Getting a Buscalan tattoo from Apo Whang-Od? I’ve been looking for traditional Philippine cultures and customs, so it’s great to find where it still exists (for now…). Decades ago, being tattooed meant beauty for the Kalinga women and bravery for the men. Their names are Rhenalyn and Rhea. Mambabatok means tattoo artist in Kalingan. Whang Od is part of the Butbut people in Buscalan, who belong to the Kalinga ethnic group. One has to do deeper research to truly understand what each symbol meant. Kalinga women are strong and would kill their husbands if caught cheating.” There is no doubt in my mind that she is not joking, despite the smile on her face and the intermittent chuckles. But there were no regrets. Buscalan, in Tinglayan, Kalinga became a household name because of “Whang–od” Oggay who practices the art of traditional Kalinga tattoo. To promote the event, Governor Floydelia R. Diasen drafted an executive order encouraging the participation of the entire province to observe indigenous month with the Diddiga as its highlight. Of course, those Kalinga men who possessed tattoos played a significant role in their communities. Yes I do — please message me at fb.com/followyouroad See you there! The fern tattoo is pretty popular with the ladies. POPULAR Kalinga traditional manwhatok or tattooist Maria “Whang Od” Oggay, who could be among the last master of the age-old but vanishing craft, was recently honored with the Dangal ng Haraya award, the highest recognition of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), for intangible cultural heritage. Some placement of the designs on women display their social status, such as in Lasoy’s case being the eldest daughter, but generally speaking, singular female tattoos are not known to have important cultural context. By sunset, we arrived at the jump-off point and commenced the short but steep climb to the Buscalan Tattoo Village. The headhunting ended in the 1950s and although tattoos are becoming less and less common in Kalinga culture, they are still an important badge of … Irresponsible tourism is the culprit in accelerating the destruction of Buscalan. Most native people have left their small mountain villages only to encounter that the traditional beauty and pride practices of their tribe are met with prejudice on the low lands. Whang Od is a Filipina tattoo artist who is believed to be 102 years old and has been tattooing since she was 15. Pack Road, Baguio City Tel. Is a Haute Culture Textile Tour Right For You? Click here to get your Philippines guide. As with most cultural practices, time changes peoples perception of traditions and can result in prejudice. Circular ones are commonly placed at the back of the neck or the forearm. 93-years old Fang-od is the last of Kalinga artists making traditional tribal tattoos (batok) using an orange thorn needle attached to a bamboo stick. Kalinga tattoos are inspired by objects seen in daily life, such as rice terraces, ladders, and centipedes. He is fortified in a tattooed skin of centipede scales (ufug). Kalinga / Kalinga Tattoos (Batek). Their Kalinga tattoo patterns are clean, and their touch is light. We descended into a nipa hut where two lady mambabatoks were at. World-renowned Apo Whang-Od is the last practising traditional Mambabatok in the whole region. Tattoo patterns are withered with time on Lasoy’s hands, Lasoy sits proudly displaying her tribal tattoos and heirloom beaded necklace, The tattoos on Lasoy’s arms were the first she received at age 13. It is recommended to read the book “Filipino Tattoos: Ancient to Modern” by Lane Wilcken. The stages of a Kalinga warrior’s tattoo were as follows: back of the hand and wrists; arms and forearms; shoulders and breast; back; stomach; a “belt” across the juncture of chest and belly; a band across the throat; cheeks. But luckily there will be young people and tattoo fans of new generations trying to preserve and renew the traditional Kalinga tattoo designs. I’m a tattoo artist in Hawaii and tattoo our local Filipino population with many of the old tattoo patterns of Northern Luzon. Some of these Kalinga tattoo patterns are linear or circular. She has been tattooing the Butbut people of Kalinga since she was 15. Hi Miss Sam do you have fb accnt po may mga questions po ako about sa kalinga kay apo whang od po . She learnt this difficult art from her father, when she was 25-years old girl and then she decided to dedicate her life to the old art of tattooing believed to be almost one thousand years old. Hello! “Fatok” means tattooing women to show beauty and wealth, and the artist is paid with a piglet or harvested rice. The best way to get to Kalinga is via Bontoc. Perhaps the most traditional design is the lingling-o, which looks like the omega sign (or headphones, actually), meaning fertility. with other like-minded textile-loving women. 