Have you considered what type of legacy you’ll be leaving behind?
As children, we were constantly taking in bits and pieces from our environment and making them our own. For a lot of us, these were the years when we were introduced to familial and cultural traditions and may have possibly built a connection to them and the culture they represent. But have we been taught to continue this? Or will we let these cultural practices die?
In the gorgeous mountains of the Luzon province of the Philippines, you can find the Butbut tribe in their remote village of Kalinga.
Here, you may notice that their traditions are a little more….permanent, than most.
With this video below, we have the pleasure of meeting 100-year-old Apo Whang-Od, who is considered to be the world’s last Mambabatok, or traditional hand tapped tattoo artist, from her generation. She is single-handedly working to keep this beautiful tradition alive!
How has this hand tapped tattoo tradition shaped her village? How has her own life been affected? Will the tradition die with her? How amazing is it that people travel from all over the world to this Kalinga to get a hand tapped tattoo?
In this film from Brent Foster, we hear the story of the magnificent Apo Whang-Od, how she will pass on the tradition, and how she continues to do it all.
This not only helps support the tribe financially, but all of these people who visit will eventually return to their own homes, bringing knowledge of the tribe’s culture to places it could have never reached on its own! Thankfully, the legend who is Apo Whang-Od is passing along her skills and knowledge to the younger generation, including her grand-niece, Grace, so her legacy will live on!
“It’s an honor for me because when my grandmother dies, I will continue the tradition. It’s really important for us, because it’s our culture. She will leave behind a great legacy, not only in Kalinga, but in the entire world.” – Grace
What’s your tradition?
There are so, so many cultures all over the world that are known for their specific crafts. Among them are the tweed weavers in the Scottish Isle, the lace makers on the island of Burano, Italy, and even the sugar makers tucked away in my home state of Vermont. Each is a thread connecting us to our cultural heritage.
By continuing to create, new generations represent the stories and the work of those who came before them and keep their traditions and culture alive!
Have you been shown any traditions or skills from your own community? We’d love to know about them! If you haven’t, could you be the one to start something new? Do you think we have the ability to begin new cultural traditions now? In truth, we are history for everyone who is coming after us, so what will they know of us? What practices will they be continuing?
Keep yourself open to new possibilities and happiness may stay nearby!
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- Foster, Brent. “The Last Mambabatok.” Vimeo, 6 Mar. 2020, vimeo.com/186434789. Accessed 6 Mar. 2020.