Whang Od

  • Photographer
    Angela Panlilio
  • Prize
    Honorable Mention
  • Date of Photograph
    Jan 29, 2016
  • Technical Info
    XT1 fuji, 16-55mm lens

Last January, we trekked the Kalinga mountains to witness the oldest living tattoo artist in the Philippines. Her name: Whang Od Oggay. Considered the last mambabatok(traditional Kalinga Tattooist) from the ButBut Kalinga people. She uses indigenous materials such as charcoal mixed with water as her ink that is then tapped into the skin through a thorn attached to a stick. This ancient technique is more painful than conventional techniques. Her designs are also more tribal, geometric in theme. Many are lobbying to for her to be declared a NATIONAL ARTIST OF THE PHILIPPINES. It was an honor to see her at work. Due to the long wait line of people waiting for a tattoo, we could only shoot as she worked without studio set up etc so as not to disrupt her rhythm. whang Od is truly a treasure of our culture.

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