Naneng Heritage Village's Culture Trip and a Slice of Charming Small-Town Vibe | Kalinga


Having no idea of the place we’re heading to beforehand, the scenery of rolling mountain ranges rising parallel to the mighty Chico River, and expansive farm fields gave me hints of what to expect.

Mica Caballero
A drone's lens view of Naneng Heritage Village

A bucolic countryside perhaps or even more. The latter was spot-on as I found out the instant I set foot in the village of Naneng in Tabuk, Kalinga. While, I haven’t explored the small town yet, we got a taste of warm hospitality when we were invited to catch a fascinating glimpse of the villagers' rich culture.

Kalinga Travel Guide
The jungly fields of Naneng Heritage Village

We were met by several locals who offered us a cup of brewed Kalinga coffee and some native delicacies at the open-air basketball court. Not long after, the village’s young residents showed up wearing traditional clothing and performed a  cultural dance. In keeping up with the wishes of the elder population for the current generation to preserve part of their culture, artistic cultural and traditional practices are taught in their school. 

Arduous Back-strap Weaving

Inside the nearby hall, we were then showed some of the woven creations of the women weavers in the village.

Marla Espina
One of the women weavers at work

We met and observed a few of the women masters of the traditional "laga," or back-strap weaving — among them was Remedios Amla, the oldest among the weavers who first learned back-strap weaving in the late 1970's. Laga or back strap weaving is an olden method of creating woven cloth in the province of Kalinga.

Kalinga Travel Guide
Lola Remedios Amla is the oldest weaver in Naneng today

In back-strap weaving, the warp yarns are attached at one end to the weaver and the other end to a stationary object like a tree or a wall.

What to do in Kalinga
The backstrap technique appears harder than using a traditional pedal loom

When using this technique, the weaver is required to sit on the ground or a small bench. The process makes for a more difficult yet portable, flexible, and simplistic alternative to the traditional pedal loom. This weaving mechanism allows for the creation of narrower but longer textiles.

18-Degree Night on a Homey Home Stay

After satisfying our yearning for new cultural knowledge, it was time to explore the village. I started off by walking towards the river. I stopped short of going down to a natural pool filled with hot spring water as I got captivated by the verdant green fields along my path.

Kalinga Travel Guide
Goofing around with some of the kids while flying a drone

I sat down on a narrow-cemented trail and flew my drone to get a view of the whole village from the perspective of a bird. I saw how the old houses and rows of streets aligned beautifully next to the flowing clear waters of the Chico River.

Ariadne Jolejole
The surrounding hills, fields and river made Naneng more enchanting

As spectacular it looked from above, viewing it back on the ground was equally enchanting as the gentle breeze caressed my face while I continued my stroll through windblown rice fields and towering trees, creating the kind of bucolic dreamscape a city slicker like me could only hope to see on a a daily basis.

Where to go in Kalinga
The road leading to the village

We spent our first night at Duyan Homestay — owned by the family of the first elected Governor of then Kalinga-Apayao — which is located a stone throw away from the 1927 Saint Joseph Parish Church. Like most of its neighboring homes, the homestay is typical of the pre-World War II architecture found throughout the village.

Stef Juan
Saint Joseph Parish Church

Despite learning about this village for the first time, I was surprised to learn that Naneng Heritage Village was already a favorite among foreign tourists. “Before the pandemic, we would host up to 40 foreigners, the last time all Israelis. They will stay here after their river rafting and make a bonfire, sing and dance”, one of the locals tells us.  

Places to see in Kalinga
Resident Lola Patring smiles in front of her home

The residents were so hospitable we actually feasted on two dinners that night. One was at a house whose owners invited us for a chat and the other at our homestay where we had chicken curry, fried fish and a vegetable dish with squash and tomatoes freshly picked from the backyard. With a full stomach, an 18-degree evening and a plush bed cushion placed over a polished wooden floor, I had one of the best on-the-road snoozes ever.

Kalinga guide
Our home for the night. Duyan homestay.

The only downside of our visit to Naneng Heritage Village was we only stayed for a night as we had to go back to Tabuk the next day to cover the Bodong Festival, which in itself is another interesting story to write about.