April 2014 – I have to admit that getting to Buscalan, Tinglayan is both exhausting and dangerous. There are many roads that lead to the Cordilleras but only one highway traverses the town of Tinglayan. Since we went there during the Holy Week, and I was too stupid not to reserve any bus tickets, we had no choice but to make cutting trips.

Anyway, based on what I’ve read from some blogs, there are several ways to get to Tinglayan. Here are some of the routes you can take to get to Buscalan.

how to get to Buscalan

  • Manila – Tabuk – Tinglayan (~15 hr)

This is the easiest way to reach the town nestled under the shadow of the Sleeping Beauty. There are Victory Liner buses from Kamias Station (920-7396) that can get you all the way to Tabuk, Kalinga (~12 hr, PhP 580 ). Once in Bulanao, Tabuk, ask where the jeeps to Tinglayan are (~3 hr, ~PhP 110).

As an alternative to the Manila  Tabuk bus, you can ride a bus to Tuguegarao (~12 hr, PhP 600) and from there, ride a van to Tabuk (~2 hr, PhP 85). The van terminal is beside Brickstone Mall, which is near the Victory terminal. I wouldn’t advise taking this particular route, though, because why would you?! It will take forever (or about 17 hr)!

  • Manila – Baguio – Bontoc – Tinglayan (~15 hr)

I think this route is the most energy-consuming among the three, but I think it’s more enjoyable than the other two. This was the route that we picked because it was the only option left for us. From Manila, there are several bus liners travelling to Baguio (e.g., Victory Liner, Dagupan Lines, and Genesis) with several terminals in Cubao and Pasay. The fare costs around PhP 450; travel time, around 6 hours.

In Baguio, ride a cab to the D’Rising Sun terminal (just tell the cab driver to take you to the Slaughter House, or explain that you want to go to Bontoc). The first trip to Bontoc leaves at 5:30 AM (~6 hr, ~PhP 220; student fare PhP 175). There’s another bus line plying the same route (GL Lizardo) but I’m not sure where their terminal is. For first-time travelers to the Cordilleras, note that this ride can be a bit bumpy and nauseating because there will be endless twists and turns along the Halsema Highway (or the Baguio  Bontoc road).

The Tinglayan jeepney terminal in Bontoc is located beside the campus of Mountain Province State Polytechnic College, which is right across the corner where the Baguio – Bontoc bus stops. The first trip leaves at 1 PM (I’m not sure if this is always the case, though). The fare is PhP 100; travel time, about 3 hours. Be prepared to go on topload (i.e., ride on top of the jeep) in case there are many passengers.

Actually, there’s a bus from Quezon City that will take you directly to Bontoc – Cable Tours – but I’m not sure if it’s still operational after LTFRB suspended 1o of its units earlier this year.

  • Manila – Banaue – Bontoc – Tinglayan (~15 hr)

    The Ohayami bus line (09175617344), whose terminal is somewhere along Lacson Avenue in Sampaloc, has regular trips to Banaue, Ifugao (~9 hr, ~PhP 450). (The other one is Florida Liner. I don’t think they have the license to operate anymore.) Once in Banaue, you can ride a jeep to Bontoc (~3 hr, ~PhP 200).

There is no 3G coverage in Kalinga at all, although there are splotches of GSM-covered areas (Globe) so your boss can still probably call you there. Smart is unavailable in this area. If you plan to visit the other barrios of Butbut and Ngibat, don’t forget to bring water and sunblock.

As you may have already read elsewhere, it would also be great if you could bring some matches and over-the-counter medicine for the elderly and some candies for the children in Buscalan. It’s not required, but they will appreciate the gesture. If you’re planning to stay the night in one of the houses there, bring some food to share with your host family.

Do tell me about your trip in the comments section! 🙂