Archive for the ‘Animal Farm’ Category

weeds in the garden

This is what our garden looked like at the start of spring. The Babii loved it. And so did the piggies.

 weeds and piggies

Oh, this is just like the rain forests of Peru!!!!


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If the cat calls, tell him we're out....

It started out with two piggies in 2009. The Babii wanted a pet and ended up with two guinea pigs. Unfortunately, we realized belatedly that one of the piggies was a “he” instead of a “she,” and a few months later we had baby piggies!

piggie family

At that point I established a house rule: two piggies only. The Babii had to give away the baby piggies.

goodbye, piggies

After a lot of tears and drama, that is.

Piggies are quite low maintenance compared to cats and dogs. They are vegetarian, like to burrow in their little caves and pretty much entertain themselves as long as you give them enough space. After a while of getting used to your presence, however, they can get pretty demanding.

In our case, as soon as they hear the Babii coming down the stairs early in the morning, they start squeaking and hooting. Squeak! Squeak! Give us our breakfast!

The squeaking can get pretty insistent, especially when they hear a bag rustling or smell the vegetables being chopped in the kitchen. (Apparently, they have a very strong sense of smell.) They also like to perch on their bowl and give us forlorn looks, especially when the Babii is at school, because they know that their squeaking doesn’t work on the adults.

They have also learned a new trick: turn over the food bowl so the humans will give more food! We learned that pretty fast.

 two and a half years of piggies

A year passed without another set of babies, and we all heaved a sigh of relief. I was in favor of having Mudbud (the male) neutered, but R was more of a “let’s not interfere with nature” kind of guy. Looking back, perhaps it was already an indication that something was wrong with Mudbud. A few months later the incident with the dog happened, and then it was good bye for him.

Piggies are social animals, and it is not good for them to be alone. We found Miss Piggy another companion, but made the same idiot mistake thinking “he” was a “she.” A few months later, and viola:

Coco goes loco

As if that wasn’t bad enough, she became pregnant again! With quadruplets!

piggie quadrupletsPiggie fluff balls!

So technically, we now have seven piggies. Theoretically, we are keeping only four: Miss Piggy, Mikeru (the female who turned out to be male), Coco their eldest offspring (male), and the sole female piggy of the last batch who still remains unnamed. (So much for house rules.) We will be keeping the males and females in separate cages to avoid further….er…. procreation.

The other three males we are giving away. The Babii has been forbidden from naming them, so at the moment they go by: the brown one, the caramel one, and the gray one who looks like a rat.

Once a piggy gets comfortable with their surroundings, their personalities start to show.

Mudbud was a glutton and quite daring (piggies tend to be timid and high strung). He would brave the presence of humans for the sake of food. (And hence the failure to run away quickly when the dog came.) Miss Piggy is domesticated but always suspicious. She runs away at the smallest things.

Mikeru lives on the wild side. He is not used to human touch, mostly because when he arrived, the Babii was still so heartbroken over Mudbud that she left him alone for a long time.

Coco is slowly getting used to people, and probably feels quite harassed when the Babii plays with him.

piggie umbrellaThe Babii’s piggie house made of weeds

The babies are also starting to show their personalities and they are sooooo cute. But NO. They really have to go. I am not about to start a piggy farm here (besides, I don’t want to be known as the “pig lady”).

Anyone want to adopt some piggies?

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caramel piggie

R was asking the Babii to clean her piggies’ cage, but she couldn’t find the little shovel for scooping their poop.

R: “Honey, where’s the poop scoop?”

Me: “Honey, it’s in the shed.”

R: “Honey, can you go get it?”

Me: “Honey, you know me. If I start juggling things in the shed, I will start juggling things in the garden. Then I will say: ‘Honey, can you help me?'”

R: “Never mind, I’ll get it.”

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A Daily Dose of Cats

There are always cats, wherever we go. These two were having a late afternoon romp on our driveway.

Cats at Home

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A sleeping cat, that is.

Cat in the Pot

Here’s wishing life would be this easy this year. 😀

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R and his family are regulars at Hinobaan, a town by the sea at the southernmost tip of the island of Negros. I had been hearing so much about the place for the past decade, and I was quite excited when a weekend trip was planned during our holiday.

First off, the trip was pleasure mixed with business, although thankfully not mine. It took us most of the day to navigate our way south, taking a few detours to Isabela, Binalbagan, Hinigaran, Ilog and Sipalay. For those who know Negros geography, yes, we went back and forth a little bit.

HinobaanThe shores of Hinobaan are peppered with vacation houses for rent.

We arrived after dark at the rented vacation house and got busy getting dinner ready (I assigned myself chief fanner of the charcoals for the grill). A note of caution for city dwellers: when it’s dark in the countryside, it’s really dark. Street lights are few and far between, and of course, there are no lights on the water except for the fishing boats. We fell asleep with the cool wind and the sound of the waves.

The next morning presented better opportunities for photographs.

HinobaanLook, a chicken! Oh yeah, and coconuts too.

There were so many chickens happily walking around. I suspect we ate some of them for lunch. A little tough but quite tasty.

R and I spent most of the time lounging around under the shade of the coconuts, keeping an eye on the Babii as she happily toasted herself in the water to the color of a perfectly done lobster. I experimented with the camera (which I have never really learned to use), but the blinding sun made it hard to see the pictures I had taken. (I realized only much, much later that my lens was dirty. Dirrrrrty. Que horror!)

