Dogs in the Philippine History: A chronicle of cultural and historical encounters with 'man's best friend'


Book Author Ian Christopher B. Alfonso narrates his journey of completing his book "Dogs in Philippine History" during the book launch held at the Presidential Car Museum at the Quezon City Circle, August 5, 2023.

QUEZON CITY, (PIA) — A book that discusses the nearly 4,000-year relationship of dogs and humans in the Philippines was recently launched at the NHCP Presidential Car Museum, Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City.

Dog lovers and history lovers gathered together to support the launch of the book Dogs in Philippine History by Ian Chistopher B. Alfonso published by Alaya Publishing, Project Saysay, and the Philippine Historical Association (PHA).

Scholars and popular figures who delivered their reviews during the book launch receive their printed copies at the event.

Author Ian Christopher B. Alfonso shared in an interview that he started gathering photos, paintings and illustrations back in 2013 while writing a narrative resulting in a book with 600 plus pages. 

“Hindi ko in-expect na kakapal ng ganyan ng 10 years kasi nga unti-unti dumarating ‘yung mga datos na dati talagang wala pang nagsusulat, ang hirap hanapin ng mga sources,” Alfonso stated. 

[I didn't expect it to be so thick in 10 years because the data is slowly coming that no one has written before, it's hard to find the sources.]

Alfonso added that the book also features some monuments of dogs in the Philippines such as “Kabang,” the hero dog of Zamboanga, who lost her snout for saving two children from a motorcycle crash.

He explained, dogs are also part of history and he envisioned that stories about dogs will also spark conversations about the Filipino culture and society in order to provide some solutions to the faults in our culture. 

“Lalo na meron tayong problema sa rabis hanggang ngayon. Baka may problema na ‘yung kultura natin? o problema ba talaga ‘yung kultura? Baka puwedeng mag-adjust ‘yung kultura? [Gaya ng] ginawa ng mga Hapon, pinilit nilang maka-diskubre ng bakuna para sa mga aso para lang maligtas ‘yung aso nila dahil ganon nila kamahal ‘yung mga aso nila,” Alfonso shared in an interview during the book launch. 

[Especially, we have a problem with rabies until now. Maybe our culture has a problem? or is culture really a problem? Maybe the culture can adjust? [As] the Japanese did, they tried to discover a vaccine for dogs just to save their dogs because they love their dogs that much.] 

Historian and Professor Xiao Chua delivers his testimonial during the book launch.

Historian and Professor Xiao Chua said during the book launch that the book “Dogs in Philippine History” is a public history that showed what the people and society did to dogs through the years.

One of the accounts shared during the event was about the Spanish Government's declaration of the existence of rabies in the Philippines during the 1800s. Every household is only allowed to have one dog, excess should be killed in order to prevent rabies since the anti-rabies vaccines were not yet available at the time. Those killed are ordered to be buried at Luneta until the arrival of vaccines in the country in the 1930s.

Alfonso said he hopes his book would enlighten society to learn from the faults of the past and develop a better culture away from a mediocre society. 

“Sana may ganun din tayong kultura na kaya niyang baguhin yung lipunan hindi lang yung kulturang lilipas lang na parang bahala na, nandyan na yan, parang yung mediocre na society. Sana gamitin natin yung mga faults ng kultura natin para makapagbahagi ng solusyon,” Alfonso stated.

[I hope we also have a culture that can change society, not just the culture that will just pass away as if it's okay, that's already there, like the mediocre society. I hope we use the faults of our culture to share a solution.]

In addition to the author, the following scholars and popular figures will speak at the launch: Dr. Emmanuel Franco Calairo, NHCP Chairperson; Dr. Ma. Luisa Camagay, President of PHA; Prof. Michael Charleston Chua, public historian and assistant professor of De La Salle University Manila; Ms. Mona Magno-Veluz, genealogist known on social media as Mighty Magulang; Mr. Taj Vitales, archaeologist from the National Museum of the Philippines; Dr. Vicente Villan, historian and anthropologist from the University of the Philippines Diliman; Dr. Jose Diaz, veterinarian and historian from the Cavite Historical Society; Dr. Nicolo Ludovice, animal historian and lecturer from the University of Hong Kong; and, Dr. Jose Victor Torres, historian and professor from the De La Salle University Manila.

Pet lovers were also allowed to bring their dogs and cats at the venue. 

Those who would like to avail of the book Dogs in Philippine History may order through the book's official Facebook page (


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