Apo Whang-Od: Indigenous Filipina Tattoo Artist Cover Model on Vogue Philippines


Age is just a number; it doesn't matter how old or young you are as long as you enjoy what you do. It makes no difference regardless of whether you believe in yourself and your abilities.

Just as this woman who is fearless to show her inedible marks of Filipino Identity, a 106-year-old Filipina tattoo artist or mambabatok, Apo Whang-Od also known as Maria Oggay from the tribe of Butbut in Buscalan, Kalinga Province. She is frequently referred to as the oldest Kalinga tattooist and famous with her authentic tattooing ancestry. Whang-od began her tattooing career at the age of 16, learning from her father, who was regarded as a master tattooist in the region. She began with the guidance of her father. According to Vogue. Since then, she has been doing batok or traditional hand-tapped tattooing in their region, and as the first and only female mambabatok of her time, she has created a space for people who are also inspired to do tattooing. Tourists from all over the world travel to get an artistic tattoo from her. An exemplary power that Apo Whang-od holds, demonstrates how meaningful and sacred the symbols or patterns that she makes for the people. She unseats Judi Dench as the oldest-ever Vogue cover star now that she is the cover model for Vogue's Philippine April issue, which features her amazing works and serves as an inspiration to many. As reported by the Insider, Dench was featured on British Vogue's June 2020 cover at the age of 85.

                                            Photo Courtesy: Vogue Philippines
Through the Philippine heritage, it provides us with an unbreakable link to the past and allows us to connect with the Filipinos' sense of unity. The tattooing heritage and the Philippine tribe shows our pride and the value of our culture. May these markings lead us to show an enthusiasm and belonging that We Filipinos have much to be proud of.


Photo Courtesy: Vogue Philippines 

Authored by : Nicole Anne Manzo


A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
based in California that advocates
social inclusion of minorities with
Asian heritage though cultural awareness.


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OBRAA.org: Apo Whang-Od: Indigenous Filipina Tattoo Artist Cover Model on Vogue Philippines
Apo Whang-Od: Indigenous Filipina Tattoo Artist Cover Model on Vogue Philippines
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