I was in a jeep towards downtown this morning when I heard a lady asked- Gikuha na nimo imo earring? (Have you taken off your earrings?)
I thought she was just cautious since we were already near downtown where most of the bad elements ply down here.
Imo tattoo tabuni na'g tarong. (Your tattoo, hide them discreetly.)
She was asking the young man beside me.
Curious, I asked why. She told me her nephew beside me would be applying for a janitorial job. Her company would not tolerate tattoos and piercings because of the connotation that tattooed people came from prisons.
I sat dumbfounded. I have both piercings and tattoos.
Meanwhile men and women in barong or coat-and-tie amassed thousands and thousands of peoples' money and they are respected in this country and even called Honorable.
Historical link of tattoos in the Philippines as written by Fr. Gabriel S. Casal, Eusebio Z. Dizon, Wilfredo P. Ronquillo.
Gang tattoos as photographed by Sidney Snoeck, an expat living in the Philippines
Photo grabbed from Mark Baul, a tats collector