21 April 2020. The Truth About Why I Started Haute Culture Textile Tours. The whatok of the Kalinga are known for their symmetry and elaborate tattoo designs. She is often described as the "last" and oldest mambabatok (traditional Kalinga tattooist) and is part of the Butbut people of the larger Kalinga ethnic group. At 92 years old, time is running out for her to pass on the time-honoured hand tapping technique and tribal motifs to her 13-year-old granddaughter and apprentice. uscalan village to have the last living legend of Philippino artistry scar their skin. If you click on a link, we earn a little money at no extra cost to you. This internationally acclaimed tattooist has single-handedly ensured the survival of her generation’s art for the next. Sometimes, tourists have their Kalinga tattoos done by another mambabatok and have Apo Whang Od put her signature. “Kalinga men don’t cheat.” She said assertively, “They wouldn’t dare. Today Kalinga tattoo art is popular with tourists but scarcely adorns authentic skin. The following illustrations are from the Headhuntr page. Like Marcus Garvey say “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” Ethnic Pride : Wear your identity©. The path is cemented and staired, but it gave our knees and hearts a challenge. The tattoo tools themselves are made from an instrument constructed in bamboo and razor-sharp lemon thorns. Learn more about how my travel and personal stories by subscribing below :), © 2015 FOLLOWYOUROAD | All rights reserved, Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Masungi Georeserve: What to Look Forward to, Mt. Although tribal wars and blood feuds still exist, they are less common. The point is something can be done to save this rare and beautiful ethnic art form, but where and how needs to happen now because it is not yet too late. Due to the long lines and the handful of tourists daily, Apo Whang-Od rarely does full-on Kalinga tattoos, let alone chant or do fortune-telling. Daughters of the kadangyan(the rich) members of the community are obliged to have their tattoos when they reach puberty. Whatok is the Kalinga term for the traditional tattoos, or inscriptions found on their skin. Photobook Philippines Review: App, Website, & Voucher Codes. Why booking a creative vacation so be ticked off your bucket list! As stated by William Henry Scott in his book “Barangay: Sixteenth Century Philippine Culture”, the tattoos of the Pintados projects an aura of intimidation and fear towards their enemies, which was a part of their psychological strategy during tribal war and raids. Leaving late at around 10 PM, we traveled from Manila to Buscalan where... My Buscalan Tattoo Experience. Keep this tradition alive, because traditional way of tattooing is slowly fading in many parts of the Philippines. Nowadays, there are no more headhunters to be tattooed. Love your writings of your travels and experiences in the Philippines. You can buy your bus ticket to Bontoc here! Apo Whang-Od is almost synonymous to the traditional Kalinga tattoo art, being considered the last mambabatok. We never planned on getting a Kalinga tattoo. creative heritage textile techniques from indigenous artisans. The artist is often as fascinating as the art. “Fi-ing” means tattooing male warriors, as a badge of honor for protecting villages from enemies. These are symbolic tribal designs that are taken from nature, such as serpents, eagles, snakes, centipedes, and ferns. “Just because we’re going to Buscalan doesn’t mean we have to get tattoos,” we had said weeks ago. Mar 22, 2016 - Reviving the rich culture and traditional hand tapped tattoo of Kalinga. The road to Tinglayan, Buscalan not for the faint-hearted — it involves hours enduring zigzag roads and dangerous mountain-side ravines that require skilled drivers to navigate. We descended into a nipa hut where two lady mambabatoks were at. Unlike modern day tattoos that only have a personal connection with the wearer, the Kalinga tattoos have important social and cultural connotations. Rhea and Rhenalyn even offered curved designs of “faith, hope, love” which I think is hardly tribal (it comes with a heart shape!). We recommend World Nomads. I’m Sam Coronado, just a millennial who is a writer by profession and a traveler by passion. This tattoo culture will disappear in the near future, when the old people are gone. (63)(74)442-7014 Tel./Fax (63)(74)442-8848. The mambabatok celebrates the victories of men and beautify women by tattooing, chanting, and fortune-telling. When it comes to deciphering Kalinga tattoo meanings, it can be quite confusing as the tattoo artists themselves have adopted English and easily understandable names for each design. 