This is Whang Od. This is her story.
“My name is Whang Od. I am 92 years old. I am from Buscalan, province of Kalinga. I am a tattoo maker because I am poor.”
“During the war and the Japanese occupation, we were not only scared of the Japanese, but also of the Philippine soldiers, who abused us by taking food in exchange for nothing. And therefore we created a group to fight them back. My boyfriend died in this war.”
“People who want a tattoo are welcome to stay at home. I am very grateful for the visit of people from around the world who want a tattoo, because they give meaning to my life.”
“The first tattoo I got was a ladder and a python. They have no meaning, they are just ornaments.”
“Parents tattooed their daughters because it made them prettier. Many of my friends had tattoos and I thought that I had to have them too, in order to belong to the group.”
“Before, we didn’t make tattoos for money. But now times have changed. We need the money. Before, we had a culture of exchange. Thanks to the money from the tattoos I can buy more pigs and hens.”
“One day, a reporter made me realize that the day I die, there wouldn’t be any one else to make the tattoos, and that’s why I want to teach my sister’s granddaughter.”
“There are designs only for warriors, like the eagle, that cannot be tattooed on anyone else. And the warriors cannot decide where the tattoo goes, it’s the tattoo maker who makes the choice.”
“One year ago my sister’s grandson made the sign and hung it at the entrance.”
“To me life means keep on living. I want to live more than 100 years and continue to be a tattoo maker.”
Watch this very interesting story of Whang Od.