Why do “S” words sound salty? “Stormy”, “scoundrel”, “scheming”, “sinful”, “sinister”, and (cover your ears, youngsters) “salacious” – sibilants that susurrate delicately yet have a sneaky quality to them. In fact, this next word can render you speechless – “snakes”. People shudder when they think of snakes. Snakes are some of the most unpopular creatures on earth. The thought of their supple, scaly bodies slithering over yours will stun you and make you break out into a sweat.
Let’s not slander the snake although it was chosen by God to be the symbol of Satan in the Garden of Eden. The serpent was smart and seductive. Did Eve suppress a scream? She was probably spellbound. Don’t sneer at snakes. They’re superb creatures. In the Chinese Zodiac, Snake people are soft-spoken, passionate, sympathetic, humorous, cunning, clever, sensual… Since I was born in the Year of the Snake, does this makes me *cough, cough* all of the above?
Snakes have been given a lot of bad press. This time, let me give them good pressss. Ssssooo, why did God create snakes? Kaila Ledesma Trebol (environmentalist, marine biologist, mermaid, and plastic trash annihilator) said, “Snakes are important to the environment and control pests. We need them.” Now, don’t be sullen. Stop being suspicious of snakes.
What do we do when we meet a snake? Snake, meet Human. Human, meet Snake. Kaila advices to be still, and let the snake cross and go its merry sublime way. Let’s show Their Slithering Highness that we humans have good manners. After all, snakes are quite snooty and do not bother with us mere mortals unless we threaten them. Our usual reaction is to kill these creatures. This is so sad because Kaila says that many of the snakes are harmless. If you actually meet one, do these steps: 1) Scream. 2) Tear out your hair. 3) Scream some more. 4) Do not run. 5) Leave His Slithering Highness alone. 6) Send private message to Café Reptilya who will have someone go over and rescue His Slithering Highness from you, you awful, over-acting human.
If you’re done with over-acting over snakes, visit Café Reptilya which is at the 2nd floor of Sorrento at 13th Street, so you’ll get to meet Medusa’s playmates and eventually develop not only sympathy for these misunderstood animals, but also erase any aversion you have towards them. Heal the strained relationship between man and reptile as you sip a cup of latte and slurp on a bowl of Asian Noodles. Sink into one of the comfy settees, or sit at a glass-topped and –sided table enclosing either a corn snake, or a leopard gecko, or a king snake. The café sits about 25 humans.
Café Reptilya charges a consumable entrance fee of P100, and an additional P100 for a “one-on-one animal encounter experience.” Make friends with a dwarf boa constrictor, a ball python named Ivory, a Burmese python, a Brazilian rainbow boa named Mickey, an iguana, a suave-looking bearded dragon lizard, and gecko lizards. There are 12 snakes and 8 lizards at the café. The breeders of these beauties hold a Certificate of Wildlife Registration (CWR) to assure loving humans that no illegal trading or poaching was ever done. These are all captive-bred. I meant the reptiles. I don’t know with the humans.
Kaila emphasizes the vision of Café Reptilya and that is to have people learn to love animals that are unlikely to be loved. The enterprise exposes people to these animals and hope that people will learn to love them.
Café Reptilya opens everyday except Mondays from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Go ahead, snuggle up with a snake.