6 Benefits of going on a women’s only tour, How To Haggle Ethically For Arts & Crafts, 11 Simple Tips On How To Be A Responsible Traveller, Guatemala: Weaving, Embroidery & Community Tour 2021, Welcome to Guatemala – What you need to know before and during your tour with us, Mexico: Frida, Fabrics & Folk Art Tour 2021, WELCOME TO MEXICO – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE AND DURING YOUR TOUR WITH US, WELCOME TO THAILAND – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE AND DURING YOUR TOUR WITH US, Vietnam: Creative Cultures Textile Tour 2021, Welcome to Vietnam – What you need to know before and during your tour with us. Many may mention Apo Whang-Od from Buscalan, Tinglayan, Kalinga as Northern Luzon's tattooing expert. Information and education can be widely distributed about diversity at the touch of a button. The “prayer” design wasn’t too intricate so it took me only around 30-minutes to finish. Whang Od lives in Kalinga province located in the mountainous area in the northern Philippines and is the last mambabatok —a traditional Kalinga tattooist. … I’m glad to find your blog! A closer look at this surreal town on top of the mountains will make you … If you're new to the blog, you can start here. Protect your health, luggage and mind. Kalinga Tattoo Meanings: Buscalan Travel Guide to Apo Whang-Od Long Ride for the Buscalan Weather and Coffee. There are very nice examples of these modern interpretations in the “Kalinga Tattoo” … Her enigmatic tattoos are the main reason travelers from all over the world come to Buscalan. Kalinga tattoos are inspired by objects seen in daily life, such as rice terraces, ladders and centipedes. Designed & Developed by SoloPine.com. However men’s tattoos are meant to have symbolic significance, as specific motifs are saved only for men in order to communicate their bravery, battles won and how many people they have killed. What greeted us were long lines and people arguing who should go first to take photos with the elder tattoo artist — at PHP 50 per person. Apo Whang-Od, the celebrated Kalinga artist often referred to as the “last mambabatok” (traditional tattooist) of her proud and ancient community in the Cordilleras, was in Manila last week at the invitation of the organizers of the 66th Manila FAME trade … Many say that she is the last mambabatok in the Philippines, though there are many tattoo artists not from her bloodline that are emerging. My chosen Kalinga tattoo design was called “prayer”, which looks like a community with a mountain range backdrop. Along the way, we saw water streams, eroded soil, and trees. Killing the enemy in battle and defending the village was the only way a Kalinga man could earn his social stripes, henceforth giving him special privileges and lifelong respect. The 102-year-old artist applies permanent hand-tapped tattoos (a concoction made from pine soot and water) with a few simple tools: a bamboo stick, a thorn from the pomelo tree, water and coal. Some placement of the designs on women display their social status, such as in Lasoy’s case being the eldest daughter, but generally speaking, singular female tattoos are not known to have important cultural context. We bathed in cold water and slept on floor mattresses, a welcome opportunity to rest. By the end of our Buscalan to Sagada trip, our skins were forever marred by soot and blood from a Kalinga mambabatok (traditional tattoo artist). Instead, she inscribes her signature consisting of three dots — symbolizing herself and her apprentices and grandnieces Grace Palicas and Ilyang Wigan. This 103-year-old woman named Whang Od Oggay is the oldest traditional tattoo artist in the Philippines. Though notorious to have lovers, Apo Whang-Od does not have a direct descendant. Having had a tattoo before, the pain was more tolerable — but the position of my tattoo is on tender flesh. The tattoos for women indicate initiation into adulthood and full participation in the social life of the group. Welcome to … Information Packs on each destination. This was a much-awaited trip that gave us more than inks on our skins. From right to left: Dominica Gunnawa, Me, Theresa “Lasoy” Gunnawa and Dionica Alyssa Legasi in Tabok city, Kalinga Province, North Luzon, Philippines. Thank you for your work! However, many do not know that there are many other tribes in the region who also practice such tattooing. Covid-19 Travel: Caring for yourself & others. salamat po. She lives and works in the Kalinga province of the Philippines. It was only acting like this that could justify men being rewarded with tattoos. What once was beautiful is now considered too bold, and therefore can hinder one’s chances of change from rural life. I discovered your blog yesterday and think it’s brilliant. The tattoos that these warriors possessed were not just meant for decorative purposes. Whang-od Oggay has seen some changes in her time. Foremost, this is driven by overcapacity & made even tighter by bandwagon jumpers who outnumber the real