Apo Whang-Od: Filipino Tattoo Culture Documentary Trailer Released

Trailer For Documentary Apo Whang-Od About Filipino Tattoo Culture Released

APO WHANG-OD – The teaser for Apo Whang-Od documentary about Filipino tattoo culture has been released.

The oldest Mambabatok or traditional Kalinga tattoo artist in the Philippines is Maria Oggay, better known as Apo Whang-Od. Since she was 15 years old, the 106-year-old tattoo artist has been inking people’s skin. She uses exceedingly sensitive equipment that requires excellent handling.

Whang-Od broke the record for the oldest person to appear on a Vogue cover when she appeared on the cover of the April 2023 beauty issue of Vogue Philippines.

Photo Source: Youtube

With a dark red lip, her hair pulled back out of her face, and a rust-colored headband, Apo Whang-Od is shown on the cover of Vogue Philippines, gazing directly into the camera. Hollywood actress Halle Berry even reacted to Whang-od’s stunning magazine cover. She said, “Now this is real beauty.”

Following the release of a lengthy trailer, work is currently underway on a documentary about Whang-Od and Philippine tattoo culture, including the traditional batok that Whang-Od is famous for.

Kent Donguines, a Filipino-Canadian who is the writer and director of the documentary “Treasure of the Rice Terraces,” is prominently featured in the five-minute clip as he explores the area’s tattooing culture.

The voice of Donguines was heard in the teaser over images of the Philippines saying, “The question of one’s identity and its permanence has always been a complex conversation.”

READ ALSO: 5 Famous Pinoy Celebrities Who Gets Tattoo From Apo Whang-Od

Photo Source: Teyxo

The Vancouver-based filmmaker continued by stating that as he grew older, he started to feel less and less like a Filipino, mainly because there were so many facets of Filipino culture that he was never able to study, experience, and understand, including tattooing.

Voiceovers highlight the negative connotations attached to tattoos, such as prison time, membership in a crime syndicate, and gang ties, as video clips of contemporary tattooing are then played. The traditional batok of Kalinga, the province where Whang-od is from, is the focus of the teaser after quick cuts of well-known tattoos.

Whang-od described how she started working as a mambabatok when she was younger in order to make money as her late father did.

Photo Source: Vogue

Grace Palicas, the tattoo artist’s grand-niece, next spoke about daily life in their community and how the inflow of tourists has led to a growing understanding of tattoos as symbols of bravery and beauty.

This method of getting tattooed thereby addresses Donguines’ earlier statement concerning Filipino identity and longevity, particularly for Filipinos living overseas.

Grace stated that she wanted to uphold the Batok tradition of her people and eventually pass it on to future generations over clips of Donguines getting tattooed.

Donguines concludes the trailer by stating that “Treasure of the Rice Terraces” would also examine stolen mummified bodies, cultural appropriation, and the “ongoing fight for cultural sovereignity.”

Watch the video below:

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READ ALSO: Whang-Od Not Aware She Would Teach In Nas Academy Masterclass

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