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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Weekly Ink: Shark Attack!

Posted By on Wed, Sep 9, 2009 at 9:30 AM

click to enlarge This shot was taken the day Palarca got her lower-body tattoo.
  • This shot was taken the day Palarca got her lower-body tattoo.

Vital Statistics: Juliet R. Palarca, RN Risk Manager at San Francisco General Hospital

Spotted: Foraging for food at her parent's house in the Outer Sunset, or your neighborhood dive bar.

Tattoo: Tribal sharks with Filipino script (alibata), Philippine feminine and Polynesian symbolism.

Why/When: I got these shortly after I bought my home a couple years ago -- a developmental milestone for me at 26. It celebrates my achievements, my cultural identity, Philippine American nationalism and unconditional love for my family, the ocean, and Polynesian dancing. ... I'm a bit of a nerd for sharks. I never miss Shark Week on Discovery. I have a profound respect for the creatures. Ancient Polynesians even treated them like gods. They were seen as protector of fishermen and "guiders of lost canoes". ... I knew I wanted to make the tattoo personal and meaningful and my artist, Aleks Figueroa, really captured that for me. The top shark has the Philippine Sanskrit for "Pa" "La" and "Ka" down the back. [For Palarca's last name.] There's no 'R' in alibata. The octopus is my mother -- three visible tentacles for her three daughters and one for my dad.

Regrets: That it's not bigger.

Funniest/Strangest Comment(s): At a classy Vegas restaurant, one of five douchebags at another table stops me on my way to the women's restroom and asks, "Uh, uh, uh, uh-uh...is that a 'tribal'?," pointing at my left hip. As I begin to explain the piece, I'm interrupted by the
gaggle of manly-giggling douches behind him: "Yeah, nevermind...uh, what're you doing tonight?" I left the restaurant with the same group of folks I came in with -- and slightly less hope in humanity.

On having tattoos and working at a hostpital: I realize the social stigma that comes with visible tattoos, especially when you work with/for/as hospital administration. But there's really no dress code to prevent us from exposing our "selves" to patients. I've seen nurses with great "sleeves" taking awesome care of patients! One of our managers has a great neck piece, too, that peeks out of his collared shirt. I work with lots of great people who have visible and not-visible ink. ...When I see someone's tattoos I can't help but admire a lot of them and I love to hear the stories behind them.

This is the first reader who reached out to Weekly Ink! Congratulations, Juliet -- you will always be the first. They can't ever take that away! 

Want to share your tattoo? Have a cool story? Send your pictures and words to tattoos@sfweekly.com.

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Andy Wright

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