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Apo Whang–Od commended for raising Kalinga culture



By Hannah Torregoza

Senator Nancy Binay lauded the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) for awarding Apo Whang-Od Oggay this year’s Dangal ng Haraya Award for Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Wang-od (Zaldy Comanda/Manila Bulletin File Photo)

(Zaldy Comanda/Manila Bulletin File Photo)

Binay congratulated Apo Whang-Od for getting the award, saying that through her, the Kalinga tattoo arts amplified Philippine culture.

“We would like to congratulate Apo Whang-Od for being recognized for her contributions to our culture,” Binay said in a statement.

“Her work helped preserve the traditional Filipino art of batek and the subsequent promotion of the culture of Kalinga,” the senator said.

“With the Kalinga arts and designs, Whang-Od amplified the richness of Philippine culture among the younger generation,” she added.

The Dangal ng Haraya is given to living Filipino artists, cultural workers, and historians, artistic or cultural groups, historical societies, institutions, foundations and councils, for their outstanding achievements in relevant fields that have made an impact and significant contribution to Philippine culture and arts.

The awarding ceremony will take place in Kalinga Capitol Plaza, Tabuk, Kalinga on June 25.

“This award from the NCCA is a testament to Filipinos who have positively influenced us in a big way and with such passion,” the lawmaker said.

“With her dedication to the craft, Apo Whang-Od’s contribution to Philippine culture and arts deserves recognition and appreciation,” she stressed.

It was Binay and Sen. Juan Edgardo (Sonny) Angara who earlier sponsored Senate Resolution Nos. 2 and 538 respectively, nominating Whang-Od for the Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan (GAMABA) or the National Living Treasures Award for fostering and preserving the traditional tattoo art of Kalinga.

Gamaba, based on the Official Gazette, is conferred on Filipinos who are at the forefront of the practice, preservation, and promotion of the nation’s traditional folk arts.

Through these bills, the Senate recognized Whang-od as the only surviving Kalinga traditional tattoo artist with the distinguished title of “mambabatok” or a master tattooist of “batek,” the folk skin inscriptions of Kalinga.

Apo Whang-Od will join the esteemed roster of awardees including past cultural advocates like Senator Edgardo Angara, Architect Augusto Villalon, Susan Calo Medina; and current cultural champions Senator Loren Legarda and Jesus Peralta.

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