At 102 years old, Whang-Od Oggay is helping to keep an ancient tradition alive in the Kalinga province of the Philippines. She’s the country’s oldest mambabatok, a traditional Kalinga tattooist. Visitors make a 15-hour drive north of Manila to the mountain village of Buscalan, which is only accessible by hiking a mile from the nearest dirt road through a forest and rice terraces.
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⚪️ Batok. Tatuajele Kalinga cu altițe din Filipine. Aproape aceeași compoziție cu a iilor. Inclusiv semnificațiile sunt similare. Tradiția Batok este veche de peste 1000 de ani. ⚪️ “Tattoos are one of our greatest treasures; no one can take them away from us when we die.” “I want people to know that the traditional tattoo is not just a graphic – every design represents something. I want people to have tattoos not just to be in fashion, but because the design you choose means something about you.” . Whang-Od, 100 yo. She is the last traditional tattoo artist, unless her apprentice masters the art. . http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20160106-an-ancient-ink-technique-sees-new-blood #cultural #connections #tattoo #kalingatattoo #batok #whangodtattoo #whangod #mambabatok #romanianblouse #lablouseroumaine #meaning #design
Whang-Od inks multiple tattoos a day using a few tools - thorn from a pomelo tree, a foot-long bamboo stick, coal, and water. The handmade ink is tapped deep into the skin using the thorn and bamboo to push it in. The results are permanent motifs that range from lines to simple shapes to tribal prints to animals.
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104yr old Whang-Od - last living traditional tattoo artist of the Butbut tribe tucked away in Cordillera mountains. Journey required improvising 24+hours by bus, several van // motorbike rides from kind strangers hugging mountain sides thru some heavy rains, hiking & a homestay in the village with a family all too happy to accommodate us. Twas a beautiful experience
The hand-tapped body art began with the indigenous Butbut warriors. For men, the addition of tattoos had a very specific meaning; they could only be inked after killing someone. On women, however, body art fell within standards of beauty. At age 15, under the guidance of her father, she started her tattoo apprenticeship. It represented a break in the practice as men were the only ones allowed to learn how to tattoo.
Keeping the mambabatok tradition alive is more challenging than you might think. The culture believes that this art can only be passed down to blood relatives. Otherwise, the tattoos will become infected. Whang-Od has no children of her own, but she’s not afraid of the art dying out. She’s trained her grandnieces to become tattoo masters of their own.