‘Tuko,’ anyone?

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Thursday, June 2, 2011


SHOULD you find a gecko lizard or “tuko” in your house or anywhere, catch it alive. It just might be your ticket to a millionaire’s life. At least that’s what supposedly is going to lead you to if you sell enough tuko.

There seems to be a tuko craze in the country, if one goes by the hundreds of websites devoted to selling and buying gecko lizards. I might be a little behind in the buzz trail because I see that some posts date back as early as March 2010.

I knew only of this when a friend posted on Facebook last Monday that she was looking for tuko to buy and that she was serious about it. And then there was a 22-year-old man who reported to the Catmon town police that four men who had gone to his house to buy tuko robbed him, but only when they couldn’t find a golden Buddha that he supposedly kept hidden in his house. (This sounds like an “Enteng Kabisote” movie plot: just fantastic.)

Also, tri-media icon Bobby Nalzaro wrote in his Superbalita column today that he was going to look for tuko in every nook and cranny of his house because tuko is in demand in Dipolog City where he just came from. Now, if Bobby is taking it up in his Superbalita column, then this tuko business is serious. And since I’m writing about it as well, then it is far more serious than what Bobby purports it to be.
They’re looking for tuko in Davao, in Negros Occidental, in Metro Manila, in Cebu.

Who’s “they”? What are they going to do with the tuko? Why would they buy tuko for P50,000 or P1 million or at P500 per gram? Who are they kidding--Lacoste?

“They” could be medical researchers in search of the cure of the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Aids) or cancer or erectile dysfunction. I read in one personal blog that the gall bladder and tongue of the gecko lizard have healing powers. I can’t say if this is true, given the limitation of time I got to do my own reptilia research.

“They” could be the guys who make those prohibited drugs. What, they’ll powderize the tuko and use it as an ingredient substitute in shabu?

“They” could be those idle guys who, bored with spider fights, move on to tuko fights.

There’s more suspense and thrill in tuko fights. Lizards in combat can put on an erotic show with all those tongue flicking, tail jerking and body bashing. And their bulging eyes express their concentration on the other tuko as if to say, “Your barks are numbered.” Tuko! Tuko! tuko. tuko. tuk. tu. t!

Or “they” could be this Asian race now invading the Philippines. It is said by anonymous sources in the tabi-tabi that this “they” find tuko soup delicious and nutritious and that they’d be willing to pay good money for good tuko. Should I believe this? I mean, should we always attribute anything unusual happening in our midst to this race? Yes.

Remember this myth about lizard meat being a good remedy for asthma? As a kid, I had asthma. Whenever I had an attack, our worried helper would offer to look for a tuko to mix in my lugaw so I would be cured instantly. I never bothered to find out if her prescription worked. If someone asthmatic has ever tried lugaw con tuko and found his asthma gone for good, then he ought to write a thesis about it.

Anyway, the thing is, no one can say what or who started this tuko buying craze. Congress needs to look into this in aid of legislation, of course.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 03, 2011.

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