ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Filipino Tattoo Art

Updated on May 25, 2016
Filipino tattoo style
Filipino tattoo style | Source

Tattoo among the Ifugao

The indigenous group of people in the northern part of the Philippines known as the Ifugao has been practicing the putting of tattoo in the entire body as a sign of spiritual powers and magical qualities which gave them strength and protection. The tattoos on their bodies distinguished them from other tribes’ warriors because their tattoos served a reward after a successful headhunting expedition. The tattoos marked their social status in the community.and command respect from other members of the tribe.The women also received tattoos to boost their beauty, sign of fertility, and as means of clothing to cover their private parts. However, the advent of Christianity and modern civilization began to change the attitudes of the Ifugaos and other tribal communities about the tattoo on their body.

But, tattoos resurfaced as a form of art and not as a symbol for some unknown powers. Several young people in the Philippines, especially those in the millennial generation has become attracted to the art of tattooing. Of course, it was an unwelcome phenomenon for the old and traditional folks who claimed that the body should not bear any mark that can disfigure the temple of the Holy Spirit. I have nothing against the tattoo though I have some unresolved doubts about its nature and purpose.

Joy in Pain

There's a smile on her face while the tattoo maker applies the tattoo on her shoulder
There's a smile on her face while the tattoo maker applies the tattoo on her shoulder | Source

It is no joke to have the needles and blades cut your skin. The pain may be unbearable at the start of the process, but as you become accustomed to it, you will no longer feel the pain. As the Filipino would say, "only the brave and the strong, who bear the pain, can endure the tattoo." Unlike other country's tattoo artists, the Filipino tattoo maker does not apply any anesthesia or pain reliever during or after the process. The recipient of the tattoo cannot ask to stop even for a minute because the skin may swell. Thus, the process of tattooing is a continuous pain enduring exercise. Surprisingly, the recipient remains calm and seemingly enjoying every stroke of the needles on his skin.

What kind of art is this?

Beautiful drawing or a painting?
Beautiful drawing or a painting? | Source

Until now, I am still groping to find the answer. I can understand the reason for having a tattoo on their body. I appreciate the hard work and the patience of the recipient of the tattoo. I admire the finished product and marvel at the creativity of the tattoo maker. They put much effort and endurance to have the drawing of a common image, a name, a figure, or a symbol engraved on their skin. The tattoo stays there until they die. They feel proud and happy every time they look at their tattoos. They display their tattoos for others to see. The tattoo may not have meaning for those who will look at it, but it gives tremendous joy on the person with the tattoo.

They are next in line


Making a tattoo lasts for several hours depending on its size, design, and color. The tattoo artist used two needles to create a thin lining on the skin that serves as the outline. Once he has completed the line, the next step is to put shades in between the line. Now and then he would dip the tip of the needle to provide colors on the tattoo. The next recipient of the tattoo would wait patiently for his turn. He does not care how long is the waiting period. He has only one thing in mind and it is to have a tattoo on his skin before the day's end.

Some of the Filipino meaning for their Tattoo

Yes, for some Filipinos they attached a meaning to the tattoos on their skin. I firmly believe that some cultures that exhibit excellent craftsmanship on tattooing may have similar meaning for their tattoo. I deem it necessary to cite some these incredible tattoos that I found in several Filipino males and females.


The butterfly represents the person's soul
The butterfly represents the person's soul | Source


The lion represents the person's aggresiveness
The lion represents the person's aggresiveness | Source


The star symbolizes power and wish granting
The star symbolizes power and wish granting | Source

Want a tattoo?

Do you want to have a tattoo?

See results

Can I have your comment, please?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)