Carabao racing is a thing in this town after pandemic restrictions loosen

Townsfolk of Samal, Bataan participate in a traditional carabao race two years after it was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Images: Aida Macalinao
Townsfolk of Samal, Bataan participate in a traditional carabao race two years after it was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Images: Aida Macalinao

When pandemic restrictions loosen, some people celebrate by dining out at restaurants or by watching a movie. The townsfolk of Samal in Bataan, about a two-hour drive away from Manila, chose to mark the occasion differently: by conducting a carabao race.

Farmers participated in the town’s carabao racing tradition held during the town’s Araw ng Lalawigan (Provincial Day), which had been put to a halt when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

About 15 carabaos raced under the heat, as racers straddled the animals while standing up chariot-style.

Samal mayor Aida Macalinao thanked those who organized the event, saying “Ang inyong adhikain na maipakita na ang mga kalabaw sa bayan ng Samal ay kayang makipagkumpetensya hindi lang sa larangan ng kasipagan sa pagsasaka kundi pati na rin sa larangan ng palakasan at pabilisan ay aking ipinagmamalaki at ipinagpapasalamat (Your vision to prove that the carabaos of Samal can compete not just with its farming skills, but also with its speed and strength, is something that I am proud of and that I am grateful for).”

Carabaos are a type of water buffalos commonly used in farming. Carabao races are common in different parts of Luzon.

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