TRAVERSING TABUK

Tabuk is derived from the word “TOBOG” means a ferocious wild animal abounding in the area during the past. It is known as the “rice granary of the Cordillera”. It is now the informal capital of hybrid rice production in the country as well. It is one of the 8 towns of Kalinga which is fast being recognized as the “Land of the Living Waters”. It is nestled on an elevation of 300 to 5,000 feet above sea level with a northsouth grouping of the mountain ranges within the Cordillera Central.

Home of the country’s newest found extreme adventure called white-water rafting. It is a trip to the wilds in the hub of Sierra Madre Mountains, raft and swim in the sparkling clear waters of Chico River. The longest river in Kalinga is hewn by sceneries interspersed by the majestic rice terraces, hanging gardens and bridges, gorges, narrow limestone canyons, verdant foliage and picturesque villages.

Getting There:

By Land: Autobus, Dangwa & Victory Liner – daily trip 11 hours. Reservation is a must.

By Air: Cebu Pacific ( via Tuguegarao ) Monday 12:30PM

Asian Spirit/Air Phil. (via Tuguegarao)Monday – FridayTake a jeepney which will take 1 and a half hours to Tabuk.

Where to Stay:

Davidson Hotel – simple and clean. It speaks of the pristine way of life of the Kalingas. Back to basics type. It is interesting to note that the mirrors and lavatories in this hotel are placed relatively low.

Kalinga Hotel – haven’t stayed in this hotel

Places to Visit:

Chico River – whitewater rafting adventure. Launch point is at the foot of the Sleeping Beauty Range, the site of the Bloodiest was of the Kalingas of yesteryears. Experience the excitement and the adrenalin rush as you struggle to keep up with the raging waters. This can be arranged at the Davidson Hotel also. Village immersion, trekking, introductory and trial exercise on whitewater for 2 hours, full 7 – 8 hours of rafting between Tinglayan/Pasil/Tabuk on more than 20 rapids of Class 3-4

4 days / 3 nights minimum of 6 to a maximum of 18 people US$230 (WOW Philippines Adventure Tour Package)

Sleeping Beauty Mountain Range – found in Tinglayan. There are also hot springs and waterfalls here.

Underground River with caves in Balbalan.

Places to eat:

Eat at Emilia’s Kitchenette and taste their pancit guisado that is dubbed as the best in Region 2. Known also for their Siopao and Fried Chicken

Eat at Camille’s at the public market famous for their Halu-Halo.

For fine dining, Chum’s is the place to be.

Cliver’s – known for its burgers.

Trip Tips:

• Buy the famed Kalinga / Gayonan Oranges from Mangoaong’s Farms or from Tabuk Public Market for your pasalubong.
• Try Inandila (suman-like delicacy with latik)
• Kalinga Brewed Coffee can compete with imported coffee well.
• Bring jackets and sweaters during September to February trips because it can be bitingly cold.
• Their day ends at 7pm to retire or watch Koreanovelas, Teleseryes, Fantaseryes or watch DVDs
• Don’t expect to see men in G-strings … you’d be disappointed.

“Are we there yet?”, this question always break the long silence during the very long eleven hours land trip to this place. Nothing prepared me for this trip. But it was worth taking because I will finally get to see the place where two of my close friends spent their childhood and ultimately come to terms with themselves. The road seemed endless but arriving in the place was all well worth it because of the warm and genuine hospitality of the people. I felt profound joy in the simplicity of the place. Their reserved ways, the well mannered generosity and the bashful looks makes it more appealing to experience an basic rustic living in Tabuk. It was a place I never heard of because of my limited knowledge in geography, to my chagrin. But it was never too late to experience this one trip I made in this

Written: August 2005

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