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Kalinga’s Grace Palicas returns for more Manila tattoo sessions

The new-generation mambabatok is holding guest batok sessions across Metro Manila.

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After a successful run of sessions last year, young mambabatok Grace Palicas is returning to Metro Manila for another round of guest tattoo sessions this July.

As Whang-od’s grandniece and personal apprentice, Grace is well-known to those who’ve made the trip to Buscalan for a batok tattoo. She’s also made a name for herself in the local tattoo scene, earning the title of “the next great mambabatok.”

In the past, traditional batok tattoos were seen as symbols of beauty, power, and strength in Kalinga society. They were earned by men and women through different rites of passage, from coming of age to distinct achievements in hunting. The mambabatok were artists tasked to create these tattoos for the community, which were hand-tapped onto skin using a bamboo stick and calamansi thorn.

On this trip, Grace will hold her Batok sessions in different locations across Metro Manila. So far, three locations have been confirmed: Mandaluyong’s Bahaghari Tours from June 29 to 30; Artcoholic Tattoo and Arts in Makati on July 2 to 4; and Pasig City’s Katribu Tatu on July 9 to 11. Grace also announces additional dates and details through her Facebook page—those interested can follow her for the latest updates.

Guests at all venues are reminded to strictly comply with minimum health and safety protocols to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. Interested individuals can book a session by contacting the respective tattoo shops.

Grace Palicas at Pasig City's Katribu Tatu last November, reading our story on the mambabatok of Buscalan in GRID Volume 03.

  • Over the last decade, traditional tattoos have made a resurgence, thanks largely to the work of Apo Whang-od and her apprentices. Read our story on how traditional tattoo culture has changed over time: Whang-od Loves Coco Martin, written by Nina Unlay and with photos by Fruhlein Econar.