Whang-od to receive cultural heritage award from NCCA

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The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) will grant Apo Whang Od Oggay the esteemed 2018 Dangal ng Haraya Award for Intangible Cultural Heritage in June.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 13) — Revered tattoo artist Apo Whang-od Oggay, popularly known as Whang-od, is set to receive a national cultural heritage award from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) this June.

Whang Od will be awarded the 2018 Dangal ng Haraya Award for Intangible Cultural Heritage from the NCCA on June 25. The award is given to living Filipinos for their achievements in their respective fields of contribution to the country's arts and culture.

NCCA Chairman and National Artist for Literature Virgilio Almario signed a Special Resolution in May recognizing Whang Od as one of the oldest living traditional whatok (hand-tapped tattoo) practitioners of the Kalinga community.

"Local and international tourists flock her abode in Buscalan to get inked with traditional Kalinga designs, her signature linear three-dot design, and witness the outstanding whatok techniques which she is actively passing on to the younger Kalingan women," a statement from the NCCA read.

The 100-year old tattoo artist began her craft at 15, with her ink made of a mixture of charcoal and water tapped into the skin through the thorny end of a calamansi or pomelo tree.

Whang-od draws inspiration for her designs from nature and basic geometric figures.

Previous recipients of the award include writer Susan Calo Medina, the late senator Edgardo Angara, architect Augusto Villalon, Senator Loren Legarda, and multi-talented artist Dr. Jesus Peralta.

"Through Dangal ng Haraya and its other institutional awards, NCCA seeks to uphold excellence in all artistic and cultural endeavors, encourage initiative and participation among groups and individuals, and recognize exemplary cultural programs that can serve as valuable examples to others," the statement added.

In February, the Senate also nominated Whang-od for the Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan (GAMABA) or the National Living Treasures Award.