BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/17 September) — Believe it or not, Lolong,the famous you-know-who granted me an interview one full moon night when no one, including the security guards was looking.
Me :It’s been more than a week now since you’ve been caught and you haven’t eaten. Aren’t you hungry?
Lolong : I am. But how can I eat in a condition like this?
Me : So it would take time for you to… fast, pardon the word.
Lolong: I don’t know.
Me : Lolong, what do you feel right now?
Lolong: I feel helpless, exploited, violated. I feel I’ve been robbed of my rights.
Me : They said they have to get you or anyone of your kind because you cause danger to the community.
Lolong: I live here and the many generations before me. This is our home, our territory. People came here only recently. They came and disturbed our
place. So tell me, who are the bad guys ?
Me : You think people shouldn’t settle here?
Lolong: If they’re intelligent enough , why would they?
Me : They want your kind away.
Lolong: Well, not with a good fight.
Me : Maybe it would be better if you voluntarily move so your family would be safe?
Lolong : Maybe, but then again, not until the last drop… of blood.
Me : You won’t hesitate to fight back?
Lolong : It’s all living creatures’ right to fight back. We have also what you call principles.
Me : Hey, did you know, you’re the talk of the town now? You’re in the papers and on TV.
Lolong : I know but it does not interest me.
Me : Why not? You’re a celebrity.
Lolong : We crocs are not like you. We don’t go for superficial stuff. We just want to be left
Me : How do you like the name they gave you?
Lolong: It’s ridiculous.
Me : Everybody’s amazed.
Lolong : Hey, I am not the first croc to be in the news.
Me : What do you mean?
Lolong: Haven’t you had many crocs in the government before? I’m not exotic at all.
Me : They said you’re of human interest.
Lolong : Thank you. In our kingdom, humans are of interest too, especially if we’re hungry. But only if they arrogantly invade our habitat.
Me : Are you hopeful you’ll be happy in this, well, your new habitat?
Lolong : No creature will ever be hopeful or happy to be caged.
Me : But it’s impossible for you to go back where you should be.
Lolong : I know. I’m resigned to the idea that I will be an exhibit here.
Me : Maybe someday you’ll be comfortable.
Lolong : Never. I hate the idea of people ogling me.
Me : What’s on your mind when they do?
Lolong : Would be nice to devour them. Sweet vengeance.
Me: I don’t blame you. Never easy to be violated of your privacy.
Lolong: ( Smiles ) Come on, am just kidding. When I look at them, I
wish they’d find in their human hearts what it is to be treated this way.
Me : They said you will be an instrument out of their poverty. You can lure people to come and earn income for the government.
Lolong : Well, maybe in exchange they will respect and protect the others out there.
Me : So you’re willing to be the sacrificial lamb?
Lolong : Do I have a choice?
Me: We have to end this interview for now. Any wish you would like to share?
Lolong : I wish all other crocs in the government, big and small, be captured, caged and exhibited as well. That would be an impressive human feat.
Me : Thank you Lolong. You’re one of a kind.
Lolong : Long live.
(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaViews. Ramon Jorge B. Sarabosing is a writer and visual artist based in Butuan City. He has gone around the Agusan Marsh, Lolong’s habitat, several times).