Journey to Buscalan: A Cultural Immersion Experience
As a seasoned traveler, I've learned that traveling is more than just ticking off items from my bucket list or exploring new places. It's an opportunity to immerse myself in diverse cultures, embrace new experiences, and step out of my comfort zone. Recently, I had the pleasure of joining a group tour to Buscalan, Kalinga, which was an adventure unlike any other.
Our tour began at the parking area in front of the hypermarket in Moa on a Friday afternoon. After a brief stop at Eton Centris, we embarked on our long journey to Buscalan. The first day of the tour was both challenging and rewarding. We arrived early in the morning at Buscalan Village after a long and bumpy ride, and we started our trek early in the morning. The view of the rice terraces was awe-inspiring, and we were greeted by friendly locals and breathtaking mountain views. After arriving at Buscalan, we rested for a while before preparing for our traditional tattoo session with a local tattoo artist. I chose a tribal tattoo prayer symbol with the PRAYER 🙏 🙏🙏🙏🙏symbol, which represents the three levels of the universe - the underworld, the earthly realm, and the heavens. It was a way for me to pay homage to the wisdom and traditions of the Kalinga people and to carry a piece of their culture with me wherever I go. After our traditional tattoo session with Apo Whang Od, who is renowned for her signature tattooing skills, we had the opportunity to explore the village, interact with the locals, and savor their local cuisine. In the evening, we had a memorable group drinking session on the homestay balcony, bonding with fellow travelers, our local guide, and driver while sharing stories.
The next day, we woke up early to prepare for our descent, stopping at Mt. Polis Highest Point for strawberry taho or Bontoc for a quick stop and pizza snack before passing by Banaue, Bayyo Rice Terraces, Baguio, and Atok Benguet. It was a long day, but we made the most of it by capturing moments, having a late lunch, and buying souvenirs to take home at the Strawberry farm.
The Buscalan tour was a fulfilling and unforgettable experience, not just because of the places we visited but also because of the people we met and the experiences we had. It allowed me to appreciate the beauty of the Cordillera region, its rich culture and traditions, and its hospitable people. The tour was well-organized, and our tour coordinator from Aling Maliit Adventure PH ensured our safety, comfort, and well-being throughout the trip. Staying with a local family at the homestay accommodation was also a unique experience.
In conclusion, I highly recommend the Buscalan tour for travelers seeking to immerse themselves in Cordillera culture and create lasting memories. It was not just a tour but a journey that will stay with me forever, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have experienced it.