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THE WILD MAN OF BALBALASANG
by Augustus Ulat Saboy, ca. 1960s
Two game hunters in the jungles of Balbalasang, Balbalan, Kalinga-Apayao province reported here recently to have actually seen a “wild man” roaming in the hunting grounds of the town.
The two hunters gave their names as Arthur Paganao and Juanito Daluping. Paganao, who comes from Balbalasang, is presently enrolled as a commerce student at the Baguio Colleges Foundation (BCF).
The duo set off for a deer hunt in the Balbalasang jungles, which are rich in wildlife, taking along with them their hunting dogs.
Although the forest was a fertile hunting ground for wild animals, Paganao and Daluping encountered no game for that day. Just when they were resigned to call it a day, and prepared to return home empty-handed, suddenly their dogs started barking and looking at the direction of the ridge.
Both of them, however, saw nothing. With the dogs still barking, Paganao kept on looking for the prey spotted by the dogs. Down in a deep valley below the ridge, Paganao saw an object which appeared to be a human being even at a distance.
To be sure that the object being barked at was a man, the duo decided to take a closer look. Paganao, who came ahead at close range, was surprised to see a wild man, who blankly stared at him (Paganao) as if he was studying the hunter from head to foot.
Paganao stood motionless. A few moments later, Daluping had joined Paganao, who was at this time poised to hurl his hunting spear should the wild man charge at him. The sight of the naked, hairy man in the jungle fastness was too much for Daluping. He got scared and started to run.
When Paganao saw his companion beating a hasty retreat, he also got scared and chased Daluping with their dogs trailing them.
Paganao, who had a longer look at the wild man, gave his description of the latter as follows: height, about four feet; complexion, light dark; eyes, dark and deep-set; and body-built, thin and skinny even under a thick hair covering him all over.
Paganao figured out that he was about 10 feet away from the wild man. Both were staring at each other for about five minutes.
The wild man appeared hungry and haggard during the five-minute jungle “confrontation” with the two hunters.
Back at the nearest village from the forest, the duo related their strange encounter to the village elders and other hunters, who also claimed that they had seen fresh footprints in the same forest in their past hunting expeditions.
Whether or not there are other wild men in the Balbalasang forest, aside from the one actually seen by the two hunters has become a matter of conjecture in that locality.