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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, July 18, 2015
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with Ninfa Leonardia
OPINIONS

Our own Loch Ness monster

Ninfa Leonardia The Knights of Rizal are holding a rally calling for the demolition of the so-called Torre de Manila that has managed to make itself the backdrop of the famous statue of our National Hero, Jose Rizal, at the Luneta. Who can blame patriotic Filipinos for objecting to the setting up of that monstrosity there? If it manages to go on with its construction, it will surely mar whatever photographs and paintings will be taken or made near the statue.

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Perhaps it was for that very purpose that the owners of that structure wanted to get that site for their building. Imagine the free publicity it will be getting everytime a photo of the Rizal statue is taken, and especially if published. This time, even those who are not members of the Knights of Rizal should wake up and join the protests against that monstrosity. Rizal must be turning in his grave if he ever thinks of being “used” by a commercial entity.

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So it's not a monster, after all? For years, centuries, maybe, one famous legend or story from Scotland is about the famed Loch Ness Monster that is supposed to reside in the famed lake and frighten human beings who come near it. The Loch Ness monster is said to be used by parents to frighten children so they will not wander far from their homes, and especially near the loch, or lake. But it has given an aura of mystery that has been sustained by the Scots people all these years.

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But lately, there came this Scot man who decided to give up a normal life and dedicate all his time, effort and money to unraveling the Loch Ness Mystery. And the findings he revealed to the media has caused different reactions from his countrymen. The man spent his life looking for it and now reports that the so-called monster is nothing but a big or giant catfish. Now, isn't our local “alimusan”, that is also known as catfish, of the same species?

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Maybe we can just imagine the Loch Ness monster to be an oversized “alimusan” or even “pantat”, that had grown about 13 to 14 feet long! We know how hideous-looking the “alimusan” can be with its wide mouth, flat head, big eyes and black slimy body. Can you imagine it at 13 feet long? Wouldn't it seem to be a monster to anyone? The problem is that the Tourism people there are probably not happy about the claims of the Loch Ness hunter, because he may have caused the romantic and intriguing stories about it to be disproven. The guy will probably even be accused of making statements to get publicity, and challenged to prove his claim. As it is, he has reportedly told the media that he had given up his love life, his home, and his job, to concentrate on his obsession with the monster. I don't think this is the last we will hear of this.

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Well, we have our own legends, passed on from our greatgrandparents about the “bakunawa” a monster with a long, swishing tail. There used to be a pamphlet issued every year about the movements of the “bakunawa” which my grandmother swore by, every time she makes a decision. In the pamphlet was detailed the movements of the “bakunawa” and it said that if you are building a house or putting up an establishment, you must make sure that you don't do it at a time when the monster's mouth is towards the area you are eyeing, because you will be swallowed. And not at its tail portion, either, because it could hit you and your plans and swipe them away. To be on the safe side, wait until your chosen project is by the sides of the bakunawa, and you will be safe. Maybe that was our version of the Loch Ness monster?

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Alas, the intriguing dinner shared by the President, Secretary Mar Roxas, Senators Grace Poe and Chiz Escudero took place and morning came but we are as confused as ever, because nothing definite came out of it, and nobody has been talking about what was discussed and what conclusions were made. Therefore, we can only make our own conclusions, that nothing was agreed upon, neither Mar, nor Grace – and what Escudero there for? – had been anointed, or had agreed to any proposals or realignments. And so the mystery continues until, like the Loch Ness monster, it turns out to be no mystery, after all.*

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