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Dogs do not live on breed alone |

Pet Life

Dogs do not live on breed alone

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Nonie, an Aspin or asong Pinoy, looked around wide-eyed. He felt a little awkward wearing a barong Tagalog and fitted black slacks. But his handler, a volunteer from the Mandaluyong Animal Shelter, relaxed Nonie by talking to him in a calm, assuring voice.

Other Aspins like Nonie were walking around the Tiendesitas Events Area with their excited owners. Colorful Gigantes welcomed the guests while lively Philippine folk songs played in the background. A bahay kubo, stalls selling kakanin and strings of multi-colored banderitas overhead added to the festive atmosphere. Passers by knew that there was a grand dog show happening but were puzzled to see that there were no purebreed dogs in sight. All the participants were mutts, mongrels and native dogs…many of them adopted from the PAWS shelter or rescued from pounds. 

It was the Philippine Animal Welfare Society Aspin Club’s “Linggo ng Aspin,” a special day to celebrate the beauty and special traits of our very own native dogs.

The unique event sponsored by Pet One kicked off with a Filipiniana-themed agility course where participating aspins and their owners raced against one another to complete 10 fun challenges.

PAWS alumnae, Kimchi, (trained by PAWS volunteer and renowned dog trainer Chardy Ang) demonstrated how to perform each challenge. The most popular stations were the  luksong tinikling where dogs had to jump four mini-kawayan hurdles, the pabitin where the owners had to instruct their aspins not to lick or eat any of the hanging treats and the tumbang preso where dogs must dutifully stay in an assigned mat while their owners tried to topple three tin cans using rubber slippers. 

As the obstacle course was all in the spirit of fun, owners were also given the option to perform the tasks if their dogs refuse to do it. Eliciting wild cheers from the audience was the sight of dog owners crawling their way through a tunnel dubbed as “Puto Bumbong” or jumping through a tire in the “Gulong ng Palad” station.

In the end, aspins Chikkita (owned by Cherry Jane Gotamco), Lucius (owned by Chona Caballero) and Snoop (owned by Aasish Mirpuri & Mary Joy Palangue) took home the trophies for 3rd, 2nd and 1st place respectively. Lucius, a disabled dog with a defective hind leg, completed the agility course with an impressive time of 6 min. 13 sec. while champion Snoop finished in 4 min. 12 sec.

Another highlight of the event was the “Ginoo & Binibining Aspin” pageant. 37 canine contestants strutted onstage to showcase their best Filipiniana costume.

The board of judges were composed of Asia’s Next Top Model mentor Joey Mead-King, international model Vanessa Matsunaga and TV host Divine Lee together with Dr. Arwinnie Serrano, chairman of the BAI-Committee on Animal Welfare.  

After a very tough deliberation, they declared race champion Snoop and Hany (owned by Jeng and Aaron Mamiit) as the 2014 Ginoo and Binibining Aspin winners with the following as runners-up :


* Nonie / handler : Jeremy Hsy from Mandaluyong Animal Shelter

* Oreo / owner : Lida Tengco


* Leo / owner : Jeng and Aaron Mamiit

* Chilli / owner : Cherry Gotamco

“With this event, PAWS hopes to awaken a sense of national pride in Pinoys and at the same time make Filipinos realize that native dogs are just like us – a mix of many nationalities or ‘breeds’ but still uniquely beautiful and intelligent,” explains PAWS director Rich Ilustre. “We see the aspins as one of the nation’s most overlooked treasures, an underdog in every sense, and we want to change that perception through our Aspin Club events.”

The PAWS “Linggo ng Aspin” was made possible with the support of Pet One, Frontline Plus, Tiendesitas, Betterdog Canine Bahavior Center, McDonald’s, Native Shoes, Swell Sweets and STAR Pet Life Section.

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