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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.

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Buscalan (Buscalan-Locong), Kalinga, Philippines

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