This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
giant crocodile's captivity site. When we arrived, the entrance sign said it was an 'eco-park,' though there was only that one crocodile there. It was a bit disappointing. All the media hype has rendered the animal gigantic in my imagination. The province of Agusan del Sur remains a highly forested place. Various trees and crops, and coconut palms fill the vast uneven fields on both sides of the road. There was a particularly vast patch of this coconut field where the coconut palms are old and rotted, their nuts long gone, their fronds broken and wilted. A few orchids, bright and rose pink, grew near the top, just below the fronds. Ferns and other parasitic plants covered most of the trunks. In another place, the owners of the plantation bulldozed a portion of their field, baring the reddish soil to the rain. The palms were probably afflicted with some sort of disease, were too old, or just damaged from typhoon Sendong. The people looked contented enough, however dilapidated their houses may look from the highway. Children ran and played by the side of the road as ten-wheeler trucks carrying several dozen logs roared past. There were 'skylabs' which we overtook. These are motorcycles modified to have wooden outriggers for carrying cargo or passengers. The larger houses must be seen to be believed. High walls rose up to face the highway. One had a whole factory/plant behind it for processing gold which is a major industry here. It also had by its side a small village for its workers full of small houses with zinc roofs painted red. In the garage, you can see several vehicles. A bright metallic-red humvee overtook us, probably owned by one of the people who live inside those mansions. The center of the decades-long communist insurgency shifted to this region by the end of last year and the beginning of this one. The most prominent spokesman of the New People's Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines right now, is the Mindanao-based Ka Jorge Madlos. Looking at his videos on youtube, he looks somewhere in between Vladimir Lenin and Ho Chi Minh. Kidnapping is one of their more lucrative income-generating projects. A son of one of the owners of those large mansions was kidnapped by the NPA and ransomed for the sum of around twenty million pesos. Also purchased by that amount was the freedom of two other employees. We arrived two hours later. The road towards the eco-park from the larger highway is unpaved, rocky and narrow. There was an entrance fee of twenty pesos. The eco-park was constructed in a levelled portion of a slope, so that on the upper side are the steps while on the lower side is the river. In between is the eco-park which is composed of two shallow cement pools. The left pool is larger but empty. This is where the larger still uncaptured female whom the locals named 'Lalang' will be kept. The captured one, Lolong occupies the pool on the right side. In order to protect the tourists from the crocodile and vice-versa, a high steel frame enclosure was built, with barbed wires at the top. Two cctv's were also installed to secure the perimeter further. At the same level as the enclosed pools but at the back and no longer cemented, is a small bamboo and nipa hut where the caretakers of the crocodile stay. I named it 'techno-hut.' Inside it probably
has the monitors fed by images from the cctv's. Underneath the eaves of one side, is a clothesline where several jersey shirts are drying. One side of the pantaw [traditional architectural term which means the small covered veranda/platform connected to a hut] has a cooking space where i can see a kaldero atop a wood-fed stove, at the other side is a built-in sitting space, also made of bamboo. Visitors came by two's or three's or fours, never more than ten. There was a small group there with one of the older member wearing the FSUU shirt. I took a lot of photos. They took a lot of photos as well. The management of the eco-park, besides asking for admission fees, also sold memorabilia. I bought a coffee mug and two keychains. The highlight of the whole visit there was when one of those trappers who captured and transferred the crocodile into this eco-park, went inside the enclosure and applied an antiseptic medicine to several parts of the croc's body. It seems those white portions in Lolong's body are not good for him. The trapper tied a swab of cotton at the tip of a long stick and carefully daubed the medicine on to those spots. I admired the guy for his patience in answering the repetitive question of the tourists. He told us that Lolong weighs 1,075 kilograms, which is approximately the weight of two adult carabaos. That he eats only three times a month. He is fed 10 kilograms of meat, usually beef, per meal. I asked him how old Lolong is. He replied about fifty years, and that they can live for as long as a hundred. Lolong was named after one of the certified trappers they hired for the job from Palawan who died from a heart attack two days before the crocodile was captured. The trapper answered all these while he was inside the enclosure. He answered the questions again when he came out of the enclosure, to other tourists came to visit. We watched a video made by the local government which detailed all the events leading to the capture of the crocodile. It was informative though boring, and they used a lot of unnecessary music for dramatic effect. We then had coffee inside one of the several makeshift vending huts by the side of the eco-park. On the way back I started to notice the newer buildings being built in this province. There was a beautiful airconditoned gymnasium in the town of San Francisco. In Bayugan, the schools are really well-kept and clean. They are also starting to build a promising rotunda, a sort of mini-halfcoliseum where all sorts of activities will be done upon its central raised stage. I noticed several buildings in the older looking city-center have Chinese names on them - Lim, Ong, etc. San Francisco town also has a really beautiful chapel which I should have taken a photo of. It was an architectural construction dominated by a high, steep roof. Its location at the top of a hill made it more majestic. The Philippine Independent Church's building is folksy-looking with those brightly-painted statues outside its doors like something from Mexico. I took note of several of the religious groups and denominations - Aglipayan churches, Iglesia ni Cristo churches, Catholic chapels and churches, various Protestant churches, Ang Dating Daan, and the Jesus Miracle Crusade. We overtook several 'Saddam trucks' which are those American-made military trucks sold as surplus to countries like the Philippines, after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
It rained harder the way back home. Ricefields were flooded. From a distance, I could see the mountain ranges deeply hued in blue, emitting blankets of white mists which rose up to the heavens and covered the entire sky.
Originally posted in: http://karaangtawo.multiply.com/journal/item/181/Crocodiles-under-the-Rain-
[update: earlier this day, February 11, 2013, at 8:oo AM, Lolong was found by its caretakers dead. The alleged cause of death was diarrhea. His stomach was also found to be very inflated.] sources: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/02/11/907519/lolong-worlds-largest-croc-dead http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2276791/Villagers-tears-worlds-largest-crocodile-diesPhilippines-Just-dont-ask-killed--.html?ito=feeds-newsxml#axzz2KYcRNFAq