The driver flinched. It was either the safety of his passengers or the life of one dog that suddenly crossed the road. The other passengers didn’t seem to notice.

I willed myself to think it was a piece of rock that we hit as we travel back to Puerto Princesa from El Nido.


Meet “Taga”. Not his real name.

One afternoon Taga showed up in front of our cottage at Caalan Gawad Kalinga B&B. He looked sad and weak, his rib cage evident. He was shy, hesitant to come close. So I threw him small pieces of bread, which he gobbled up. He was having a hard time moving about, one of his hind legs not touching the ground. He looked up at me as if asking for more. I obliged.

He comes and goes. Early morning and late afteernoon, Taga is there in front of our cottage. The same time when we are very likely to be there. Still afraid to come close, I will throw small pieces of bread at him every time.

During our last day in El Nido, realizing that we meant him no harm, he decided to finally come close. Taga seems like a sweet dog. I hope he is well.

I called him Taga because of the large wound on his backside. According to the caretaker of the B&B, someone saw Taga get hacked by a drunkard from another village. Taga is Tagalog for hack.


Meet “Limos”. Not his real name.

During the few times we dined at El Nido Skyline Grill and Restaurant, Limos was there. Limos would neither bark nor do anything to get our attention. He quietly waits by our feet.

The restaurant owners don’t seem to mind Limos being there. A sign that this is a common scenario.

He seemed so happy with the few morsels I gave him. Limos is Tagalog for beg.


“Pilay” is an elderly dog. Not his real name.

Pilay usually hangs by the northern end of Calle Hama before the path that leads to Caalan Beach. He usually hides under one of the docked boats to escape the heat. With his calm disposition, many foreign tourists who pass by the area often pet him and give him a snack.

Both of Pilay’s hind legs are paralyzed and have had severe atrophy. Taga can barely crawl. Pilay is Tagalog for crippled.

Final Thoughts

It’s fun to see dogs have the freedom to run around. Many of them play at the beach. I saw a couple catch crabs with much success. The sad part is, most of them don’t have a place to call home. There’s no one to care for them when they are wounded, hungry, old.

Taga, Limos and Pilay are only three of the many dogs that are living in deplorable conditions. I can only hope that they are well. I dare not learn their names.

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