THE WHOLE world awaits with bated breath by the hourly rising figures of victims of A(H1N1) flu (initially headlined in the news as Swine Flu). The 20th century had it in more frightening figures though.
Of the top three pandemics in the last century, Spanish flu was the worst, with up to 40 percent of the then worldwide population becoming ill when it occurred in 1918-1919. The WHO estimated upwards of 50 million deaths due to Spanish flu. Then followed the 1957 pandemic, known as the Asian flu. It was sparked by the H2N2 strain, which was first identified in China. It caused about 2 million deaths globally. Swine flu surfaced in 1976, when it threatened the United States where it was initially called the "killer flu." The pandemic led to mass vaccinations amid fears it was related to the Spanish flu virus.
Other, more recent pandemic threats occurred in 1997 and 1999. The joint forces of media left us a strong recall of the impact of Avian flu virus, or bird flu. The virus moved from chickens to people. In Hong Kong alone an estimated 1.5 million poultry were slaughtered to contain the threat.
The swiftness, convenience, and efficiency of air travel contributed to the rapid spread of the first ever severe transmissible disease, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), in the current century. SARS hit the globalized world in 2003. The outbreak saw the application of control measures like quarantine, travel restrictions, and fever checks at airports, much in the same manner that these are now being applied under the latest pandemic threat of A(H1N1) flu virus.
Let us leave all talk of pandemic cycles behind for a while and take a lighter, more positive turn of the conversation—in "Swine speak."
Linto ia man ing balita patungkul king inaus dang swine flu (ing tutu na mas malagua iang iapse ini kesa ketang makagaguting AH1N1), o banua banua, digpan no ning marok !maluat dana kata mung tambakan kareng dobol "dead meat" keti. Map namu pin matibe ia ing Pilipinu, dala na ning kesanaian na king pamaglutu, ela mitanglad ding amanuan dang bacteria o virus. Keng mengapalabasan a panaun, mismu ing DOH pepalual iang pamanuru nung makananu iang ilutu ing karning babi na mika foot and mouth disease kanu uling nung ustu ia pangalutu ala naman epektu king pamikatauan.
O ing sinabi da iang akaragulan tang tatanuran king pamaglutu da ring matua. Paskad pamu. Pabukal mepang talaga lalu na iting mayayayus a "plain adobu" ngara pen. Babad mu pin naman king aslam, paminta magaspang a pangadaldak, asin at pikpuk a bauang. O talagang keta pang sangkap sagiua ia pa balu mu nung pante na ing kaslam at kalat ning sangkap ustung meputi ing laman ning babi, anta kumabie ia ing mikrobio?
Pabukal mune king balanga at aping banaiad a tangab bang yang lunsut taba ing liempo at pisamut a kasim. Sus, manenaia na ing tidtad kamatis, mangga ampong baguk. Mangan tana magpiesta tamung lutung babi!
"Mamamantikaan na naman ang aking labi, may Pista sa kabilang ibayo."
" Wo'y tara makipangan tamu, mematbat lang babi kari Apung Gari, mamangintab tana asbuk, banten tala ding balugbug ampong iki kabang dudurut de king baia, pingutan tala potang mibaliquid ia y Poldung."
That was an oft-repeated phrase in the days when poultry farms were something unheard of. Pig raising was a backyard business then, as was fowl raising, nestled at the farthest, rear part of the backyard or orchard or "ketang lalam bale, nu la naman karin pakasabit ding pugad pipangebunan." The logic being, all leftover food was fed to the hogs—thus the "kanio babi." Blissful was life for the fowl pecking on rice morsel and other crumbs when helpers would swipe the clutter off the dining table then through the gaps of bamboo slats flooring down to the ground. Indeed, in those days it took a special occasion such as Christmas, New Year, Fiesta, Wedding, Graduation, Baptism of a first born or a similar significant celebration to hear the shrieking of pigs being prepared for slaughter. It went the same for the fowl, their feet tied and part of their necks bare where feathers had been plucked (for the knife's clean cut) just a little below the eye.
Ordinary days saw the dining table served with fish either steamed, deep fried, or grilled, complemented with a variety of freshly harvested vegetables from the backyard garden. Kapampangan that we were, whatever that was served on the table was always completed with a choice of "tiltilan." But feasting on a diet of litsun babi, paksing litsun, tidtad laman lub, bopis, chicharun bulaklak, and sabo ligang maglatab king taba was justifiable whenever the occasion came.
Gang man aku ing balu ku kareti paradadas deng aliua keti mu kekatamu ing dakal a mamaus karing pandasal a dininan palaman a torta nung mabisyu ka.
Nung naman ala kang giniling, gang gisa lang bauang ding patatas at kerots a mengalumpanat na ampong ditak a pasas ilang ipalaman. Kaibat, sabul kang kalarung ebun bayu me ibulug ing malutu (o't ausan tayang malutu kabang dilo ya ne?) ning ebun. Takpan me itang pinatung a kakutsaran a palaman ginisa king metung a sakiud sebulan ebun. Tampal me king kaualing ditak mu taba baiang mipakat king pandesal ing sebulan ebun.
Nung buri mu la pang takman ngening salukuian ing metung a epa mesaul karing bayung alsut a Cake Houses o foreign sounding Baker munta ka Angelina Bakery dane matuang palengki Miranda. Wa pu kareng maluat na abrod, atiu pa. Pati ring manong a pangalagiung mangaragul a pandelemon pasintabi kareng mapinu pamalugbug, atin pang "Puking Damulag," gang pianono, palipit, biskotsu. Ania balu ku uli na ning misan mekaiabnu ku, asna la katula kanaku pinakio kula ding paradadas o putung babi na makadisplay ketang igung makasalupil, tinabas bulung sagin.
Atin mu naman, dane ning Sto. Rosario, makalisia iang bagia arapan Holy Rosary Cathedral ining Delyns's. Ustung duminggu na, pagdala daku ring kapatad manyiklod kaibat sinimba. Aba menasensu uling ding paradadas, atin nang miragdag, Corned Beef a palaman.
Eku apibata, memanaus ku at mengutang obat king niaman da anta sang ausan lang Putung babi. Karing anggang pakibat, iting pikabiruan aniang abe la di Among Raffy ketang burul da ring Songco family king milabas a panaun Funenaria Angelina, arang megpusung, aniang galingaldo, etaran da kaming kalutu lutung paradadas.
"Maniaman la ne? Tang anggang tagan nabenging e mepangan iang geua rang palaman. Samalan yung mangan iapin yan ing origin ning Putung babi, ing anggang tagan tagan na e sira iang gisang geuang palaman..." Galapakan, sabe ilyup mu naman king busuk busuk a kape.