Truth? Yes, it is stranger than fiction at times. Often the limits of credibility are stretched beyond imagination in the Philippines (and in politics.) The other day two chickens, a male and female, were sacrificed to appease the water gods at our new well in the Philippines.
My asawa walked in the house the other morning and informed me of two things:
- I could not take any more pictures of the inside of our new well, and
- two chickens, a male and female, would have to be killed for the well.
My first reaction was as follows: “We are paying for the well, right? If I want to take pictures of the well, I will.”
One would think that after living in the Philippines for over six years I would have merely shrugged, said “OK,” and gone about my business of doing as little possible and excelling at that, mind you.
My wife warned me that the men digging our new well told her it is bad luck to shine a light inside a well. I earlier had taken the following picture of our new water source and our lead worker on the project was extremely troubled by that. He considers it negative karma.
When my spouse told me that the blood of two chickens would have to be sprinkled outside of the well in the shape of a cross, my reply to that was as follows:
“Are we living in the Dark Ages?”
We evidently are as my asawa’s response to that was: “I’m just going to buy the chickens and let them do that, dear.”
And then, I responded as I should originally have, with an “OK” and a shrug of the shoulders.
So last Saturday when our new well was nearing completion, the two chickens, shown above, were tied up and preparing to meet their own Colonel Sanders. The well workers asked if I wanted to take a picture of them slitting the throats of the chickens.
I then asked the men why the chickens were being killed? No one could understand my English, not even our former caretaker at “The Farm,” Jerry, seen wearing a white cap and standing next to a water barrel. Jerry was part of the crew that dug our new well.
I had to bring in my asawa as an interpreter. Fortunately she was nearby, working outside in her garden.
My patient spouse asked the well crew why the chickens had to be sacrificed. She came back with this reply:
“Do you know how the Japanese worship nature?” she asked, I nodded in the affirmative though I’m really only familiar with Druids, Native Americans and possible Bernie Sanders supporters who might practice nature worshiping along with their socialism.
“The chickens will help bring good water to the well,” she explained.
OK, if the chicken blood sacrifice would appease the Filipino water gods, such as Agwe, God of Water, I’m all for that. Some pagan practices still exist in the Philippines and the spirit world has to be appeased.
The guys were going to cook the native chickens after the ritual and have them for lunch so it was like killing two birds with one stone (pun intended.)
So I walked away and let the men complete their ancient ritual.
Water at the new well was struck at nine feet. The total depth of the new well will be 20 feet at a cost of 45,000 pesos, 950 U.S. Dollars. This is the going rate in our pocket of paradise, Guimaras, the island province we call home.
We already have paid for two water truck deliveries at a cost of 2,500 pesos, fifty bucks, per load. Although the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has declared an official end to the El Niño drought that has been plaguing the Philippines, it’s repercussions will still be felt in 30-38% of the Philippines for months, including our home province of Guimaras and nearby Iloilo.
Though we purchased a new 2,000 liter water tank to supplement our existing 1,000 liter tank, it made sense to have two wells instead of one, especially in light of our water shortages last year. And with the work on our new swimming pool in the Philippines progressing, a new water source will help to fill that pool as the effects of the current drought hopefully diminish.
The new well is up and running today, pumping water into our storage tanks. Now I can take a shower again without having to use water in a bucket we’ve been carrying from our old well, which has been too low to sufficiently fill our tanks. And me, taking a shower, is a good thing, let me assure you.