River Flow (4/4)

I owe it to my paternal roots that I’m comfortable traveling north. Some of the older folks in Buscalan could understand my dad’s dialect, which I speak a tiny bit of.

I also owe it to my dad and having to grow up with men that I’m comfortable working with them. Yes, the second part of my tattoo was done by the only male artist in the village.

If I remember it right, Kennedy has only been tattooing for a couple of years. He did look young. I wanted to ask him how he felt around all these empowered women but I decided to keep the query to myself and leave the politics behind.

When I asked to get the “river flow” he kid around saying he’ll get me “The River Side Inn.” We all laughed but to me, it lowkey brought back the memories of the first time we went to Kalinga. We actually stayed in that humble inn before our hike. It was there where we spent /that/ lazy afternoon by the river.

Me captured by my brother back in 2015

The original design I’ve seen of the tattoo I wanted was two zigzag lines parallel to each other and on the upper triangular spaces are dots.

The upper line was said to represent new life or birth while the lower line meant continuity of life or death. I guess the river flow is actually the flow of time in life terms.

I was given a different variation of the design. Mine had three lines and it looked more like waves. Design-wise, it did work with Apo Whang-od’s dots.

My tattoo is healed now and it seem like some marine corps insignia. Honestly, I’m just out here wearing it like a badge of honor.

Our trip only lasted 2d/2n and half that time was spend in travel alone. Is it risky to go? Yes. Does the tattoo hurt? Yes. But is it worth it? Absolutely.

Manang Kawan, our local host between me and my friend

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