Timesman | Snake story

THIS IS a snake story. But it is not like the movie “Snakes on a plane” starring award-winning American actor Samuel Jackson, a movie we saw years ago in one of the downtown theatres but until today shown on your television screen. Paulit-ulit na lang.

This is not also the same reptile found in the pits of some government offices. Mas delikado ang mga nasa gobyerno.

These are for real, based on my experience living dangerously with them for more than 35 years in our old residence until we transferred to another place a year ago.

In a subdivision where I nurtured my children until they grew up and left us (my wife Virgie also left me for HIM), cold-blooded snakes, lizards, and some poisonous vertebrates were ordinary sightings by the residents then.

I domesticated an endangered lizard that entered my compound but gave it to a neighbor, also an animal lover, for a sum after it grew up more than a meter.

But even if I am no longer in the old residence, lizards and limbless reptiles continued to creep and crawl in the still undeveloped areas and even in living rooms in the subdivision.

When I bought a lot and built a low-cost house there in 1982, we were only five families living blocks away from each other in the 12-hectare subdivision abandoned by the developer who left 40 percent of the area unfinished–unpaved roads, open canals, unlighted posts and water connections can only be found where the five residences were located.

It was also in the eighties when the late Elias B. Lopez was the mayor and the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) and its dreaded Sparrow Units were active in the city that there were no days that salvage victims were not thrown anywhere, and the favorite dumping ground was inside our subdivision.

In a situation like this, I’ve decided to organize the association with me as president (for six consecutive years) and filed a case before the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) against the developer and the landowner.

The landowner having himself was cheated by the developer made an out-of-court settlement with our group and continued the development of the subdivision. Except for open spaces reserved for parks and playground, the abandoned village is now totally developed – concrete roads, well lighted street posts, underground drainage, water system, and most of all the cost of the lots were raised from P150 to more than P12,000 per sq. meter.

The supposed exclusive bungalow type residential area now commercialized with a five-storey display center of office and house appliances, travellers’ inn, two-storey apartments, boarding houses, and garage of a security agency.

Let’s go back to our snake story.

When laborers started constructing giant culverts for underground drainage along the road where my residence was, sacks of snakes, cobras, python, lizards (halo) and harmless grass snakes were the catch of the day and sold to some Chinese restaurants as delicacies.

Pioneers of the place told me that the subdivision used to be ricefields with hundreds of coconut trees before its development. And that explained why the area remains watery below where snakes abound despite the passing of time. Reptiles love cold places.

Why I recalled this story is because a family lawyer upon knowing I came from the subdivision told me that her associate in the law office rented an apartment in the same village to be near his practice and schools for his children.

She said her associate stayed only for a month and moved out of the apartment after a sneezing cobra was found ready to strike under the table.

I’m not surprise because for 35 years in the area, my family lived with them or unknowingly slept with them. Praise the Lord nothing happened to us.

I also shot and killed a cobra about two meters in length when after I shoved it away from my gate an hour later it came back and entered my compound. Luckily, my dog barked when it noticed the poisonous snake.

My transfer of residence to a new place had nothing to do with this unwanted “guest” in the house. If I were to choose I didn’t leave the place. The subdivision offers me a lot where I started my life and succeeded in giving a better future for my children.

Anyway, as I am always saying, snake is everywhere, that includes snake pits in some government offices. Aray!

-o0o-

Jin Lorenz and I will join family friends Jun and Sara Maypa (both lawyers) with two sons, JP and Enzo to an out-of-town trip to Davao Oriental on the last two days of the week.

Since Monday next week is declared a non-working holiday in lieu of the barangay and SK elections, I accepted the invitation (the second time in three years) not only to give myself a break for spending most of my time doing nothing in the house but also to further expose Jin Lorenz on the hazard of the road and improve his driving skill in a long-distance drive. Here we come, Mati!

Posted in Opinion