RAYMOND Ponce, a second year Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy student, had his youngest customer, a five-year-old boy who wanted a tiger on his arm, among an excited queue

that was eager to sport a fashion tattoo in the festival crowd.

In five seconds, the boy had his tiger howling on his skin.

Ponce, 18, is from Mambaling, Cebu City, and a student of the University of Southern Philippines Foundation. Every Sinulog parade, he seizes a good chance at business with his fashion tattoos.

Tattoos, fashion or henna, are a fad during Sinulog, and they’re all sprawled on the streets along the parade route.

Some regions in the Philippines has a rich tattoo tradition, sported by datus, sultans and maharlikas. Tattoos decorated the bodies of brave soldiers in pre-Hispanic Philippines.

The more tattoo on a native’s body, the more respect he inspires among his people.

Today, however, the tattoo makes one get the festival feel.

“Basta naa’y tattoo, para nila Sinulog (If the people have tattoos, for them it is Sinulog),” Ponce said.


Ponce preferred fashion tattoo cards rather than henna tattoo because it is easy to put on and the children may enjoy the colored images on their skin.

While he is busy with his customers, his mother is just across the street on Osmeña Blvd., sellling barbecue. Ponce was earning for himself his allowance.

He had a seed money of P300 to buy sticker cards, which will earn him from P500 to P600.


Along the road near the Abellana National School, Juvy Delantar, 25, also sprawls his tattoo designs for those who want henna tattoo.

Delantar, of Lipata, Minglanilla, said he and his friends do henna tattoo during the feast day of Señor Santo Niño. He has been doing it for seven years now.

This year, he did it to earn money for his job requirements.

Henna tattoo usually lasts for more than a week and just costs P50 for a minimal design, Delantar explained.

Delantar said they can earn up to P6,000 on a festival day.

Chaira Prudencio, 15, a high school student of Indiana Aerospace University, was spotted having her name tattooed on his back.

Prudencio has been doing it every year.

“I got allergies last year after the ink used was not well mixed, but it doesn’t stop me to have henna tattoo this year,” she said in Cebuano.

On the other hand, instead of just partying, a few enterprising students from the University of Cebu Banilad, sold juices, shakes and ice candies near the St. Patrick’s Square, along R. Aboitiz St.

“It’s a lot of fun when you’re in a festive mood with friends and all of you earns,” said Abigail Tan, an 18-year-old Information Technology student. FMG/with Jessnah Brigoli, STC Mass Com Intern