Earth Hour

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Whatever Happened to Bantay?

The dog has become a fixture in many Filipino households today.  In many homes in the country, man's best friend is not only a pet that is almost like a member of the family but also the official provider of security for its owners.

Before,  a dog was given a name for his trait or purpose.  If his task is to guard the house he would be called Bantay (guard), Bagsik (fierce), Tapang (brave), among others.  A pet dog's name could also be based on his color or appearance like Batik (spots),  Puti (white) or Tagpi (patch).

Many of these dogs were natives. They do not have pure breeds but mostly mixture of several breeds and characteristics.  More recently they're called askals short for asong kalye (road dogs).

When we were young, our grandmother who was then living in Manila had a pet named Manilenya (an old way to call a native of Manila).  It was a big brown female dog who slept most of the day under the stairs because she was already too old.  Our first dog was also a native dog and my mother named him Clever.  Since then, most of our dogs have English names except for one which my sister named Bansot because she was so small.

Nowadays, Filipinos have developed a liking for dogs with breed.  The most popular is the shih tzu, which can be found almost anywhere.  One cannot go to a mall or park and not see a shih tzu being carried by a human.

 Many of these dogs are now given cute foreign names such as Charming, Ashley, Princess, etc.  Even my dogs, who are all native ones, have proper names (Betty, Rod and Ted).  My sister in law's shih tzu is named Disney and my brother's girl Rottweiler is Margaux.

So whatever happened to Bantay, Tagpi and Tapang?  Perhaps the days of naming our dogs with good Filipino names are over.  Maybe, it's more "in" nowadays to give a dog a foreign name.  I still believe that Bantay, Tagpi and Tapang are still very much around but only with a different collar.  Or name.


  1. even naming of pets has evolved no?

  2. Indeed and even our attitude towards our pet has changed.

  3. Our beagle is named "Kokoy", seems to fit him well because of his "kolokoy" ways. Wanted to name him "Bantay" but many in the household protested since they want cute English names. Even "Kokoy" was met with some resistance, but I insisted.

    Hope to one day have a Boxer named bantay. =)

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