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Ms. Fang-od, 100 year old Phillipine Tattooer, supports a village with her craft

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Fang-od Oggay is from the Butbut people in Buscalan Kalinga. She is revered as the oldest tattoo artist in the Philippines, the last mambabatok (traditional Kalinga tattooist). For over 80 years, she has been tattooing headhunters and women of her village. Warriors used to earn tattoos through protecting the villages or killing enemies no longer exist. Thanks to the exposure of American Anthropologist, Dr. Lars Krutak, she now now tattoos tourists visiting Buscalan.

According to tradition, her tattooing skills can only be inherited through lineage. Whang-od believes that if someone outside the bloodline starts tattooing, the tattoo will get infected. Due to modern living, the young people of her village are no longer interested in embracing the tattooing works of their elders.

To learn more about Fang-od check out this story,
“BUSCALAN, Philippines — She wakes up every morning at dawn and mixes an ink out of pine soot and water. She threads a thorn from a bitter citrus tree into a reed, crouches on a three-inch-high stool and, folded up like a cricket, hand-taps tattoos onto the backs, wrists and chests of people who come to see her from as far away as Mexico and Slovenia.

The woman, Maria Fang-od Oggay, will finish 14 tattoos before lunch — not a bad day’s work for someone said to be 100 years old. Moreover, she has single-handedly kept an ancient tradition alive, and in the process transformed this remote mountaintop village into a mecca for tourists seeking adventure and a piece of history under their skin….”


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