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  • Writer's pictureTinglayan LGU

Apo Whang-od to receive first HIYAS Award for indigenous art

Updated: Sep 7, 2022


Tinglayan, Kalinga – The Philippines’ oldest hand-tapped tattoo artist is among the 14 awardees this year for the first Hiyas Award for Indigenous Art, relayed the Provincial Tourism Office on Monday, September 5.


The Hiyas Award, according to the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), is given to ‘exceptional individuals and organizations who have contributed immensely to the flourishing of arts and culture’. It gives recognition to deserving individuals and/or organizations in Luzon who have exemplified commendable work and services in cultural and artistic endeavors.


To be chosen as awardees, individuals or organizations should also ‘have been in the forefront of the research, development, preservation, education and promotion of arts and culture in Luzon for at least fifteen (15) years or more.’

In the general criteria, it was noted that to be an awardee, one must have achieved exceptional accomplishments in creative work, leadership, resource management, education, artist support, audience development, community service, solidarity and partnership.


Involved in the selection of awardees according to Provincial Tourism Officer and Local Cultural Affairs Officer Lorraine Ngao-i is a committee composed of prominent experts and specialists in the field of arts and culture during its deliberation meeting via zoom last August 12, 2022.


For Apo Whang-od, she is the living proof of the Kalinga tribe’s batok (hand-tapping) culture who had been tattooing for more than 80 years now.

For the hand-tapping tattoo culture not to vanish, she even trained her niece to continue said tradition.


Maria Whang-od Oggay popularly known as “Apo Whang-od,” along with other 13 awardees, will be receiving her award this September.


‘Awarding ceremony will be in Kalinga’


As to the awarding ceremony, Ngao-i disclosed it will be held in Malolos City, Bulacan in mid-September this year, but for Apo Whang-od, she was given the privilege to get her award in the locality.

“…But due to the advancing age of Apo Whang-od, travelling to the award venue is a problem hence, we recommended to CCP that her recognition can be done here in Kalinga instead. It was approved by CCP, details to be finalized soon,” Ngao-i said in an interview.


Other Recognitions of Apo Whang-od


Aside from being a Hiyas awardee, Apo Whang-od was also conferred the following recognitions in the past years:


• Dangal Ng Haraya for Intangible Cultural Heritage Award 2018 – (National Commission for Culture and the Arts)

• Bantayog Award 2017 (Junior Chamber International)

• Outstanding Community Leadership Award 2017 (Community Transformation for Development Foundation)

• The Outstanding Filipino Tofil Awards 2017 (Ansa Foundation)

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