Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Of Dog Days in Maligcong

The diffident, gentle, Tam-Tam
A little past 4am. A whimper somewhere behind the bush. My guide-friend, Tina, asks me if I know who's the source of that whimper. "Tiny!" I answer as we hurry on the main road for a sunrise up Kupapey. I make a mental note of visiting my canine friend on the way back, Tiny being consigned to being tied up in Mang Jeffrey's yard for chasing carabaos and chickens.
 
One of the fringe benefits of visiting Malicong regularly is familiarity -- with the lay of the land, the feel of the seasons, and yes, the friendship of dogs. I've carried Tiny around when he was about 1/6th of the strapping dog he is now. Even Maku, who came with us for the hike, I used to bathe and lull to sleep when he was still a puppy. Kunig, the original Maligcong hiking dog icon, I bathe, fed, massaged, carried around when he was around 3-4 years old.  It's still a mystery how Kunig learned how to guide and herd tourists. Maku, of course, picked it up from him. Why they love to do it is beyond me -- apart from enjoying playing in the forest. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

Maligcong: Twice Up Kupapey with Maku and Wayward Tourists

My guardian dog, Maku, and the sunrise over Favarey
I didn't plan on hiking up Mt Kupapey twice in three days.  The plan was simple: to do a lot of nothing for a change. Breathe the air.  Do hikes to the school with the dogs.  Read.  Sleep.  For a change.
 
I've been away for over three months and a lot of things can happen in that time.  For starters, Suzette's Maligcong Homestay now has four resident canines.  There are my guardian dogs, Kunig and Maku, now joined by two frisky, happy-go-lucky black Labs, Tuba (named after Tuba, Benguet) and Tam-Tam (after Tamawan Village in Baguio).  You can say it's happy bedlam when the four decide to play all at the same time.  As usual, Maku sleeps on the floor of my assigned room, now joined by the shy and gentle, Tam-Tam.  The Labs have this habit of nosing my face or hand from the edge of the bed in the early hours of the morning, trying to find out if I'm awake, perchance to play.  The homestay also has five more rooms downstairs.

On the other hand, I was saddened hearing the passing of Kunig's dad, Bogart.  He's such a kind-hearted and sweet dog.  While enjoying the native oranges, I heard the news that Mang Nardo, the owner of the local orange orchard, has also passed on.  It was just the third harvest of the revived orange farm.   He and his wife decided to retire and resettle in Baguio and Maligcong about two years ago from Australia and now, he's gone.  Oh well.  From Suzette's veranda, I thought that the view was missing something.  And I was right.  Some of the tall trees from across the road were cleared to give way to a small path.  Explains why there are now more birds twittering at the back area of the homestay.

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