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Lubuagan, Kalinga - Part III: Things To See and Do

Posted on 6/10/2010 by Vi Arboleda

You won’t find loud tourists in Lubuagan.  Probably because this place is not made for tours, but rather for learning and rediscovering what humanity is about.

 What you are about.

Things to bring:  Nothing. 

Just bring yourself - even with just a pair of slippers on.

There’s no need for fancy gears or gadgets. 

Don’t bother with expensive clothing or make-up.

You’ll do just fine with only fare money, a camera and identification cards.

Alright, and a few change of clothes.

Lubuagan would remind you that despite all the stress, life can be good. 

Life can be simple. 

People can still be trusted. 

A thing called hospitality still exists. 

Money isn’t everything.

Plain food can be fulfilling.

I suggest staying here for at least three days to not only see, but to fulfill your senses and to give life back to your soul. 

Take time in walking.   

Walk wherever your feet lead you.  You won't get lost in Lubuagan.

You’d always find someone who’d tell you how to get back. 

Join the locals for lunch. 

or chat about their life in Lubuagan.

Watch the men work on the roads and fields; or while the women pound rice or coffee. 

Play with the children.  Join them in catching tiny froggies at the Pudpud rice terraces.

Or just watch their innocent eyes and live in that moment.

Sit and watch.  Breathe. 

Be with yourself. 

There are so many other things you can do in Lubuagan.  The folks here would be more than happy guide or chat with you. 

Just try your best to get rid of your arrogance that you use at work and in the city. 

Indigenous music and dances
 – most Lubuagan folks, especially those in the 
barrios still embrace their indigenous music and dances.

A land of talented artists and highly skilled people, Lubuagan instrumentalists make percussion, stringed, and wind instruments out of bamboo.  

From the 
ullibiw or bamboo jaws harp, the patteteg, tongatong, and saggay-pu, to the pattang-ug, among others.

Left:  A young boy playing the ullibiw with much pride and gusto

Right:  A Lubuagan folk participating at a get-together by playing the toppaya. 

Rituals and chants
 – The Lubuagan folks have chants just about for anything, and they can definitely pull you towards another dimension – to another time, when life was simpler.  A time where every phase in one’s life is celebrated with the whole community.

Rice terraces
 – they’re not as grandiose as those in Banaue, but they’re more accessible from the road and barely tread on by tourists.

Depending on the season, you can ask the host/hostess to show you how to plant rice or plow the field with your feet.

Otherwise, you can just sit there and meditate.

– Lubuagan folks, especially those from the
barrios, do this every single day.  For beginners, try Pon-e for the basics of hiking.  If you’re ready for some limb-and-back stretching climbs, ask to be taken to the Gapis rice terraces.

                                                                                                                                                        Warm-up hike to Dugnak

For some endurance hike that run for about an hour or two, ask around on how to get to  Dugnak, T
anglag or Mabongtot.

Meditation and relaxation
– you can do this almost anywhere in Lubuagan.  Sit in the middle of the rice terraces, sit by the road – which is rarely visited by vehicles, or walk just about anywhere as if time doesn’t exist.

                                                                                                                                                        Inside Manong Sapi's hut

Heaven, based on my experience though, is

Ask around for
Manong Sapi and check how you can get accommodations on his traditional hut that’s sitting in the middle of the Pon-e Rice Terraces.

Food, food, food!
– This is a place to rest your taste buds from the artificially flavored offerings in the city and indulge in organic food.  

In Lubuagan, you can taste the real flavor of the ingredients since they don’t use artificial flavoring.  

They just use a bit of salt to taste and it's amazingly delicious!

 The coffee you sip - or gulp - was pounded just a few days ago.  So was the rice on your plate.   For the non-vegetarians, chicken is always freshly butchered, too.

– Yes, it still exists.  At stores and houses.  You’ll most likely come across farmers bartering their produce for soap, instant noodles, school supplies, fish and meat, and even clothes.

If you have something of value to the Lubuagan folks, you can give it a try, too.

Lubuagan Products
The locals here are mostly farmers and handicraft artists.  Once they're done planting rice and crops, most of them use their time in working on handicrafts while waiting for the time for harvest.

They take their time with their crafts - whether it be handwoven fabrics, hand-made indigenous bamboo musical instruments, 
walis tambo (soft brooms) or hand-woven rattan; you'll never go wrong with the quality of the Lubuagan handicrafts.

Help - you can join medical missions, buy their products, donate school supplies or better yet, send someone to school.

