Captioned with “animal cruelty,” a netizen posted photos of carabaos fully painted in pink and adorned with messages such as Leni- Kiko 2022 on April 20. These carabaos were paraded during the rally of Vice President and presidential aspirant, Leni Robredo, with her running mate, Kiko Pangilinan, in Canlaon, Negros Oriental. Now deleted, the post garnered 11k reactions, 20.9k shares and 4.4k comments.

The Robredo–Pangilinan tandem went to the provinces of Negros Oriental and Siquijor to campaign on April 20. Farmers from Canlaon, Negros Oriental painted their carabaos pink, the campaign color associated with Robredo, and brought their carabaos to the “Pink Eruption Rally” to show their support for her presidential bid.

This is not the first time that animals have been painted and displayed at important events in the country. In Philippine history and culture, carabao painting has been part of festivities that pay tribute to farmers and their farm animals. This practice was first popularized in 2005, when the Karbo Festival was launched in celebration of the Viva Vigan Feast in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur. In 2018, the “Carabao de Colores” festival was initiated in the town of Vallehermoso, Negros Oriental and has since become part of the tradition there. Through art, the people paint carabaos to honor the hard-working farmers and express their gratitude for the bounties of the land and water.

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