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DOGEATERS.. "is a tremendously enjoyable novel, Fast and racy, its
spill of detail evokes the richness of Manila culture." --San
Francisco Cronicle.

I met Jessica Hagedorn, one of the few Pinay writer we have here,
last year and was smitten by her hip style and storytelling. Her
characters connect and relate to us. After all, when one of her
characters in this book is named Nestor, how can she go wrong? Let
me tell you the my version of the story of Nestor and the Dogeaters.

(Warning: the following story might contain graphic, violent, and
traumatic experience. It is purely fictional and except for the
humor has no redeeming or consuming value)

When I was a little boy, I grew very fond of my dog.
"AwAw" stayed closed by me except when sent to chase a ball
or frisbee. AwAw liked to greet and chase the few cars and
delivery trucks that came to our village. The dog knew how much
I loved Coke and learned to read its sign. He therefore
could tell when the Coca Cola Truck was approaching our store to
make its weekly delivery. Awaw would communicate with me and we
were friends till one day, I saw the Coke Truck but did not hear any
barking. I was worried. There was a new driver and he did not
notice the dog greeting him. "AwAw" was run over accidentally. From
that day on, I could not make myself drink "Coke" because my heart and
stomach wouldn't let me.

As I grew older, like the rest of the boys in the village, I
started drinking "San Miguel" beer. I didn't have problems with
it except that during our special social drinking events, dogmeat
was the choice fare (pulutan, as they call it.) Again the memories
of "Awaw" woouldn't let me forget.

I got separated from my friends when I came to United States.
I learned to forget about our get-togethers until one day my
village pals came for a visit. In the tradition of old K'pare system,
I brought out the best imported beer
from Europe and apologized that San Miguel was not
available. I was happy that they did not mind, but they were
demanding the old pulutan and insisting that they saw a sale sign in
the food market advertising "hot dog." They therefore thought it was
available in this country. Thinking that after few cans of beer they
would not know the difference, I drove by "Nathan's" and pick up some
'dog' in a roll. Half sober they refuse to eat what they saw, saying
and pointing that they didn't eat that part of the dog. I sighed. All I
could say was that I wouldn't try to trick them again. I dont know if this is true but this was related to me by a historian. When indigenous people from the Northern Part of the Philippines were showcased in Chicago World Fair in the early century. Reports of missing dog started in large number. This was the time American coined "hotdog" for Frankfurter or Sausage and became popular.

I went to visit the Philippines and was ready for the drinking
bee with the old gang. The old San Miguel tasted the same but of
course everyone was salivating (as in Pavlov's research) on the coming
pulutan that I promised. I asked for help to open the food I had brought.
It was in a can and I wanted to make sure that everyone saw the healthy
dog picture on the label. The party went on happily and no one knew that the cans were from the pet section of 'FoodMart' in the United States.

One of my drinking buddies however stayed in the United States
permanently. He never liked snow weather but he was very excited when he heard that it was raining cats and dog outside. What a disappointment when he discovered that the only he saw on the ground was "poodle" of water. No feast so I tried to fix him up with a blind date. The other guys described his date before the meeting it got him more excited. He cursed me later after he saw the girl. He was told that the girl look like a dog but he always had problems with the American idiomatic expressions (idiotic slangs he said.) Every time he gets longing he goes to the Animal
shelter. The people there are just too happy to give abandon dog

for adoption. Some get suspicious and ask my friend,
"How come you love dogs so much?"
"Yes, I love them very much," He replies without blinking his eyes.
He's being truthful, but this love is not the same love I had for "AwAw."
Such is life.

Dogmeat is still a no-no to me but now I can drink coke. I just
make sure I say,

" Pepsi please."

Maybe there is a redeeming value in this story... We are what we eat
but we should not judge other cultures or individuals by what they like to
eat. Tastes are acquired but foods are not only brought up by what's
popular, they are also brought up by cultural differences. Everyone has
customs. They are all however merely perception and emotional
attachment. Maybe eating turkey is worse. Did you know that horse was first domesticated for meat? Did you know man has been a carnivore since long before the vegetarian.
That is the reason why there are more plant foods that we are allergic
to than any meat product. Food is no longer just a matter of survival for most of us.Dogging Arrest

Captain James Cook in his Pacific journey was not only a legend in sea navigation. He studied diet and carried abundant sauerkraut onboard to combat the sailor's dreaded disease "scurvy." During his long voyage in the South Sea he got very sick and food on board ran out. He sacrificed the only dog onboard and the soup of the day nourished him back to become one of the great explorers. This must be the few discoveries he made among the islanders. Today Sauerkraut and hot dog make a good combination. We are not vultures and food has become social courses and entertainment. But even among the wild predators the kills provide play moments before they become food. It is equally satisfying.

I would then compromise: you can have coke or pepsi, but you cant
eat your cake and have it too. Hot Dog

Nestor Palugod Enriquez
Vegetarian Nestor Palugod Enriquez