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DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 28 May) — My dogs run freely around the farm. Hakuna takes innumerable refreshing dips at a stream nearby and accompanies me around the durian trees hoping to have a taste of a durian that fell the night before. Phumba and  Simba love to take a walk under the shade of my rubber trees.

Sometimes they bark at monitor lizards who venture out from thick foliage of the bamboos. There has never been an instance that they had to confront snakes. Big snakes. Unlike Twinkle and Tiger. 

When I was a child, Papa had a number of dogs in the farm but I can only remember Twinkle and Tiger. They were gentle with me but they were fierce when Papa brings them to hunt in a nearby forest. Other days, they just move restlessly around the house posing as guard dogs.

One day, they were barking like crazy and when Mama looked out of the window, she could not see a thing. In the middle of the night, both were agitated that the farmhands and Papa ventured out  to check. They saw a chicken frantically flapping its wings on the ground and seemingly helpless to escape from a hole it has fallen into. When Papa tried to rescue it, something strongly pulled it back!

“Baksan!” Papa warned. It was a huge python out for some midnight snacks.

When I woke up the following day, there was a commotion in the “bodega” as everyone in the household wanted to see the snake killed by the men. It was as massive  as the upper leg of a healthy man. Upon seeing me awake, Papa wanted me to walk on its full length for long life, according to some folk tales. 

It was cold but the snake brought shouts of joy at the lunch table that day. The python is considered a delicacy and the men swore it tasted better than  chicken!

(Susan Palad used to be in the government service and later ventured into the travel business. She has retired from both and spends more time at her farm. She is still on denial stage though by refusing to call herself a senior citizen. She still wants to maintain a busy lifestyle)

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