I named him Buster, for that was the name of a dog in one ofthe many books brought to Sagada by the Americans. When the pup was weaned byits mother, it developed the habit of following me around wherever I go.
It followed me to school, and though he was not allowed to enter the classroom, it waited for me patiently outside until it was time to go home. Being small, Buster had to find ways of escaping the wrath of bigger dogs protecting their territories on the way from our house to school. Occasionally,he was the recipient of bites, or had to run home ahead with his tail between his legs. Despite the obvious trouble Buster had in his determination to be with me at all times, he persisted in following me.
Later on, as the pup grew and learned to fight back other dogs, he had less and less trouble, although older dogs who had more grit and experience regularly gave him lessons not to intrude into the territories they have marked with their urine.
This was at a time however when dogs were hardly considered pets, at least not in the western sense. Dogs were raised with the promise that they would help in hunting, and to consume food scraps so these will not go towaste. Dogs were also raised as guard dogs to warn their masters of intruders or other threats, whether it be in the village or out in the fields or forests. Exceptionally good hunting dogs, guard dogs, or those bitches that took good care of their litters invariably were allowed to live long, for they performed well on what was expected of them.
Eventually, however, every dog at that time had to perform a final function – as meat.
For a reason my selective memory refuses to recall, Buster had to be killed for meat. I cried when he was slain, and did not partake of the feast.
In earlier times, meat was hard to come by, for the cattle,swine and poultry varieties raised then took a long time to grow to a consumable size. Pigs for instance took several years of feeding on human waste and greens before they were butchered. Chicken also normally took more than a year before they were eaten.
Because of this, most meat to be had came from the many ritual offerings in the village. It was uncommon for anybody to just slay an animal because it has matured. There has to be a spiritual or cultural reason before animals are butchered. Thus mature animals are “lent” to other membersof the community who need them for a ceremony or ritual. When their own animals are mature, they could then “return” these to the lenders.
Dogs were also used for ritual purposes, specially during cleansing rituals and as offerings during wakes for some community members. Dog meat was even prized as a delicacy, not only because of its unique taste, but also because it was much less frequently available.
Considering that it was also a time when there were not that many protein food sources in our subsistence communities, the practice of raising dogs for meat was not only necessary, but practical. This is the same reason why other animals were hunted – birds, civet cats, lizards, and even rats. We also ate beetle larvae, termites, ants and ant eggs, beetles, snakes, frogs, snails, and a lot of other things besides.
Our diet, although culturally appropriate and an economic and nutritional necessity, must have been offensive to people of other cultures, who have different sensibilities.
Such sensibilities were eventually adopted by many Filipinos, including the revulsion against eating dog meat. So much so that a law was passed outlawing the trafficking and marketing of dogs for meat.
Our defense for our persistence in treating dog meat as a delicacy is cultural, and we go back to the ritual significance of canines in our culture. Even without the ritual significance, our culture allows it, and we are not overly concerned about others’ sensibilities.
Other cultures in the sea of humanity have their own delicacies, their own dietary preparations that offend some other people. Eating dog meat, beetles, snakes, frogs, beetle larvae, termites, ants and almost everything that moves just happens to be our own peculiar indulgence.
Animal rights activists will have their say, but that is just the way it is. Until there are enough of us who severe their ties from our erstwhile culture, and adapt the sensibilities of the West, the practice of eating dog meat will stay.
Wada san ason da Payko, ay kanan di ipogaw ay innudi na.Wada tupay mangwani ay naet-eteng nu si Payko san aso. Egay iman napalpalti,ulay nu kumakalni nan sagsagugong da, ulay nu kumakalni da Payko ken Patlik ay iyun-a na. Dakkel pay met dapay mentaba, et gawis kuma is mapulutan tay adu nan pakanena dapay adu nan sammigel ay kasapulan ay mang-unog.
Waay wada di nangpadpadas ay mang-guyod ta enda paltien,ngem palalo gedan ay makedse san aso et egay nadnadpap. Kaykayat din alitao ayJames Sr. san aso ay deey, isunga egay na palpalubusan ay mapalti san aso na.
Is kaet-eteng san aso et maid et teken ay aso is mangsape. Nu wada manguno is aso id Sagada et menlisi am-in nan aso nu dumateng san innudin Payko. Ulay mendakdakiwas san aso isnan kalsa wenno daan et maid mang-gunggong is teken ay aso.
Naeteng et san aso, naekdag am-in nan bab-a na, nakuwap e tadi makaila. Enggana natey is old age. Adik ammo nu din alitao mismo nan nangikaob, wenno nin-ayag is ungung-a ay mangikkan.
Syadi san tiempo ay daet wada nan damag ay wada kano mapulutan ay ipapulutan Patlik. Inmey da gayam kinauban san aso et inangno da ta maisda. Adi pay dadaet isaang dadapay pabalaen nan alak et uminom da.
Malpas pay nan duwa ay olas et ilaen da san ut-utuen da. Daan pay laeng ay menkenteg; san sabaw na et daan pay laeng ay nalin-eng ay maid mantika is binmala. Isunga dadaet men-ala is tapin di alak is inumen da ta mangsedsed-an da is matanekan san kalni. Men-gasing din Aman Diaw ay maninda tay maamin san lako na ay sammigel. Ulay samet san na-ha-hapset et linako da. Naseyep et san men-ut-uto is buteng da, binmangon da ay naha-hang over, dapay egay natanek san aso.
Naamin et nan isunod da et inmey da kasin nangmong is maignet. Sinlabiyan ya sulok ay inuto da ngem adi kayet magag-a. Nan sabaw na et egay linmaman.
Wada san kanaen da pay en yinmam-es san kandilo dapay egay yinmam-es san maut-uto.
Toan nu inisda da kayman di. Kanega malagip ko ay nauma da ay sumaksakdo is isibo da ya mangmangmong is isunod da, dapay maid et ilako da is alak, isunga dadaet iwasit san kalnin di aso ay natey is kinaeteng na.
Ayta aya di ukkong.