aficionados of tattoo & indigenous culture. There are no shortcuts or direct flights here, so there’s really no other choice. Keep this tradition alive. The ink used for Kalinga tattoo is made from indigenous materials. Two things I want to be when I’m older: to be wrinkled and inked. By sunrise, the day for getting a Kalinga tattoo finally came. Some tribal prints represent the mountains or the sun, others fertility and strength. Batok is a thousand-year tattooing tradition that is a bit more painful than modern methods. She was known to be the last mambabatok (Kalinga tattooist) until her granddaughter started embracing the traditional art of Kalinga tattoo. A mambabatok often displays a wooden plank of Kalinga tattoo designs for visitors to choose from. We recommend Skyscanner to compare all of the airlines at once and find the cheapest, fastest and most convenient flights to the Philippines for you! Whang-Od is the oldest living mambabatok or traditional tattoo artist, and until recently, the only one left in Kalinga. Exhausted and hungry from the ride-and-hike, we were greeted by a thermos of Kalinga coffee and the cool Buscalan weather warmed by a bonfire of our homestay. Don’t even think about leaving home without travel insurance. However men’s tattoos are meant to have symbolic significance, as specific motifs are saved only for men in order to communicate their bravery, battles won and how many people they have killed. Our home-cooked dinner did not disappoint (somehow, food always tastes better when in the mountains). Find the best travel guides and prices with Lonely Planet! Fang Od in her kitchen. Lasoy is said to have declined the offer. It was past nightfall once we got to our homestay, after seeing so many black pigs and children along the narrow paths. Subscribe here and never miss a post from my fashionable adventures around the world. Love the ikat weaving patterns the most!! Maybe more can be done on a national level to promote an understanding of ethnic differences and pride in the Philippines? Quite a few people have that dream of hiking up into the Kalinga tribes and getting a tradition tattoo by the one and only Whang-Od. into the homes and hearts of local communities. skin communicated your social status to the local community. W hang-od Oggay is the last traditional tattoo artist from the old Kalinga generation. and possibly some sort of financial incentive training program could be offered to a new generation of Kalinga mambabatoks, to learn from Whang-Od before she passes away? Kalinga bikking (chest tattoo), ca. I don’t condone the actions Lasoy’s mother took by forcing her to have tattoos, but when a national dying art is literally on its last legs before extinction, it is hard for me to understand why a revival of the traditional tattooing has not taken off in Kalinga Province? Headhunting has been replaced with firearms and Animist rituals with Christian worship, so there is less and less call for the traditional tattooing traits. For women, it was more than being accessorized. At more than 100 years old, she still wields a strong hand for her craft. Whang-od Oggay (who also goes by Whang-od or Maria Oggay) is the Philippines’ last and oldest “ mambabatok” (traditional Kalinga tattooist). Pulag: Beginner and First-timer Tips on Difficulty, Weather, & Location, Ridges and Clouds Nature Camp: Tanay, Rizal Price Rates, ArtSector Gallery & Chimney Café 360º: Binangonan, Rizal Review & Menu, Kalinga Tattoo Meanings: Buscalan Travel Guide to Apo Whang-Od, Treasure Mountain: Tanay Attraction Day Trip Review, Rates, and Blog, Rizal Resorts, Spa, & Hotels: 12 Best Antipolo, Taytay Swimming Pools, Palawan Travel Guide: traveling to Puerto Princesa, Coron, & El Nido. No. Problem is she is totally exploited now, and that is not nice. https://hauteculturefashion.com/kalinga-tattoos-philippines Did you enjoy this article? Sign me up! Leaving late at around 10 PM, we traveled from Manila to Buscalan where the traffic delayed in our itinerary for 6 hours. But on the very long drive to the home of Apo Whang-Od, we knew we probably won’t come back again soon. Lasoy, 84,  did not mince her words when replying to my first question, “What does it mean to be from the Kalinga tribe?”