HISTORICAL ANIMALS A historical record of snakes from Manila by Wally Suarez
In its historical sense, the city of Manila, encompassed only the boundaries of what is currently Intramuros, with the arrabales, or suburbs, surrounding it belonging to the kingdom of Tundun, which was variously referred to as Tunduk, or Tondo. Over time, these adjacent areas became absorbed under a greater Manila, although the degree of development was mostly centered on Intramuros and the business centers of nearby Escolta, Divisoria, and Binondoc, now Binondo. The fringes of the city were still mostly covered in forests of variable intactness; one only needs to be reminded that during the critical moments prior to the outbreak of the 1896 revolution, Andres Bonifacio and his men gathered at Makangkong, within Balintawak, with the place being chosen due to the protective nature of its dense forests, apart from its higher elevation which provided tactical advantage over the lower terrains of Kalookan and into the entrance of the Manila city proper, located in present day Monumento. Similarly, Tandang Sora’s property was located deep into the forest, and provided security for recuperating Katipuneros. Nevertheless, in contrast to the Germans and the British, the Spanish displayed very little interest in natural history, and due to the paucity of D one can only wonder what species have we since lost during
the course of Manila’s development as a city. Still, La Real Sociedad Economica de Amigos del Pais, established on April 26, 1781, had as one of its agenda a study of the colony’s natural history, although, as was pointed out by Edward H. of Philippine snakes was but a “juvenile attempt”. Edward H. Taylor is of course, perhaps the most D to have ever worked on Philippine reptiles and amphibians. In 1919, his The Snakes of the Philippine Islands was written and published three years later in Manila, and this work provides us a glimpse of the snake species found within the city until the early part of the 20th century. This paper is heavily drawn from this work by Taylor. For the purposes of this article we shall be operating within a conceptual + which means that every time it is mentioned, we are referring to Manila in its current sense, although it goes without saying that whatever occurred or still occurs within the city also existed or probably continues to exist on adjacent cities. Note too that the museum specimens from the Bureau of Science mentioned here no longer exists, after the heavy destruction of the building complex after the Second World War.