Sunday, May 20, 2012

Seeking Protection at Wild Ones Tattoo

I had gotten inked at Wild Ones Tattoo two years ago to get a memorial tattoo for my father - the Arabic word, habibi, which means darling, on my arm, and a Middle Eastern star on my wrist..

I had lost my tattoo virginity when I was 16, and got inked for my birthday (a tramp stamp of a sun, moon and lone star - as I had big dreams for myself and wanted to never forget it), and my mom had hated it, trying to get my dad to tell me what a horrible decision I had made. He said it looked pretty cool. And to prove a point, got a big, black dragon tattoo on his left leg as well.

I wanted to get something for myself this time, something that spoke of what I was going through at this point in my life. Ever since my dad passed away, life had turned into a roller coaster - the good kind! I had accomplished and traveled more these past two years than I have in the five years before that. And I wanted the same tattoo artist at the best tattoo shop in the south to bring that idea to life.

Initially, I was leaning towards a cool little turtle dude or a couple of starfish, but decided on getting a symbol of protection on me instead. Two symbols that simply fascinated me was the Native American dreamcatcher and the Middle Easter Hamsa (or Khamsa in Arabic). The dreamcatcher helps filter out the bad dreams and the bad luck, which the Hamsa, or Hand of Miriam, protects the wearer from the Evil Eye.

I had always imagined getting a tattoo on my foot, I just couldn't figure out what, and this was the perfect design for me, now, to put ink to skin.

Arvin dela Cruz is a veteran tattoo artist, with over 20 years of tattoo experience under his belt. I like that he's always up for a good tat challenge (my Middle Eastern star on my wrist was small but detailed, with around five different colors, and a total bitch to ink), has a great eye for design, and not only does he have a light touch with the tattoo machine, he's also really fast at what he does as well.

I liked chatting with the shop manager, Eric Hotchkiss, while Arvin was sketching up my stencil. The guy is super hands on, and a stickler when it comes to cleanliness, which is a good thing to have at a tattoo shop! They use mineral water to clean their equipment (he won't settle for tap water or that purified crap), which is something worth checking out before deciding to get inked. Where do you think the gross tattoo artists clean out their equipment at shady tiangges? If you're lucky, the bathroom. Gross.

The other half of the two-man tattoo team at the Wild Ones Tattoo is Mark "Batas" Rodriguez. Popular for shocking folks with his rap, he's a celebrity in the local hip-hop scene. Off stage, he's pretty chill and hella funny (in a non-offensive, "Putangina mo, joke lang!" way). The fan girl in me was screaming like a 12-year-old at a Justin Beiber concert. Idol!

After a few hits and misses with positioning the feathers of my tattoo (everybody was evaluating the position, size, flow of the piece, etc.), and we finally all agreed on a look that I think flowed nicely with my foot, Eric prepped Arvin's tattoo machine and all the ink he'd be using, and we got down to the business of gritting teeth and bearing the pain.

Arvin and Eric were really chatty for most of the four hours I couldn't move, which was just as well, as I needed to get mind of the needle that was making my foot spaz involuntarily. How weird is that? People always think that because it's a needle, you'd feel as sharp, stabbing kind of pain, the kind that makes you shout with agony and pray that it'll soon be over. But really, it's more like a dulling pain, like a throbbing wound you can't ignore, that distracts you from reading a book. Or composing long and winding texts.

After over four hours of sitting still, my masterpiece was done! The feathers of the dreamcatcher move with my foot and the Hamsa holds it together, forming an anklet, with the dreamcatcher's beads wrapped around my ankle. It's been over two weeks since I've gotten this done, and it's become another conversation starter along with the ink on my arm.

If you're looking to get inked, are looking to get beautiful work done at a reasonable price, and find yourself mucking around BF Parañaque, you may want to ask that these guys hook you up.

Wild Ones Tattoo
+63 915 295 9505
Unit-6, J32S Building,
No. 35 President’s Ave., Teoville,
BF Homes Parañaque
Monday – Saturday: 2pm onwards
Sunday: Scheduled appointments only