remember how former president and now congresswoman gloria arroyo exalted the lowly tuko (gecko) as an example of integrated pest management (one of the few times i agreed with what she said)? to look back, here’s an interesting article by historian ambeth ocampo on a tuko stealing the limelight from the former president while she was making a speech in lucena in 2003, and many other factoids about the animal and a historial accounting of other “pest managers” in olden times. 🙂
what do you know, we have a resident tuko in our kitchen, too! 🙂 (if you enlarge the photo, that approximates the real size of our tuko.) actually, i think we have more than one of them. ours is an open kitchen, looking out to the backyard, so it means there are lots of insects (gamo-gamo, mosquitoes) at nighttime attracted to the glare of the fluorescent lamp and the smell of human blood (of the inhabitants). the insects must be like a flying buffet spread to the regular lizards (of which we have too many), bullfrogs (we have quite a number of these too), and the tukos.
one thing that i found really interesting in ocampo’s article was that the tukos (like a host of other animals) were also used to foretell the future. he said, “some people use the tuko for fortune telling. you ask a question silently as soon as you hear the tuko sound, then assign a yes and no alternately each time the gecko makes a sound, the answer to your question is the last yes or no you get when it stops.” (ha.ha, doesn’t that remind you of a little girl picking flower petals one by one asking if she is loved or not?). well, anyway, don’t be suprised if you find me silently staring at our pet tuko on the ceiling foretelling (nay, begging for) my fortune like every filipino in lotto-crazed philippines nowadays. with the prospect of bagging the biggest jackpot of 400 million, i’ll be asking our lucky tuko, “will i hit the jackpot tomorrow? yes or no? i hope it stops making sounds at “yes”. otherwise, you can be sure i’ll be posting a food-related article next on yet another exotic kapampangan specialty — adobong tuko. 😛
but before it meets that delicious fate. i should start a “name-the-tuko contest” among the 3 kids here (the littlest one used to be frightened of it, especially when it made the “tuuuukooo” sound, but now she’s used to it). i have quite a few ideas myself (just looking at the roster of names in congress), but i think i’ll reserve that for another day — the day when i see a crocodile swimming in our backyard.