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DIY Travel Guide to Have Apo Wang Od's Tattoo in Kalinga

DIY Travel Guide to Have Apo Wang Od's Tattoo in Kalinga
Photo courtesy to Lynn Re

I once told myself that I will only agree to get inked aka get a tattooed if it is Apo Wang Od, the oldest (95 years old) living mambabatok (traditional tattooe artist) in Kalinga province of the Philippines. While until now I found no chance of getting there,  I am happy to share to you one brave woman who was able to do something that I dream and fear at the same time. With her permission, I would like to share to you the DIY way to Apo Wang Od's place to get a tattoo. Note that this is Tagalong and English mixed information because I want to preserve what Lynn has said straight from her own wordings:

 She said they had no itinerary in hand, she just searched all the cities/landmarks they need for bus routes
Take a Deluxe Victorly Liner Bus (up to you to choose what's affordable for you) in Kamias bound to Tabuk at 7PM. It is best to book tickets in advance. Since our trip was spontaneous we went straight to the bus station and found out that they have no available tickets so instead of Tabuk we bought tickets to Tuguegarao. It costs us Php 740 per pax.  

• Travel time to Tuguegarao is 10 - 11 hours. There's only one stopover, a portable toilet available on the bus. Please bring your  jacket at neck pillow because it is going to be a long ride.

• Arrival is 3:45 am in Tuguegarao. Right in front of the bus station, there are tricycleswilling to pick you up. Tell the driver to bring you to the van terminal going to Tabuk. It costs Php 50 per head but for two persons it's Php 50.  Earliest trip going to Tabuk is 5:30 - 6:00 am. Travel time is only an an hour. You don't have to worry because there are so many good sceneries that the bus will pass by. 

Arrival to Tabuk is 6:45 am.  Since it was Thursday Morning. there are two options to get to the "turning point":  

a) JEEP to BONTOC by 7AM departure, that's the only schedule. We were too late for this because we were so hungry that we ate first..  If you're able to catch this one and only trip to Bontoc, choose to sit at the topload, if you are not afraid of heights!   Travel Time is  3 - 4 hours.  Tell the driver to drop you off at Barangay Bugnay. Fair is Php 150.  

b) BUS to BONTOC . They say the schedule of departure is every  11 am but we were able to leave by 9 or 9:30 am. Same thing, please tell the driver to drop you off at Barangay Bugnay. Fair is Php 150.

Arrival at Barangay Bugnay
Lynn recalls that she couldn't remember what time they arrived her guess is around noon. You will be greeted by so many habal habal (motorcycle) drivers. You don't need to worry because all of them follows the cost of Php 100 per person to bring you up to the Turning Point. They will also ask you if you already have a tour guide or a place to stay in. Don't fret because later,she will tell you a secret, just chill. Prepare yourself because for 30 minutes, you'll have a buwis - buhay moment. You guys will pass by a narrow road near a cliff!  Don't look down if you're afraid!

NOTE: It is mandatory to get a tour guide or else they will not allow you to get a tattoo, it's also their way to help the locals earn a living. Tour guide fee is Php 1000 good for up to 4 persons. That would be fine for the whole duration of your trip. They will assist you but please don't take advantage of their kindness.

Meeting the tour guide and hiking time 
This is the "bloodiest" part so prepare your legs and feet for an hour of an hour of walking. Upon arrival to the village, you will need to pay the environmental fee which is Php 50 per person.

Where to stay 
Charlie Homestay for Php 250 per night. Includes unli rice and unli Kalinga coffee
Contact Number: +639397484707

The owner can also take care of finding a tour guide for you. NOTE: Call or Text him days before your planned trip to reserve rooms. Also be ready,  Kalinga cofee is so addicting!

What to bring  
Canned foods  or bring your ingredients, it is free to cook at Charlie's Homestay. There are also sari - sari stores where you can buy food.

Candies.  If you want to see hordes of kids who are like  zombies and following you. Their happiness is so simple. 

Don't haggle. The locals here are living in a remote area with limited acccess to a decent lifestyle. They only make a small living out of the tourists who come here. Don't worry though because all if not most of them follow the standard prices everywhere.

Want to know Apo Wang od's tatoo designs? There are lots of options that you will  be told when you are there already but you'll have to fall in the long line if you want her do it for you. Right now, Apo Wang od only does the finishing touch or the signature. It's her grandnieces Grace and Elyang do the job who are really doing great with lines.

Normal sized tatoo is Php 500 like Lynn's, with Apo Wang od's signature it's Php 600.

Going back to Manila 
The tour guide will bring you down and even wait for the bus with you that is bound to Bontoc for Php 90 only. From there, there are busses bound to Cubao already for Php 680 php each.

Want to know what was their total expenses for 3 days and 2 nights?  She said she brought Php 4k but she went home with some change. She said she likes to eat a lot so if you are not, then you can save more or spend much less than what she does.  

Thank you so much to Lynn for sharing her DIY tips to get Apo Wang  od's tattoo.
I am sure this will help so many travelers who are planning to see Apo Wang od too.

Want to share this on Pinterest. Here's the pin below.

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