Tag Archives: Philippine animals

#219 Kalabaw

The kalabaw (English: carabao Malay: kerbau) is the Filipino farmer’s indispensable helping hand, a so-called ‘lowly beast of burden” that is identified with Philippine farm life and the countryside.

Carabaos, a domesticated subspecies of the water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) are native to Southeast Asia. Adult carabaos weigh 700 to 800 kilograms—almost 2,000 pounds—and have fairly long gray or black hair thinly covering their huge bodies (Wikipedia). Water buffalos have been domesticated in the Philippines as far back as pre-Hispanic times and carabao skin was once used extensively in the Philippines to create a variety of products, including the armor of pre-colonial Filipino warriors.

No Filipino countryside scene is complete without the carabao. The animals were also exported from the Philippines to Guam in the late 1600s during the Spanish colonial administration of Guam. They were used for farming and to pull carts. In the 1960s, carabao races were also a popular sport in the Philippines especially during fiestas, but the practice is rarely seen these days.

Although there is no ordinance designating the kalabaw as the country’s symbol, the beast is often portrayed or identified with Filipino resilience and nationhood and is often used or portrayed in postal stamps, coins, government seals and other logos.  In the late 1980s, the carabao puppet character Kardong Kalabaw became popular as a symbol of the Filipino people’s hard work and sense of industry.

Mabuhay ang kalabaw!

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#15 Philippine Tarsier

Philippine Tarsier

The Philippine Tarsier (Tarsius syrichta), known in the Visayas region as the maumag is an endangered tarsier species native to the Philippines. The tarsier is found in the southeastern part of the archipelago, particularly in the islands of Bohol, Samar, Leyte, and Mindanao.

According to Wikipedia, the tarsier family is about 45 million years old and was only introduced to western biologists in the 18th century.  Since the tarsier’s eyes are fixed in its sockets, its neck can rotate 180 degrees (think of Linda Blair in The Exorcist) allowing this smallest primate to look out for danger.

In terms of appearance, perhaps this is the closest E.T we can have. But don’t get your hopes high to see or spot the tarsier if you happen to be in Bohol or in the Visayas Region. Like other endangered animals, this shy animal is difficult to find or see by coincidence  unless they are in captivity.

Mabuhay ang Philippine Tarsier!

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