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Still unraveling the ‘Bigfoot’ enigma

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BIGFOOT founder Matt Moneymaker (right), with his team (from left): Cliff Barackman, James “Bobo” Fay and Ranae Holland

“We have been doing Bigfoot expeditions for years,” Matt Moneymaker, president and founder of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, told the Inquirer in a phone interview. “We have been taking people out to places where there had been sightings, and we’re the only ones who still do that.”

In the Animal Planet show “Finding Bigfoot,” the group searches for the elusive titular creature (also known as Sasquatch, Yeti or Abominable Snowman) and goes on a cross-country expedition intended to answer questions posed by the old, baffling mystery.

Investigating what witnesses consider as Sasquatch sightings, Moneymaker and his crew interview locals and examine evidence – activities that bring them to some possible forest habitats in Georgia, Washington, and Alaska, among other places.

“We’re not talking about a single mythical thing/monster figure,” he said. “We’re talking about a species that people have spotted in different places around the world.”

The “biggest worry” of the team is getting injured in the woods at night. “We worry about getting a stick in the eye, which can happen very easily when you’re sneaking around in the woods and chasing things in the dark in a forest. Then the next things obviously are mountain lions, big cats. Big cats are far more dangerous.”

The Bigfoot has long been described as a very tall, hairy creature that partly resembles an ape and has humanlike movements. Sightings have been reported in Malaysia, Northern Vietnam, India and China, aside from the United States. There have also been a couple of hoaxes, according to Moneymaker, but the researcher stated that there are also records of eyewitness accounts dating back to “hundreds of years.”

“It goes back way beyond; the faking didn’t start until the late 1960s, but there are very good descriptions of these things in artwork and stuff going back to the 1800s in the United States.”

Many supposed sightings turn out to be glimpses of bears or other animals, but these don’t dissuade the group from continuing their mission. “That’s what we try to investigate. When we go out, when we talk to witnesses or we go to a location, there are a few things you consider in those situations,” Moneymaker said. “It’s the circumstances and it’s the person. It’s just like what a lawyer would do in court. What you believe you saw, is that what really happened? So we have to analyze it that way and you end up still with a lot of them where there’s no way they could have been looking at a bear.”

Moneymaker added that more people from all over the world now believe in the existence of the enigmatic species. “I think it’s a good thing,” he said. “I guess [it means] they’re hearing, not just that some people in some place [believe] in something, but that some people in some place are saying they’re seeing something. That’s what’s happening here. It’s not a matter of ‘Do a lot of Americans believe they exist?’ No, but the amazing thing is how many Americans claim that they have seen one up close or from a distance. That’s the fascinating thing because it continues to happen. After you have a certain amount of witnesses, then you really have to listen to what they’re saying, if they’re all describing the same thing.”

And if a live Bigfoot were to be discovered, caught and studied, it would significantly affect human beings. “Here’s the analogy: the discovery of King Tut’s tomb by some archaeologists in the 1920s had this very big impact in the West where all of a sudden there was this huge sudden appreciation of the antiquities,” Moneymaker explained. “I think it will definitely create a resurgence of appreciation for the natural world, maybe the ancient world, too. It’s a benefit to you. It’s a very healthy thing and it really makes you appreciate your own land, wherever it is, in a way you wouldn’t have done before because you would never have made the effort to go to some of these wild places if not for these things.”

“Finding Bigfoot” airs Mondays (9 p.m.), Wednesdays (6 p.m.), and Saturdays (10 p.m.) on Animal Planet.

Garbage story

Cristy Peñacosa’s family sees garbage as a wellspring of hope for their otherwise empty stomachs.

In the documentary “Buhay Pagpag” on the program “Tunay na Buhay,” host Rhea Santos accompanies Cristy and her family while scouring the garbage bins of the metro in search for their next meal.

The docu, which shows how these leftover food or “pagpag” are cooked, eaten and sometimes sold to other people, airs tonight after “Saksi” on GMA 7.

Best of ‘Kapuso Mo’

This Christmas and New Year’s Eve, Jessica Soho recounts the year that was, featuring the most interesting fads and most hilarious stories, in “The Best of Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho 2011.”

The two-part yearend special airs tomorrow at 8:15 p.m. and Dec. 31 at 7:15 p.m on GMA 7.

Massacre account

“The Bottomline with Boy Abunda” replays the episode featuring Maguindanao Gov. Toto Mangudadatu tomorrow at 11:30 p.m. after “Banana Split” on ABS-CBN.

According to host Abunda, the guesting of Mangudadatu was one of the most riveting episodes he has done on the show. “The interview was done at the height of the Maguindanao massacre issue and I remember being so passionate about the issue,” Abunda recounted. “I was ready to listen to his story.”

The show features “bottomliners” Xiao Chua, Mike Lopez, Dr. Denis Ngo, Nini Santos-Borja, Caloy Conde and Reynafe Momay-Castillo, daughter of a massacre victim.


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Tags: Bigfoot , Boy Abunda , Entertainment , Garbage , Jessica Soho , Kapuso Mo , Maguindanao Massacre , Oliver M. Pulumbarit , Rhea Santos , Television , The Bottomline , Tunay na Buhay



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