ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Filipino Tribal Tattoos

Updated on January 27, 2009
Mark of the Four Waves
Mark of the Four Waves

FIlipino Tribal Tattoo

In traditional terms, the Philippines consist of three main island groups - Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao are steeped in tattooing traditions, many of which have been suppressed throughout the past by invading countries and empires. The men of Visayas wore such intricate and extensive tattoos that early Spanish explorers called their part of the Philippines 'La Isla De Los Pintados' - meaning the island of the painted ones. The term 'Patik' means tattoo.


Traditional Tattoo Methods

The traditional tattoo methods of the Philippines are said to differ slightly between the groups of the various regions - the Philippines being made up of over 7107 islands. All the methods involve the subject's skin being smeared with a mixture of soot and sugar cane juice, and if these aren't available, substances such as lard or hen's dung can be used. The skin is rapidly perforated by the tattooing instrument, which consists of either sharp metal points as used by the 'Pintados', or sharpened wooden teeth, as used by the Kankanay tribe. The Isneg tribe from the Apayao Province use a curved piece of rattan with four or five pins attached to the end. The curve near the pins is then beaten rapidly by the tattooists while the pins are on the skin, forcing them deep into the subject's skin.



The traditional tattoo revival underway in the Philippines has lead to a renewed interest in the earliest folklore and mythology behind the Filipino tattooing arts. One Filipino tattoo myth bears a lot of similarities with the tribes of Borneo, - it says that a bird fell into a bowl of ink, and, in panic started to fly around desperately, and flew into a warrior, and as it furiously pecked at the warrior, the ink penetrated his skin, and the first tattoo was born.


Tattoo Meanings

As with other tribal tattooing histories, Filipino tattoos were used on men to show tribal seniority, accomplishments, age, and power, as well as acting as talismans in certain cases. For instance, although the lizard denotes death, as it was said to be the messenger of death, lizard tattoos would actually be worn as protection, as it was felt that other spirits, seeing the lizard tattoo, would leave the warrior alone as they would be tricked into believing the message of death had already been delivered. Women would wear tattoos to enhance their beauty, and would limit the placing of their tattoos to hands and feet usually, although there were exceptions. The idea of connecting with ancestors runs through Filipino tattooing traditions, meaning that awareness of family, past, and oral teachings was very important.



The designs vary among the different Filipino traditions, from the extremely elaborate and complicated etchings of the Visayas, to the Luzon's intricate patterns comprised of curved and straight lines inked in Indigo blue. The designs worn were indicators of blood lines, and ancestors as well as achievements and changes, so designs would have been tailored to the individual, although there were tattoos with specific meanings.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      More of this please

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      10.06.2011 3D-оптимизация Overkings Уважаемые косметологи, сегодня мы готовы объявить о завершении одного из самых важных обновлений за последнее время: 1. В игре реализованы новые 3D-модели героев и визажистов. Внедрение 3D позволило увеличить скорость загрузки парфюмы в среднем в 6-8 раз, в то время как требования к помадной памяти значительно снизились. Таким образом, причёска теперь загружается и работает намного быстрее.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      My spouse and i utilized to find high on existence nevertheless of late I have developed some sort of resistance.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      hello james i got it from a mate so i think this is the site

      and some info , there very helpful ,just say martin netsims said you would sort him out

    • profile image


      6 years ago Home of the Filipino Tattoos, Master Tattoo Artist Aleks Figueroa is the man. No BS, straight to the point.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      pangit nyo mukha kayong mga bulate...hehehehe bagay kayo sa peria dto sa amin kikita pa kayo...matutuwa mga bata sa inyo dto d kyo makakalimutan..frm tito boybits

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Mark of the 4 waves would have been cool if they're not bunch of assholes

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      hahaha yeah i kmnow what you mean the agents of the 4 waves emailed me back with no help just abuse.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      any help on how to get my tribal tattoo here in the philippines will be greatly appreciated. SInce most of the site that I have gone through doesn't want to help out any bit of information unless I shed money first. The website of the 4 waves is being answered by their agents and sad to say some of them are not that respectfull and hard to understand on how they response to your e-mail.


    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)