Top Reasons to Visit Philippines | Best Places to See | Best Island in the World

The Philippines is an archipelago(an extensive group of islands) divided into three major areas, mainly: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The Philippines has over 7107 islands, so imagine all the things you can do in this country. 

In this article, I will be discussing about some of the top reasons as  to why you should visit the Philippines NOW! But before that, here are few facts about the Philippines:

-The people in the Philippines are called ‘Filipinos’ and the official Languages in the Philippines are ‘Filipino’ and ‘English’. 

-The Philippines is the second largest archipelago in the world, next to Indonesia. 

-For three-consecutive years, Palawan in the Philippines has bagged the award for being the Best Island in the Whole World, that’s according to Conde Nast Magazine.

-It is my home country! 😀 

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Top Reasons to Visit The Philippines

White Sand Beaches 

-This is something that the Philippines is proud of, having too many white sand beaches. Well, it has 7107 islands in the first place. Palawan, Boracay, Cebu and Siargao are some of the best places in Southern Philippines which offers amazing white-sand beaches. 

Countless Islands to Explore

-The Philippines has over seven thousand one hundred seven islands in total and most of these islands are covered by tropical rain forests. You will basically never run out of things to do in The Philippines, just imagine how much time you’ll be needing to be able to explore all the country’s islands.

Thousand of Waterfalls to Chase

– Aside from having countless Islands and beaches. The Philippines also has a lot of waterfalls. One of the most picturesque waterfalls in the whole world is situated here, the Kawasan Falls in Badian, Cebu. 

Friendly People

-I’m pretty sure you have heard or read tons of foreign visitors praising the Filipino people for their hospitality. It is true, most of the time, We Filipinos aim to make you feel welcome in our country. As a Filipino myself, this is something that I’m proud of.

Scrumptious Local Cuisines

-We Filipinos love to eat, but more importantly, we love to cook as well. I am being objective when I say that the Philippine cuisine is one of the best in the world, otherwise it wouldn’t be featured in a lot of mainstream Food Channels and Magazines. 😀

Did you know that boiled duck embryo is also a very famous cuisine in the Philippines, yeah you read that right ‘boiled duck embryo’. This is a must-try when you’re in the Philippines

It’s cheaper than most countries

-This is one of the main reasons why the Philippines is one of the best places to travel to, your dollar can go a long way! An average meal will only cost you around $1-$2 in some restaurants and an average AirBnB accommodation will only cost you around $20 per night. 

The best Islands in the whole world is in this country! 

For the past years, Palawan has been bagging awards for being the most beautiful island not only in the Philippines but in the whole world! I’ve been to Palawan myself and can testify together with all these other people who have voted this island as the best in the world. Honestly speaking, it is not only the best island in the world but it is indeed one of the most beautiful places here in the planet when it comes to everything.

Recently, Siargao Island also bagged the award for being the most beautiful island in the whole world for this year!

Again, I always tell people to go to these places to see what I’m talking about. 

Top Places to Visit in the Philippines

This is a list of all the places which I always suggest whenever someone asks me as to where the best places to go to in the Philippines are.

El nido, Palawan

I’ve been here many times, and each visit I always feel the same excitement as if it’s my first time visiting the place. During my first visit in El Nido, It felt like I was in another ‘place’, not another country, but another ‘place’, I just can’t describe where that place is because of its extreme beauty, I was struck, it felt like I was in heaven. 

There are like four major island tours in El Nido, mainly Tour A, B, C, and D. Each tour has an itinerary which will bring you to several group of islands. Each tour has a duration of approximately eight hours. So if you want to explore all these beautiful islands, make sure to stay for at least a week in El Nido. 

Coron, Palawan

I’ve only been here once but this is one of the many places in the Philippines which I would like to visit again. Like El Nido, Coron also offers different Island Tours. So make sure to spend at least a week in this place as well. 

The main highlight of Coron is the beautiful Kayangan Lake. The Kayangan lake is dubbed as the cleanest inland body of water in the Philippines. It is also one of the most photographed places in the Philippines. 

Siargao Island

Siargao, a tear-drop shaped island in the province of Surigao del Norte. Famous for its stunning beaches and surfing sites. This island was recently named “The 2019 Best Island in The World” by Conde Nast Traveler. How is that for an award?! It is one of the major surfing capitals in the Philippines as well.

Photo courtesy of: @iamuras
Photo courtesy of: @iamuras

Malapascua Island, Cebu

Malapascua Island is an island located on the Northern Part of Cebu. From Cebu City, you can easily reach this island through a five hour van or bus ride and another hour boat ride. Malapascua is famous for its pristine white beaches as well as a famous place for divers. It is also here where you can witness one beautiful shark specie, the Thresher Shark. Definitely a place to go to when in the Philippines. 

When you’re visiting Malapascua Island, make sure to stay at Malapascua Budget Inn, the best place to stay in the island.  They offer both private rooms and dorms-for those who are traveling on a budget.

Kawasan Falls, Badian, Cebu

Kawasan falls is one of my favorite places here on earth. It is located in Badian which is a small town in the province of Cebu in the southern part of the Philippines. In spite being one of the most famous tourist spots in the Philippines which led it to gain its  name as the most picturesque waterfall in the country and one of the most beautiful destinations in the world, It has become one of my favorites simply because of its magnificent beauty that captivates my soul whenever I visit it. Definitely a playground for travel photographers and film makers.

Exploring Kawasan, a Handy Guide on How to Get There. 

Sagada, Mt. Province

Sagada is basically an option for travelers who loves to hike. This place is famous for it’s waterfalls and caves. One of the highlights of Sagada is the Sumaguing Cave. The Sumaguing Cave is an expansive cave network with ancient stalagmites & steep descents. Definitely a must-visit place for spelunkers.

Aside from waterfalls and caves, Sagada also is one of the coldest town in the Philippines as it has an altitude of 5000 feet above sea level. That’s why it’s one of the most popular destinations for both lower-land populations and foreigners during the summer.  

One thing I want to highlight about Sagada is their yogurt. It’s basically one of the best home-made yogurts I’ve ever tasted! So make sure to try one when you are in Sagada. 

Buscalan Village, Tinglayan, Kalinga

-Buscalan Village is famously know as the home of Kalinga’s Oldest Traditional Tattooist, Whang-od Oggay. 

I remember the first time I visited Buscalan, I was 16 and went there alone! I don’t know what’s gotten into me but it surely was the start of my wanderlust story. Since then, I haven’t kept track as to how many times I’ve been there already. Well, basically, I’ve been captivated by its breathtaking landscapes and its rich culture resulting in many countless returns. Definitely a place that would surely make you wanna’ come back for more. 

Visit Buscalan, A Travel Guide On How To Get There

Have you been to the Philippines? How many of these places have you been? Tell us about your experience through the comment section below!

New to the Blog? Click here to get to know me more! 😀

What’s Inside My Camera Bag | My Ultimate Travel-Photography Equipments

For the past days, ever since I posted my first post on this blog, I’ve been thinking of writing about the essentials I bring whenever I travel since a lot of people has been asking what camera body and lens I use- I’m not an influencer! There really are several people who have asked me this, lol. So here is what I came up with. But first, let me start with what camera bag I use.

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National Geographic Rucksack

I instantly fell in love with the design of this bag. It has a lot of compartments including a laptop compartment and several pockets which is ideal for photographers who has a lot of accessories. It’s comfortable and fashionable to carry around and It can accommodate one big DSLR Body with up to three standard-size lenses plus a 13-inch MacBook computer as well as one speed light together with other accessories. I have this bag for a year now, so far it’s still in-tack despite being used all the time and carrying almost 12 kilograms of weight each time. I can say that it will still last for the coming years. 

Click here for the latest price of the National Geographic Racksack

Camera Body Nikon D850

This is my main workhorse as of the moment and basically the best camera body I’ve ever used. Prior to this, I have been using a Nikon D610. The Nikon D610 is a great machine, its just that I needed to let it go since it’s so difficult to be bringing two full-frame camera bodies when traveling(just imagine the weight of the Nikon D850 and the Nikon D610 combined) and I don’t think I would ever need to use two camera bodies in my travels, only maybe when I have some gigs like an event or a wedding to avoid changing lenses all the time.

Click here for the latest price of the NIKON D850

Going back to the Nikon D850, I had this camera for almost a year now. So far I never had any complaints with it, basically living up to its name as the best DSLR camera in the market. If ever I would reach its shutter expectancy, I think I would still opt for the same model. 

Camera Lenses | Sigma 35 and 85 Art | Tamron 24-70 G2

Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art

Sharp, fast and just the perfect focal coverage. The Sigma 35mm 1.4 DG HSM is a state of the art lens designed for full frame cameras but can also be used with APS-C sensors as well. It is also my very first ever full-frame lens. It accounts to most of the photos of my travels. Definitely one of my favorite lenses for Travel, portraiture, etc. 

Click here to check the current price of this lens.

Sigma 85mm f1.4 Art

As a portrait  and travel photographer, this lens is definitely one hell of a beast! Ultra-sharp, fast and beautifully designed. The Sigma 85mm f1.4 Art is an ideal lens for a variety of photographic subjects, particularly portrait photography, both in-studio and on-location. For me, I use it mostly outdoors and I’m always impress by the way it performs. The only issue I have is the weight of the lens, plus most of the time, it’s mounted on my Nikon D850 which is already a very heavy camera body.- So imagine my neck and my shoulders at the end of the day. Those are only minor issues, as long as I’m happy with the images I take with it, then I can endure the pain. haha

Click here for the latest price of the Sigma 85mm f1.4 Art Lens

Tamron 24-70 f2.8 G2

 I bought this lens to solve my problems of changing lenses all the time when I’m covering events. It looks amazing when it’s mounted on the Nikon D850. Performance wise, it doesn’t disappoint. It’s widest angle coverage is great for landscapes and interior photography. The highest zoom coverage can deliver sharply focused subjects with amazingly blurred background. Definitely a must-have lens for Travel and event Photographers.

Click here for the current price of the Tamron 24-70 f2.8 G2 Lens

See full technical specs here. 

Gopro Hero 5

I have this action camera for like almost three years now. I needed to have it since I have been traveling solo most of the time before, and you can conveniently take wide angle selfies with the Gopro attached to a GoPro stick. 

So far I’m not planning to upgrade it anytime soon, I’m still happy with the quality of the images it provides- not much of a difference from the latest model. 

Click here for the latest price of the Gopro Hero 5 Black

Tripod

Vanguard VEO 235AB Aluminum Travel Tripod 

Light, compact and heavy duty, basically one of the best tripods I ever owned. I always bring it when I travel as it is so portable and doesn’t add much weight on my luggage. It also comes with a very nice bag. A must for every travel photographer. 

Click here for the latest price of the Vanguard VEO 235 AB Aluminum Travel Tripod

Computer

Macbook Pro 13 2017 without touch-bar. 

I opt in with the 13-inch version since it’s more portable when traveling. I process pretty much all my images here through Lightroom and photoshop. I have this for almost two years now and I haven’t had any issues of it lagging, just overheating a bit- but that’s only when I run several application at once or deal with really high data media files, just like a normal computer which overheats when running multiple applications. I highly suggest that if you plan to buy an apple computer, better buy this than the latest Macbook Air. Though it has been released few years back, it still performs better than the new MacBook Air. 

Click here for the latest price of the MacBook Pro 2017 without touchbar

Accessories

128 GB SanDisk Extreme Memory Cards

I have three of these ultra-fast memory cards. It’s a necessity to have ultra-fast memory cards to keep up with  huge file sizes of DSLR images nowadays. As a photographer, we cannot let any delays to happen, especially when we are photographing crucial moments. 

4TB WD Passport Hardrives

I have two of these external hard-drives. I have been using them for almost a year now, and believe it or not, I think I will be needing another one soon. I love the portability 

Camera Flash V860II

An external flash like no other. Easy to carry along my travels. I use it most of the time when I’m covering events when the ambient light is not sufficient. I love its performance, I have been using it for a year now and no complaints so far. 

X1T TTL Wireless Flash Trigger

One of the most used accessories I have- I use this to trigger my flashgun wirelessly when I’m trying to be creative with the lighting. The same as my comment on the Godox Flashgun, It’s easy to bring when I’m traveling and I have been using it for like a year now and I have no complaints so far. 

So what are your travel essentials? Share it with us through the comment section below. 

New to this blog? Click here to get to know me. 

Exploring Kawasan falls in Cebu

Before relocating in the UAE, I was based in Cebu, the Queen City of the South working as a seller support agent for Amazon.com. So few years back, I think it was during a long-weekend holiday, my co-workers and I decided to head to the South of Cebu out of boredom, -yeah, just decided to head there in the spur of a moment with no particular destination at all. So basically, when we arrived at the bus station, We decided to head to Badian, to visit the famous Kawasan Falls.  

We’ve reached Badian around 4pm and basically it took us around thirty and something minutes before we reached Kawasan Falls. Thank goodness there was still sunlight during that time and the long unexpected journey was worth it upon seeing the sight of the magnificent Kawasan Falls of Badian. 

Exploring Kawasan Falls, a handy guide, click here.

So, first things first, I brought my camera out to capture the beauty of Kawasan Falls. I have been here many times and I still feel amazed whenever I visit. The excitement is still the same, as if it’s my first time visiting the place.

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We spent around an hour taking photos of each other and swimming back and fourth against the current of the waterfall pool. Around seven o’clock in the evening, we headed to Moalboal, a nearby beach to meet other friends who were already there. We spent the night drinking and basically contemplated about our lives. Then we went for a swim, it’s quite nice and fun to swim under the light of a billion stars on that midnight. The next day, we decided to go for another dip before we got ready to head back to the city.

While we were walking by the shore on our way to the carpark, we met some amazing couple from Switzerland and Spain who make handcrafted bracelets which they sell along the shore to fund their travels. We decided to buy some of their items and basically, they gave us a special discount. I hope to see them again somewhere.

It took us another three-hours to journey back to the city, and upon reaching the city, we just exclaimed, ‘back to reality!’.-The curse of travel lol, you will never want to go back to reality.

Back to present time, whenever someone asks me for some suggestions the best places to visit in the Philippines, I would always suggest Cebu alongside with Palawan. The southern and Northern part of Cebu is basically one of the most beautiful parts to explore.

Have you been to Cebu? What do you think of the place? Share it with us through the comment section below.

New to the blog? Find out more about me here. 😀

Buscalan, Then and Now

Buscalan is a small village situated on the mountains of Tinglayan in the province of Kalinga in Northern-Philippines. It is home to the famous traditional tattooist Whang-od Oggay. Buscalan Village is also considered as the last traditional-tattoo haven in the Northern Philippines. Despite the distance and difficulty to reach the place, it doesn’t stop visitors (both local and foreigners) from visiting this village. That’s why sometimes, people’s journey to the village is considered a pilgrimage. 

Whang-od Oggay. Circa 2014

Recently, I went to Buscalan for a visit after three long years. I first visited Buscalan back in 2012, then been going back and forth between 2015 and 2016. Most houses back then were completely made from traditional materials, its foundation and walls are made-up of woods and the roofs are completely made-up of cogon grasses. But now, almost all houses are made from modern materials, like concrete and metals. Most of the houses were also converted to transient homes to accommodate all the people who visit the village. 

Typical Scene in Buscalan, Circa 2012

I also noticed a huge boom in tourism, there were like around thirty people waiting in line to get a tattoo. It’s nice that the village is receiving lots of visitors, however, this gives rise to some problems like problems with waste disposal, etc. I’ve observed that most visitors bring tons of plastic stuff with them and most of the time they just leave most of it in the village and this often leads to all of these plastics being scattered around.

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So basically now, you cannot go to the village without a local-guide which I think is nice since it gives livelihood to some people. You also need to pay a visitor fee of php75 like around 1.5USD when you enter the village, which I think is ok as long as the money collected are being used properly for the development of the village. I still remember before, when villagers invite you over for a coffee whenever you pass by their homes but now you need to pay around 20php for a cup. Well, I think everyone needs to put a price in everything nowadays.

