(Me and Seng before the tat session begins)

Getting a Tattoo

I always want to get a tat since I started traveling solo, but I haven’t decided what and where to put it.  After my first solo trip in Southeast Asia, I started researching designs to put on.  I want it to be tribal and I want to have my first ink in my own country which is why I designed Alibata -it is the ancient Filipino characters, with ethnic designs around it, yet until now its not yet done.

I thought I’d do it in Bali

In Bali, when I was bored waiting for Jaime because I thought he remembered that I will be in Bali by 26th of March(he didn’t received my reply to his email asking me when will I be in Bali), I was gonna get a tattoo there.  I don’t want to go in a place and not do something worth remembering, so I thought I will get one there the next day.  Jamie came that day, so I was distracted, I told him I was about to get one and he’s convincing me to do it because he wants to see me do it.  I didn’t do it there.

(Seng goofing around while I’m trying to feel the pain of tattooing, not even those who are doing it a lot says it doesn’t hurt!)

Missed opportunity in Bontoc

When we went back from Sagada, I read that there was an old tribal woman in Bontoc that does tattooing the traditional way by using bamboo.  Dressed with their traditional weaved clothing she does her ritual before inking your skin, I didn’t find out about it until I was back in Manila (to think that we spent a night in Bontoc).  I thought I would do it when I’m back there.

‘Done it in Davao

Then I learned that people close to me are getting tats, some are getting new ones.  My sister, my former Team Leader Cherryl, my team mate Glenn.  I took Glenn’s number because I saw his cool looking new bio-mechanic tattoo and it was inexpensive tat.  Just like how spontaneous my  Davao trip was, I did mine in that beautiful province.

Yes, I got inked in Davao!  I had a Maori Tattoo on my back now.  So most people would ask, why a Maori Tattoo?  Talking about spontaneity, it wasn’t the planned tattoo.  I have been trying to finish an Alibata one (see below), the characters says “I found light through the dark” but I’m not contented with the tribal designs around it.  I didn’t know I’m gonna do it in Davao, I didn’t have this to give the artist an idea of what I want, but then Jovy(the tattoo artist’s brother) said I could just tell them what I want, will design it for me and will let me decide if I want it or not.

(My unfinished Alibata design)

The artist’s shop was just outside the Crocodile Farm, I was gonna do it on the spot but I asked them “Would it get irritated if I do it now and I will be scuba diving tomorrow?”.  Jovy said “Just do it tomorrow after your dive to be safe…”.  That’s what I did, after our dive Seng and I took our dinner because we were sooo hungry and a little tired from the water activities we did the whole day.  Jake, the tattoo artist, keeps texting me if where I was.  We came in late because we had dinner before we went there, what we didn’t know is that they have not taken their dinner too(it was 7:30PM when we arrived at the tattoo shop).  I apologize badly when they told me that when the tattoo is done.

Early morning that day, I texted Jake to design an ethnic/tribal design with Alibata characters in the middle.  When he showed me what he did, the designs around the Alibata looked like Thai, which I didn’t like because it doesn’t match ancient Filipino characters with Thai designs around it.  I told him that and he said, the Alibata wouldn’t be visible if its designed with tribal designs around it, so I said, let’s drop Alibata and give me an idea that will look a really cool tribal tat.  He showed me Maori tribal tattoos that looks like Filipino tribal designs, he explained the idea to me about what Maori tattoos are and brief history of it (of course, I wouldn’t want to just put on something on me for the sake of having a tattoo, so I need this information).

(My Maori Tattoo – Maoris designs a tattoo uniquely for the person’s personality)

I’ve got a Maori Tattoo!

Maoris are from New Zealand, Maori tattoos are generally worn by their women as early as age 8.  While their men gets it at a later age at 12.  For Maoris, tattoos signifies strength and courage, their warriors get more tattoos from the battles they fought.  Maori Tattoos were done with rituals before it was made and THERE SHOULD NOT HAVE THE SAME DESIGNS/PATTERNS for the tattoos.  Each is unique according to the person’s personality and history (Maori Info. Source: Wikipedia and Jake Bangot).

(Jake while working on my tattoo)

Which is why I’m glad to have this Maori tat in which the idea of a Yin yang symbol(that I always want to have but wouldn’t get because it has become so common) is similar to the “Happy and Sad Face” (happy on upright, mad on upside down) that was inked on my back, also signifying my sign Gemini, with tribal designs around it.  I got what I wanted, my tattoo is:

✓   Cool
✓   Unique to me, made for my personality
✓   With rich history behind it
✓   Ethnic/tribal artistic design
✓   Inexpensive
✓   Meaningful

I thank Jake Bangot for this first amazing tattoo that I got, he is an award winning tattoo artist and has done tattoos locally and internationally.  If you ever want to get a tat and happens to be in Davao, you can reach Jake Bangot at his number: +63-9485042426 for his service.  Jake will be flying to Singapore for an all expense paid tattoo service by January, that is how in demand my first artist is!  Thanks a lot Jake, will see you guys when I’m back in Davao.


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