“Padagos” : Bantayog Festival On-The-Spot Tattoo Competition Year 2 

Pintados depiction on Boxer Codex

This year 2019 marks the first time Bicol Mythology gets placed in the limelight at a Bantayog Festival tattoo competition. It is also the second time this type of event gets officially supported by the provincial government of Camarines Norte – through its tourism arm.

What’s more, this event is set to be held just in time for its 99th founding anniversary celebration.

The words of the competition chairperson eloquently describes the purpose of such form of gathering, stating, “The Bicol culture’s rich history deserves to be highlighted as a valuable theme for a modern art form such as skin art, colloquially known as tattoos. “

And why not? As a tattoo collector, I have seen how various other nations influenced the designs being used as subjects for skin art. We usually hear or read design themes such as Polynesian, Japanese, Traditional, Biomechanical, Watercolor, or some other contemporary styles that originated outside the Philippine territory.

Whang-od Tattooing [CC BY-SA 4.0]

Arguably, the only design style that we can claim as ours are the ones made by Apo Whang-od of Kalinga – something we can safely define as “tribal” design. Unfortunately, the word tribal in tattoo is also often associated to Polynesian designs.

Integrating Cultural Identity and Artistic Expression 

Padagos Tattoo Competition’s theme centred on Bicol Mythology in order to bridge a certain aspect of history towards the contemporary generation’s awareness. It sought to echo the Bantayog Festival’s aim of enhancing community awareness on Bicol’s revolutionary culture and economic potentials. The said subculture activity hopes to challenge the participants’ imagination. It also seeks to encourage appreciation of what used to be a dying oral tradition – of dieties and mythical creatures – as a permanent skin art today. 

A Fine Print

For now, let us step away from the dreamy figures and ideas conjured earlier and focus more on an important aspect that place Padagos Tattoo Competition in a good position. I am referring to the project’s commitment to good hygiene. As such, a pre-competition program includes a hygiene and sanitation discussion – aimed to enhance awareness on proper tattoo session setups and basic hygiene kits.

Reviving Awareness on Bicol Culture and Mythology

The Padagos event is a brave undertaking specially because it is to be done in conjunction with official provincial tourism activities. It is a bold move that welcomes creativity into the mainstream. It could be likened to an antidote that could re-open the critical minds and eyes into an almost forgotten aspect of Philippine history. It gives a glimpse to the undeniable existence of Pintádos and the fantastic tales of Bikolano folklores.

I am thankful that the Provincial Tourism Office has given the crew of CMTattooHive a chance to head this On-The-Spot Tattoo Competition. In essence, their work will help add to the province’s cultural growth through this subculture activity.

For more information and late breaking news about the event, please visit or follow CMTattooHive’s feature album on Facebook.


The contents of this article are subjective opinions of the author and does not necessarily reflect the values by which Artsikrap Online Gallery stands for.

About the Author

Samuel T Sendon II, or Sam, is a novice writer whose interest in literary arts gets triggered from time to time by various factors. He once started a subculture printed publication called SPROUT Magazine – whose aim is to awaken literary creativity through experimental design executions. He is a WordPress web developer by trade, a lover of tattoo arts, and currently serves as the webmaster and founding partner of Artsikrap Online Gallery.


Tattoo Design Styles via INKBOX.COM

Best Different Tattoo Styles via NEXTLUXURY.COM

Bantayog Festival Upholds Camarines Norte’s Rich Roots via TRIBUNE.NET

Pintados via CulturEd

Pintados via Wikipedia

Apo Whang-od Tattoo Artist in Kalinga via LOOLOO Insights

Ancient Bicolano Pantheon of Deities and Creatures via ASWANGPROJECT.COM

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