Michelle Dee, a Filipino beauty queen and model, has chosen to dedicate her dress to the living legend of Philippine tattoo art, the 106-year-old Apo Whang-Od. This gesture likely symbolizes a tribute to the rich cultural heritage and traditional artistry represented by Apo Whang-Od, who is renowned for her mastery of the traditional hand-tap tattoo technique known as “batok.”
Apo Whang-Od, often referred to as the last mambabatok (traditional Kalinga tattoo artist), has become a symbol of cultural preservation and resilience. At 106 years old, she continues to practice the ancient art of batok, a form of hand-tap tattooing passed down through generations within the Kalinga tribe. Whang-Od’s craftsmanship and dedication to preserving this traditional art have earned her international recognition and admiration.
By dedicating her dress to Apo Whang-Od, Michelle Dee may be expressing her admiration for the cultural contributions of the elderly tattoo artist and showcasing her support for the preservation of indigenous arts in the Philippines. It’s a meaningful way to draw attention to the importance of honoring and celebrating the skills and traditions of individuals like Apo Whang-Od, who have played a significant role in preserving the country’s cultural identity.