Project Breaking Down Barriers: Getting to and our first day in Tinglayan

I got to the bus station 10 minutes before its scheduled departure.  Typical me, I did everything last minute – INCITEGov first draft (sent 4:15 PM), packing (done 6:15 PM), withdrawal of pocket money (done 6:20 PM), picking up of books from Glads’ for the kids of Guina-ang (done 6:25 PM).  Good thing there was still no one sitting on our reserved seats!

During the first couple of hours after the bus left, we tested Tara’s new recorder, H4N Zoom, which she got the last minute from Shutter Master.  We created what this trip would be for us and listened to our recorded voices.  The quality of the recorder was awesome!  And, it would prove to be perfect for capturing conversations with our lovely hosts in Tinglayan, music from the traditional dance performed during a wedding in Tinglayan, conversation with the adorable 92-year-old tattoo artist Fang-od, conversation with our wonderful host in Sabangan Russell, playing of drums and singing of the talented kids and teenagers of Lake Sebu, sound of mornings in Lake Sebu, interview with the Eskayas in Bohol, and the sound of a beach in Samar.

As soon as we got to Tabuk, we looked for the red jeepney to Tinglayan that Manong Francis advised us to take.  We saw a green one.  When I told Tara that we were supposed to look for the red jeepney, she said, “They might change colors, you know.”  Haha!  So, after confirming with the driver of the green jeepney that it was also going to Tinglayan, we left our bags inside, without worrying if anything would happen to our stuff, and looked for a place to have breakfast.

We walked and enjoyed the first morning of our trip.  It was so beautiful.  We breathe fresh air and were greeted with smiling faces of the people in Tabuk, who were very accommodating despite the almost existence of a language barrier.

Tabuk, Kalinga, Philippines

Around 9:00 AM, the jeepney left.  While doing our research, I read in blogs that, most of the time, people ride on the roof of the jeepney, specially since there were limited trips from Tabuk to Tinglayan.  But, witnessing it firsthand was still different.  A bit scary and amusing at the same time.

Tabuk, Kalinga, Philippines

Tabuk, Kalinga, Philippines

The ride to Tinglayan took about 3 hours.  And, when we got there, Manong Francis was already waiting for us at the Sleeping Beauty Inn, where we were supposed to stay for almost the entire stay in Kalinga.  But, because there was a wedding scheduled on the day after our arrival that caused the inn to get fully-booked, he arranged for us to stay with her sister instead.

The walk to the house was uphill.  And, for someone as unfit as I am, it was quite difficult, especially since we were walking under the heat of the sun.  We stopped once, however, to meet Manong Francis’ parents.  His mom is also tattooed!  And, she’s so adorable in this picture, looking at Tara with curiosity.

Tinglayan, Kalinga, Philippines

Manong Francis prepared food for us upon our arrival at her sister’s house.  Tara and I left our bags in our room, freshened up, and drank lots of water.  Another thing that amazed me was that we could drink water directly out of the faucet, something I’d never do in Manila.

It was a day full of firsts for me.  It was my first trip with Tara.  It was my first trip to Tabuk.  It was my first trip to Tinglayan.  It was my first time to cross the hanging bridge (which I did twice!).  It was my first time to see the Chico River (beautiful!).  It was my first time to meet a real live lola with lotsa tattoos (amazing).  It was my first time to do a real mountain trek (survivor level in my opinion).  It was my first time to see Sleeping Beauty.  It was my first time to see pigs roaming around the village like dogs.  It was my first time to step on a snake (and not notice it).  It was my first time to witness someone pound coffee beans (and sing at the same time!).  It was my first time to do home stay, which was awesome.

Tinglayan, Kalinga, Philippines

Tinglayan, Kalinga, Philippines

Tinglayan, Kalinga, Philippines

Tinglayan, Kalinga, Philippines

Tinglayan, Kalinga, Philippines

Tinglayan, Kalinga, Philippines

Tinglayan, Kalinga, Philippines

Tinglayan, Kalinga, Philippines

Tinglayan, Kalinga, Philippines

Tinglayan, Kalinga, Philippines

The people in Tingalayan were so friendly and accommodating.  They would always greet you “Hello!” and smile at you or nod at you.  I knew and got it that I was an outsider and I also got it that my presence there was also welcome.

A lot of them are better at speaking in English than in Tagalog.  And, there are also a lot of professionals in the village!  Ate Concepcion, for example, is a nurse and was a government scholar in college.  She was not unlike many of us who once wished to work abroad.  Her husband, however, just wanted her to stay here and raise a family with him.  So, she obliged.

Tinglayan, Kalinga, Philippines

Her kids were also awesome.  Ligalig is the kuya and acts it.  Bullet, their only girl, is giggly and just seems to be such a happy kid.  Chavez is hyperactive, like the youngest, Baron.  Baron, however, is naughtier.  They’re all so adorable.

Tinglayan, Kalinga, Philippines

Tinglayan, Kalinga, Philippines

Tinglayan, Kalinga, Philippines

Before going to bed, Tara showed Ate Concepcion some yoga poses that she could use to help address that which she’s going through.  Since my legs ached from all the walking we did that day (yes, I’m that unfit) and also to prepare myself for the (supposed) hike next day to visit a community, I joined in.

We slept and got ready for the following day.



Liked what you read?  Share the love!  Follow See ya, Monica on social media to get updates on my recent travels, with tips and a lot of shares on what I got during my trips.  Plus, some barely edited photos to give you the most authentic feel of the place. (I do not know how to use Photoshop, and what I can only do are cropping, adjusting brightness and colors the way I remember it):

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Thank you! And, in whatever space you’re in now, I hope that you get something from reading my articles.

See ya,
Monica

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