Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Native Games and Sports with Animals

Dr Abe V Rotor

Carabao race – Here is a joke in puzzle, “What is the first car race?” The children of my age then would think of Ford or Chevrolet. Sirit? “It’s car-abao race.” It’s a corny joke, more so today. But if you haven’t seen one, go to Paombong, Bulacan during the fiesta of San Isidro Labrador, patron saint of farmers. It is like horse race, with the “jockey” riding without harness. So there’s a lot of skill needed to stir the animal to the finish line, galloping the carabao way.

Carabaos are known to be very docile. They say, you won’t be able to reach your destination on time with a carabao even if you use a horse whip. And don’t ever force the animal cruelly. In Thailand a carabao in the middle of a race broke away and attacked the spectators hurting dozens of them. An animal is still an animal however tame it is. The biological instinct is unpredictable.

Catching piglets (bi-ik) in mud. It takes a day or two to prepare the arena or pen, some 5 by 5 meters square, or bigger in area, and secured with interlink wire or wooden fence. To make the game exciting the ground is puddled like a rice field ready for planting. A smaller pen is made next to the big pen. The piglets – some ten are released per batch of contestants. It is a game of two or more contending groups. It could be a one-on-one contest in the final stage. The rule may be that he who catches the piglet either gets a prize or takes the animal home – like in the movie, Babe, a story of a piglet won from a fair by an elderly farmer who reared it to become a “sheepdog” and earned its place on the farm.

It’s a messy game; it is full of wit and skill. It is in catching the piglets and putting them into the adjoining pen within the prescribed time frame that determine the winner. Imagine the winner standing on stage receiving his prize – or piglet. Can you recognize him? ~

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