Kalinga tattoo artist cited for keeping cultural heritage
TABUK CITY — Kalinga “mambabatok” (traditional tattoo artist) Maria “Whang-od” Oggay was conferred on Monday the Dangal ng Haraya award for intangible cultural heritage by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) at the Kalinga capitol plaza here.
The award was handed out by Sen. JV Ejercito, who lauded Whang-od’s contribution to the global promotion of traditional tattooing.
National Artist for Literature Virgilio Almario, NCCA chair, and Kalinga Gov. Jocel Baac joined Estrada at the event.
The NCCA recognized Whang-od as one of the oldest living traditional “whatok” (tattoo) practitioners in Kalinga. Many have placed Whang-od’s age at 102.
Despite her advanced age and waning eyesight, Whang-od is “a living vessel of a traditional practice, [who] deserves honor and acknowledgment for her contributions, particularly by bringing to greater attention the indigenous practice of tattooing and Filipino culture in general,” the NCCA said. —Villamor Visaya Jr.
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