In Bukidnon, Cows don't Moo


Written on 9:28 PM by isko b. doo

I always associate Bukidnon with the Kalachuchi.

For what reason, I don't know. But even as I write this post, the smell of the Kalachuchi waft through the air and its overpowering scent disturbed the equilibrium of the room. The intrusion is not at all unpleasant. Like a friendly greeting from an old friend; or a slice of chocolate cake in the middle of a diet.

I was about 11 or 12 years old when my family spent a summer in Bukidnon. We lived with an evangelical pastor who was the partner of my father in a potato farm business a few kilometers from his house.

His house sits on a hill. No, it's more like a anomalous growth but the dirt road knew better than to cut through it and offend the sensibilities of a messenger from God. So the road snaked around that mound -- adorned with fruit trees, bermuda grass, a small garden of gumamela, violets, baby's breath and shrubs -- before it staggers and get lost around the bend.

At the back of the house stands the Kalachuchi. So huge it seemed to dwarf the two-storey house but that's not true, of course -- its dimensions forever distorted by a distant memory. Without fail, right after daybreak, the pastor's little girl religiously fetched the goat from its pen and tie it to the Kalachuchi. A bald spot around the Kalachuchi where the grass couldn't seem to grow just shows how long this custom has been going on.

At night, the shadows seemed endless; fractured only by flourescent lights dangling precariously on creaky lampposts. You could count shafts of light in the main road before the darkness swallows the rest of them. As the light of moon pallidly touched the winding path, the flowers of the Kalachuchi perfumed the air, adding to the ghostly atmosphere.

"It's the moths," the pastor told me one night. "The Kalachuchi tricks the moths into thinking it has nectars to give and so the moths come back again and again."

Again and again. Quite a deceitful one, that Kalachuchi.

But this post has nothing to do with Kalachuchi.

It was our first night at the Pastor's house. I was lying between my two brothers in the sala. My father was in one room with my mother; my uncle and two other cousins slept in another room near the kitchen. In the dark, the ordinary furniture looked menacing. Naturally, we couldn't sleep. As the crickets and toads crooned, we listened... for strange noises, for a deviant clatter, even a familiar thud (the kind that falling dead bodies make when clumsy psychos stumble).

Nothing. Every sound accounted for. The hum of the electric fan, the rustling of the wind on the tin roof, my heavy breathing. I start to doze off.

Then suddenly. I heard a faint sound in the distance.

I listened.



I heard what a cow sounds like when it "moos" and I knew THAT wasn't a cow. It sounded guttural, like a raw wheeze from deep in the stomach; a drowning man struggling to breathe.

And it's coming from the kitchen.



The sound is defeaning. A pause then a moo. I pulled the sheets up to my head. My brothers followed suit.

Moo. Pause. Moo.

It surrounded the house. It swallowed the house. I didn't know how I managed to sleep that night. All I remember was waking up all covered in sweat. I went to the kitchen to drink Milo and walked into a conversation among the adults. Obviously, I wasn't the only one who had a difficult night.

"Sabaa ning Janwart oi! Sige lang ug Moo Moo, di ko katulog!" my cousin complained.

Apparently, when my uncle snores, he moos.

There's no moral to this story but nobody snores like my uncle. Nobody should have to. That's inhuman. You scare little children that way. Even cows stop to moo when they sleep.

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  1. Adobobo |

    Ahahaha!!! That was funneee. 'Nuff said.

    And I hate it how snorers always, always seem to be the first ones to drift off, and how they can sleep oblivious to all the disquiet they are causing. Hrrr.

  2. isko b. doo |

    Btaw, tama ka, hehehe. That's one of the mysteries of life, I guess. I wonder if they hear their snores in their sleep?

  3. Cheska |

    damn. i snore like that. =)

  4. isko b. doo |

    really cheska? dapat introduce kita sa uncle ko then you can do a duet till the day breaks. :P

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