Now that a long vacation is coming up. It is now up to you to spend it somewhere. Are you on the verge of deciding which place to go? Winter has come and your skin may be itching to feel the heat of the sun. As most avid travelers do, we must experience and acquire something memorable and exotic.
Rising Trend in Asia
If you wanted to get fresh air, summer heat, and exciting travel sites, your travel adviser should be bringing you to Southeast Asian countries to complete your bucket list. While most travelers collect travel souvenirs like mugs, shirts, figurines, ref magnets and so much more before the trip ends, there is something in the tropical islands of Philippines where tourists flock to get a traditional tattoo in a tradition that runs through thousand-years.
One of the surest head turners especially when in the beach are tattoos on people’s skin that tells a ton about the person wearing it. It’s a kind of art where size doesn’t matter; where it is totally your choice; a reflection of your life and style.
A Famed Tattoo Artist
Whang-od Oggay is a 100-year female old tattoo artist from Tinglayan, Kalinga, Philippines. Her fame is not really the reason why tourists choose to travel this far to get inked, but her exotic traditional art of tattooing. She is known and described to be the last and oldest mambabatok, as the locals call her.
Unlike the usual tattoo artist where you get to choose from a range of pre-designed arts, Apo Whang-od will ask you about your life. You can tell her everything, your profession, your likes, dislikes, your status and the rest will be an unbelievable piece of exotic art display of yourself. Her creation is usually made from natural sources of inspiration like ferns, waves, trees to name a few. She accompanies this with basic geometric shapes. After a couple of minutes or perhaps hours, a masterpiece from the story of your life is already printed on your skin.
Her fame had spread so much worldwide that getting a tattoo from her is deemed an honor. At least that is how most of her customers describe the experience. Three dots is Apo Wang-od’s art signature. This is something now recognizable to every tattoo artist or tattoo enthusiast.
Rationale of tattoos
One may wonder what is it with tattoos that make some go to the extent of covering their entire body with ink. A common reason for those who get addicted to this art apart from the sheer expression of their life story is the kind of pain that they want to feel.
What is Whatek?
Whatek is Kalinga’s traditional tattoo is done through the use of natural materials. A mixture of water and charcoal is used as ink and taped to the skin through a citrus thorn. This traditional art is more painful compared to the usual tattoo art nowadays. But as most people believe, no pain, no gain.
Her tattooing, for some, is simply an art, but for me, it is a marker of a rich culture which is about to fade. Apo Wang-od is already very advanced in age and every year, more and more tourists come to get a piece of her art. Her legacy will soon fade since she doesn’t have an offspring for her to pass on, although she’s been training her niece hoping to keep the tradition alive.
This could be one of the reasons why her art is so precious because it is a legacy that is about to pass. But one thing for sure, her art has already impacted many artisans and enthusiasts alike who get inspiration in the way they make their logos, artwork and designs.