Apo Whang-od Oggay, better known as Whang-od, is set to receive a natural cultural heritage award from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts or NCAA sometime this June.
She will be awarded the 2018 Dangal ng Haraya Award for Intangible Cultural Heritage on June 25. The award is given to Filipinos for their achievements in their respective fields of contribution to the country’s arts and culture.
It will not be the National Artist Award, which over 3,300 of her fans petitioned for online, but it is prestigious enough for the manwhatok (tattooist).
“Apo Whang Od has long been recognized and respected in her community as a master tattooist. Her practice started in her early adolescence and has since tattooed elders, women, and warriors from her community in the traditional Kalinga practice — using charcoal as ink and calamansi thorns to puncture the skin,
Local and international tourists flock her abode in Buscalan to get inked with traditional Kalinga designs, her signature linear three-dot design, and witness the outstanding whatok techniques which she is actively passing on to the younger Kalingan women,”
Whang-od is one of the few practicing manwhatok in Kalinga and would only allow no more than thirty customers to be inked; with her typically initiating the design and her two grandnieces finishing the pattern for her.