I love tattoos. So far, I have four, all of which showcase my love for geekery and all of which tell a story about a certain time in my life. I started off with just one tattoo, which I had gotten done in Bangkok. My second one was also done in Bangkok. When I stopped going to Bangkok on an annual basis, however, I decided to get one here in Manila, as well. After all, I couldn’t rely on Bangkok trips to satiate my growing love for tattoos.
Sadly, despite having gone to what people called “one of the best tattoo parlours” in the country (I was told they had a good reputation and that a lot of Filipino celebrities go there to get theirs done, etc.), the tattoo artist ended up messing up my tattoo (yes, there was a stencil, but he still got it wrong!). After that, I stopped getting tattoos. That was four years ago.
So, when an opportunity came up to check out High Class Tattoo Studio, you’ll understand why I was bit hesitant to do so at first. Plus, it was all the way in Mindanao Ave., Sampaloc and I lived in BF Homes, Paranaque. When my friend Prince said he could drive me and get a tattoo of his own (his first one!) in the process, though, I figured I might as well go. I figured that if I felt even an inch of iffiness about the place, I would just up and leave. Fortunately, High Class Tattoo Studio lived up to both of our expectations.
High Class Tattoo Studio can be a bit hard to find. It is located right at the corner of Mindanao Ave. and Bataan St. and there are a few parking slots in front of the studio, so parking isn’t a problem.
Other than that, though, we faced no problems whatsoever at the studio itself. The ambiance is inviting, low-key and actually felt a little like Bangkok. Plus, the owners are so incredibly friendly, it was so easy to feel right at home.
Although the 420-friendly tattoo studio specializes in neo-traditional, traditional, tribal, geometric, lettering, and oriental tattoos; their tattoo artist Mark “Tootsie” Nemis had no problems whatsoever conceptualising and understanding what we wanted before making our designs come to life – ink to skin.
In fact, Tootsie spent an ample amount of time on the computer, working on designing my friend’s tattoo vision until he was completely satisfied with what he saw on-screen.
As for getting the tattoo done, you’ll be getting it done in a more private room upstairs away from any potential distractions:
You even get to choose the music you want to listen to! :p
Now, as for Tootsie, well, he really blew my mind. This really shouldn’t be surprising, though, seeing as he is the President of TINTA Pilipinas, a Manila-based organization comprised of tattoo artists that do charitable work in the community, and trains and teaches people the art of tattooing.
When I got to High Class Tattoo Studio, I already knew exactly what I wanted. However, in order to avoid unwanted mistakes as per the previous tattoo studio I had been to, I spent quite some time fidgeting and worrying and repeating myself, so that Tootsie would understand what I wanted. I basically wanted my tattoo to look like a sketch with splotches of color in it as opposed to a a full-colorer tattoo… and bam. He got it done as effortlessly, as quickly and as beautifully as I could have imagined, I hardly even noticed the time go by.
As for Prince, well, I explained how they worked on his tattoo beforehand. Basically, what Prince wanted was a few boxes with Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry, Starry Night in them along with a rose. I was floored when Tootsie started with nothing but this super basic colourless stencil…
…and ended up with this masterpiece:
Interestingly enough, Tootsie doesn’t have any tattoos of his own, but he explains this is because he simply cannot decide what to get yet.
Now, onto the best part: the tattoos at High Class Tattoo Studio are much more affordable compared to the ones that I am used to hearing about in the Southern parts of the city, and trust me when I say they deliver quality tattoos.
This really isn’t any wonder, though, as High Class Tattoo Studio has won numerous awards and trophies. They actually won first place in the “Open Theme” category at P.Inked 2015.
So, if you’ve been looking to get a new tattoo this year, I’d highly recommend High Class Tattoo Studio. Even though it’s quite far from where I live, I wouldn’t think twice before getting another tattoo from them if given the chance. And oh, they also stock Ask for Samson glass pipes and bongs, as well as other 420 and vape accessories. Time to head on over!
High Class Tattoo Studio
Sister Shop: Island Lyfe Ink in El Nido, Palawan
2308 Mindanao Ave., Corner Bataan St., Sampaloc, Manila (Near SM Sta. Mesa & V. Mapa LRT)
09068839720 / 09120350806