Whang-od Tattoo Shop

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Whang-od Tattoo Shop

Whang-od is a traditional tattoo artist who lives and works in Buscalan Village, Kalinga, a province in the Cordillera region of the Philippines. She is considered as the last mambabatok, or traditional tattooist, of the Kalinga people. She is also known as the oldest tattoo artist in the world, as she is over 100 years old .

Whang-od performs her craft using a bamboo stick and a thorn, which she dips in a mixture of charcoal and water. She taps the stick with a mallet to create the tattoo designs on the skin. The designs are based on the Kalinga symbols and meanings, such as animals, plants, and geometric patterns .

Whang-od has been tattooing since she was 15 years old, and she learned the skill from her father, who was also a mambabatok. She has tattooed many warriors and headhunters of the Kalinga tribe, as well as tourists and celebrities who visit her village. She has also passed on her knowledge to her grandnieces, Grace and Elyang, who are her apprentices .

Whang-od is a living legend and a cultural icon, as she represents the art and heritage of the Kalinga people. She has received various awards and recognitions, such as the Dangal ng Haraya Award from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and the nomination for the National Living Treasures Award from the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples .

Photo credits: Artu Nepomuceno/Vogue Philippines,



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Buscalan Village, Kalinga

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