Traditional tattoo artist and centenarian Apo Whang-od Oggay still appears full of life after she reportedly fell ill and turned down hospitalization.
National Youth Commission head Aiza Seguerra and Film Development Council of the Philippines chair Liza Diño confirmed on Instagram that the last living “mambabatok” is alive and well.
The couple was in Buscalan, Kalinga, to visit the legendary tattoo artist and pay their respects for her contributions to Kalinga arts and culture.
Just like other local and foreign travelers who visit Whang-od, Diño experienced having a tattoo from her.
“Weeks ago, nabalitaan din naming may sakit si Apo Whang-od (we were told that Apo Whang-od is sick) and refuses to go to the hospital, kaya we’re so happy to see Apo today, feeling much, much better! Kailangan lang niya ng nebulizer (she just needs a nebulizer) so we’re getting it for her,” Diño captioned her Instagram picture.
In another post, Diño documented the process of how Whang-od, now 100 years old, inscribed a scorpion tattoo on her arm, a process she described as “excruciating.”
“It was like a badge of honor to see Apo Whang-Od’s art etched on my skin,” Diño explained. “Proud to say that my first tattoo was inked by no less than our own local pride, the oldest and most revered tattoo artist of Kalinga, Apo Whang-Od.”
Whang-od’s artistic creations were featured in the exhibit “Tattoo: Ritual, Identity, Obsession, Art” at the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada last year. JB