Sunday, October 24, 2021

Tabada: Home


When ants are on the move, pay attention.

Days of incessant rain made me see my neighbors, the anthill, in a new light.

I used to think summer requires that I scour the ground with my sight before setting foot in the garden. Silang in Cavite is blessed with rich, dark soil and lush water, the inspiration perhaps in the naming of many of its 64 barangays: Anahaw, Balite, Banaba, Biga, Ipil, Narra, Langka, Munting Ilog, Puting Kahoy and Yakal, to name a few.

Where flora thrives, the insect world is not far behind. Silang is home to many creatures other than land developers with a penchant for Italian names and homeowners leery of Metro Manila smog and crime.

I realized this during the first summer when indescribable pain shot up my legs after standing too close to a trail of ants. Hopping in pain, I landed on a nearby spot and, hopping, howled again.

Our garden is plotted on a superhighway grid in heavy use during summer for ant traffic in food.

Weather is no determinant, though, for ant aggression. I corrected myself after a typhoon recently swept over our place.

When the rains fell for hours and then days, the ants were again on the move. When the wind shook the sodden bamboo, it pelted angry ants. When the rains puddled on the ground, the ground crawled with seething ants.

Pain from a creature so small, it reaches sensitive and hard-to-reach body parts in the blink of an eye, comes for the outsider of the anthill or the colony. Home is the barb of the sting.

Home is not always warmth, refuge, shelter. Home is contested ground. At some homes, predators do not lurk under the bed or haunt dreams. They walk among their victims.

Last Sept. 3, four puppies were found lined up in a grassy lot in Barangay San Miguel in Samal (Igacos). Aged about two to three months, the puppies were beheaded.

SunStar Davao reported that barangay officials and a resident offered reward money for those providing leads to enable the authorities to apprehend the perpetrator. Bantay Hayop Davao called the malefactor “worse than an animal.”

Does evil have gradations? If so, worse than the creature that killed the puppies is the puppies’ owner, who, despite denying any involvement with the beheading, “ordered the puppies to be thrown as they were infested with lice,” reported SunStar Davao.

Section 6 of Republic Act No. 8485, also known as The Animal Welfare Act of 1998, prohibits and punishes cruelty to or neglect of all animals.

Many people open their homes to rescue and adopt homeless asong Pinoy (aspin) and pusang Pinoy (puspin). The San Miguel crime changes everything.

For outsiders, home is the barb of the sting.


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