This is part 3 of British backpacker Will Hatton's travel diary documenting his first trip to the Philippines. Follow along with his Philippine adventure right here on Rappler.
I sat on a hard block of wood, watching with grim fascination as she lifted the stick and began. Whack, whack, whack. I felt nothing. I watched as the thorn punctured my skin again and again, forcing the charcoal inside the wound, five times a second. The musical noise of the hammer drifted across the village as a crowd of interested villagers watched to see if I would reveal any sign of pain. I did not, for in truth, it really did not hurt.
I had waited years to meet this incredible woman. I had traversed valleys and hiked through jungle, ridden atop metallic-death vans and endured belching fumes; what was a few pin-pricks to mark the successful completion of my journey?
Tiny droplets of blood decorated my arm as slowly but surely, the design came to life upon my flesh. It crawled and writhed as Whang Od continued to breath life into it with her bamboo hammer. I could think of no better way to pay homage to this incredible woman and to The Philippines itself than to get a traditional tattoo… this was an idea I had been knocking around for years and, as I watched the tattoo take over my arm, I knew I had made the right decision. – Rappler.com
All photos provided by Will Hatton
Writer and photographer. Adventurer and vagabond. Master of the handstand pushup. Conqueror of mountains, survivor of deserts and crusader for cheap escapades. Will is an avid hitch-hiker, couch-surfer and bargain-seeker. He is a devout follower of the High Temple of Backpackistan and the proud inventor of the man-hug. Will blogs over at thebrokebackpacker.com about his adventures around the world, you can follow him on Facebook and on Twitter or, if you're really friendly, hunt him down on the road for a cheeky pint.