MEETING APO WHANG-OD: THE MAMBABATOK


On the 14th-15th of March, my friend and I traveled to Buscalan Village to meet the oldest traditional Mambabatok, Apo Whang-od.

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It took us almost 20 hours  of travel from  Manila (via Baguio-Bontoc-Tinglayan) but the whole trip was very much worth it.

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I was actually overwhelmed and starstruck upon meeting Whang-od. It was a surreal experience and if only I can speak Ilocano, I would love to have a conversation with her.

Aside from meeting Apo Whang-od, my other objective of the  trip is to also have a traditional tattoo, a hand-tapped tattoo using a thorn and soot as an ink. I was planning to get my tattoo from Apo Whang-od but I was advised otherwise since I do have low tolerance of pain. I could also not stand seeing too much blood,too.  So I got my tattoo from Grace, the niece of Whang-od.

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The design is a “crab” which is actually a symbol for traveler or safe travel.

I really want to go back to Buscalan Village and I hope by that time , I have already mustered enough courage to have a tattoo from the oldest Mambabatok, Apo Whang-od.

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The beautiful Apo Whang-od

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