THIS WOMAN once endured exorcism of the devil by a priest because of her “daemonic style” tattoos which took 200 hours of painful inking to complete.

Tattoo advocate DeeDee Villegas (30) from Cebu, Philippines first got into tattoo culture due to peer pressure.

She got her undergraduate degree from the University of San Carlos in Bachelor of Fine Arts where the student population expressed their individuality in extremes.

DeeDee’s first tattoo was a tribal design on her neck of no special significance.

DeeDee has spent over 150,000 pesos (£20,000) tattooing 60-70% of her body including her eyeballs. mediadrumimages.com/@thedeedeevillegas

However, she got entrenched in the culture when she discovered the rich historical significance and import tattoos had in the Philippines and worldwide.

Over the last 12 years, DeeDee has spent over 150,000 pesos (£20,000) tattooing 60-70% of her body including her eyeballs.

Her tattoos have taken over 200 hours to complete and cover her entire body except for her stomach and legs.

In addition to her tattoos, which DeeDee considers as one continuing interconnected work of art she also has 12 facial piercings.

DeeDee was once exorcised of the devil on public transport by a priest. mediadrumimages.com/@thedeedeevillegas

Being a heavily modified, gay, non-binary person in the Philippines comes with undeniable challenges.

DeeDee was once exorcised of the devil on public transport by a priest and frequently has people quote bible quotes at her for her or their own ‘protection’.

“I got my first tattoo during my emo goth college phase, mainly due to peer pressure,” says DeeDee.

“At first it was a fashion stance and later it evolved into an outlet for me.

DeeDee’s first tattoo was a tribal design on her neck of no special significance. mediadrumimages.com/@thedeedeevillegas

“When I felt extreme emotion or suffered from bouts of depression or anxiety tattoos became my coping mechanism.

“It did not last very long, and I underwent rehab to overcome my depression, but tattoos became a permanent form of expression for me.

“I got permanently invested in them when I did a course on art appreciation and learnt the rich historical significance of tattoos.

“However, being a heavily modified, gay, non-binary person in the Philippines comes with undeniable challenges.

DeeDee frequently has people quote bible quotes at her for her or their own protection?.  mediadrumimages.com/@thedeedeevillegas

“I have spent my adult life advocating against tattoo discrimination and things have slowly gotten better however, that is not always the case.

“On one memorable occasion, I had just boarded the public bus in the Philippines, when a priest on board saw me, raised his hands and started chanting.

“He was trying to exorcise the devil from me and as we were in a bus full of passengers it caused quite a scene.”

DeeDee claims the Philippines have evolved in terms of accepting heavily modified as well as LGBTQ members over the years.

DeeDee got her undergraduate degree from the University of San Carlos in Bachelor of Fine Arts. mediadrumimages.com/@thedeedeevillegas

“In the Philippines, it is a challenge still, I am to this day regularly verbally abused on the street,” she says.

“However, there is a change noticeable, there are careers that the heavily modified can apply for and thrive in.

“There was a time when you would not get a face-to-face interview with a visible tattoo and that has changed.

“There had been incidents where it was difficult to get government ID’s or apply for the police force.

DeeDee is now a tattoo advocate. mediadrumimages.com/@thedeedeevillegas

“It’s tolerated here, but I wouldn’t say that it’s fully accepted, just as homosexuality is tolerated but not accepted.

“It is difficult as the Philippines are mostly Catholic conservative population.

“The stigma stems from the fact that once you are tattooed you’re either a drug addict or from prison.”

DeeDee believes social media has been the greatest influencing medium in the journey of heavily modified individuals being accepted in Philippine society.

DeeDee took 12 years to get the tattoo she has now. mediadrumimages.com/@thedeedeevillegas

“I have (number) followers on TikTok, (number) followers on Facebook and (number) followers on Instagram,” she says.

“My social media presence has become so much so that people recognise me on the streets now.

“I believe the internet and western influence has led to increased acceptance of the modified community in the Philippines.

“However, the internet still being the internet I get my fair share of hate on it.

“I would say 60% of the comments I receive are positive, however, I do have people quoting bible verses at me.

“Or negative or nasty comments about me, my parents, siblings, friends etc.”