We had lunch in Buscalan. Kuya Randy served me and Mario, the Italian, canned sardines and a generous heaping of rice. After the meal, I bade farewell to the people gathered around Fang-Od and to the other visitors so Kuya Randy and I could proceed with my trek to three other villages.
The next village was Loccong. As what I mentioned in a previous post, I saw a similar name of a traditional hut displayed in Tam-awan Village in Baguio. I think somehow both are related. This village was much quieter than Buscalan. The Italian I was with was planning to spend the night here to avoid the crowd in Buscalan, so he might have made a good choice. There were a couple of cute kids who readily posed when I took out my camera even though they had no clue what I was saying. I gave them candies even if they weren’t asking for it.
We didn’t stay long in Loccong (wow, that rhymed). We immediately proceeded to Butbut Proper. Kuya Randy always referred to it as Butbut Proper, never just Butbut, so I wondered whether there were other parts of Butbut in the area.
Again, there were stunning views along the way.
Although the people in Butbut Proper were a little snobbish, there were some things to see here.
After Kuya Randy was done showing me around, we made our way to Ngibat. The view again of the rice terraces never seized to amaze me.
We passed by this tattooed old woman. She was the only one who asked for matches and I happily gave her one.
I enjoyed the warm welcome I received from the people in Ngibat. They engaged me in their conversation. We talked about my tattoos and their knife making. They offered me their warm delicious coffee and invited me to eat, but I had to refuse the food. I was still full from my lunch in Buscalan.
After a few minutes of talking with the Ngibat locals, I greeted them a happy new year and we started our way back down to Luplupa (or at least the highway leading to Luplupa).
During the night before, the Dutch couple at the Riverside Inn warned us about the slippery path from Ngibat. I guess it had already dried up when I got there because it was not that slippery. Even so, I was still extra cautious. We hitched a ride on a private jeepney when we got to the highway to get to Luplupa. I then parted ways with Kuya Randy when we got near the inn. I gave him his pay of P1000 with a little tip.
When I got back to the inn, I met new people who had just arrived. Lian, who sprained his foot shortly after arriving in Luplupa, his friend Ivan (I think that was his name) and Sir Ben. They, including P.A., were all seasoned local travelers so it was nice to hear stories from them. After that long hike I did, I thought I needed some good sleep so I decided that I would just go take the jeepney that passes by Luplupa at 10am. P.A. was also taking the same jeepney so it was nice to be on the topload with someone you somehow know. I was able to have a little conversation with Nanay Belen before I left the inn and I told her that I would be back in March. Maybe I would. I’m crossing my fingers. While waiting for the jeepney, I was finally able to see Sleeping Beauty!
When the jeepney arrived around 10:45am, I went on topload again. This time I found a good spot where I was safely and comfortably nestled for the entire trip back to Bontoc. I had a good view of the Chico River and the rice terraces this time so I really enjoyed this ride.
Aside from the glorious views that I saw endlessly in Kalinga, I also enjoyed the peace I experienced there. The interactions I had with people there, both locals and visiting travelers, were something I would always remember.