June 20, 2024

Baguio boy Xhad,  is better known as Xhadzrich Segundo Jacalne on Facebook. If interested, you will find samples of his  works at Ta2juan, Facejuan,and Artjuan.  His real name is Richard and he is a tattoo artist.

I had a chance meeting with him in Kitma during Kidlat Tahimik’s wake and at Gen. Lim Street during a tattoo session last week. The 39-year-old self-taught artist has five children aged 20, 18, 12,  eight, and three years old.

I wrote about another tattoo artist named Bernie Aquino three years ago. But this is the first time I am seeing a tattoo artist at work.  I was amused by the dexterous hands of Xhad. He was armed with a Rotary  cartridge tattoo machine,  sterilized needles, medicated ointment, mask, gloves, tattoo ink and tattoo stencil or transfer paper.

Excited about getting insights from him, I forgot he needed to concentrate to do his tattoo art work. He first drew the concept of his client on paper and had it traced on a tattoo stencil paper. The paper was then placed on top skin on the chosen spot of the client. 

Xhad explained he prefers doing the design freehand or straight on the skin, but everything was dependent on the client’s preference. He also mentioned it was easier to do tattoo on the smooth skin of the legs than loose skin. There are many designs to choose from: Cordillera, ethnic or traditional, Baybayin, flowers, religious, etc. There are also matching tattoos for partners.

He started his tattoo art 15 years ago. During his youth, he improvised tattooing machines.However, tattooing  was not his first job. He started his artcraft with the “latag” boys in Session Road.  He  taught himself how to be a painter and accessory maker.

For a while, he did dream catchers. He traveled to many parts of the Philippines,  from the Cordillera, Regions 1 to 3,  to  Palawan, Iloilo, Cebu,  and Tacloban in the Visayas.

During the pandemic,  he volunteered his time cooking at City Hall.  He says there is a lot of good karma when you are doing voluntary work.

According to researches,  “a tattoo is   a form of body modification made by inserting ink, dyes, and  pigments, either indelible or temporary, into the dermis layer of the skin to form a design. The art of making tattoos is known as tattooing”.

Studies also claim that “Tattoos are considered one of the oldest forms of art. The oldest evidence of tattoos dates back to 3370 BC. The oldest documented tattoos belong to Otzi the Iceman, whose preserved body was discovered in the Alps between Austria and Italy in 1991. He died around 3300 B.C., says Jablonski, but the practice of inserting pigment under the skin’s surface originated long before Otzi.”

Many tattoo artists use different instruments and in the Philippines.

According to Inquirer Lifestyle, “Tattoos were a historic part of the tribal culture in the Philippines”.

In a published article in 2017 by Director of Museo Kordilyera Analyn Salvador-Amores, she  differentiated  tattooing according to origin, it was referred to as whatok in Butbut, Kalinga; batók in Kalinga; fatek in Bontoc; bátok in Ifugao; bátak in Kankana-ey; and bátek in Ilocano, Ibaloy, Lepanto, and Sagada Igorots”.

Whang-od, is the most famous last  mambabatok  or traditional Kalinga tattooist from Buscalan, Tinglayan, Kalinga.

For those interested with the tattoo art of Xhad, you may get in touch with him at 0912 887 7423 or 0906 861 3757 or message him at his Facebook account.

His shop is located at Irisan. The good news is, he does home service. (Photos by Xhad)