kalinga tattoos

The rebirth of a 1,000-year tradition
A dying Filipino tattoo tradition is being revived – and forever changed – by the international travellers seeking to get inked by its last tribal artist, 97-year old Apo Whang-Od.
By Anne Collins Howard

*jaw drops* ….Apo Whang-Od was nominated for the Philippines National Living Treasures Award !?

The Great Apo Whang-Od Oggay of Buscalan

At the age of 100, Apo Whang-Od continues to help her community by attracting tourists to their town who wishes to be tattooed by her. I didn’t get a tattoo, but being able to witness her strength and passion for the craft was an amazing experience already.

(Buscalan Village, Tinglayan, Kalinga, Mountain Province, PH)


I would like to respectfully remind white folks that kalinga tattoos do not belong on their skin. They have significant cultural and tribal significance and the symbols chosen for the tattoos are unique to the wearer’s experience. If you copy a design you found on Google Images that was on a Filipinx person’s body, you’re wearing their story. You’ve done nothing to earn the right to wear it.

one time i saw a post that said an “unfortunate side effect” of Whang-Od  gaining international renown as a tattoo artists is that its resulted in foreigners and non-Kalinga Pinoy going to her to get the tattoos which is “cultural appropriation” and i found it hilarious bc she is the one giving the tattoos (and only certain kinds) and the post was straight up saying that they knew better on how to maintain the “authenticity” of Kalinga tattoo culture than a 100-year old woman thats the only surviving master of traditional Kalinga tattooing and who spent her whole immersed the practice 

anonymous asked:

Hi. I'm writing a story about a character who is a tattoo artist and was wondering if you could direct me to any resources about tattoos: their history, the art of tattooing. Anything along those lines. Thank you.

What’s the time period? What’s the setting? These are very important questions as the history and art of tattoos heavily rely on both of them. Thus, most of the links I can give are going to be very generalized, though I might focus a bit more on the history of tattoos in the Philippines… mainly because I’m in the middle of researching about that country. Please note that the “Iceman” mentioned in several articles below is not the oldest example of human tattooing. Also note that Captain James Cook did not bring tattoos to the West. The articles remain linked mainly for the other facts.



Ink and Methods



I’m really sorry for taking so long. I hope that helps!

Here's to the Miss Universe that COULD have been: A Muslim girl from Mindanao, or a Kalinga girl, tattoos and all, or a trans* girl from the province... because THAT and so much more is our colorful Philippines. That vibrant culture thwarted by colonization and the “good relationship” we have with Americans.

pedro-martines  asked:

I'm thinking of getting a traditional filipino tattoo (yes, Im pinoy born and raised). BUt I don't really know how to go about giving it meaning, do you have a resource or a type of tattoo style I could peg? Also, I'm using henna cause my pain tolerance is very low so, maybe i can at least prepare myself for the commitment with henna first.

See the thing with getting traditional Pilipinx tattoo’s is that its spiritual. One of the points of getting it is to endure the pain of getting one. It is an act of progressing from a child to adulthood, for men it signifies him becoming a man, of being strong and brave, while for women it was for beauty but also if she can endure the pain of getting tattooed she can endure the pain of childbirth.

I don’t really recommend designing your own unless you have really studied our motifs. Also there are taboo’s, there are certain steps to prepare yourself in receiving a tattoo, and it is a spiritual act between the one getting the tattoo and one giving it. It’s not just, oh I want this design and this design, the tattoo practitioner is the one who gives you your tattoo design based on your achievements, your history, your family history, etc. Also in regards to type depends. If you are not Kalinga I don’t recommend you getting a Kalinga tattoo motif unless you get one from someone who is Kalinga, same thing with someone who is Bontoc or Ifugao. If you are Bisaya you can research the motifs among us Bisayans, Ilokano look at the woven textiles. Pretty much everything I said on these posts here (on my personal blog),  here, and here.

A great book to get started in researching our tattooing culture is Lane Wilckens book, Filipino Tattoos: Ancient to Modern, which you can find a review for on my blog here


What I have been working on these past couple of days. :)

So its been awhile (almost an entire year really) since I last worked on my grimoire and lately I’ve been inspired to work on it and have really been having fun making these new pages to my book. Right now I’m just skipping around on topics based on what I feel like doing at the moment and most of that is either on astrology or precolonial rituals like the Tagalog menstruation rite of passage and traditional tattoos from the Philippines.

Right now I’m actually working on the tattoos section and drawing in motifs from the Philippines from the Kalinga to Bisayan tattoo motifs. I plan to also add in pages of more rites and rituals this week as soon as I find some good art and illustrations to go along with the pages.

For me this is both an art project and personal book of knowledge of my practice and of our history and cultures and I can’t wait until I add in more pages so not only can I look at the collage of pages but refresh my memory in certain topics, information, and facts.