BLOG – Local Heroes: Preserving the Negros Warty Pig in its Natural Habitat

BLOG – Local Heroes: Preserving the Negros Warty Pig in its Natural Habitat

The Negros warty pig (Sus cebifrons negrinus) is a critically endangered subspecies of the Visayan warty pig (Sus cebifrons), endemic to the islands of Negros and Panay in the central Philippines. It shares characteristics typical of wild pigs, with medium-sized, barrel-shaped bodies, short legs, and distinctive facial features including a disk-like nose and upturned tusks. Males are significantly larger than females, weighing up to 80 kilograms compared to females’ 40 kilograms. These pigs play a crucial role in seed dispersal within the Philippine islands’ ecosystems, mainly feeding on fruits, leaves, and earthworms. However, habitat loss due to logging and agricultural expansion, particularly for crops like sugarcane, has devastated their population. Encroachment onto cultivated lands has led to human persecution, as farmers view them as crop-raiding pests. Consequently, the Negros warty pig faces extinction, with populations dwindling to small, isolated groups. Efforts to conserve the species include successful breeding programs in various zoos worldwide, such as the Rotterdam Zoo and the San Diego Zoo. These captive populations serve as a lifeline for the species, ensuring its survival while conservationists work to address the root causes of its decline, including habitat destruction and hunting. In addition to conservation efforts in various zoos worldwide, local initiatives also contribute to the preservation of the Negros warty pig. “Tatay” Eti Rene Vendiola, based in Bacong and Siaton, plays a pivotal role in a locally driven breeding program. Located in the mountainous hinterlands of Bacong, near Valencia in Negros Oriental, Tatay Eti oversees a breeding program aimed at sustaining populations of the Negros warty pig within their natural habitat.     During a visit to Tatay Eti’s location at Liptong Woodland, he graciously shared insights into his efforts, showcasing one pair of these endangered pigs. His dedication to preserving the species within its native environment underscores the importance of community-driven conservation initiatives in safeguarding the Negros warty pig from extinction.

BLOG: Floral Delights of Dumaguete’s Public Market

BLOG: Floral Delights of Dumaguete’s Public Market

Nestled within the bustling aisles of Building 2 in Dumaguete’s public market complex lies a hidden gem: the vibrant flower stalls. While this market section primarily caters to the vegetable and fruit trade, it’s also a hub for all things floral, offering a fascinating glimpse into the city’s floral culture.         Traditionally, these stalls have been a go-to destination for funeral arrangements, providing fresh-cut flowers for somber occasions. However, in recent years, there’s been a noticeable shift in consumer behavior. The general populace has developed a fondness for flower bouquets and arrangements not just for solemn events but also to adorn their homes with natural beauty. From hotels seeking to create inviting atmospheres to seminar organizers aiming to infuse freshness into their spaces, fresh flowers have become indispensable. But it’s not just businesses that are embracing the floral trend; ordinary households are also incorporating blooms into their daily lives. Housewives, in particular, frequent the market to purchase small bouquets of flowers, using them as altar decorations to add a touch of elegance and serenity to their homes.       One of the most enchanting aspects of the flower stalls is the artistry that goes into crafting each arrangement. Skilled hands deftly work with fresh-cut flowers, transforming them into stunning bouquets and intricate displays. It’s a sight to behold, watching as colorful petals are arranged into harmonious compositions, each one a testament to the beauty of nature and the creativity of the florists. Wandering through the market, you’ll encounter a kaleidoscope of blooms in every hue imaginable. From delicate roses to cheerful sunflowers, there’s something to delight every floral enthusiast. And as you admire the floral offerings, you can’t help but feel uplifted by the fragrance and beauty that surrounds you.   So, whether you’re in need of funeral arrangements, seeking to brighten your home, or simply looking to indulge in the beauty of fresh flowers, the flower stalls of Dumaguete’s public market await. Step into this fragrant oasis, where the art of floral arrangement flourishes, and immerse yourself in the enchanting world of blooms.   See also our video about Dumaguete’s public market here: PUBLIC MARKET in DUMAGUETE

