My Journey to Meet Apo Whang-Od in 2017

As mentioned on my previous blog (, my trip to Buscalan was never easy… exhausting but challenging. Seventeen hours and thirty minutes combined trip via plane, bus rides and top loading on a jeepney are never easy but as what they always say, If there's a will there is indeed a way.

On this blog, let me share with you videos and pictures of my trip. From the various rides to the trekking just to see Apo Whang- Od.

An hour and thirty minutes plane ride from Cebu straight from work doesn't hurt much.

The six hour trip from Pasay to Baguio City is tiring but good thing is that you can take power naps within the trip.

Baguio Terminal for Bontoc, Mountain Province

From Baguio City to Bontoc, Mountain Province on a six-hour bus ride is overwhelming as you will pass through the highest peak in Atok, Benguet. You will experience a long and winding zigzag road from climbing up mountains to going down and crossing in between mountains.

The dangerous blind curve you will be passing on your way to Bontoc, Mountain Province

The long and winding road to Bontoc, Mountain Province

The cold foggy view in Atok, Benguet

I can't stop smiling (I am super excited to meet Apo Whang-Od), while on the bus to Buscalan, Tinglayan.

An hour and thirty minutes of top loading in a jeepney from Bontoc to Buscalan was crazy. It feels like my spirit is separating from my body. With that roller coaster feels. I have never shouted and never been scared before but it was interesting. I was able to conquer my fear of heights. Seeing the rivers, rice fields, and waterfalls as you can clearly view it from the top of a jeep. It is priceless. The experience is all worth it.
Trying top loading for the first time. From Bontoc, Mt. Province to Buscalan, Tinglayan

So happy to be on top of the mini bus
The Buscalan Junction where the trek starts from

Now, my most hated part was to walk for almost two hours. The worst part was the inclined trek that I kept asking my guide to stop for 5 minutes to rest as I was never prepared for this uphill trek. It was discouraging as you started to walk and you will see the little shack which my tour guide pointed at the shop of Apo Whang-Od. I felt like I need to astral project to arrive in my destination right away. But on the way, as you are about to give up, you will hear the sound of the water. It gave me hope to carry on and continue. Truthfully, It was very tiring but it's worth the experience.

 My view while trekking
 Magnificient view indeed!

The road to Buscalan is being improved

 The start of the one hour and 30 minutes trek

Uphill trek begins

At 4:30, I arrived in the Butbut tribe, the place of Apo Whang- Od. The people are smiling, very warm as they welcomed me to their tribe. I was amazed on how they spent their afternoon. They were sitting together with their friends facing the mountains while sharing stories. Some families were busy cooking and preparing for dinner. What attracted me most was the cold foggy feels as I headed to my homestay which is seated in front of the mountains facing the green rice fields of Buscalan.

The Sunset at Buscalan Village, Tinglayan, Kalinga

Kuya Gilbert's homestay is located just beside the rice field, in front of the Buscalan mountains. The stay cost Php 250.00 per head with unlimited rice and coffee. Rustom, the younger brother of kuya Gilbert was my tour guide and he was so accommodating and very sensitive to my needs. He would worry on what I would be eating for dinner and breakfast on the following day.

Kuya Gilbert's homestay

Kuya Gilbert's homestay

Kuya Gilbert's homestay

As Rustom said, their rice harvest would be shared within the village and the rest of it will be given to the homestay for the unlimited consumption of the guests that would be visiting for Apo Whang-Od.  When asked about why they are not into the market of selling their rice, he said, their gods will not favor them anymore with more harvest if they will exchange their goods for money.

I came to realize how sharing and living with each other in this village make their life easy, healthy and beneficial. It is like living as one family. They are accountable to each others' lives.

 Having a cup of my favorite Buscalan coffee

My amazing view in Kuya Gilbert's homestay. The rice field of Buscalan!

What surprised me was their hog (a domesticated pig, especially a castrated male reared for slaughter) which in the lowlands is unusually treated as a pet just like that of a dog. You can see it everywhere in the Buscalan Village.

Buscalan's hog

The Butbuts are very friendly, they welcome visitors gladly and they are honest and helpful individuals. 

Buscalan's kids

If you are planning to visit Buscalan soon, Here is a list of tips you can consider:
  1. Bring some jacket as it may be cold especially during the night.
  2. Don't forget to have a handful of medicines for Emergency purposes
  3. Buy canned goods as it might not be available in Buscalan Village.
  4. Be a light packer as it is not easy to climb up to the Butbut tribe.
  5. Bring some goodies for the locals especially the children.
See videos of my travel: