The Kalinga, with their 31 sub-groups, have practiced the art of batok or tattoo design for the last thousand years. Saved for the fiercest men and women warriors, tattoos are honed with a siit (an orange thorn) and a bamboo stick. Today you will see elderly women and men with these ferocious tattoos on their chests and arms. Many of their tattoo artists have passed away. The last woman mambabatok (tattoo artist), Whang Od, lives in Buscalan.
Artistry is in the Kalingas’ blood. Visit their weaving villages, like Mabilong Weavers Village. You’ll also find pottery in the town of Pasil.
Much like the rest of the Cordillera region, the area is filled with hills, valleys, ridges, and rice terraces. And best of all, it’s un-touristy. Unbeknownst to even local Filipinos, Kalinga has its fair share of intact rice terraces such as Buscalan. And not only are they pristine, they produce the most delectable rice. The Philippines has 6,000 species of rice, and Kalinga produces several dozens of these. Their Red Unoy Rice is so flavorful, it is already being exported to stores such as Dean and Deluca in the United States.
Kalinga is also a great venue for trekking. Many of the trails are used by the locals to get to one village from the other, so it brings you closer to a more immersive cultural experience. Ask your guide about a trek through Ngibat, Butbut and Buscalan.
Wild for water? Experience the Chico River in all its glory. The white water rapids here range from the easy Class III to the treacherous Class V.
This province can’t wait to be explored. Make sure to pack for an adventure!