BLOG: : A Quail Tale: Behind the Scenes at the Dumaguete Public Market

BLOG: : A Quail Tale: Behind the Scenes at the Dumaguete Public Market

In the vibrant heart of the Dumaguete public market, amidst the colorful chaos of vendors and shoppers, I stumbled upon a scene that piqued my curiosity and led me into the fascinating world of quail eggs. Nestled on a spot of the pavement, a man meticulously sorted quail eggs from plastic boxes into egg trays specifically designed for these diminutive delicacies. Each tray, I discovered, was crafted to cradle exactly 100 of these tiny treasures, a testament to the precision and care involved in handling them.       What caught my attention even more was the familiar face of the man performing this task. I recalled seeing him before, during a previous visit when I documented the unloading of imported fruits from a truck.Little did I know then, these seemingly ordinary egg trays held a special significance in the intricate world of quail egg distribution. Curiosity led me to strike up a conversation with the man who delivered the quail eggs, and I soon found myself engrossed in the story behind these humble eggs. It turned out that he was part of a weekly ritual, where he journeyed to Dumaguete with a substantial delivery of quail eggs. These 3,500 eggs, meticulously repacked into the specially designed cartons, were destined for the bustling city of Bacolod.       As I delved deeper into conversation, I learned more about the intricate workings of his operation. He shared with me that he owned and operated a farm boasting around 4,000 quails, whose daily efforts yielded approximately 3,500 eggs. The sheer scale of this operation was both impressive and humbling, offering a glimpse into the dedication and hard work required to sustain such a venture. What struck me most about this encounter was the quiet dedication of this man and his unseen role in the intricate web of food distribution. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the market, he labored diligently, ensuring that these tiny eggs reached their destination with care and precision. In a world where the origins of our food are often obscured by convenience and efficiency, moments like these serve as a reminder of the stories that lie behind each bite we take. As I left the market that day, I couldn’t help but marvel at the humble quail egg and the extraordinary journey it undertakes before finding its place on our plates.  

Handicrafts from the sea: “Bebeboy”Aguirre’s shell handicrafts in Malatapay

Handicrafts from the sea: “Bebeboy”Aguirre’s shell handicrafts in Malatapay

Located at the Malatapay Port in Zamboanguita, Negros Oriental, there is a small handicraft stall that attracts the attention of many visitors. Here, at the Aguirres, you will find a variety of handcrafted treasures created from the beauty of the sea. This morning I was there again and was able to observe the busy hustle and bustle. It was market day in Malatapay and tourists were flocking to the stall. But something very special awaited me at Bebeboy and his wife’s – a selection of fascinating works of art made from shells.       Bebeboy has made curtains, chandeliers, room dividers, wind chimes and much more out of shells with great care and dedication. Each piece is unique and reflects the beauty and diversity of the underwater world.         However, before you buy a souvenir, you should find out about the export regulations for shell products. It’s important to note that not all mussels are legal to export, and you may encounter problems with customs if you bring them back home. Therefore, it is advisable to check with your own embassy or local authorities before purchasing Bebeboy Aguirres handicrafts are not only impressive decorative pieces, but also a tribute to the beauty of nature. A visit to his stall in Malatapay is a multi-sensory experience and an opportunity to take home a piece of Filipino craftsmanship.         ART SOUVENIRS by Bebeboy Aguirre | Malatapay | Zamboanguita  

Delights of Dumaguete City

Delights of Dumaguete City

Dumaguete City, known for its rich culture and vibrant markets, offers a unique culinary experience at its public market. Nestled at one of the central entrances from Real Street, the market bustles with vendors showcasing Filipino specialties and delicacies.       As you wander through the market, you’ll encounter stalls adorned with an array of enticing offerings. One cannot miss the aroma of hanging rice, a beloved Filipino staple, wafting through the air. Nearby, vendors display round cakes and toast, particularly popular during festive occasions like New Year’s Eve. Among the vendors stands one with a tempting selection of peanuts. From sweet, candied peanuts to roasted and salted varieties, there’s something to satisfy every craving. However, it’s the peanuts boiled in saltwater, still nestled in their shells, that steal the show – a personal favorite for many visitors.       Yet, amidst the hustle and bustle of the market, there’s a curious tradition observed by one of the vendors. Like many older Filipinos, she holds a belief that photographs or videos of individuals grant control over them. As you capture the vibrant scenes of the market, she discreetly captures you, adhering to this age-old superstition. Exploring the public market in Dumaguete City is not just a culinary journey but also an immersion into local customs and beliefs. Each stall tells a story, offering a glimpse into the rich tapestry of Filipino culture. So next time you find yourself in Dumaguete, be sure to wander through its bustling market, where flavors and traditions intertwine to create an unforgettable experience.

