Whang Od is the last tattoo artist of the Kalinga, a mountain tribe in the north of the Philippines. She has spent her whole life tattooing warriors and headhunters. These days, young people will travel across the world just to meet her.
All she needs for her art, says this tattoo expert, are charcoal, water, a dash of sugar cane juice to ensure that the tattoo is particularly shiny, and the thorns of the orange tree, because they don’t rust. She’s highly sought after by young people around the world. We accompany Charly and Egan, two brave young men. ‘Some wet their pants because they’re so scared,’ says Whang Od and laughs. Even getting to her is a challenge: a narrow path leads through the jungle, deep down into a canyon and finally up into the mountains. You can fly to the Moon, but you can’t build a road to Buscalan, say the people in Kalinga province, a region more remote and unexplored than any other in the country. Reporter Philipp Abresch took the trek upon himself - with the help of twenty-five porters.