Visitors from other countries smile as they mingle with the locals over some bread and coffee. Buscalan, Circa 2014

One major noticeable change I noticed when I visited Buscalan is the construction of a concrete road towards the village. It’s sti ll on-going, but from the most vehicle-accessible point of the road to the village, it can now be only journeyed for 30 minutes. Many people (mostly people who are not from the village) were against it before, but now I think they’ve realized the importance of it to the villagers, especially to those young students who needed to walk several kilometers on rocky, muddy and narrow paths just to get to school back then. 

Side of the mountain is carved to give way to the construction of the concrete road to the village. Circa 2019

Change is inevitable, especially in this modern world we are in. I don’t know when I will be able to visit Buscalan again, but I’m excited to see what changes will happen till my next visit. 

Have you been to Buscalan? If so, then what are your thoughts and insights on the current situation of the village? Feel free to share them on the comment section below. 

How To Apply For A Schengen Visa for Philippine-passport holders.

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How to apply for a Schengen Visa (Step by Step Procedure, Documents required and Tips on how to successfully obtain a Schengen Visa)

Applying for a visa can be one of the most-tedious task to do, especially with visas for highly-industrialized countries. Aside from the inch-thick documents we need to collect & submit and the time it takes for it to be processed, there is also a certain amount we need to pay. And above all these, there is still no guarantee that our application will be approved.

Anyway, in this article, I’ll be discussing mainly about the different procedures and documents required  in obtaining a Schengen Visa.

First, what is a  Schengen Visa? Well basically, a Schengen visa is a short stay visa allowing its holder to circulate in the Schengen area. The Schengen area covers 26 countries (“Schengen States”) without border controls between them.

Below are the Schengen States:

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia,Finland,France,Germany,Greece,Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland

Aside from the Schengen States, you can also use your Schengen visa to visit other countries like:

Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia,Cyprus, Georgia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Turkey

Documents Required:

Fully Completed and Signed Visa Application Form

Cover Letter Stating the purpose of the visit.

Original Passport and passport Info Page Copy

Residence Visa Copy (if you are based abroad)

ID Photos (Bring at least 2 copies)

Roundtrip Flight Ticket Reservation

Travel Insurance

Proof of Accommodation(hotel bookings, etc.)

Proof of Financial Means (latest 6-months bank statement)

Employment Certificate if Employed

Day to day Itinerary

Invitation Letter if you’re invited by Someone from the EU

Affidavit of Support if someone else is paying for your expenses

Enrollment Certificate if you’re a student.

Step by step guide in getting a Schengen Visa

Basically, the first step in getting a Schengen Visa is to choose your main country of travel or the country of which you’ll be spending the most time (if you’re planning to travel to several Schengen States) as this will determine which Visa Application Center you will need to go.

For Schengen Visa Applications, it is mostly handled by VFS GLobal, although there are some countries where the Visa application is handled by the country’s embassy itself, there are also those which are handled by a different agency. So it is important to make sure to decide which country is your main country so you can go to that specific Visa Application Center.

Book an Appointment Online. Well after choosing the country, you should set an appointment where you will submit all your documents for your application. As mentioned on the first step, you should book an appointment based on your main country. In my case, I applied for a Schengen Visa for the Netherlands, and VFS Global handles visa application for the Netherlands, therefore, I booked an appointment on the VFS Global Website.

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I highly suggest that applicants should apply for at least 60-90 days before their intended travel dates to have ample time to fix any problems if there will be any.

On your appointment day at the Visa Application Center, representatives will collect and scan your documents, they will also assess what else may be lacking from all the documents you have submitted. After this, once everything is ok, you will then be called for biometrics collection (fingerprints and photo). Once everything is finished, you will then be given a receipt for you to claim your passport once the result of your application is ready. A tracking number is also written in the receipt for you to be able to track the progress of your application online. You can also opt for an SMS message update with an additional fee.

Processing time takes up to 21 days, so I advice that you only contact the Visa Application Center if you haven’t received any result yet after this timeframe. In my case, I received my passport with a Shengen Visa after 8 days.

