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An update from Evaneos

Kalinga (The Philippines)

Practical information on Kalinga

  • Encounters with locals
  • Viewpoint
  • Hiking / Trekking
  • Countryside
  • Mountain
  • River
  • Culture (paddy field, coffee, tea ...)
  • Waterfall
  • Caves
  • Handicraft
  • Off the beaten track
4 / 5 - One review
How to get there
31 miles from Bontoc by car
When to go
Avoid the rainy season from June to November as frequent landslides occur at that time of year.
Minimum stay
2 to 3 days

Reviews of Kalinga

Seasoned Traveller
17 written opinions

A mountainous area populated by indigenous peoples on the northern part of the Island of Luzon, Kalinga is a region not to be missed by travellers in search of adventure.

My suggestion:
If you happen not to suffer from vertigo, make the trip from Bontoc to Tinglayan on the roof of a jeepney – the famous American Army jeeps converted for use as share taxis.
My review

Numerous tourists come here to stand in marvel – and with good reason – at the Banaue Rice Terraces, but few travellers venture into neighbouring Kalinga. I strongly recommend making a detour of a few days into the region and meeting the local indigenous peoples.

The museum in Bontoc is a good place to go to learn about the history and legends of the headhunters. There are some wonderful walks you can do from Tinglayan; in fact this is the only way to visit the neighbouring villages, which are not served by the area's only road. Breathtaking landscapes, hot water springs, terraced rice fields, incredible encounters with local people, women whose whole bodies are entirely covered in tattoos, and those are just some of the surprises that await you!

Having said all this, I do advise being cautious with respect to the various treks you'll be offered when you arrive. It's not that they aren't worth doing; it's just that in some of the villages they take you through I felt a sense of a kind of voyeurism taking place in a "museumified" atmosphere, with even a simple photograph having to be paid for.

You also need to keep an eye on your bags/luggage to ensure nobody puts anything in them without you knowing: the region is unfortunately one of the main areas where marijuana is produced in the Philippines. In my opinion, however, there is no need to be overly concerned about this aspect, or allow it to prevent you from visiting these enigmatic mountains.

Rice terrace after the harvest
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