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The Last Traditional Tattoo Artist in the Philippines

Whang-Od is the last remaining mambabatok—a tattoo artist in the Philippines using traditional hand-tap methods. At 101 years old, she is the last master of the thousand-year-old trade that first began as a way to honor warriors in battle. Using a hammer and thorns, Whang-Od taps coal ink into skin. Today, she is training her grandniece to carry on her legacy, keeping the family mamababatok tradition alive.

This Great Big Story was inspired by Genesis.


Buscalan (Buscalan-Locong), Kalinga, Philippines

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