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Apo Whang-Od and President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (Photo: Presidential Communications Office)

Presidential Medal of Merit conferred on Apo Whang-Od

by Carl Santos

Recently updated on February 18, 2024 09:31 pm

CELEBRATED traditional tattoo artist Apo Whang-Od was conferred the Presidential Medal of Merit on Wednesday. 

Whang-Od, widely considered the oldest and last mambabatok from Buscalan, Kalinga province, received the award from President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who recognized her contributions to the preservation of Philippine traditional arts and practices. 

Photo: Presidential Communications Office

”We are honoring Apo Whang-Od for works that have made her and the country famous, for other achievements that make her a Filipina worthy of our respect and of our admiration,” Marcos said in his speech in Malacañang. 

”She is a pioneer in shattering gender stereotypes, venturing into tattooing when it was just a man’s exclusive preserve. She is a keeper of oral traditions and a mentor, teaching a new generation of artists, thus ensuring that her art form lives on to tell tales of her community’s history,” he added.

Marcos also said Whang-Od’s ”craft and stature as an internationally recognized artist raised international awareness of our country’s rich cultural heritage.”

”She is truly a national treasure,” he said.



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