Philippine economy

Balikatan means teaching US troops how to drink cobra blood

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Balikatan means teaching US troops how to drink cobra blood

Pfc. Samantha Van Winkle

Philippine soldiers teach their American counterparts how to survive in a Philippine jungle

MANILA, Philippines – They made the US Army soldiers do it last year, and they made them do it again this year. 

The elite unit of the Philippine Army, the Special Forces (SF), taught US Army soldiers how to trap and eat a snake – a king cobra, no less – as part of the jungle survival training exercises for the annual Balikatan war games. Photos of the exercises were released on Friday, April 25.

The exercises also taught the US soldiers how to find potable water and start a fire, among other necessary skills to survive Philippine jungles.

NATURAL WATER. A US soldier drinks from a cut branch. U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Samantha Van Winkle/Released

MAKING FIRE. US troops try to start a fire using bamboo sticks. U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Samantha Van Winkle/Released

The biggest Balikatan war games in 15 years kicked off on Monday, April 20, against the backdrop of China’s continuing reclamation activities in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

The deputy commander of the United States Marine Corps Forces in the Pacific, Brigadier General CJ Mahoney, stressed the need to hold exercises not only with the Philippine military but with other allied militaries in the region. (READ: US to PH: War games ‘sharpening the sword and the bolo’ vs bullies)

“We are also honing our lethal military skills, the core elements of the profession of arms, to allow us to inter-operate and cooperatively assist each other as well as other nations should the need arise,” Mahoney said in his speech at the opening ceremonies of Balikatan 2015.  – Carmela Fonbuena/


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