THE National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) is set to award Kalinga icon, Maria “Whang-od” Oggay the Dangal ng Haraya Award for Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Whang–od is believed to be the oldest mambabatok (traditional Kalinga tattooist) who has practiced the ancient art of hand-tapped tattoos in Buscalan village in the Municipality of Tinglayan, Province of Kalinga.
The NCCA, led by chairman and National Artist Virgilio Almario, is set to award Whang–Od in a ceremony at the Kalinga Capitol Plaza on June 25.
In a special resolution, Whang-od is recognized as one of the oldest living traditional tattoo practitioners of Kalinga.
In a statement, the NCCA said Whang Od’s continuing work as a manbabatok and her influence on the Filipino traditional arts scene leading to a heightened awareness about the culture of the Kalinga community -- their worldview, traditions, and expressions -- earned her the Dangal ng Haraya for Intangible Cultural Heritage.
With the Dangal ng Haraya conferment, Whang-Od joins the esteemed roster of awardees including past cultural advocates like Senator Edgardo Angara, Architect Augusto Villalon, and Susan Calo Medina; and current cultural champions Senator Loren Legarda, and Dr. Jesus Peralta.
Whang–Od, from the Butbut group in Kalinga remains single and childless but has passed on the art of tattooing.