Whang-od to receive award for contribution to PH culture, arts

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 13 2018 10:17 PM

Whang-od, the oldest traditional tattooist in Kalinga, was brought to the global spotlight when Lars Krutak did a documentary about her for Discovery Channel. File/Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Whang-od, the iconic mambabatok of Kalinga, will receive the Dangal ng Haraya award, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) announced this week. 

First handed out in 2001, the national award is given to individuals who have made a lasting impact and significant contribution to the country's culture and arts. Senators Edgardo Angara and Loren Legarda are among those who have been conferred with the prestigious honor. 

Whang-od tattooes day by day in a makeshift tattoo shop. Her customers include foreign and local tattoo enthusiasts. File/Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

The NCCA said the presentation for Whang-od will be held on June 25. The commission described her as one of the Philippines' most "recognized and respected master tattooist." 

She "deserves honor and acknowledgement for her contributions, particularly by bringing to greater attention the indigenous practice of tattooing and Filipino culture in general," the NCCA said.

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Whang-od is the last surviving original, hand-tap tattoo artist from Kalinga's Butbut tribe. 

Her worldwide popularity began in 2009 when tattoo anthropologist Lars Krutak went to Buscalan and filmed her for a documentary. She has since been featured in the New York Times and the BBC, with her work also being exhibited in museums in Paris and Toronto.

In February, the Senate adopted a resolution nominating her for the National Living Treasures Award for fostering and preserving the traditional tattoo art of Kalinga.