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Cobrador

Remember Roy King Cobra? No you don’t, because you only read about overpriced lampposts, and overpriced computers, and minimum wage increases, and the Ban-Tal traffic and those other stories that “really matter.” You don’t have time for topics that have to do with the ubiquitous snake, unless one happens to be holding a public office.

I always have time for things that speak of my deepest fears. And snakes top the list. If I get caught between a relative’s ghost and a dead python, I’d run to the ghost anytime for help. If hell exists, it must be a room full of these scaly, limbless, elongate reptiles slithering through every orifice in a condemned man’s body. Snakes are enough reason to do good on earth.

So when the rest of Cebu’s media partied in some plush hotel a couple of weeks ago for the Press Freedom celebration, I found myself inside a room in an unfinished house on a hillside in Barangay Busay. The room had been converted into a “clinic” by a man who claimed he could raise the dead by breathing into the corpse’s crown.

He is your Jesus crying with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” Only that this Jesus had the snake for divine inspiration and Lazarus had been bitten by a Philippine Cobra while relieving himself in a bush in Moalboal.

Roy King Cobra is Roland Dacumos, 35. He was Born in Kitaotao, North Cotabato. He was brought to Cebu early last month by a Cebuano lawyer who practiced in Mindanao and whom Dacumos had reportedly cured of a serious illness. And King Cobra has a snake for a twin!

It was King Cobra’s birthday (and his twin’s too, for sure). He had invited a colleague of mine from Superbalita to come over for a dinner of snake abodo. I decided to tag along. It’s not everyday that a journalist gets the chance to confront his fears as intimately as to be actually eating them. I amused myself by imagining an exotic snake menu: tinolang boa, kinilawng anaconda, tinunoang copperhead, sinugbang rattlesnake.

As King Cobra ushered us into the room towards the dining table, he struck me as a gracious host. But his eyes had redness in them, like those of dead reptiles I saw in National Geographic. On the table was a plate of snake adobo. Next to it was a bottle of wine with a dead cobra coiled inside. This was going to be fun.

But before I could grab a bite, our host removed a sack from a corner and pulled out about 20 cobras more than a meter long each. The snakes wriggled. Excited by media presence, every one of them started to rear up, spread its skin behind its head to form that notorious hood and began making that scary hissing sound.

Then the King whispered to one particularly excited cobra, whose hood was wider than the rest, and asked: “Kinsay labing gikalagotan nimo dinhi sa kwarto?” The beast slowly scanned the room, stopped his gaze at my direction, hissed an evil hiss, stuck out its tongue, and – to my utter horror – made as if he was preparing to lurch towards me.

I didn’t know what happened next. I think I heard myself shout “Mamaaaaaaa.” Or “Please Lord! I’m too young to die!” I’m not sure now. All I remember is that long after the evil cobras were back inside the sack, I was still shaking on top of the table.

I left the room, vowing not to miss any of those legitimate press freedom gatherings again.

(sun.star cebu, september)

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2 Responses to “Cobrador”

  1. atay. i have actually read this one last year. pero dli jud ma-process ako comment. so now, ako balikon. sounds family to me lageh ng National Geographic channel. hahaha

  2. yey mka.comment na ko bout ani na entry bah:

    waaaaah!
    nglisod jud kog basa ani dah…
    mka.visualize mn jud ko sa story…
    and having an intense fear for snakes makes me feel uncomfortable….
    yay… lain au sa paminaw.. hehehe..
    gud for u coz u’re still alive! hahahahaha…


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