I Got Inked Again… on Philippine Independence Day

Last Updated on September 4, 2021 by Tina

Last June 12, a.k.a. the Philippine Independence Day, I had my second tattoo. My first tattoo was done in 2018 on a national holiday too. It was Araw ng Kagitingan or Philippines’ Day of Valor. Unlike my first tattoo, it didn’t take me a long time to decide on getting inked again. The thought just crossed my mind one day. I didn’t really have any idea yet of what to have. I just thought I would like to have another tattoo.

But of course, I had to check first if it is safe to get tattooed with Covid still around. Also, I checked if there won’t be any contraindications with the first dose of the vaccine that I just had.

When I was sure that it is safe to get tattoed, I told my best friend about it, and she said a pelvic tattoo would be cute. She said it would look sexy when I wear a bikini. And I thought she’s right. I was thinking of having “Trust the universe” tattoed but then I also looked for tattoo ideas on Google. And then I saw this design and I thought it’s perfect.

Photo from

I was super excited to have my tattoo done but it’s still 3 weeks before I go home for my field break. The next thing I did was decide where I will have my tattoo done and who will do it.

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Looking for a Tattoo Artist

I had my first tattoo done in Manila. The artist was recommended by my friend Violet. I wouldn’t mind having him do my second tattoo again. However, with the current situation, it will be too much hassle to go to Manila just to get inked.

My options were then narrowed down to having it done here (Mankayan), in Baguio, or in La Union. However, my friends here don’t know of any tattoo artists in Mankayan. As for Baguio, it will be a bit of a hassle too because I don’t have a house there. If I’ll have it done in Baguio, I’ll be traveling there for the sole purpose of getting inked. Having it done in La Union is the most practical option, as I can have it done during my field break.

And so the search for a tattoo artist in La Union began. At one point I thought of having it done in 55 Tinta. Their shop is very near our house. However, when I inquired, I found their price too high. I asked friends in LU if they know one, and they do but the guy is overseas at the moment.

So next step was to search in Google. I found a few, checked their Facebook and Instagram accounts, and read the reviews from their previous clients. I decided to go for Benrhys Villarama of Blvck Sheep Tattoo Studio. The reviews were good, and after lots of time stalking his social media accounts, I was convinced that he ensures proper hygiene in his shop.

And I was right. Before we started with the inking session, his assistant covered all the equipment that will be used, including the long chair where I was asked to lie down, with a cling wrap. Then the artist used a new needle. And he wore a face mask and surgical gloves. I took pictures of everything but couldn’t find them anymore. Anyway, you probably get what I mean when I say proper hygiene.

The Meaning of My Tattoo

Unlike my first tattoo, my second tattoo has a meaning. It’s not just because I thought it looks sexy. Even the day I choose to get inked has a reason/meaning.

So first let’s talk about the date I had it done. Since my first tattoo was done during a national holiday, I thought it would be better if I would be consistent. I choose June 12 because it’s Philippine Independence Day. It is also the anniversary of the day I embarked on my greatest life adventure so far, and that is going on a backpacking trip through some parts of Southeast Asia. I consider that period the time when the stars aligned for me, and that’s why I choose that design.

Stars tattoo

So the design is 16 stars that are somewhat aligned. So what’s with the 16? 16 is the day I was born (16th of June), and 16 also represents the number of cities/towns I slept at during the 6 weeks period. These are Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh, Kampot, Siem Reap, Bangkok, Yangon, Inle Lake, Mandalay, Bagan, Hanoi, Luang Prabang, Pakbeng, Chiang Kong, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, and Quezon City.

Inked girl

Also, according to numerology, 16 means independence. I believe I have always been independent, and at that time I felt that I was super independent. Strong, independent woman haha.

How Does it Feel Getting Inked Again?

So how does it really feel getting inked? Does it hurt? Yes, it does. But like my first experience, the pain is tolerable. Do note that I have very high pain tolerance, physically and even emotionally hahaha. But seriously though, I really have high pain tolerance. That’s what my dentist told me many years ago. Also, tattoo pain depends on where you’re going to have it done on your body.

For me, getting a facial treatment is far more painful than getting a tattoo. Even a Brazilian wax is more painful.

Tattoo Pain and a Little Bit of Hugot*

To give you an idea of how a tattoo pain feels, imagine someone drawing something on your skin using a needle. That’s how it is. It feels like a stinging, burning pain. But at some point you won’t feel pain anymore, you just get numb.