Medical Missions - 
The Lubuagan Rural Health Unit (RHU) runs monthly medical missions to the different barrios which almost always involves hiking.  You don't have to be a nursing or medicine graduate to get involved.

     If you know how to use a sphygmomanometer, the RHU folks would be more than happy to let you tag along.  You get to hike, help, and have fun with the locals.  

     In Lubuagan, Medical Missions are always fun.  Can you imagine yourself taking a patient's BP at one time and dancing the
salip or playing the gangsa at another?  

Education - 
any form of help is appreciated here.  You can donate a few school supplies or books, give an inspirational talk to the students or sponsor a scholarship program.

     Your efforts will not go to waste.  Based on a GMA 7 documentary: "Don't English Me," the documentary team finds the Lubuagan elementary students to score higher than those in Manila.

Lubuagan Handicrafts - Local families heavily rely on selling their handicrafts after harvest - that is, if they harvest any.

With the El Nino phenomenon leaving most of their rice fields dry during summer, some rice farmers are left with barely enough resources to feed their family and send their children to school.

 There are hand-woven fabrics readily available at
Mabilong, soft brooms from Uma, and plastic beaded necklaces from Dangoy.

 Fertility Spring – nothing majestic or mystic looking, there’s a water pipe said to bless couples with children. 

Couples from here and abroad have come to drink from this spring, hoping to be blessed with children.  

If you’re not into having children soon, you can try bathing with the other folks who gather here to take a bath, wash their dishes and clothes in the morning.

Further readings about Lubuagan:

12 Response to "Lubuagan, Kalinga - Part III: Things To See and Do"

Matt Says....

What an amazing journey! I know this author very well. If you're looking to spend some time travelling and getting to know the real Philippines, take her word for it. Her enthusiasm and passion for the people and the country are unmatched.

lorraine alunday-ngao-i Says....

o vi, what a great read....can't thank you enough for promoting our long forgotten town....

Anonymous Says....

hi Vi! Great blog! How much is per night to stay at Manong Sapi's? How much is food? May I get his contact details? Thank you!

Anonymous Says....

Tell Vi who you are then she will go you the contact details.thanks

Vi Arboleda Says....

Hi, Anonymous!

I think I already replied via email, but I'll do it again just in case you missed it. I suggest you contact his daughters for the cost:

Manang Ofhe - 63 919 978 1164
Mimi- 63 918 367 3342

I hope it goes well. :)

Mabuhay po kayo!


Anonymous Says....

Hi Vi! Maraming salamat for the numbers. Will contact his daughters for the cost. Your blog is such a big help. We will also be visiting the Tiwod Spring there. How far is it from Manong Sapi's hut? Is it safe to walk around in that area? Thank you so much!!

Vi Arboleda Says....

Magandang umaga po!

I'm glad I'm able to help with this humble blog. :)

The Tiwod Springs is a good half an hour's worth up uphill hike if you've done hiking before. If not, it can go for an hour, including stops to catch your breath.

The good news is, Manong Sapi's house is halfway up. Knowing him, he'll ask you to drop by his house for you to catch your breath, chat, and have his nieces or granchildren accompany you to the hut.

To answer your second question, it's definitely safe to walk around the place. I spend a lot of time early mornings (even before the sun is up) and late afternoons wandering about alone, and I haven't experienced anyone bother me. Just be polite, nod and smile, and leave any rudeness behind.

Let me know if you have further questions. :)



Anonymous Says....

hi, i plan to go to Lubuagan this coming week. Will go to sagada then Kalinga. How long will it take to go to lubuagan from sagada? Can i just stay a day or 2 to drink the fertility water? Thanks

Vi Arboleda Says....


I thought I already replied to your question via email, but for some reason, it's not showing here. Just in case you're still curious, you can get to lubuagan to sagada in about 6 hours; and can definitely stay in lubuagan for a day to drink from the fertility spring.

Take care!


Maricel G. Legaspi Says....

can i get mang sapi's number we plan to go to lubuagan on dec. tnx.

Anonymous Says....

wow, your blog is a heaven sent to childless couples like us!!..This is a very interesting place to go to!..Anyway,i would like to ask, based on your trips there, which one (FLORIDA or VICTORY LINER)is easier to get to Lubuagan??..we'll be coming from there any such trip that goes straight from Manila to Lubuagan??..if there's such via what please??..i wouldn't mind the long journey as long as it goes straight there..hehe...but if not, which do u think is the best alternative please???..thank u thank u so much for such helpful infos u have's a huge help really...looking forward to get there before end of this year (fingers crossed!!)..hoping to hear from you soon!!....emily o

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