The Home of Filipino Tattoos
There is No Substitute
We have been the go-to tattoo studio with our artists since co-pioneering the revival of the tattoo art in 1993 within the Filipino Diaspora. We are dedicated to preserving, cultivating and innovating the Filipino tattoo with our unique artistry, craftsmanship and knowledge of cultural tattoos.
The promotion of this site is to share the tattoo art, history and business of Dream Jungle Tattoo, operated by Long Beach, Caliornia based/ travelling master tattoo artist Aleks Figueroa.
BRIEF HISTORY - THE REVIVAL
There is a strong resurgence of people getting tattoos from a Philippine design in the Filipino community. It has been taking part of our lives as a new moral, a new code, a new love, a new respect and a new vision.
For many, conservatives from the Philippines still view tattoos as a symbol reserved for those in jail, a dirty expression, and a dying art form with the tribal peoples of the mountain provinces.
Once revered as a symbol for headhunters and their relations, the tribal peoples have since abandoned this expression (as well as headhunting) and lean towards more western ways. The symbols of their tattoos are minimal in documentation.
Today, those who have been tattooed are predominately of Filipino American descent. The "revival" is picking up in the Philippines between acceptance and popularity. Keen interests in styles vary from American, Japanese, or Polynesian tattooing.
"Filipino Tattoos" or "Tribal Filipino Tattoos" were paved by Filipino Americans emphasizing identity to one's roots. The Alibata/Baybayin tattoo was one of the first identifications and was documented by individuals in the mid 1990s.
The first documented person to wear an Alibata tattoo was Rahul Lagura. Specifically, the unifying "Ka" syllable/symbol which was tattooed on his sternum about 4-5" wide in the early 1990s. Larger back tattoo patterns from collages of Filipino life, ornate instruments to large family names in Alibata/Baybayin have been some themes people have chosen for their tattoo expressions.
Tribal homages have been made with unique pattern combinations from various Filipino tribes. Sabrina Margarita Alcantara-Tan from New York wears one of the first contemporary full-sleeves in the mid-1990s. Aleks Figueroa tattooed Emcee Kiwi of Native Guns then accentuated/improved by Pedro Babugo circa 1998. In turn, Kiwi with his many public performances and community advocacy has influenced the Diaspora the world over to include tattoo clubs and academic organizations. Ed Habacon (formerly of famed Tribal Pinoy clothing company) was extremely influential and one of the first to have his forearms heavily tattooed with traditional Kalinga headhunter patterns which were tattooed in the late 1990s by the legendary Leo Zulueta marking his first Filipino tattoo as well.
More recently, in the early 21st century, adding to the urban indigeneo landscape are a new generation of Filipino descendants that have full sleeves, back, leg and chest tattoos reminiscent of the traditional tattoos that the headhunters of the highlands wear. They are contemporary in design with a Polynesian influence that follows the style that countless of talented Polynesian tattoo artists co-pioneered. They share a vision to spread the wealth and beauty of our culture through tattoos and by those that wish to be in touch with them.
Why Dream Jungle Tattoo?
The tattoo process is not like getting a happy meal at the drive-inn. It requires patience, and understanding of what you're about to do to your body and your spirit, not to mention good artistic ability. Distance, time, effort, patience is of no consequence for most of Dream Jungle’s patrons. People seeking to identify with Philippine tattoo art have done their homework. They understand no two-tattoo artists are created equal. They choose to go with a one-stop shop like Dream Jungle Tattoo where they can get their translation, design and tattoo by one artist.
“...just because people have the tools to tattoo, it doesn't make them any more qualified than a person with scrubs and stethoscope who may call themselves a doctor.”
Although people have dozens of choices on which they select to tattoo them, seeking the right tattoo artist can be difficult. Dream Jungle Tattoo offers a no bullshit approach to authentic Filipino tattoos coupled with the wisdom and knowledge of a true Filipino tattoo master. With artistic ingenuity, experience and reference, Filipino tribal tattoos or Filipino neo-tribal (new tribal) tattoos can be designed and tattooed to tell a story of what a person desires in a tattoo.
Feel free to preview our Frequently Asked Questions page for any questions that you may have.
Feel free to come to Dream Jungle Tattoo for your real tribal tattoo experience.