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Kalinga Travel Guide

Itinerary, Things to do, How to get there and more

Situated on the central part of the Cordillera Administrative Region, Kalinga used to be a part of the single province Kalinga-Apayao but was separated into 2 territories – Kalinga and Apayao to better serve the needs of the different native tribes in the area. Kalinga is composed of 7 municipalities and Tabuk, its lone component city, is the provincial capital. The name of the province is derived from the Ibanag and Gaddang’s word “kalinga” that means “headhunters.” Headhunting in the past is considered noble and symbolizes bravery, thus warriors are highly regarded in Kalinga society. The province is bounded by Mountain Province, Abra, Isabela, Cagayan and Apayao. Currently, Kalinga is fast becoming an eco-tourism destination in the Cordilleras and widely known as the home of the last “mambabatok.”

Where to go in Kalinga

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Aciga Tree

City Of Tabuk (capital), Kalinga, Cordillera Administrative Region, 3800, Philippines

Chico Dam

City Of Tabuk (capital), Kalinga, Cordillera Administrative Region, 3800, Philippines

Chico River

Mount Data Cordillera Mountains Tabuk, Kalinga, Cordillera Administrative Region, 3800, Philippines

Elephant Hill

Rizal (liwan), Kalinga, Cordillera Administrative Region, 3808, Philippines

Guinaang Village

Pasil, Kalinga, Cordillera Administrative Region, 3803, Philippines

How to Get Here

GETTING HERE
By land: Coming from Manila, take the CODA Lines bus that directly headed to Bontoc. Travel time is around 8-10 hours depending on the traffic. CODA Lines has daily trips to Bontoc and departs at 8PM, 9PM and 10PM. Fare is Php 822.00 for air conditioned buses and Php 1, 122.00 for deluxe bus. From Bontoc, ride a jeepney bound for Tinglayan or Tabuk.

Another way to reach Kalinga from Manila is via Victory Liner which plies the route Manila-Tabuk. Daily trips from Kamias, Cubao to Tabuk takes around 10-12 hours via NLEX-Maharlika Highway. Fare is Php 620.00.

By air: A 1-hour flight via PAL from Manila to Tuguegarao is another option to reach Kalinga. From Tuguegarao, a 2-hour jeepney ride to Kalinga follows.

Popular Food

This is a spicy vegetable dish with black snails, tengang daga (mushroom), bamboo shoots and chilli. It is served as an appetizer or side dish.

(c) @badoiss / instagram.com

A popular Kalinga delicacy, inandila is a rice cake made from glutinous rice and coconut cream, wrapped in banana leaves, steamed and coated with muscovado.

(c) @where_to_go2 / instagram.com

Kalinga’s version of dinuguan.

Hand-planted on the beautiful terraces of the northern Luzon, unoy is the precious red rice of the Kalinga. It is served during festivals and ceremonies and has a palatable flavour and aroma. The seeds are treasured family heirlooms.

(c) @maria.and.marie / instagram.com

One should never leave Kalinga without tasting its delicious coffee. Kalinga coffee has a strong and sweet taste and freely given when you are in someone’s home.

(c) @advonture / instagram.com

What to Do

Get a tattoo
A priceless cultural experience is to meet and to be tattooed by the living legend, Apo Whang-Od. If the old artist is not around, her grand niece Grace can inked you up.
Experience the thrill of top loading
In remote provinces like Kalinga, top loading is an exciting part of the journey, and scary at the same time. Nonetheless, the sight on top load is comforting and unbelievably beautiful. The sweeping view of the endless mountains, verdant forests, blue skies and the rustic villages all evoke simplistic lifestyle.
Ride a tal-tallak
Tal-tallak is a wooden kart invented in the 1930’s to transport firewood down the mountain. It relies on gravity and move down the hill quickly. The Kalinga youths use tal-tallak as go karts and race down the sloping hills as part of their pastime activity.
Visit a weaving community
See Kalinga’s weavers gracefully doing their craft of hand-weaving. The province has skilled women producing colorful and beautiful blankets, wrap-around skirts, g-strings and an assortment of headbands and belts.