Blessing by Apo Whang-od: The Pains and Pleasures of Kalinga Traditional Tattoo | Kalinga, Philippines

DSC00123I will be a hypocrite if I say I wasn’t scared. The surroundings were lyrical with the constant manual tapping of wood on wood, wood on thorn, thorn on skin. I was nervous. I was the last one among the group to get inked. It was my turn, it was painful. I waited. It was my turn again, it was even more painful, way more painful in the master’s wrinkled yet strong hands. The Kinilat (lightning) design just got permanent on the right side of my hip. It started pouring a few minutes after the tattoo was finished. I was protective of the open wound. I was scared it might get infected. We had no options but to head back so we braced ourselves for the rain and ran as fast as we could. We packed our bags and left our home for two days. I felt the sting and the sore, the aftershock of having just been tattooed by Apo Whang-od and Grace. Yet there is pleasure, there is pride in bearing this kind of pain.

We finally trekked down the steep trail of Buscalan village and headed home.

Continue reading “Blessing by Apo Whang-od: The Pains and Pleasures of Kalinga Traditional Tattoo | Kalinga, Philippines”