Best souvenir in Kalinga: A tattoo from the Philippines’ oldest artist, Apo Whang-od Culture

With technology rapidly changing, traditional culture is gradually being forgotten. While the city life can bring all your aspirations in life, it can certainly break the wild soul within you. Sometimes all you need to divert your busy schedule from falling apart is through experiencing a laid-back adventure travel where you can’t be disturbed. A meaningful trip to the Northern Philippines may be just the place for you!

The Philippines is known for its colorful and unique culture and this can be greatly seen in the provinces of Kalinga, Ifugao, and Mountain Province in Northern Philippines.  Sagada, a perfect destination where one can witness the beauty of both tangible and intangible things. You can experience the incomparable nature and unparalleled culture you have yet to discover. Home to 31 ethnic groups, Sagada has a lot of different adventure tours to offer. It is not only blessed with gorgeous sights and attractions but also with different stories of the people whose lives are greatly influenced by what their ancestors have passed down upon them. Sagada is more than just capturing the picturesque nature itself but also what they had to go through to get them to where they are now.

Usual activities such as trekking, visiting the hanging caves, hiking, or gastronomic hopping can be all fun and exciting but if you’re feeling that you need an upgrade from the usuals, you could simply try something new. Take a side trip to Tinglayan, Kalinga, and bring out the thrill seeker in you! Get a tattoo from Apo Whang-od, the oldest and the last living traditional artist who is still practicing the craft of Batuk, a traditional tattoo crafted in the Philippines. She recently rose to fame years when her artistry was featured in Discovery Channel’s Tattoo Hunter. Getting a tattoo inked by her means something more than just a permanent mark on your skin, it is a gorgeous form of art that imprints culture from years back.

The process of getting a tattoo is surely an adventure of its own. The process of getting there, and getting the tattoo itself, can take some time, but it definitely will not disappoint you. Along the way, you can witness the beauty of nature, and appreciate the simplicity of life and it can be too astonishing that you might even not notice the time. This adventure tour might even solve your constant struggle of finding serenity in the midst of all the adventures.

With numerous designs to choose from, each having their own special meaning, you can opt to choose one yourself or have it the traditional way and let Apo Whang-od choose for you. With a thorn, a bamboo stick, and wet charcoal, she will carefully bring your chosen tattoo to life. With this simple act, she preserves and keeps the tradition of Butbut tribe of Buscalan alive. She truly leaves a legacy to each and every person she meets.

The tattoo marked by the legendary Apo Whang-od serves as a permanent reminder of the traditional life roots that modern technology can never erase. A tattoo is can be the best and most meaningful souvenir for your next best tropical vacation, for it is not just something you can simply buy from a souvenir shop, but a first-hand experience you can never forget. It is more than just a symbol—It contains your very own story and life-long connection to the Kalinga culture.

Not sure how to plan your trip? Contact our travel partners now to help you out. Experience the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of engraving Kalinga’s enthralling culture right through your skin.