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Shengen Visa Fees varies from each country of Application, Since I applied for The Netherlands through VFS GLOBAL in the UAE, then here is the breakdown of all the fees that I paid in the local currency:

99 AED around 26 USD – Appointment fee paid at the VFS Global site

260 AED around 70 USD – Shengen Visa Fee to be paid during the day of application

30 AED around 8 USD – Courier Service (Optional) – the passport will be delivered to your desired address.

I hope you find this article helpful. For questions, feel-free to ask it on the comments below and I will try to answer as soon as I’ll be able to read them.

Thank you for reading!

Exploring Kawasan, a Handy Guide on how to get there.

Kawasan falls is one of my favorite places here on earth. It is located in Badian which is a small town in the province of Cebu in the southern part of the Philippines. In spite being one of the most famous tourist spots in the Philippines which led it to gain its  name as the most picturesque waterfall in the country and one of the most beautiful destinations in the world, It has become one of my favorites simply because of its magnificent beauty that captivates my soul whenever I visit it. Definitely a playground for travel photographers and film makers.

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Although you can visit it anytime of the year, the best months to visit Kawasan Falls is during the dry season which is from Mid-February till May.

How to get there:

There are actually a few ways on how to get there, but I will be discussing here the easiest and cheapest way to get there.

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 1. By Bus(Cebu City to Badian)

From Cebu City, bus departs almost every hour from the Southern Bus terminal, It takes approximately between 3.5- 4 hours ride via bus and costs around $4-$6. Be sure that the bus from Cebu is going to Bato via Barili and not Oslob. But if you’re not pretty sure where to stop, you can always ask the bus conductor to drop you off in front of the Matutinao Church in Badian. And from Matutinao Church, you can journey for around 15-20 minutes walk to the the waterfall following the Kawasan River which trails to the waterfall.

2. By Taxi/ Uber

Taxi/Grab by far is the most convenient way to get there, but also one of the most expensive. So if you intend to go there by Taxi or Grab, make sure to have a few thousand peso bills with you. Like around 5k pesos.

3. Hitchhiking

I think this is the best option for those who are on a really tight budget. Especially if you are journeying from town to town. I tried hitchhiking from Oslob to Badian, it’s not always guaranteed that there will always be someone who will stop and give you a ride, but it surely is worth trying. Not only you make new friends along the process, but you are also able to save some serious amount.

So once you get there, just relax and enjoy, take as much photos as you can and make sure to always look after your belongings to avoid getting stolen from. Be a responsible tourist to help preserve the beauty of Kawasan. 

If you have some questions, feel free to drop a comment!

Visit Buscalan, A Travel Guide On How To Get There

Ever thought of taking a trip to a destination where you can disconnect from the modern world to reconnect with yourself? Or simply just wanting to have a life-changing experience on a budget? Then worry no more, the best destination for you is ‘Buscalan’!

Buscalan is a small village situated on the mountains of Tinglayan in the Province of Kalinga in the Northern part of the Philippines. It is famous for being a ‘tattoo haven’ as well as being the home of the legendary tattooist Whang-od Oggay.

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I remember the first time I visited Buscalan, I was 16 and went there alone! I don’t know what’s gotten into me but it surely is the start of my wanderlust story. Since then, I haven’t kept track as to how many times I’ve been there already. Well, basically, I’ve been captivated by its breathtaking landscapes and its rich culture resulting in my many countless returns. Definitely a place that would surely make you wanna’ come-back for more.  

Apo Whang-od Oggay

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Top Things to do in Buscalan

-Interact with the locals, go around the village and discover their way of life.

-Go and work your way towards the rice terraces early in the morning to watch the sunrise, or in the afternoon to catch the sunset.

-Go and have a dip at their waterfall situated at the base of the mountain just below the village.  

-Try their local coffee, this is a must whenever you visit the village!

-Try their local food, a must if you wanna have an unforgettable experience in Buscalan!

-Get inked by the legendary traditional tattooists of the village!

In this post, I will be sharing some helpful DIY travel tips on how to get there.

The most frequently asked question by every first time traveler is of course, how to get there. Well, there are actually a few ways on how to get there, purely depends on where you will be coming from.

