Coco eyeballs with Apo Whang-Od

Edgar O. Cruz - The Philippine Star
Coco eyeballs with Apo Whang-Od

Apo Whang-Od invites Coco Martin to eyeball and during their first meeting at the B Hotel recently

MANILA, Philippines — “Hi Coco Martin. I want to see you in person. Love, Whang-Od,” says the fan sign that Maria Fang-od Oggay, lovingly referred to as Apo Whang-Od, posted on Facebook two years past.

Now grappling with the post-production of his official submission to the 2017 Metro Manila Film Festival as lead actor/producer/director of Ang Panday, Apo Whang-Od arrived in Manila last Oct. 18, as fetched by ABS-CBN reporter Jefferson Fernando by helicopter from Buscalan, Tinglayan, Kalinga in satisfaction of her wish to eyeball with the FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano star.

Selected to receive the National Living Treasure Award from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Coco met Apo Whang-Od in a function room of B Hotel in Quezon City with a warm hug and bouquet of flowers. She also graced the 66th edition of Manila FAME recently at the World Trade Center Metro Manila and the Philippine International Trade Center Exhibit Hall.

“Masaya ako para makita ang inirerespeto at hinahangaan, hindi lang dito sa Pilipinas, maging sa buong mundo,” he raved about the calm, cool and collected mambabatok (Igorot tattoo artist). It is unknown if Coco will get a hand-poked tattoo of a centipede on his arm, her tribe’s icon for protection.

Considered the Mona Lisa of Millennials, Apo Whang-Od does not share the enigmatic beauty and smile of Leonardo da Vinci’s muse. Her nose without a bridge, breasts sagging, frail appendages adorned with chunky multi-colored beads with tattoos of geometric designs making her look exquisitely elegant.

Millennials measure being marked by the centenarian master inker like acquiring an artwork by National Artist for Visual Arts Benedicto “Bencab” Cabrera at rock-bottom price.

All roads to Buscalan has been quivering with road machines ever since anthropologist Lars Krutak did the documentary, Tattoo Hunter, in 2009. Recently, the prestigious The New York Times and CNN did features.

In a video message, the pop culture-friendly granny wants Coco to be her “boyfriend.” “Pag mag-aasawa ka Coco, dapat maghanap ka ng maganda gaya ng iyong kagandahan. Tingnan mo rin ‘yung mabait na aalagaan ka niya para hindi ka kawawa sa huli,” she adviced. 

Aware of his love for lolas having been raised by his own, Apo Whang-Od has deep admiration for him and wants to meet him. He sent her his standee and memorabilia to add to her collection. Coco posted these on his Instagram account and responded with a promise to visit.

Her mystique grabs tourists effortlessly to her sky-high haven including celebrities Rhian Ramos, National Youth Commission chair Aiza Seguerra, Film Development Council chair Liza Diño-Seguerra and Drew Arellano who had themselves marked by her.

An adored subject of Filipino visual artists, digital artist Jaime Torres and oil painter Michael Montanez collaborated on her 36” x 40” oil on boxed canvas portrait titled Apo Whang-Od to generate awareness to honor the National Living Treasure awardee.

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