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Apo Whang-Od dazzles as Vogue PH April 2023 cover girl

Updated: Apr 10, 2023


Tinglayan, Kalinga – The multi-awarded Apo Whang-Od dubbed as the country’s oldest mambabatok is on the cover of Vogue Philippines’ April 2023 issue!


“Apo Maria “Whang-Od” Oggay symbolizes the strength and beauty of the Filipino spirit,” captioned the national magazine on its post, revealing the news this Thursday, March 30.


In its article titled “Apo Whang-Od And The Indelible Marks Of Filipino Identity”, Vogue Philippines narrated the legendary tattoo artist’s journey, including the traditional hand-tapping tattoo of Kalinga.

Whang-Od was only 16 when she embarked on her career as tattooist with her father’s guidance. At that time, she was the only female “mambabatok” and would travel to other villages ‘to imprint the sacred symbols of their ancestors on individuals who have crossed or about to cross a threshold in their lives,’ according to tattoo anthropologist Dr. Lars Krutak.


The “Natatanging yKalinga” awardee had her life story inscribed on her skin. She had herself inked with her accomplishments, ailments, including the names of her long-gone lovers.


“Heralded as the last mambabatok of her generation, she has imprinted the symbols of the Kalinga tribe—signifying strength, bravery, and beauty—on the skin of thousands of people who have made the pilgrimage to Buscalan,” the magazine added.

To read more about Vogue Philippines’ April 2023 cover girl’s story, grab a copy on newsstands or on shop.vogue.ph. It can likewise be accessed through https://vogue.ph/magazine/apo-whang-od.


The well-known Apo Whang-Od was awarded the Dangal ng Haraya 2018 “for her lifetime of achievements and noteworthy contribution in preservation and promotion of the Kalinga traditional art of tattooing.”


In recognition for her outstanding contribution to national culture and the arts, she was conferred the Top Centenarian Award in 2022. In the same year, she was also an awardee of the first Hiyas Award for Indigenous Art.


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