‘Bagong Liwanag’ world premiere, Whang-od docu screening at closing event of baybayin tattoos exhibit at PH consulate

Attendees and participants pose for a photo at the close of the exhibit.Photo by Carines Nevalga

SAN FRANCISCO – The Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco wrapped up its celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month in the United States with the closing of “Bagong Liwanag 2: Baybayin Tattoos,” an exhibit that showcased the Philippine heritage customs of baybayin writing and body tattooing.

Following a three-week run at the consulate, the “B

agong Liwanag” (New Light) solo exhibit of San Jose-based Filipino tattoo artist Jeff Maronilla-Seva Quintano closed at the Kalayaan Hall of the Philippine Center in San Francisco on May 31, 2024.

The closing event featured a screening of the films “Ang Babae sa Likod ng Mambabatok” (The Woman Behind the Tattooist), featuring world renowned Kalinga tattoo artist and Presidential Medal of Merit recipient Whang-od, and Quintano’s “Bagong Liwanag” documentary, which made its world premiere during the event.

The exhibit’s closing event featured a screening of “Ang Babae sa Likod ng Mambabatok.”
San Francisco PCG photos

The Whang-od documentary was made possible by the Philippine Embassies Assistance Program of the Film Development Council of the Philippines.

Directed by Lauren Faustino, the official synopsis for “Ang Babae sa Likod ng Mambabatok” reads: “The film unravels the multiple layers of the almost mythological figure-living legend, who has been called the ‘Last Tattoo Artist of Kalinga’… Her body covered in tattoos is a landscape on its own mirroring the map of a woman who has chosen wittingly or unwittingly a road diverging from convention and in the process became a culture bearer.”

Following the screening, emcee Vice Consul Adrian Baccay read an excerpt from President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s speech during the conferment of the Presidential Medal of Merit on Whang-od last February 2024, which read: “She is a pioneer in shattering gender stereotypes, venturing into tattooing when it was just a man’s exclusive preserve… She is a keeper of oral traditions and a mentor, teaching a new generation of artists, thus ensuring that her art form lives on to tell tales of her community’s history.”

Meanwhile, the “Bagong Liwanag” documentary follows Quintano’s journey as a Filipino baybayin tattoo artist in the Bay Area, and tells the stories of Filipino American tattoo wearers who inked their skin as their unique way to connect to their ancestral roots and take pride in their heritage.

Filipino American historian Dr. Bernard Remollino and San Francisco-based tattooist Tito Gavina give a talk on the works of Hawaii-based Filipino tattoo artist Tino “Rosie” Camanga.

As part of the program, Filipino American historian Bernard Remollino, Ph.D. and San Francisco-based tattooist Tito Gavina held a discussion on the works of Hawaii-based Filipino tattoo artist Tino “Rosie” Camanga, who is considered a pioneer of the Filipino tattoo movement in the United States.

Among those in attendance included Daly City Vice Mayor Dr. Rod Daus-Magbual and San Francisco State University lecturer Dr. Arlene Daus-Magbual, who was featured in the “Bagong Liwanag” documentary.

(PCGSF Release)


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