Boiled pig snout. Blood sausages. A pint of craft beer brewed with Sagada oranges, clubbing to country music, and drinking with a bone hunter. A visit to Baguio to gorge on their local food leads to a more interesting, outré side to the Cordilleras.
I came up to Baguio to devour some dog meat. To be more exact, I was sent to explore the food culture of the region, to scour the city for their best eats via a local who would lead the way—and since it is known that Baguio is home to one of the largest dog meat markets in the country, gnawing on the hound was just an obvious part of the itinerary.
Dao-es, dog rituals, are the highest form of animal sacrifice for some tribal groups in the northern region. For people of the Ibaloi tribe, dogs are sacrificed to greet the spirits of the dead; others practice it to drive away misfortune, or as a form of ritual healing. As the ways of the world change, though, so have the methods of consumption. In modern times, dog eating has become a delicacy, served as ulam or paired as pulutan to warm the body when it’s cold. My brother had some caldereta dog once. He’s been bitten three times by different pups since. “They can smell it in you,” I told him.
Originally published on Esquire magazine, August 2015.
Read the full story online at Esquire Philippines.