Coffee is free in Buscalan.
It is served about three times a day, sometimes more. When there’s nothing else to do, when there’s just too much going on, when there are visitors to welcome, early in the morning, before going to bed — there are never too many excuses to have a steaming vat of Kalinga brew, served black and piping hot.
And if its coffee is any indication, Buscalan is a place for strangers to feel right at home.
Kalinga is a coffee producer. Ground to a talcum consistency, coffee is cooked with brown sugar and is served black.
Kids gather around a man playing a local song on the guitar. There is only one guitar in the entire village, and its sound usually draws children to wherever it is played.
Locals simply call this game chess, although it is played with dice.
Kids wash dirty dishes at communal water sources scattered throughout the village. Households in Buscalan do not have individual water pipe lines, but supply is plentiful as it comes from a nearby waterfall.
Villagers haul food and cooking implements along rice terraces for a picnic.
Men butcher a small pig by the river. In so-called picnics such as this, everyone who participates makes a contribution, either in kind or through labor.
Men cleave the pig’s body for cooking. Some parts are grilled, others boiled. The head was especially reserved for Whang-od, the tribe’s tattoo artist many tourists come to Buscalan for.
Portions of the cooked pig are evenly distributed to everyone who is present.
Students line up for a prayer at the start of a school program. The village has school buildings for elementary kids, but these are in dire need of instructional materials.
Small kids race to the top of a small wall in the village. Playtime often looks like this in Buscalan.
Kids play the flute in front of a guest house while other kids look on. Impromptu performances like this draw the attention of villagers.
Villagers gather around after dinner, like they usually do with or without electricity.
Photos by Owen and Nikka