In this Philippines travel vlog, I head to Kalinga in northern Luzon to find the tattoo artist legend Apo Whang Od. The last mambatok, a style of traditional tattoo found only in the Philippines.
The people of Kalinga were head hunters. Buscalan, the home of Wang Od was particularly famous for their strange tradition of tattooing. They thought tattoos were beautiful, and the women would cover themselves in full body tattoos to attract men. The men however, would have to earn their tattoos by bringing back the heads of rival tribes. The more ink, the greater the warrior.
After being featured recently in a documentary, and multiple TV shows, visiting Whang-Od and her granddaughters has become a tourist attraction. Many people make the trip from Manila to receive one.
It’s about a 12h bus ride north of Manila to Sagada, from there, it’s another 4 hours to the trail to Buscalan, then an hour walk.
To my filipino and filipina fans. Would do you get a tattoo from Apo Whang Od?
Big thanks to my friends Joan of Art, Ken’s life Journey, and Hannah for all the help organizing this trip!
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