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Nas Academy Denies Scamming Whang-Od with Video Proof

Whang-od's granddaughter earlier said she did not understand the agreement.
by Ara Eugenio
Aug 5, 2021
Photo/s: Screengrab: Nas Academy

Nas Academy on Thursday defended itself from accusations that it was exploiting Apo Whang-Od, saying it did not scam Kalinga's prized tattoo master, contrary to her granddaughter's claims. 


On Facebook, the online learning platform started by vlogger Nas Daily, said Whang-od and her family "loved" the idea of an academy after their team pitch. A video of the actual contract signing showed the 104-year-old being assisted by her niece, Estella Palangdao.

"Her and her family present both loved this idea, and have worked WITH US to build it, with Whang-Od teaching herself," Nas Academy said. 

"As a matter of fact, Whang-Od’s trusted niece, Estella Palangdao, was present and translated the content of the contract prior to Whang-Od affixing her thumbprint, signifying her full consent to the project," it added.

Nas Academy said this was the "clearest evidence" that the online course is not a scam and was achieved with consent, countering an earlier claim by Gracia Palicas, a granddaughter of Apo Whang-Od.

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Nas Academy said it temporarily took down the Whang-Od Academy as it resolves issues that arose from "these falsehoods".

"40% of Nas Academy is made up of Filipinos. So for us, this is personal. We care deeply about the Philippines and respect the many cultures and traditions that exist across the country. And we have all come together to make the world a better place," it said.

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Nas Academy said it compensated "everybody" involved in the project.  It said "most" of the sales went directly to Whang-Od and her family.

What went before

In her now-deleted Facebook posts on the matter, Palicas said the villagers of Buscalan were concerned that "some people are profiting and [exploiting their] art and culture". She said although there was actual talk of profit-sharing with "someone", her grandmother did not fully understand the contract when she signed.

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Screen Grab: Gracia Palicas

Since the issue exploded Wednesday morning, Nas Academy was trending on Twitter, as Filipinos backed Palicas' claim that Buscalan was now concerned about their culture being exploited by foreigners.

GMA News reporter Shai Lagarde in a viral thread shared the experience of a "friend's family" with the Palestinian-Israeli vlogger, in support of claims that Nas Daily was only taking advantage of Filipino culture for the views.

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"As a company, we have been champions of the Philippines from Day 1, so this makes us very sad to hear. Let us set the record straight. We approached Whang-Od because just like you, we love her. We love her traditions, and are inspired by her. We wanted to share her culture for future generations to appreciate and respect the ancient Kalinga tradition of mambabatok,"" Nas Academy said in defense.

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