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Indigenous tattooist becomes Vogue's oldest ever cover star at 106

By Rebecca Ratcliffe

03 Apr 2023 · 2 min read

Editor's Note

Apo Whang-Od is the April cover star of Vogue Philippines. The 106-year-old is credited with keeping the art of batok alive. The Guardian has the story.

An Indigenous tattooist in the Philippines credited with helping to keep alive a form of the art known as batok has become the oldest Vogue cover star after appearing in the Philippine edition of the magazine at the age of 106.

Apo Whang-Od, who is from Buscalan, a remote, mountainous village in the Kalinga province of the northern Philippines, began tattooing at 16. Once described as the last remaining mambabatok, or traditional Kalinga tattooist, she has since inspired a new generation to learn batok, said Vogue. Batok involves tapping the tattoo into the skin by hand, using a thorn, which is dipped in soot and natural dye, and is attached to a bamboo stick.

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