Being in the biz for almost 20 years has made Rhian Ramos one of the most recognizable faces on our screens. While the actress is evidently a pro when it comes to her craft, she tells Preview that a struggle she had growing up as someone of mixed race was "fitting in." No matter how long she's been in the industry, Rhian admits that it's always been tough balancing being "white enough," and being "Filipino enough."
To "declare her identity" in a way, Rhian made the journey to get authentic tribal tattoos etched by a mambabatok, specifically, the legendary Apo Whang-od. She had them done back in the 2010s, with each one carrying a specific meaning about how she aims to live her life.
Nowadays, we usually catch sight of her inks in photos of her in swimmies. While the illustrations are undeniably beautifully done, they may need some decoding for folks who aren't as familiar with the traditional symbolism. Preview reached out to Rhian and got the scoop behind what each of them really means.
The hidden meanings behind Rhian Ramos' hip tattoos
1. A hawk symbolizes her relationship with God
On her first trip to Buscalan, where Whang-od and her tribe reside, she had two designs done. The first of which was a hawk, which is traditionally called the Ginawang. According to Rhian, it symbolizes, "a spiritual messenger, implying communication with the higher realm as they used to read the flight patterns of birds to guide them."
She goes on, explaining that "God is very involved in my life and orchestrates events in my favor. It reminds me in situations where I don't know what to do, to look up."
2. A scorpion represents the fighter that she is
Right beside the hawk is another animal-inspired design, this time done by Whang-od's grandniece, Grace. Rhian says that, "poisonous animals like scorpions and centipedes are tattoos for warriors that are known to be deadly when [they] attack and are believed to add to the warriors psychological strength and intimidation as well."
With this in mind, she has a scorpion done to commemorate how she overcame a "huge battle" in her life at the time. Aside from that, it also reminds her that, "no matter how dark it gets or what I am up against, I can get through anything."
3. A triangle reminds her to stay humble
Her last tattoo, done again by Whang-od, was of a forward-facing triangle. The actress states that this is the shape of a spoiler, which has the purpose of pushing down air as a car moves forward, keeping it "stuck to the ground." As a racecar enthusiast herself, this ink shows her, "desire to stay grounded as I move forward."
The triangle is segmented into three parts, with each one designed in patterns that symbolize, "family, beauty, and the symbol for a centipede, which means the same as the scorpion."