[Ep. 40] Tattoo My Body: A Pilgrimage To Reconnect With The Ancestors | Kai Bautista
Play • 52 min

Today's episode is about one woman's journey to reconnect with her indigenous roots. Like Kai says in this episode: our bodies are our ancestors. Our bodies carry their stories: traumas and triumphs. Oral traditions once passed down those stories so we had context of why our bodies do what they do and why we express certain behaviors and patterns.

Kai grew up in America seeing images of Filipino children living in poverty - the only representation she saw. Until, one day, she saw an image of a Filipina woman in a magazine who looked powerful, wise, and radiant. So she decided to go find her.

Kai embarked on a journey to the Philippines and traveled through the mountains to connect with this woman, get tattooed by her and begin the journey of reconnecting to her indigenous heritage to heal her own trauma & connect more deeply to the Earth.


Angelica “Kai” Bautista was born in 1979 on Tongva land post colonially renamed Los Angeles, California. She is the youngest daughter of Filipinx parents from Pampanga and Balanga, Philippines. Having roots from a land with a complex history of colonization and untold genocide by multiple nations including  Spain, the US, and Japan, there was a wide disconnection from her identity. Kai found herself digging into her ancestry after reading about an elder named Whang Od Oggay,  who was the last Mambatok (hand tap tattooer) from the Butbut tribe in the mountains of Luzon, Philippines. Prior to this, she had no idea that there were still indigenous tribes from her ancestral land. 

Kai has backpacked and traveled extensively for the past 20 years and has naturally found herself with healers, priestesses, curanderas, and shamans within the mountains, jungles, lakes, coasts, etc. of the world. It was not until 2016 that  she traveled back to her roots in the Philippines, as an adult, in order to get tattooed and meet her idol Whang Od Oggay in the mountain village of Buscalan. 

Since then she went  back to learn indigenous medicine  and is now a Binabaylan (One who walks the path of the Babaylan). A Babaylan is a pre-colonial shaman, healer, mystic, and warrior. She is an energy worker  and reiki vessel who understands the spectrum of life and death after four death and near death experiences. She is a shadow and root worker who delights in helping people move dense blockages within the psyche, spirit, emotional and physical body.

My personal IG is @Angelikai11 and my e-mail is KaiStillWild@gmail.com

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