/ 23 June 2023

TO PRESERVE the “pagbabatok” tradition in Kalinga, hand-tapped body art was launched as a Senior High School Strand under the Technical-Vocational-Livelihood Track at the Southern Tinglayan National High School.

STNHS School Principal Levys Banao said that the tradition must be passed through generations.

“It became a popular topic in Kalinga since indigenous hand-tapped body art has a long and rich history and it is very important that this rich culture must be passed down through generations,” Banao said.

Shirley Sagwil, Teacher II and Tattoo Coordinator of the school, said that the traditional hand-tapped body art curriculum aims to preserve and promote the unique art by imparting knowledge to the young generations.

“There is a need to know and learn about the traditional hand-tapped body art so that it will be preserved and promoted. Further, through this curriculum it is hoped that the negative stigma of tattooed people will be erased if not diminished,” Sagwil said.

In cooperation with the “mambabatok” of the Kalinga community, led by Apo Whang-Od, a centenarian and the oldest “mambabatok,” the Kalinga division and the school hope to ensure the continuous implementation of the tattooing strand and cultural preservation.