It’s like when you’ve been hurt by the person you love many times. The more you get hurt, the more you’ll get used to it until you don’t feel anything anymore. You just get numb. (Hugot ito! Hahaha.)

Oh, and by the way, let me just add what my tattoo artist told me before starting the inking session that I think is very applicable even in our lives. He told me to embrace the pain. He said I must feel it. It won’t last long though because after some time, you will get used to it. Life application: don’t try to avoid pain, face it head-on. Now that I think of it, this is probably the reason why I’ve got very high pain tolerance.

*Hugot in Tagalog slang basically means to unleash your true feelings or your emotions normally hidden deep inside you.

Tattoo Pain is Actually Addicting

So there’s something I discovered when I was getting inked- the pain is very addicting. Like, it is painful, yes, but I was craving for more. Maybe I’m weird, or maybe I was hurting emotionally, that I would rather feel physical pain. But when I told my Greek friend about it, the guy who convinced me the first time to have a tattoo done, he said that yes, tattoo pain is indeed addicting.

I have also read that adrenaline and endorphins are released when you get a tattoo, which relieves pain and causes a positive emotional response. This is probably what’s causing the addiction.

Having said that, I am planning on having one again. I’m just waiting for the perfect date to have it done. And my Greek friend likes the design a lot. Stay tuned for it. I will probably not write about it anymore, but I’m gonna post a picture of it on my Instagram account.

Tattoo Aftercare

After the tattoo session, the tattoo artist used a plastic film to cover my tattoo. This is to prevent bacteria from getting into my skin. Then I need to wash it off with a germicidal soap and using lukewarm water (he recommended Safeguard) when I get home to remove all the blood.

After washing, I air dried it before applying a tattoo cream. The tattoo cream was provided by him. In case your tattoo artist doesn’t provide a cream, you can use rash cream. With my first tattoo, I used Drapolene. It might be a little expensive but it’s a good one.

Many people use petroleum jelly for their tattoos but my first and second tattoo artists don’t recommend it. They said it will fade the color of the tattoo.

The tattoo must be washed and applied with cream twice a day, in the morning and at night before going to sleep. You can stop doing this when the wound is fully healed/dried up, usually after 1 week. After a week use a mild lotion to moisturize the skin. I used Baby Dove Baby Lotion Sensitive Moisture Fragrance-Free Hypoallergenic.

This is how it looks like when the skin starts to peel off

When the tattoo is still fresh, make sure it doesn’t get in contact with anything, else it will stick to the wound. Don’t wear tight clothing and make sure your wound can breathe. It will start to dry up and peel off after maybe three days. Be careful about the skin that is peeling off. Let it peel off naturally.

Also, never ever go swimming/bathing on the sea or on the pool when you just had your tattoo done. Remember that it is an open wound so it might get infected. I remember reading the news a few years back of a girl who died because of this. Wait for it to heal completely before doing such activities.

Some Tips If You Are Planning to Get Inked

  • Make sure that you really want it. It will be on your skin for a lifetime so make sure you will not regret having one on your body, even when you get old.
  • If you have low pain tolerance, refer to a tattoo pain chart and choose a spot where you will feel the least pain.
  • Keep in mind also that there are some employers who do not hire people who have tattoos. So maybe have your tattoo done somewhere not visible, so as not to affect your employment prospects.
  • Make sure you eat before having your tattoo done. I think that your pain tolerance is much lower when you are hungry so make sure you don’t go for your session with an empty stomach. You will just be sitting or lying down while getting inked but you need the energy to get through the tattoo pain.
  • For girls, have it done after your period, not before. This has something to do with pain tolerance. I have read that we have higher pain tolerance after our period.
  • Make sure you research about your tattoo artist before booking a session with them. Check that he/she exercises proper hygiene during the inking session. He must wear plastic gloves during the session and uses a new needle.
  • The artist who did my first tattoo told me to avoid eating seafood, eggs, and chicken while the wound is still fresh. The wound will get itchy as it starts to dry up and eating these types of foods may make it feel worse.

So that’s it for my second tattoo experience. I hope you learned something from this post and I hope you enjoyed reading my hugot. If you have any questions, you can always send me a message on my email or social media accounts, or you can leave a comment below.

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