Below are the most commonly taken route:

Manila->Tabuk City->Bugnay, Tinglayan

For this route, take the Victory Liner bus which departs from Victory Sampaloc Terminal in Manila. Buses to Tabuk usually departs during the evening, around 7:00 pm till 9:45pm. The journey roughly takes around 12-14 hours, depends on the traffic. For complete bus schedules and fare, visit the Victory Liner Website. 

Then from Tabuk City, take the mini bus or jeeps going to Bontoc which usually departs from Tabuk City between 4:00am- 8:00am. The journey takes around 3-3.5 hours. Just don’t forget to tell the driver or the conductor to drop you off at ‘Mar-u’ in Bugnay, Tinglayan. Then from ‘Mar-u’, you can ask the locals where the starting point is going to Buscalan and you can then work your way towards the village, either through walking or hiring a motorcycle for php100($2) per way. The walk usually takes around 1.5-2 hours, depends on how fast you are. Motorcycles will drive you all the way to the last vehicle-accessible point in Buscalan then you can work your way towards the village which would take around 30 minutes walking.

Tip: When you ride the jeep/bus going to Bontoc from Tabuk, make sure to ride on top of the jeepney/bus to enjoy an unforgettable experience and a spectacular view!

There is also another way if you want to skip the long bus-ride. You can take a plane from Manila going to Tuguegarao City and from Tuguegarao City, you can ride a van going to Tabuk City and follow the same route as above. But for this option, you need to spend a night in Tabuk City and catch the bus to Bontoc in the morning of the following day.

Manila ->Bontoc Mt. Province->Buscalan

For this route, take the Coda Bus lines which depart from Quezon City, Manila en-route to Sagada, Mountain Province. Just don’t forget to tell the driver or the conductor to drop you off at Bontoc. Journey takes around 9 hours to Bontoc from Manila.

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For Coda Bus Line Schedules and fares, visit their website for the latest fares.

Then from Bontoc, you can then ride the Jeep going to the last vehicle-accessible point in Buscalan and you can then work your way towards the village which would take around 45 to 60-minute walk, depends on how fast you are.

Manila->Baguio City->Bontoc, Mt. Province->Buscalan

This route is the best option if you need or want to have a stop-over at the Summer Capital of the Philippines.  I suggest that if you take this route, then spend at least one night in Baguio then take the buses going to Bontoc either via D’Rising Sun or GL Trans in the morning on the following day.

Buses from Manila to Baguio departs every hour 24/7 via Victory Liner, Genesis, etc. Either from Pasay Bus Terminal, Cubao Bus Terminal or Sampaloc Bus Terminal. Journey from Baguio to Manila takes around 5-6 hours. 

From Baguio City to Bontoc, you can take any of the following below:

D’Rising Sun Buses departs every hour from 5am till 1pm every day from Slaughter House Compound in Magsaysay Avenue, Baguio City.  

GL Lizardo Buses, departs 8AM, 10am and 2:30pm from Dangwa Bus Station at the back of Center Mall in Baguio city.

Journey from Baguio city to Bontoc takes around 6-hours and fares differ from $5-$6 depends on the couch you availed. Then from Bontoc, you can follow the same steps as above.

If you have questions or clarifications, feel free to drop a comment below.

Travel to Buscalan, A DIY Travel Guide On How To Get There

Ever thought of taking a trip to a destination where you can disconnect from the modern world to reconnect with yourself? Or simply just want to have a life-changing experience on a budget? Then worry no more, the best destination for you is ‘Buscalan’!

Buscalan is a small village situated on the mountains of Tinglayan in the Province of Kalinga in the Northern part of the Philippines. It is famous for being a ‘tattoo haven’ as well as being the home of the legendary tattooist

I remember the first time I visited Buscalan, I was 16 and went there alone! I don’t know what’s gotten into me but it surely is the start of my wanderlust story. And since then, I haven’t kept track as to how many times I’ve been there already. Well, basically, I’ve been captivated by its breathtaking landscapes and its rich culture resulting in my many countless returns. Definitely a place that would surely make you wanna’ come-back for more.  

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Top Things to do in Buscalan

-Interact with the locals, go around the village and discover their way of life.

-Go and work your way towards the rice terraces early in the morning to watch the sunrise, or in the afternoon to catch the sunset.

