The Long Road to Tabuk

So I finally set foot in Kalinga province, home of the Kalinga people, who else. The Kalinga are a proud people and in the olden days, were much feared. .  It is ironic that it was Kalinga music that I first learned among all other indigenous  music but have never been here.  So when an opportunity to join a research team to document a clan reunion in Tabuk came, I didn’t hesitate to join. It did involve inordinate  amounts of patience though as the trip was so long and I was so busy. The rest of the team left on Thursday morning on a van while I had to take a night bus to Tuguegarao as I had commitments until the evening.

V is for Victory
I arrived at the Victory bus station in Kamias to find it overflowing with people.  A Tabuk-bound bus was accepting chance passengers but only a seat at the rear was available so I opted to just take my 9pm Tuguegarao bus where I had a ticket already. It was cool and comfortable and included a free bottle of water, a pack of sweets, and a small cupcake. The bus had its own comfort room which was surprisingly smell-free and clean. I managed to sleep during the trip as the ride was pleasant.

We finally pulled into the Victory bus station in Tuguegarao after a little over 12 hours on the road with a few stopovers. The sun was scotching hot as I trudged the few meters of asphalt to Brickston Mall where there were shuttles to Tabuk. I had wanted to park my heels and fill my tummy with pansit batil patung but it was past 9 and I needed to be in Tabuk. Fortunately, I didn’t need to wait long at the station as a van to Tabuk was getting  ready to leave. I took the last of the two remaining seats on the second row. The chubby guy next to me asked if I would like to split the fare of the empty seat between us so we can have extra space. Fine with me. An additional 40 bucks for a little more comfort is a small price to pay.

The ride took just an hour on relatively good sealed roads. I was surprised that we didn’t gain much elevation except for a short zigzag section as we neared the city limits.

I asked the driver to let me off at Davidsons Hotel. It was a relief to finally arrive and not have to sit. I just had enough time to get the room key from reception, drop my bag, wash my face, then join the rest of the team who had returned to the hotel from visiting a farm where we were going to shoot some video recordings of musicians on Sunday.

Tabuk Essentials

Ther is a Tabuk-bound bus that leaves the Kamias station at 8:30pm. Otherwise, there is a Tuguegarao-bound deluxe bus that leaves at 9:30pm. The Sampaloc station has more departures. Arriving at Tuguegarao, the Brickston mall is just a few meters away. The shuttle parking area is behind the mall. Vans leave when full.

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