Project Breaking Down Barriers: Village of Buscalan, Kalinga

After Tara got her tattoo, we had coffee with Fang-od and had the opportunity to have another conversation with her. We talked about her life, beyond being the last Kalinga tattoo artist.

Fang-od shared with us that she had a boyfriend when she was younger. She really loved him. But, he got killed. After that, she didn’t find anyone who could replace him. So, she just devoted the rest of her life to her craft.

Fang-od talking about her life

And, it’s not because no one pursued her after her boyfriend passed.  Fang-od, in fact, was considered as one of the prettiest and smartest (thus, the tattoo on her forehead) in their community. One time, after she and her friends went down to the Chico River, three boys from Tinglayan followed Fang-od to Buscalan, with the intention of courting her. But, she dismissed all of them.

Cutie-pie Fang-od

Fang-od believes in the sanctity of marriage.  The husband and wife should work on resolving their issues and must do everything to keep the family intact.  However, being the powerful woman that she is, Fang-od holds firm that women shouldn’t let their husbands hurt them.  If the husband starts hitting his wife, the woman must leave.

Fang-od thinking and listening

We talked about so many things and Fang-od was very generous in sharing herself with us. Even if we don’t speak the same language or dialect, there were still a lot of instances that we got what the other was saying, as if the universe was doing its thing allowing us to communicate and be with each other.  It was super amazing.

In the afternoon, we also had the chance to go around the village.  I was in awe with how happy, peaceful, and content the Butbut tribe all were.  The kids, the women, the men.  Being in their village was like being in a whole new different world.  It made me think of how beautiful it would be to live in a community away from all the city chaos.

Baby Xerex

Buscalan Kids

Fang-od's sister

Lolo the Weaver

Earlier that day, I imagined myself to just be sleeping when we finally get to Fang-od’s community because of the tedious hike that just happened. But, there was something about the place that just washed all the fatigue off. Maybe it’s the fresh air. Maybe it’s the view of the beautiful mountains. Or, maybe it’s just really Fang-od and the community she belongs to. I go for all.

Butbut kids playing

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):


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

See ya,

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    1. monica

      Yes, yes! And, I felt privileged to have had a taste of that.

    1. monica

      Thanks, Joanna! I was so happy, too, when Yula asked me about it. 🙂

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