Anak, Ama, Guro.

Kayumanggi at Ipinagmamalaki! (Brown and Proud of it!)

It has been almost 3 years since I got my first tattoo. That is my (nick)name spelled across my back (below my nape) in what is known as the baybayin (the proper name) or widely recognized as the alibata. I chose to use the said writing method because of one primary reason – it’s Filipino.

Just last February 23, 2008, I got my left arm tattooed with a half-sleeve story of my roots and lineage. The symbols I used in it are strongly influenced by the designs used by the highlanders of the north. Polynesian designs or symbols would have been okay. In fact they’re cool. Thing is, I am not of Polynesian blood. My tattoos are a strong declaration of my Pinoy Pride. I am brown and I am proud of it!

AnakAmaGuro

AnakAmaGuro

One famous tattooed celebrity is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. His ink tells a story – and it’s very interesting.

No, I have no fantasies of becoming famous, nor becoming a wrestler! I just want to tell my story through this very interesting art form, where skin is canvass and ink is paint.

My sleeve tattoo tells the story of my immediate roots. It is a celebration of my heritage and my bloodline.

•The “ling-ling-o” (Mamuli)

The figure symbolizes “celebration of life” – the ability of man and woman to procreate life with Bathala (God).

This portion of my tattoo has 5 slots, one for each child born to my family.

Historical notes:

The ling-ling-o is an amulet found throughout the Philippines and Southeast Asia both in modern and ancient times.The exact meaning of the ling-ling-o is a matter of debate.Various explanations are brought forth including use as good luck and/or fertility charm or as a partial residence for anitos (ancestral spirits).Among the Igorots, the amulet is empowered / purified in a ritual of washing in blood before wearing.

The open oval shape of the mamuli is similar to the female reproductive organ. The mamuli is known as a symbol of fertility, combining both masculine and feminine attributes. By wearing one it symbolizes virility (men) and fertility (women).

? My Mother’s side

• The Healer’s seal

The pointed figure with the star on the upper left side of the photo is symbol of a healer. I incorporated it in the design to honor my late grandfather. He had knowledge of medicinal plants and was a recognized Albularyo (medicine man) in his town.

• The Water Buffalo’s (Carabao) Horn.

A symbol of protection against the evil eye.

Power, purification, healing, wisdom, self-knowledge, renewal and eternal life.

Other superstitions link it to sexual power and good luck.
• The Carabao

A totem symbol of strength, loyalty and humility but also danger, when provoked.

• Mountains

My mother’s family are from the highlands – thus, the mountains.

• The Rice Fields

Staple to Filipinos is rice. Source of nourishment and of life. Rice Grains when full and ripe bow. Looking back to the earth that nourished it. It symbolizes humility, gratitude and strength.

Being that they are farmers from the highlands, the theme incorporated the brief story of my maternal bloodline.

? My Father’s side

• Fish

This was the primary source of income for the small fishing village where my father hails from.

Fish symbolize unity, and strength. They are never alone, always swimming in schools.

There are seven of them here. One for each member of the family.

•Corals

They represent home.

Be it that I am far and away from home, I will always long to come back to the one place where I feel safe.

•Weave

My father is also a tailor. Thread when woven becomes a strong material. Cloth when put together and sewn, provides warmth and protection.

•Earth and Water and the countless generation of Fathers and Fishermen

My father and his father, and his father’s father, and all the generations before him were fishermen. During seasons when the men of our village could not cast their nets into the deeps to fish, they turn to the richness of the earth that nourishes their crops. They plant corn, and grain and root crops that sustain them during these times.

The Triangles that are connected to the mountains and the sea by a thin line represent the generations that came before me. I pay tribute to them. This is my way of saying, “I will not forget”.

 

?The Fire Snake

"FireSnake"

One of the oldest symbols in existence, the snake’s image is found long before the written word appeared.

As a tattoo design, the snake symbolizes power, both natural and supernatural, fertility, regeneration and wisdom.

The snake’s ability to slough off its skin is truly fascinating. This has given rise to its association with rebirth and immortality.

I was born in the year of the snake, under the fire sign.

The 5 triangles represent each child in the brood. The repeating triangle patterns signify strength – strength in the family. They point downwards to honor our mother – the bringer of life.

The four swirls represent my sisters – one swirl for each sister. Spirals or swirls are linked to the circle (symbol). It is an ancient symbol of the goddess, the womb, fertility, feminine serpent force, continual change and the evolution of the universe.

The 3 dotted black triangles represent each decade of my life.

Triangles are associated with the number 3 (three). They point upwards to symbolize fire, male, and power. Again, the pattern is repeated to strengthen the symbol.

?The Sun

Fire is my element. Fire is probably one of man’s greatest discoveries.

A symbol for “the bringer of light”; illuminates the path of those who travel. Showing them the right road and direction, guiding them towards their destination.

