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Published: 01 April 2023

By Andy Ross

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Vogue Philippines latest cover

Vogue Philippines cover for April features a tatooist, the oldest mambabatok to still be practising the traditional art. 

Using just water, coal, a bamboo stick and a thorn from the pomelo tree, Apo Whang-Od hand-taps geometric designs into the skin of those who make their way up to her village of Buscalan. The technique was handed-down to her by her father, unusual in that it was generally men who learned the craft from other men,  and she in turn is teaching her relatives to create the inked patterns. 

This cover from the magazine celebrates not only the craft that Apo Whang-Od works with but also the strength and beauty that comes with age. The artist is 106 years old, making her the oldest model ever to grace the cover of Vogue. Fantastic!