When in Manila, it seems that getting inked has always been in our blood, as our earlier ancestors have been known as the “pintados” back in the Spanish colonial period. Looks like our love for tattoos will persist for centuries, especially now that people have finally come to embrace permanent body art to be more about self-expression than a lifetime street gang membership. After finding tattoos peeking out of sleeves and collars—even in the workplace—has gotten more commonplace and acceptable, tattoos have become less of a taboo.
And even if tattoos nowadays no longer symbolize bravery like they used to, it wouldn’t hurt (pun intended) getting inked just for the sake of self-expression, would it? As cheesy as it sounds, When in Manila has found a tattoo studio that can help you on your way to self-expression and self-discovery.
Fuse Tattoo, the tattoo studio strategically located in the heart of Manila, may have only opened its doors in December 2012, but the locally-owned business is certainly promising to being one of the cleanest and friendliest places for Filipino body art fans.
Long-time best buds Froilan Dignos, Ian Quines and Ozmund Razon started the business after a year of careful planning. It was really just an idea at first, but their friends’ love of body art soon convinced them that running a tattoo studio wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
Hygiene is very important in a tattoo studio, and Fuse understands that perfectly. Their quaint spot in Malate is always kept clean, safe and well-lit to help clients get the best-looking, long-lasting permanent art possible. After all, who would want themselves poked with a needle in a poorly-lit room? They also have shelves well-stocked with disposable needles, gloves and masks.
Prior to the tattoo session, customers are asked to sign a waiver and fill out a form to determine suitability. Afterwards, they are provided with ample information on tattoo after-care and maintenance.
While waiting for your turn, you can just stay at their comfortable waiting area watching TV (we got to watch the reality show for tat artists, Ink Master). Alternatively you can just read a few magazines and look for that one tattoo that will best show who you are.
The shop from the outside
Fuse Tattoo‘s artists Gen Trinidad and Papa Dhong are both experienced tattooers who can help you come up with an original design. Gen Trinidad specializes in portraits and oriental art, while Papa Dhong’s forte lies in portraits and realism. He also particularly likes doing dark images.
When my friends and I dropped by for ink, it was a Saturday and Papa Dhong was the available tattoo artist. My friends already sent in the tattoo design they wanted a few days ahead: a lucky daruma doll for Bryan and a Hannya mask for Choi.