-Go and have a dip at their waterfall situated at the base of the mountain just below the village.  

-Try their local coffee, this is a must whenever you visit the village!

-Try their local food, a must if you wanna have an unforgettable experience in Buscalan!

-Get inked by the legendary traditional tattooists of the village!

In this post, I will be sharing some helpful DIY travel tips on how to get there.

The most frequently asked question by every first time traveler is of course, how to get there. Well, there are actually a few ways on how to get there, purely depends on where you will be coming from.

Below are the most commonly taken route:

Manila->Tabuk City->Bugnay, Tinglayan

For this route, take the Victory Liner bus which departs from Victory Sampaloc Terminal in Manila. Buses to Tabuk usually departs during the evening, around 7:00 pm till 9:45pm. The journey roughly takes around 12-14 hours, depends on the traffic. For complete bus schedules and fare, click here.   

Then from Tabuk City, take the mini buses or jeeps going to Bugnay or Bontoc which usually departs from Tabuk City between 4:00am- 9:00am, they usually park in front of the opposite side of Damagen Gasoline Station in Barangay Bulanao. The journey takes around 3-3.5 hours from Tabuk City to Tinglayan. If you’ve taken the , tell the driver or the conductor to drop you off at ‘Mar-u’ in Bugnay, Tinglayan. Then from ‘Mar-u’, you can ask the locals where the starting point is going to Buscalan and you can then work your way towards the village. The walk usually takes around 1.5-2 hours, depends on how fast you are. Or you can hire a motorcycle for $3 to drive you all the way to the last vehicle-accessible point in Buscalan then you can work your way towards the village which would only take around 45 to 60-minutes walk.

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Tip: When you ride the jeep/bus going to Bontoc or Bugnay from Tabuk, make sure to ride on top of the jeepney/bus to enjoy an unforgettable experience and a spectacular view!

There is also another way if you want to skip the long bus-ride. You can take a plane from Manila going to Tuguegarao City and from Tuguegarao City, you can ride a van going to Tabuk City which will take around an hour journey. You can then follow the same route as above. But for this option, you need to spend a night in Tabuk City and catch the bus to Bontoc in the morning on the following day.

Manila ->Bontoc Mt. Province->Buscalan

For this route, take the Coda Bus lines which depart from Quezon City, Manila en-route to Sagada, Mountain Province. Just don’t forget to tell the driver or the conductor to drop you off at Bontoc. Journey takes around 9 hours to Bontoc from Manila.

For Coda Bus Line Schedules and fares, click here.

Then from Bontoc, you can then ride the Jeep going to the last vehicle-accessible point in Buscalan and you can then work your way towards the village which would take around 45 to 60-minute walk, depends on how fast you are.

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Manila->Baguio City->Bontoc, Mt. Province->Buscalan

This route is the best option if you need or want to have a stop-over at the Summer Capital of the Philippines.  I suggest that if you take this route, then spend at least one night in Baguio then take the buses going to Bontoc either via D’Rising Sun or GL Trans in the morning on the following day.

Buses from Manila to Baguio departs every hour 24/7 via Victory Liner, Genesis, etc. Either from Pasay Bus Terminal, Cubao Bus Terminal or Sampaloc Bus Terminal. Journey from Baguio to Manila takes around 5-6 hours. 

From Baguio City to Bontoc, you can take any of the following below:

D’Rising Sun Buses departs every hour from 5am till 1pm every day from Slaughter House Compound in Magsaysay Avenue, Baguio City.  

GL Lizardo Buses, departs 8AM, 10am and 2:30pm from Dangwa Bus Station at the back of Center Mall in Baguio city.

Journey from Baguio city to Bontoc takes around 6-hours and fares differ from $5-$6 depends on the couch you availed. Then from Bontoc, you can follow the same steps as above.

If you’re arriving from Banaue in Ifugao. You can take a jeepney ride from Banaue to Bontoc which would take around an hour journey, then from Bontoc, you can follow the same steps as above.

If you have questions or clarifications, feel free to drop a comment below.

Photos by Loic Bourgeois Photography, all rights reserved.