One of the Philippines’ most celebrated artisans, master tattoo artist Whang-Od hailing from one of the Kalinga ethnic groups, the Butbut Tribe has managed to make a name for herself and her tribe. Known as the first female tattoo artist in the Philippines, and her traditional style of tattoo artistry, using ancient techniques and unique tribal designs, she has been awarded the Dangal ng Haraya Award for Intangible Cultural Heritage back in 2018 by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
She rose to fame for being a “mambabatok” which is an ethnic and tribal technique for tattooing. Standing at 102 years old today, the centennial has been a symbol of resistance and indigenous pride amongst her people and continues to be an institution when it comes to preserving tradition and tribal ink in the cut off parts of the Philippines.
However, despite the traditional and backward way of living, the 102-year-old still manages to stay relevant to many young people and modern society in general. Through a recent collaboration with international streetwear brand, New Era, where they launched limited edition feature caps and t-shirts with gold prints of the classic “mambabatok’s” designs. Wang-Od’s custom-designed and inspired products will start selling at Php 2,095 to Php 2,695, according to Rappler. The sales and proceeds from this collaborative will go to the Butbut tribe, which is something New Era 100% supports as supporting Filipino artists is one of the core pillars of the brand.