In Pictures: Incredible Ink from Tattoo Artist Whang Od

Buscalan, a ramshackle town in a remote regionย of the Philippine Cordilleras, is home to a lady who makes a living off tattoos. These days Apo Whang Od, now pushing 95, sees a string of tattoo aficionados from all over the world, who arrive on her doorstep looking for not only a traditional hand-tap piece, but also bragging rights to a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

In February of 2013, Canadian photographer Frederik Wissink set off to get inked by tattoo artist Whang Od. He made the tripย from Manila to Buscalanย by bus, motorcycle and finally on foot. The photos speak for themselves.

The road from Bontoc to Buscalan
The road from Bontoc to Buscalan
Mountain bike in Bontoc
Mountain bike in Bontoc
A sari-sari store in the mountains
A sari-sari store in the mountains
Apo Whang Od, the oldest hand-tap tattoo artist of the Kalinga tribe
Apo Whang Od, the oldest hand-tap tattoo artist of the Kalinga tribe
Whang Od lays an outline
tattoo artist whang od
Tools of the trade: A pomelo thorn, and soot from Whang Od’s fireplace
tattoo-artist-whang-od
Hand-tapping is a slow process
Whang Od's niece Grace finishes half of the piece
Whang Od’s niece Grace finishes half of the piece
Laundry lines in Buscalan
Laundry lines in Buscalan
Ifugao children
Ifugao children
Tattoos are done on a first-come-first-serve basis. Visitors spend the nights in a homestay-like setup in Whang Od's own house.
Tattoos are done on a first-come-first-serve basis. Visitors spend the nights in a homestay-like setup in Whang Od’s own house.
Apo Whang Od takes a break with one of her young relatives
Apo Whang Od takes a break with one of her young relatives
Photographer Fred Wissink with Apo Whang Od
Photographer Fred Wissink with Apo Whang Od

For more of Fred Wissink’s work, and more pictures of his time in Buscalan and his experience with tattoo artist Whang Od, visitย his website www.fredwissink.com

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