Apo Whang-od, also known as Maria Oggay, had long been recognized as the last and oldest mambabatok. Using only the traditional tools of a Kalinga tattooist, charcoal and calamansi thorns, Apo Whang-od had decorated the skins of many people – both tourists and members of her tribe.
The 101-year-old mambabatok begun her practice during her early adolescence, thus earning the recognition and respect in her community as a master tattooist.
Recognizing Apo Whang-od as a “living vessel of a traditional practice,” the National Commission for Culture and the Arts is set to bestow the “2018 Dangal ng Haraya Award for Intangible Cultural Heritage” to the beloved mambabatok.
The awarding ceremony will take place on June 25 at Kalinga Capitol Plaza, Tabuk, Kalinga.
The local government of Kalinga also expressed their support for the rendering of the “2018 Dangal ng Haraya” to Apo Whang Od.
“Dangal ng Haraya” award is given to living Filipino artists, historians, artistic or cultural groups, historical societies, institutions and councils with outstanding achievements that have made a significant impact to Philippine culture and arts. Former awardees were senators Edgardo Angara and Loren Legarda, architect Augusto Villalon, journalist Susan Calo Medina and artist Jesus Peralta.