? The Stones of power and the Shield

Black and white, Light and dark, the unity of opposites – they represent the duality in all things; even in man. They represent choice and decisions to be made.

In my life, I have made good and not so good choices. Good and bad decisions. They serve as a reminder that I have the power to change everything in the future with the choices I make today.

The shield is a talisman of protection. To ward off evil and in turn, invite positive energy.

?My Son

 

Angelo

Angelo

 

I chose this symbol to represent my son.

 

?Anak (in baybayin)

Son

 

Anak

Anak

 

?Ama (in baybayin)

Father

 

Ama

Ama

 

?Guro (in baybayin)

Teacher

 

Guro

Guro

 

 

The tattoo is still not done… I’d still have to have it retouched.

I have plans of extending it to my left shoulder blade, shoulder and left chest area – more of that soon.

33 Responses to “Anak, Ama, Guro.”

  1. Hayep! Ang ganda ng tattoo ni The Rock!!!

    Oh, and uhm… Yours is good, too. :P

  2. Thanks man.. :)

  3. Does the baybayin say Derek?

  4. Christian,

    Its Derick.

    In the Baybayin, there is no “R”.
    Considering words that equate or are at least close to words with “R” in them (e.g./ “madumi” = “marumi”), the “R” is replaced with a “D”.

    So “Derick” is then spelled in the baybayin as, “Dedik”.

    My tattoo is spelled as “D-E-DI-K”.

    There is no “C” in the alibata and therefore takes the sound of “K” as it is used in my name. There are suggested variations of the “C” with the “spanish modification” of the Baybayin. Then again, it is limited to it’s use in a word.

    I hope this helps. :)

    Thank you for visiting and taking time to read.

    Mabuhay ang dugong kayumangi!

  5. Hi,
    To make a long boring story short.

    I have a strong Filipino heritage and did some research on Filipino tattoos and found your website. Are they general tattoos or linked to a specific region of The Philippines?

    Thanks
    Anita

  6. Anita,

    Thank you for taking the time to read through my post (although poorly written).

    The origin of my ink is linked to the highlands of the north.

    I threw in a couple of twists of my own to make it both original and personal.

    It took me a lot of time to design the tattoo because the story must flow into each other in a logical manner (at least that was what I attempted and hoped the effect would do). And… if it didn’t, well I guess it’s too late, eh? :p

    I had the tattoo placed to proudly tell the story of my lineage. As you might have noticed, the post is still incomplete. I barely have time to write, let alone visit my own spot. But it gives me great honor (for the lack of a better word to use on such a sleepy Saturday) to reply to those who take time to visit and read.

    Again, I want to thank you! Maraming Salamat, at mabuhay ang dugong kayumanngi! :)

  7. Hey, Ive been really fascinated with the tatak ng apat na alon. And, i’ve always wanted to know, where to find out the meanings of the symbols. So I can make my own original piece.. i like to proudly boast my culture, and heritage. Where, did you find your meanings, and designs.
    I’d like to construct my own story

  8. Good Day Alex!

    First, I’d like to thank you for visiting my page and reading my (unfinished) post.

    To answer your question; I read (borrowed) books. Researched online for symbols using keywords like, symbolism, talismans, power symbols, and the like. But not a lot of them have symbols in Filipino.
    The patterns and/or symbols used in the person’s tattoo are usually very plain. “A fish – its home is the river. A bird – it flies. It’s home are the trees and is a symbol of good fortune and freedom.” When I read these, I’m like, “WHAT!?!?!? Tell me something I don’t know!!”
    I guess our ancestors didn’t care for fancy representation or anything like that. They Valued the personal meaning of the tattoo.
    Other symbols would be symbols of a tribe or a family. Like a coat of arms. Only, its inked on skin. One may not wear it unless he is a direct descendant of the family.

    I heard from a friend, and I still have yet to verify, that the UP Baguio Library has a lot of books that will help in this quest for knowledge. Until then, it shall remain a hearsay.

    I’ll see if I can find anything that may be of use. I’ll post it when I get it.

    Muli, Salamat at Mabuhay ang Dugong Kayumanggi!

  9. so this iz the unabridged story behind the tattoo,. NICEZZ bwahahaha

  10. Superb piece of artwork depicting heritage, compasion and strength. Being proud of what you are and where you come from by honouring your dear parents is heart warming.

    Did you design it all yourself or the tattoo artist??

  11. Norman,

    I designed it. It took me a year (give or take) to finalize the design and complete the concept I had in mind. I’m now working on my chest piece and my back designs.

    Thank you for visiting my page and taking time to read. I sincerely appreciate it.

    Mabuhay ang dugong kayumanggi!

  12. [...] what I really want is to expand my existing tattoo to my left chest and back. But I still haven’t finished the [...]

