage, bravery, and valor for Kalinga men. Following a successful headhunt, warriors were given distinct designs to serve as a badge of honor they will wear for the rest of their lives. Kalinga women, on the other hand, adorned their bodies with tattoos to enhance their beauty and attract potential partners.

WHO IS APO WHANG-OD

Whang-od is the last mambabatok or Kalinga tattooist from the Butbut tribe of Buscalan, Kalinga. She has been tattooing for the past 80 years, including indigenous tribe head hunters at the start of her long career.

DISTANCE OF KALINGA TO BAGUIO

Baguio and Kalinga are 142 kilometers apart. The driving distance is 250.2 kilometers.

HOW TO GET TO KALINGA

Take a bus from Baguio City to Bontoc, Mountain Province. Then, from Bontoc municipality, take a jeep or bus to Tabuk, Kalinga, and get off at Bugnay village. 

HOW TO GET TO APO WHANG-OG IN KALINGA FROM BAGUIO

Take a bus to Bontoc from the Dangwa Terminal in Baguio  – 8 hours.
From Bontoc, take a jeepney to the Buscalan Village drop-off point – 2 hours.

INTERNET IN BUSCALAN

One of the best features of Buscalan is that there is no internet connection, allowing you to disconnect from the stress of a digitally busy lifestyle.

TIPS WHEN TRAVELLING TO APO-WHANG-OD IN BUSCALAN

  1. Bring your own food and water.
  2. If you want to get a tattoo, plan on spending between 300 and 1000 pesos.
  3. Bring some extra cash as there are no ATMs in the area.
  4. Apo Whang-Od is popular so expect a lot of people.

THE BEST TIME TO VISIT KALINGA

The province is best visited during the dry season, which lasts from December to May.

FESTIVALS IN KALINGA

  • OLLALION FESTIVAL
    The festival celebrates the Kalinga culture through its sports, crafts, and indigenous food. It is a wonderful expression of the Kalingas’ heroic exploits, sentiment, thrills, triumphs, and sorrows, as well as their way of life from birth to death.
    Location: Tabuk, Kalinga
    Month: February

list of the most beautiful tourist spots in Kalinga Philippines

  1. Aguinaldo Hill
  2. Asibanglan Lakes
  3. Balbalasang – Balbalan National Park
  4. Binasalan Falls
  5. Bonnong Lakes
  6. Buaya Caves
  7. Cadamayan Falls
  8. Chico River
  9. Elephant Hill
  10. Fand Od
  11. Guinaang Village
  12. Gulag Historical Marker
  13. Laroy Falls
  14. Lubo  and Mangali Rice Terraces
  15. Matabor Falls
  16. Matabor Falls
  17. Mini Museum of Kalinga
  18. Mt. Binaratan
  19. Mt. Binulungan
  20. Mt. Mating – oy
  21. Padcharao Lake
  22. Palang – ah Falls
  23. Pasil Natural Dam
  24. Pungit Falls
  25. Rice Terraces of Dananao
  26. Saltan River
  27. St. Willam’s Cathedral
  28. Sulfur Hills
  29. Sungang View Point
  30. Tinglayan Rice Terraces
  31. Tiwod Spring
  32. Tongango Caves
  33. Tuga Catholic Church
  34. Tumaniw Falls
  35. Tumuyoc Falls
  36. Uguid – Maling Subterranean River

BEST THINGS TO DO IN KALINGA

  1. Enjoy the hike while taking in the stunning scenery of Buscalan.
  2. Explore the Balbalasang-Balbalan National Park and other attractions in Balbalan.
  3. Investigate the Subterranean River of Uguid-Maling.
  4. Get a tattoo from Whang-od in Buscalan.
  5. Swim at Matabor Falls, Palan-ah Falls, Pasil Dam, and Kalinga Hot Springs.
  6. Discover the hand-tapped tattooing tradition.
  7. Make a quick stop in Bontoc and go for a walk.

MUST TRY FOODS IN KALINGA

  1. Binungor
    A traditional Filipino dish made from bamboo shoots, tenga ng daga mushrooms, and delicate rice field snails.
  2. Chilokchok
    Made from indigenous onion leaves, chili, and sesame seeds.
  3. Inanchila
    A rice cake with a coconut topping.
  4. Inihaw na Baboy Ramo
  5. Kalinga Coffee
  6. Pinikpikan
  7. Unoy rice
    An upland red rice.
  8. Ryan & Sons Winery
  9. Zinagan
    A Dinuguan-style dish in which intestines and other pork innards are fried until crispy, similar to chicharon, before being sautéed with garlic, onions, ginger, and pork blood; best served with sinursur, pinaltit, and sagket.