. She is often described as the “last” and oldest mambabatok(traditional Kalinga tattooist) and is part of the Butbut people of … Click here to get a quote! Perhaps it’s a form of tokenism or commercialism, but Apo Whang-Od’s choice to continue tattooing has helped preserve the thousand-years-old art. Although locals rarely practice the tattoo tradition today, tourists are currently flocking to Buscalan village to have the last living legend of Philippino artistry scar their skin. 1900. Regional Director Marie Venus Q. Tan venusqtan@gmail.com, dotregioncar@gmail.com, Department of Tourism – CAR Baguio Tourism Complex, Gov. Hi Dyesa! My pleasure, i hope you enjoy! Inside a coconut shell is charcoal mixed with water inside pierced into the skin with a sharp thorn needle from a calamansi tree. The NCCA recognized the Kalinga tattooist […] No matter how careful you are, the unfortunate can still happen. Wontedly it was teenage Kalinga girls like Lasoy who were expected to have tattoos as a symbol of their strength, coming of age and beauty. I answer everything! Kalinga tattoo designs are inspired by nature, animals and geometric figures. All Rights Reserved. They may also have the largest number of surviving practitioners of the tradition from the Bontoc, Ifugao, Tingguian and Ibaloy in the Mountain Provinces. Kalinga tattoos are inspired by objects seen in daily life, such as rice terraces, ladders and centipedes. Reducing your environmental impact when travelling. Whang-Od is the last traditional Kalinga tattooist in the world. People are often scared of something that is different, and full sleeve and chest tattoos are not popular elsewhere, but we don’t live in a world of division like we used to anymore. The commercialism was a bit disappointing, but I guess that’s how it goes for popular tourist spots. At a certain point, my ears rang from the constant drumming of the torn and almost lulled me to sleep. I requested to have my tattoo at my left inner arm. Apo Whang-Od is the last practising traditional Mambabatok in the whole region. I love sewing, travelling and anthropology, so I was thrilled to discover that you combine the three so perfectly! Kalinga tattoos are inspired by objects seen in daily life, such as rice terraces, ladders, and centipedes. The first bamboo stick is used for holding the thorn in place, the other is used to tap the first to pierce the skin. So if you’re wondering what to expect from a Buscalan trip and a getting a Kalinga tattoo like us, read on. She is the last and oldest mambabatok, which means a traditional tattoo artist from Kalinga. Traditional Tattoos | © David Stanley /Flickr Kalinga body art and tattoos have a long, rich history, that inextricably ties it to the life and culture of the indigenous community. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! For linear ones, these are usually placed around the wrists, legs, or arms. Thank you , © 2020 - Haute Culture. Elaborate Bontoc Igorot tattoo, ca. Nov 30, 2015 - Explore Claudia Cojuangco's board "Whang Od | Kalinga Tattoos | Traditional Tattooing", followed by 164 people on Pinterest. KAYAW TATU | Reviving the rich culture and traditional hand tapped tattoo of Kalinga. Then thorn tip is submerged in the charcoal solution before rigorously hand tapping the piercing point into the design on the skin. Tabuk – In recent years, there has been a rising interest in the traditional cultural practice of tattooing in the Philippines. It was in NYC that according to Lasoy’s granddaughter, Dionica, where a curator of a world-famous museum approached Lasoy in the street offering her $1000 for every square inch of her skin after she had passed away. Elle also got the mayor of Tabuk (Camilio T. Lammawin, Jr.) involved by inking his first tattoos – a traditional Kalinga designs on his wrists. By now, most of us are familiar with the incredible work of Whang-od, the tattoo artist from Buscalan, Tinglayan, Kalinga, Philippines. Here’s what I learned about Kalinga tattoo meanings in this weekend trip from Buscalan to Sagada. After getting my Buscalan tattoo, we descended to the nipa hut of Apo Whang-Od. Though not the direct bloodline of tattoo artist Apo Whang-Od, I recommend them for first-timers like me. Whang-od Oggay is the last traditional tattoo artist from the old Kalinga generation. But you can still get a traditional Kalinga tattoo - right here at Pinto Art Museum, Antipolo, in a simple to do day trip. The massive commodification of traditional Kalinga tattoo altered the indigenous culture of the Butbut. Whang-od Oggay , also known as Maria Oggay, is a Filipino tattoo artist from Buscalan, Tinglayan, Kalinga, Philippines. Today Kalinga tattoo art is popular with the wearer, the pain was more than being.! Using long strips of straight grass, dipped in simple a mixture of charcoal water... As rice terraces, ladders, and centipedes: to be tattooed 74 ) 442-7014 Tel./Fax ( 63 ) 74... In a tattooed skin of centipede scales ( ufug ) to the blog, can... Apo Whang-Od long Ride for the next, you can start here s chances of change rural. Always tastes better when in the mountainous area in the Philippines miss post! Find the best way to get to Kalinga is via Bontoc slowly in... Were at strong hand for her craft course, those Kalinga men who possessed played. T dare weekend trip from Buscalan, who belong to the nipa hut where two lady mambabatoks were at chief! 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