  13. Kapatid,
    Hanga ako sa sariling desenyo mo at sa konsepto. Sana maipakita mo rin sa amin ang susunod na marka sa iyong balikat at dibdib. Salamat. -Jude

  14. Jude,

    Maraming Salamat sa pagbisita.
    Hayaan mo, kapag natapos na ‘yung bagong disenyo, ilalagay ko dito.
    Salamat sa pagtangkilik.

    Mabuhay ang Dugong kayumanggi! :)

  15. TRAINEE Says:

    wow! i couldn’t believe that you designed your own tattoo. pretty impressive. unbelievable! well thought of.
    ORIGINAL..
    INTERESTING..
    SUPERB!
    TWO THUMBS UP :D

  16. Thank you Al! :D

  17. hi!
    i’ve read your post and i really like it!
    i have a little request and maybe you want to help me. i now that the tagalog word ligaya means luck, but i also want to know how to write this word with the baybayin letters. can you help me?
    i would be very pleased

  18. Alexia,

    The Filipino word “ligaya” translates to “joy”. “Luck” on the other hand is “suwerte”. “Lucky” is “masuwerte”.
    Try this link:
    http://www.eaglescorner.com/baybayin/baybayin.html

    Mabuhay! :)

  19. hi d..ilove ur tattoo..kelan kya ung sken?? im scared kz of what will i feel e…take care always..

  20. “Witch”,

    You did not leave a name… :(

  21. hi i have a question… i like the filipino symbols like you have… i too am filipino (: i was wondering if you know how i would be able to to those symbols but for love?

  22. Hi Allie.
    Love can take many forms and symbols. The symbols I used in my tattoo’s design is family centric. Being a family – oriented person, the symbols used, flow into each other strengthening what I so proudly believe in. Love, Family, Heritage, Filipino Pride and more.
    When you design your tattoo, tell a story.
    I started with the central figure – the Mamuli.
    Hope this helps.
    Thanks for stopping by! :)

  23. galing! ganyan din gusto ko, medyo hirap lang ako mghanap ng design, pero gusot ko pinoy inspired pa din. ayos!

  24. can you help me make my own design? any suggestions?? salamat! =)

  25. I suggest that you decide on what story you want to tell first. Then research, research, research! Whatever symbol/s you choose to tell your story, it has to flow from one to the next.

  26. is there any possible way anyone can show me STRENGTH? because i want that as at tattoo and I’m getting it next week! PLEASE!

  27. Nicole,
    I suggest that you research on it first.
    But here are some things you might want to consider;
    1. Strength in Filipino is, “Lakas”. You might want to have it tattooed and spelled in Baybayin.
    2. Find a symbol for strength. I chose the water buffalo and incorporated that into my tattoo as a totem of strength among other things.

    Repeating a symbol or a totem reinforces and magnifies the power and strength of the talisman.

    whatever design or concept you choose, make sure that it is personal, and that it tells a story.

    Hope this helps. :)

  28. D,

    The only word I can say is… ASTIG!!!
    hahhaha, I want to have one but my parents dont want me to have tattoos :(

    • AnakAmaGuro Says:

      Jao,

      How young are you by the way?
      I remember when I had my first. My mom over-reacted, however, there was nothing she could do. :p
      Art takes many forms. Tattoos are considered body art. Ink on skin is ownership. This is how I tell the world that I love my body and in my opinion, my tattoos are beautiful. This also tells the world that I own my body and I can do what I choose to do with it, so long as it does not bring harm to anyone, including myself.
      Gone are the days when people with tattoos are branded as ex-convicts. You’d be surprised to know that your parents wouldn’t change the way they see you regardless of the size or number of your ink. :)

      Oh, and uh… Get an apartment. ;)

      • hahaha, ghee.. im scared to break the rules.. 28 years old? old enough to make a mess.. :D

        I also love art, I apreciate your tattoos espcialy the Polynesian designs…

        Im planning to have tattoo like this one http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2296/2392760639_96902392b0.jpg
        (right shoulder) what do you think D? and soon ill make my own polynesian design… if i have guts to break the rules :D

      • AnakAmaGuro Says:

        Jao,
        1. My designs are not Polynesian. They’re Filipino. Why? Because I am not Polynesian. Don’t put something permanent on your skin that you are not.
        2. I was 28 when I got my first tat. Not because I never was permitted, I just wasn’t thinking of it that much back then.
        3. Design and placement is key to making a tattoo look good. A good design placed in a not-so-good spot would lack the desired effect.

        You don’t need to break any rules Jao. Just bend them a little. :)

  29. D`

    I guess, I made my decision…soon if you have time, even me, i’ll park again to your forum and lets have a coffee?

    i dont know when :D im laughing here on my chair coz “parang napagsabihan ako ng kuya ko? ” though dont have elder brother coz, im the eldest in my family :D

    thanks bro for you time :D

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