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A Touchy Situation: Apo Whang-Od and the Viral Video

A recent video featuring legendary Kalinga tattoo artist Apo Whang-Od with actor Piolo Pascual has sparked online debate. The clip depicts Whang-Od playfully touching Pascual in a sensitive area, leaving viewers divided on the appropriateness of the interaction.


Pascual and his brother sought out Whang-Od for tattoos. The video shows her trademark "dakma," a playful touch, directed at Pascual's crotch. Both individuals appear to be laughing in the video.


The online response has been polarized. Some viewers find humor in the situation, even expressing a desire to be in Pascual's place ("sana all" comments). They argue that Pascual's laughter suggests consent, making it irrelevant to the issue of harassment.


However, another segment of viewers calls for criticism of Whang-Od's actions. They argue for the presence of double standards, pointing out that similar behavior wouldn't be tolerated if the genders were reversed. Furthermore, some suggest that Pascual's laughter could be interpreted as embarrassment rather than amusement.


This isn't an isolated incident. Online video logs show Whang-Od engaging in similar playful touches with other clients in the past. Some accounts even suggest this behavior extends to both male and female clients.


Adding another layer of complexity to the debate are Whang-Od's recent accolades. In 2019, she received the Presidential Medal of Merit for promoting Filipino cultural heritage and breaking gender barriers in the traditionally male-dominated field of tattooing.

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