Every year some of the world's most renowned tattoo artists arrive in Manila to showcase their newest designs and talk ink.
If you've got a needle phobia, look away now.
The largest Filipino tattoo event attracts international talent from Japan, United States of America, Germany and more local countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia. Once upon a time tattoos were considered the trademark of troublemakers and vagabonds but with celebrities embracing skin artistry, Dutdutan is now attracting a bigger, more diversified crowd. If you've always wanted a tattoo to mark an important time or experience, this could very well be the place to do it with such a fine array of worldwide talent.
When the Spanish arrived in The Philippines in 1521 they nicknamed it, 'The Island of the Painted Ones' because of the heavily tattooed locals they encountered. Traditional Filipino tattooing is extremely painful; the ink is administered with the spike of a calmansi (lime) tree which is hammered into the skin. You thought needles were bad? The pain is so intense it has to be done in short stints; a small price to pay to be guarded against the evil spirits of pre-Hispanic times.
Whilst you won't be able to get ink hammered into your skin from the spike of a lime tree (we know you want to) there will be plenty of 'pinyo' (relating to Philippines) tattoo designs being showcased. There is an impressive network of booths that feed off from the main hall, each equipped with chairs, tables, whining drills and the artists' sketches and drawings. If you're planning on getting tattooed, treat this like a food market and explore all your options before you commit to an artist. You can throw food away that you don't like but tattoo removals are a bit more complicated than that.
Several competitions take place and the tattoo artists are judged on their artistic mastery and originality of design. The tattoo of the day award is perhaps held in the highest esteem and it gives spectators the opportunity to watch the ink masters at work first hand.
Tattooing isn't all that's going on, there's live music on the main stage when the models aren't cat walking newly etched designs up and down the walkway. You can pick up some tattoo inspired merchandise and visit the food stalls for a bite to eat; you'll need it, doors open at 12 p.m. and don't close until 2 a.m. Admission is around 500 pesos.
Haven't got an inch of skin you're willing to turn into a work of art? You'll have to make do with some Dutdutan memorabilia and if you already have a tattoo, make sure it's on display!
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*We do our very best to verify the dates of our events but please check with the official event provider before booking your flights. We would hate for you to be disappointed!