HinobaanSpot the difference.Pun intended.

Somewhere along the way, a sand crab wandered towards us which R (of course) had to pick up.


Something really has to be said about my family and bugs. A few weeks ago the Babii picked up a snail and chased me around the house with it. The night we arrived in Hinobaan, I had my revenge when R chase her with a labug-labug (coconut beetle). Thankfully, this time around R was too busy helping me get a good shot of the crab that he forgot the time-honored tradition of chasing me with bug in hand.

SandcrabAlthough technically, a crab is not a bug.

We ended our last day with a beautiful sunset….

Hinobaan sunsetThe Babii basking in her sunset.

Although we live in Jaffa right next to the Mediterranean, it is not so easy to catch the sunsets. But the Babii just loves them. I think it has something to do with some singing mermaid with an orange pearl.

On the way back we took the ubiquitous Ceres bus. The trip took about five hours, with a few rest stops along the way.

Things I learned from this trip:

1. Most stores close at 6pm in the countryside.

2. Most stores are closed on Sunday in the countryside. (Ah, the good old days.)

3. Most of the food you need are available at the public markets, perhaps even in more organic forms. But mineral water may be hard to come by.

4. After two hours of sitting in the bus, your butt starts to hurt.

5. Wearing a sundress on a Ceres bus is NOT a good idea. (But I ran out of clothes!)

6. When going to the beach for three days, remember to bring the other half of your swimsuit.

7. If you forgot to bring food on the bus, have no fear! The manuglibod (ambulant vendors) will bring you banana cue, mineral water, candies, peanuts, siopao, hard boiled eggs, and sandwiches. Take your pick.

8. Negros has a lot to offer in terms of tourism. It still needs more development, but I think the local government already understands this and has taken steps in this direction. I just hope that whatever development we get, it will be sustainable and beneficial for everyone.

For more information about Hinobaan, click here.

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I have been sorely remiss with my blogging duties this past week, but I have a very compelling reason: I am on vacation! (The best reason everrrrr.)

We have been in Bacolod less than a week and R has been dragging me to restaurants left and right because “it’s on the list.” How sweet. If I didn’t know any better, I would say he is just doing this so I would have nothing to complain about when we fly out. 😛

Less than a week and already we’ve been to a lot of restaurants. The only problem is I feel very self-conscious about whipping out my camera to take pictures. There are so many bloggers from Bacolod, but how come I don’t see anyone using their cameras in restaurants???? (Note to self: must go out more.)

Anyway, it’s not like I remember to take pictures. As usual, the dish is halfway to my stomach by the time I remember.

Bob’s North Drive

Our first stop was Bob’s for some Chicken sate and fruit punch. That went well for my stomach and not so well for my blog. The chicken tasted the same (i.e. great), but the portions were noticeably smaller. This is a trend that I noticed later in the week. Restaurants are feeling the economic pinch.

Chicken House

We took Cousin N and family to lunch at Chicken House, which again had great food but smaller portions. And smaller plates too! So hard to maneuver the chicken around it. For a group of 6, we paid around P1,000. My, how times have changed. (Generation gap showing here.)


cream puff

Finally, a picture!

In truth, I ate my cream puff right away. But the Babii was slow, so I got to take a picture of hers. It tasted the same, but there was a lot less custard underneath. Sigh.

We ordered three sets of cream puffs, hot chocolate for the Babii, cafe mocha for R, green tea for me, and a lemon meringue pie for good measure. Total bill was P485.

Mai Pao

Our first Sunday found us at Mai Pao, ordering food good for five (or six) people. We started with bird’s nest soup, then built up to  baskets of mushroom, quail egg and pork siomai.

 Mai Pao

Then we got really rolling with some Mai Pao fried rice, fried noodles, lemon chicken and salt and pepper shrimp. On hindsight, we should have ordered plain rice to offset the richness of the food, but the fried rice was fantastic! And I realized how much I missed Chinese chorizo.

Mai Pao Salt and Pepper Shrimp

Total bill was around P1,000. I’m rounding off, as it was actually P900++. For this much food, it was well worth it. (We ended up bringing the leftover rice and shrimps home.) The service was great, and the waiter even remembered us from two years back.

The best part was, NO MSG! And I know this for sure because I get allergic reactions from MSG.

Breakthrough (Iloilo)

Okay, so technically this is not Bacolod, but this week we also found ourselves on a day trip to Iloilo. Friends Rose and Mark took us out for lunch at Breakthrough, which is a seafood restaurant in a suburb off Iloilo City.

They have this pool where the seafood swim around until someone decides to eat them. (Note to self: Don’t bring PETA people here.)

Iloilo SeafoodWhoa, that’s some lobster.

We had green mangoes in ginamos (fermented shrimp paste), oysters, milk fish, crab meat, something like a snapper in soup, steamed prawns, and lechon (roast pig– hahaha, YES). Whew, just like typical Ilonggos, Rose and Mark definitely know how to entertain.

We were all bondat (stuffed) after lunch, and R and I were worried that we would have some barf bag episodes on the ferry back to Bacolod. Mercifully, the sea wasn’t choppy and I fell asleep on the way back.


I will still be on holiday for the rest of the month, so I can’t promise to be coherent or to even blog regularly :-(. But I do promise to collect lots of stories and tell them all when I get back.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!


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