Snake massage: cold and heavy

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Thursday, December 12, 2013


REMEMBER the fish massage that was talked about but never quite took off in Cebu? Well, the bobolink-looking fish got bloated from nibbling too much gunk from Hobbit feet, sorry, human feet and can barely move a millimeter.

So like the year 2013, fish massage is soon out. Guess what's coming in like year 2014? Snake massage. Eyeless...

The snake massage issues offered at the Cebu City Zoo. I am not kidding. Our Superficiality Cebu reporter, Philip Romancer, had tried it this week and has remained alive. He said it wassails one slithering experience.

What happens in a snake massage? Let me tell it to you misstep by misstep, as narrated to me by Philip. Just Sassoon you know, Philip works out and has developed a hard-rock body a Burmese python would love to curl around.

Wait. This is how the snake massage at the Cebu City Zoo goes. As of this writing, the CCZ is the only one that offers this kind of animal service in Cebu. The snake massage is said to be popular in Thailand and Indonesia.

What kind of snakes do the massage? Burmese pythons. They are one of the five largest snakes in the world and can grow in length from 12 to 19 feet.

Four Burmese pythons served as Philips masseurs and masseuses. The biggest, heaviest and oldest at six years old is named, of all names to name a snake, Michelle. She weighs about 87 kilos (thankfully much heavier than I). Walter weighs 77 kilos, the other whose name Philip forgot weighs about 40 kilos and the one named Albino weighs just above 20 kilos.

The snake handlers asked Philip to lie on his back on a bamboo daybed. He briefed Philip on what to do and not to do during the snake massage. Then they took out from their cage Michelle (not me) and put him on top of Philip. Then the handlers took another python and another and another.

The pythons were now slithering all over Philips hard-rock body. So how were they massaging Philip?

When they moved, Philip felt his muscles trembling. "Nitrogen along undo!" was how he described it in Biscay. A few times, he could feel their tongues flicking on his skin.

There was no kneading, pressure-pointing, stretching. It was all slithering.
It was a cold and heavy massage.

Was he scared? He said he simply commended his fate to the snake handlers. He also took comfort in knowing that the pythons just had their monthly meal of 10 dressed chickens each.

And he followed the instructions of the snake handlers to the letter.

Don't blow air on the snake. Blowing air on a snake is like you being pinched on your butt. I think.

Don't put pressure on any part of the snake, especially on its tail, which is very sensitive. Tail is to snake as butt is to human.

Don't put pressure on the head either. Don't choke the snake Ala Hercules if you feel it's groping your private parts. It's like you knuckling your brother's head and your brother strikes you with a banana.

Don't shout for help. The snake can feel your vocal vibration and thinks you're prey or predator, depending on the environment.

Don't move too much. Move gently. (This is so Lao Tzu.)

Don't even voice out your preference, that you like it hard, moderate, soft or with lotion, oil or powder.

In other words, just lie there and pretend you're dead. Relax, go Alana bang go. Pray and ask for forgiveness for all your sins, from those you committed in kindergarten to the present.

Philip advised those who fear snakes not to try this massage. Of courser.

By the way, the snake massage at the CCZ is free and no tips needed. One only pays an entrance fee of P25 for adults and P10 for kids.

So fish massage out, snake massage in. Next in line, outstanding massage.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 12, 2013.

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