Bolinao, Pangasinan

Previously, Pangasinan ‘s top destination is the Hundred Islands but recently, Bolinao has rose to its fame. From white beaches, caves and falls, you will never go out of activities and places to discover. Last July, together with my family and relatives we explored the northern part of this province, which is Bolinao.

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Patar Beach – is a long stretch of cream colored sand with several rock formations. Sea water’s colors are blue and green and waves can be high at times.

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Cape Bolinao Lighthouse – located in Punta Piedra Point, it is one of the oldest lighthouses in the Philippines. Built in 1905 by Filipinos & Americans, it had the state of the art lights and facilities during that era.

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Balingasay River – considered one of the cleanest rivers in the Philippines, with lush mangroves and abounding different types of fishes. The river can be more enjoyed when you take the 1 to 2 hours river cruise while satisfying your cravings for fresh seafood in a boodle fight

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Meeting the legendary Apo Whang Od

I admit that I am not a fan of tattoo and I never wanted to have one, not until I’ve learned about Apo Whang Od. She is the last living “mambabatok” (hand tapped tattoo) and having her three signature dots etched on my body is something to be proud of.

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I went to Buscalan with two of my travel buddies. At first, it was only me who had plans to have a tattoo. One of my travel buddies decided to have hers during our climb. And the last one decided on the spot when we were already queued. She was convinced by one in the queue who said to her “not having a tattoo from her will just waste all your effort going to Buscalan”

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friendship goals

Meeting Apo is not only for the tattoo, grandmothers have a very special place in heart. I grew up with my lola from my father’s side and my lola from mom’s side who lived for 102 years old (same age with Apo this year). Seeing her reminds me of my two grandmothers whom I dearly missed, I even hugged Apo when I got the chance. And since it was our birth month, I gave her a small token and a cake. God bless you Apo!

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(you may check our budget and itinerary for this trip – Cagayan, Kalinga & Mt. Province Trip)


Accommodation and Tour Guide, Buscalan

It is advisable to stay for night since the queue for tattoo is erratic and so we stayed at Ate Selma’s place. The house is an antique house made of hardwood with plenty of window so there’s no need for aircon. Foam, pillow and blanket were also provided.

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True to the posts I have read, it has nice view of the village. Aside from the accommodation, Ate Selma also has an eatery that was jam-packed when we arrived, their main specialty is adobo. We paid P300 each for the accommodation that includes unlimited coffee and rice.

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Our tour guide is Kimberly, a cousin of Ate Selma who helped us made it to the top (and back). She even carried some of our loads to make the climb easier for us.

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(you may check our budget and itinerary for this trip – Cagayan, Kalinga & Mt. Province Trip)


Buscalan, Kalinga

This is my second time to visit Kalinga and my main purpose is to have my first tattoo by the last “mambabatok” (hand tapped tattoo) by Apo Whang Od on my 40th birthday which coincide the birth month of Apo.

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Our entry point is via Cagayan and good thing I was able to score a promo from PAL when they launched a flight route to Tuguegarao from Clark. Travel time is about an hour. From Tuguegarao, we rode a van and travelled to Tabuk for an hour then bus bound for Bugnay for 3hours.

Going back to Manila, we travelled via jeep for 2 hours to Bontoc (and yes, we did the topload!). We made a side trip to Sagada which is another 1 hour from Bontoc and rode the coda bus lines to Manila for 12 hours.

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That’s a total of 20hours back & forth. Getting to her definitely took a lot of travel time but surely, it’s all worth it.

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(you may check our budget and itinerary for this trip – Cagayan, Kalinga & Mt. Province Trip)

 


Mt. Province

This is my second time in Sagada and we just stayed for an hour as transit point going back to Manila. First things first, you still need to register in the Tourism Office otherwise you cannot go through any tourist spots around Sagada because they will all look for the registration ticket. Since we only have an hour before our bus departs, we only visited the hanging coffins located in Echo Valley Hill.

Comparing my first visit with this trip:

First, there is already another registration before entering the Echo Valley. It is a private owned area as I was told in the tourism office. Entrance fee is P10 per head and P300 fee for tour guide good up to 10pax which is also compulsory.

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Second, the St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, the first Protestant church in the Philippines is open at the time of our visit so I was able to see the inside and the altar.

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Third, unlike our first trip, I was able to get up-close the hanging coffins because the 10minute hike going down is already pave and railings are provided which made the hike a lot easier.

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(you may check our budget and itinerary for this trip – Cagayan, Kalinga & Mt. Province Trip)