...or so I've heard
My name is Rap, yes that's right, and I can be a tad offensive. 20something born, raised, and now working in the most beautiful City by the Bay, San Francisco. Filipino guy in love with art in it's many forms, but especially music and fashion.
Self-destruction never looked so good.
My Menswear and Lifestyle blog: The Rap Star Life
Got Ink? - For My Heritage
Tattoo #4. It says “Makibaka, huwag matakot,” which is Tagalog for “Dare to struggle, never be afraid” featuring my Calvin Klein X Low Rise Trunks (great advertising by Mehcad Brooks). I got this done on February 13, 2009 at Zebra in Berkeley by a tattoo artist named James, who was referred to me by my friend Jules. This session was different because I actually had someone come with me, my friend Wil. He helped a lot by talking to me and keeping me distracted considering this is my largest and most painful piece; it only took about 2-2.5 hours. It’s also my favorite out of all the art I have done. James is an awesome artist who did a better job than I could have ever imagined. He’s Pilipino, too, which helped since he knew baybayin/alibata. I told him I wanted the characters to look brush-stroked down the left side of my back. The detailing, which I tried to show in the middle photo, is so fine that I’ve had people ask if it was just a drawing or Sharpie. Instead of outlining first, he started by shading with a magnum needle, which looks like this, to get the brushstroke effect, and then did some outlining for extra detail. When I got tattooed again last month, the artist said he’d never seen anything like it before and even told the other artists in the shop to check it out. He called me a G for letting James “straight hit me with a mag.” Haha.
Baybayin, or Alibata, is the script of the Philippines that was in use before the arrival of the Spanish. It’s related to Javanese Sanskrit, likely brought over by the Muslim trade going on. I first learned about baybayin in high school and knew I always wanted a tattoo, but I thought I’d get my last name or something. After joining the Fil-Am community at UC Davis during college and subsequently serving as president for Mga Kapatid, I learned a great deal more about the history of the Philippines and also about current issues. The phrase “Makibaka, huwag matakot” was the mantra of protestors during the People Power Revolution of the Philippines (1983-1986). The revolution saw the overthrow of the Marcos regime and the restoration of democracy. The success of the revolution is contested, though, but I’ll save that for another post. Anyway, as they protested they would chant this over and over. They fought for what they believed in and succeeded. My involvement with the Fil-Am community taught me to be politically active among other things.
(Sidenote: The word “idiot” comes from the Greek “idiotes” which referred to someone disinterested in public life and democracy. These people were deemed selfish, incompetent, and ignorant as they were more concerned with their own personal affairs, rather than the good of society. Thank you Ancient Greek History [HIS111C?]. So get involved, don’t be an idiot.)
I take great pride in my heritage and culture, and my tattoo is dedicated to my people - both Pilipino and Pilipino-American. My country(wo)men, the history and present state of our struggle in the Philippines, America, and worldwide inspire me to struggle through my daily challenges and hope to make my motherland proud one day. Not only that, I’m inspired by the common struggles faced by other people of color, marginalized and underrepresented groups, and anyone who has overcome great obstacles in their life. I got it as a result of my parents’ inevitable divorce. I reminded myself that there are people out there who’s situations are much worse than mine and that I should take it upon myself to push through, think positive, and take responsibility of my future. Fight for what you believe in, political or not, and believe in your dreams. Fight not just for yourself, but for others as well. Life is a beautiful struggle, and the road to success is paved with trials and tribulations along with amazing memories made with the people that surround you.