Natalia Roxas: Photographer.Writer.Wanderer. Filipino Gastronomy Advocate. Apprentice to Lane Wilcken (pre-colonial hand-tapped tattoing.
www.nataliaroxas.com // IG:@nataliawanders
Holiday Magic is Actually Mom's Magic
If there are any people in the world who celebrate Christmas excessively, Filipinos quickly come to mind. After all, the Christmas season in the Philippines starts on September 1st and lasts until January 9th! Christmas songs can be heard from every street corner, at the mall, and on every radio station. Decorations go up in every household and commercial space. Everyone goes shopping at full throttle. Bibingka (a type of rice cake) and puto bumbong (a type of rice cake cooked in a bamboo tube) are sold from street stalls, which permeate the air with the scent of burning coconut husks and coal. Colorful parols (Christmas lanterns) line the streets and houses. Lights come alive in the metro. Debate aside, we Filipinos know how to celebrate the holiday season.
From the Eyes of the Mambabatok's Apprentice
Me and My Ancestral Skin Markings on my wrist. I come from a bougie ass family that owns a resort in the Philippines where I needed to mind my p’s and q’s and constantly be a proper lady. In my private secret thoughts, my escape from placating the hollow, self-important people of our family business was getting tattoos. In the modern Philippines, tattoos are still not viewed in a positive light. One drunken night, I got my first tattoo in West Palm Beach with my friends where I had to forge my mother’s signature to get it done. It was a discreet, hideable tattoo on my lower back. Of course, it didn’t stop there, I acquired more hideable tattoos, but after more than two years of hiding my tattoos from my mother, my sister outed me, and my angry mother responded with, “Tattoos are for pirates, prisoners, and whores!” Of course, my snarky side got the best of me, “What if I wanted to be a pirate prisoner whore?” I can still remember vividly the sting of that slap across my contemptuous mouth. My rebellion had been satisfied, but there was still a yearning for something deeper. For years I languished in a superficial understanding of the markings of pirates, prisoners, and whores.