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Welcome 2023, the year of the Rabbit!



I have always been fascinated by astrology. But, as time passed, I realized that life is more than astrology. I became more immersed in the realities of governance and development in society. More than the stars and the sun pre-ordaining my luck and fortune, what matters more to me is my ordinary neighbor’s primary and staple concern: food and safety.


As years went by, I developed a greater interest in life issues than in the trivialities of one’s fashion and social trends. I react quickly when my zodiac forecast for the day tells me I will have a bad day. But it turned out that I had a full, fun time with lots of accomplished tasks and new-found friends as day ended. Or, when my zodiac reading would tell me I would have a lucky streak within the day, that’s when I found myself despondent over misfortunes instead!


If things go awry, blame not your zodiac sign. Instead, look to yourself for your personal choices. We decide what we do, accept the results, and lessons will show us how to manage things the next day.


Still, according to ancient beliefs, zodiac signs and the myths that go with each amaze me no end. So I remain curious about what may be at stake in the future. The Chinese look to the 12 animal signs by year, and the Westerners, through the ancient Babylonians, see them as stars by birth sign. According to myths, in China, the Jade Emperor used animals to determine time through a race across the river. By the stroke of his command, 12 animals turned out the fastest, in this order: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. On the other hand, the Babylonians based their astrological signs according to the positioning of the Earth and the stars against the sun. Still, the names of the Western Zodiac came from Greek mythology after the names of a god or a goddess, namely Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces.


Of course, all these are part of the excitement of astrology. Some call it the “science” of mythology, others see it as pseudo-science or superstition.


When I was in high school, after the daily puzzle, I would look at the back page of the newspaper to see the new reading for my zodiac birth month sign, Taurus. On the other hand, my zodiac animal sign for my birth year is the Horse.


Did my horoscope speak well last year? How did my signs work to bring a smile and hope to my life? 2022 was the year of the Water Tiger, ending on January 21, 2023. My Chinese astrologer friend in Chinatown, Manila told me that people born under the zodiac animal sign of the Horse would improve significantly in 2022, and their careers will develop and improve rapidly. Did I believe it? That’s the subjective notion of feeling and desire. I think I did!


The tiger is out, and the rabbit is in 2022 was the Year of the Tiger, known as daring, fearless, wild, solitary, and unpredictable. If you had shown any of these characteristics in facing the challenges last year, the forecasts for your zodiac sign should have worked well for you.


Enter the Year of the Rabbit. It will commence on January 22, 2023, and end in the same month of the following year. My Chinese friend, Kong-Wei, describes the rabbit for its agility, timidity, being shy but curious, playful and high-spirited in looking at the environment. I remember Bugs Bunny, my favorite cartoon character in the 60s, along with Casper, the friendly ghost, and Popeye, the Spinach-eating sailor man. Bugs Bunny was a happy-go-lucky jumping cute animal with long ears, a short tail, long hind legs, and the famous incisors or long front teeth, munching the crispy carrot.


Bunnies are smart. They solve problems and can do tricks. They have a sharp sense of smell, sight, and hearing, which help them defend themselves from danger. When they sense a predator, they stop and blend effortlessly with the terra firma. They eat organic. Like pet dogs, they are loyal and friendly. They are inexpensive and do not require high maintenance. I want to bring home my point: I have become bolder and a risk taker since I gained a more political and keener sense of life’s realities. How can we not be when there is more to lose than to gain if we don’t take risks and experiment with the new? Now, I want to go ahead with my story. It’s the year of the rabbit. It’s the year to try to make discoveries, take risks, and be bolder.


Food for thought


One of my previous travels outside Bicol before the Pandemic -from Manila back to Naga- was a trip to the rabbit farm in Batangas owned by the late entrepreneur cum social activist Vic Clemente. Vic initiated me to the world of rabbit production for poverty alleviation and food security. Since that unusual initiation, I have considered the rabbit a lifesaver, a development panacea to poverty. Rabbit is food! It’s easy to propagate. It’s healthy, clean, and organic.


Vic offered us a sumptuous late lunch of rabbit meat cooked as adobo, broiled or inasal, and fried with hot steaming rice. I am semi-vegan but could not refuse because going to his farm was about trying the delicacies and learning why rabbit meat can be an answer to food scarcity and poverty alleviation. Rabbit meat tasted like chicken and frog meat. Vic and his kitchen staff did a good chef’s job! The meat was a bit sweet, soft, and delicately flavored. Rabbit meat is very safe to eat when cooked thoroughly, like one cooks other animal meats. But people worldwide, especially Filipinos, have different views about cooking rabbits for food — even though humans have eaten them since immemorial. It was wartime food. Many communities in Malta, France, Italy, and China eat rabbit meat. Years back, I had proposed for the Department of Agriculture to experiment and dare to develop rabbit farms in Bicol.


Welcome 2023, the Year of the Rabbit!

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