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LOOK: This Is How They Honored Apo Whang-Od In Canada

The last mambabatok is an international tattoo personality
by Andrei Medina | Oct 24, 2017
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Legendary tattoo artist Apo Whang-Od Oggay became the talk of the town with her recent visit to Manila but did you know that prior to this, she was part of an international exhibit in Canada?

Musician Kowboy Santos posted some photos showing how the last mambabatok, who claims to be a hundred years old was honored in Canada.

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As it turns out, the pictures were from the Royal Ontario Museum where Whang-Od was featured as part of an exhibit that showcased the lives and works of various tattoo artists from all over the world.

The exhibit titled “Tattoos: Ritual. Identity. Obsession. Art.” ran from April 2 to September 5, 2016 and focused on everything about the world of ink, from its enduring 5000-year-old history to the stories of the artists behind the infinite variety of designs we see today.

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Whang-Od and her tattoos were recently among the main attractions during the Manila FAME cultural event held at the World Trade Center, where she wowed attendees as she demonstrated her craft by performing live inking sessions over the weekend.

After the event, the tattoo artist’s relatives spoke out against some controversies claiming that Manila FAME exploited Whang-Od and promoted the commodification and commercialization of culture.


Grace Palicas, Whang-Od’s grandniece and student who was doing inking sessions with her debunked claims that they were overworked. She clarified that it was the centenarian’s desire to ink as many of the attendees as she could, Rappler reports. Palicas also explained that the viral photo showing an apparently exhausted Whang-Od sleeping during a press conference was misunderstood by netizens. 

Now that this issue has been ironed out, we can rejoice over the fact that Whang Od’s nomination to the National Living Treasure Award has finally been accepted by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

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