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  • Fang-Ud is the last tribal tattoo artist or mambabatok of Kalinga, a landlocked mountainous province in Northern Philippines. She is the last tattooist to make her mark on the Philippine's headhunters. Headhunting in Kalinga is not about violence, it is about serving justice based on the laws and rules agreed upon by the tribes. In Kalinga, only those men who have killed another for justice can get a tribal tattoo. Today, the Kalingas have made a peace pact that prohibits them from killing a person, leaving Fang-Ud as the last artist to practice the centuries old tradition.

    Fang-Ud is 90 years old and still continues to practice tattooing which she opened to people outside her village. She has devoted her self to the trade and has remained unmarried, without child. A story of her lover who died of an early age, the reason for her being alone. I could see sadness in her eyes when she is asked about marriage and love. Her long life and her strength is attributed to Kalinga's clean air, fresh food and a life that is simple and uncomplicated.

    Fang-ud is my personal icon, a portrait of a strong woman who does not look for fame or love but instead has made a life out of her art.
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