Drying of copra

Drying of copra

Whenever I walk by somewhere and see something unusual, I think to myself: Should I take a photo of that or even make a video of it?   SEHENSWÜRDIGKEITEN VON NEGROS – BLOG – Trocknen von Kopra Here it was the many sacks on the side of the road with the hard inner shells of the coconut from which the coconut meat had been removed. In the sacks, the half shells looked like huge hazelnuts. The bags could be picked up and taken to another processing center to make charcoal from the husks. Since I couldn’t find anyone here to give me more information, I have to come back here to find out where the charcoal from the coconut shells is made. SIGHTS OF NEGROS – BLOG – Drying of copra SIGHTS OF NEGROS – BLOG – Drying of copra SIGHTS OF NEGROS – BLOG – Drying of copra The coconut, often referred to as the “tree of life”, is characterised by its remarkable versatility, as each part fulfils a specific purpose. Its fibrous husk is used to make coconut fibre for rope, the tough shell provides charcoal when burned, while the meat and water inside are consumed worldwide.However, the pinnacle of its usefulness lies in copra oil, which is extracted from the dried coconut meat (copra) and is prized for its myriad uses. The roots of coconut cultivation date back to the 5th century and thrive in tropical regions in the Pacific islands, India, China, Africa and South America. Currently, more than 3.5 million tonnes of coconut oil are produced worldwide, mainly in the Philippines and Indonesia, which together supply more than three quarters of global production. According to forecasts, the global market for coconut oil will be worth almost 5 billion dollars by next year. Due to its tropical nature, potential health benefits and special fatty acid composition, copra oil is in constant demand. Its versatility spans culinary, cosmetic and industrial sectors, making it invaluable. Improved efficiency in the extraction of copra oil promises to unlock even greater potential from this prized fruit. The process of extracting copra oil begins with the labour-intensive harvest. Farmers carefully remove the husk and extract the liquid by cracking the coconut shell. While it is possible to produce virgin coconut oil from the raw kernels, drying the meat to extract copra is a common practice for subsequent oil extraction. Fresh coconut meat, which contains about 50% moisture and 34% oil, must be dried before processing. Farmers use various methods, such as sun-drying or fire-smoking, but with inconsistent results, resulting in copra with a moisture content of 5 to 20%. I found a copra dryer here by chance, which looked like a large smoking oven. A fire is lit next to the building and the heated air is channelled under the drying floor via a concrete duct. The dry goods were still in the system, but the firing had already been stopped and there was no-one in sight for miles around.  

Philippine cattle market in Bacong

Philippine cattle market in Bacong

There is still a cattle market every Wednesday in Barangay Malitapay, in the municipality of Zamboanguita, in Negros Oriental. But I found the really big cattle market by chance in the municipality of Bacong on google maps. After a few enquiries with the people, this was confirmed to me. Further confirmation came when we drove up the narrow road on a Saturday to the place where this Bacong cattle market was marked on the map. There were a few pigs, an open space and a truck with goats. Otherwise there was nothing going on. After talking to some people there, we knew that the cattle market is held on Sunday and Monday, with Monday being the busier day. We took a few photos and decided to come back here at 6 a.m. on Monday morning. [siteorigin_widget class=”WP_Widget_Media_Gallery”][/siteorigin_widget] We arrived on time on Monday morning and parked the pick-up far enough away so as not to be in the way. We would do that enough with our cameras when taking photos and filming. There are two cattle markets next to each other, separated by the road. At one, only cattle and water buffalo can be seen. The large double-decker cattle trucks are also parked here. Small and large transporters kept arriving. Water buffaloes and cattle were unloaded and tethered. Individual sellers stood with their animals in the open space in the middle, waiting for buyers. Animals are not bid on here like at an auction, instead everyone negotiates their price personally with the buyers. Tickets for use are issued at the entrance to both spaces and there is also an animal scale that can be used for weighing for a fee of 20 pesos. [siteorigin_widget class=”WP_Widget_Media_Gallery”][/siteorigin_widget] We then went over to the other cattle market, where there was already a great hustle and bustle of horns, heavy animal carcasses and people in between. It was amazing that the animals were hardly stressed by this. It was reasonably safe to walk past them and around the back without being stepped on. The pig dealers were also here. There were also a few horses and a few goats. There was even a test field where interested water buffalo customers could test the animal they wanted to buy with a plow.   We had another look at the cattle market, where only cattle and water buffalo were traded. A number of animals had already changed hands here and loading had already begun. Each cattle truck had its own crew. It was interesting to see how the animals were loaded. Sometimes it wasn’t so easy, especially when a stubborn animal was to be loaded onto the upper loading area. One of the cattle trucks was loaded with 7 water buffaloes and 2 cattle and was to be driven to the city of Bacolod, to the abattoir there. After loading, the double-decker cattle truck would make its way to Manila. He wanted to use the so-called ‘nautical highway’ for this. This meant that it would also make its way to Bacolod, but there it would go to the ferry port and cross over to Iloilo. Then he would cross the island of Pana to the ferry port to Caticlan near Boracay. From here, the ferry would take him to Roxas on Mindoro. He would then travel overland from Roxas to the port of Calapan. Here, the cattle truck would then be loaded onto the ferry to Batangas, before continuing by road to Manila. This journey usually takes three days. [siteorigin_widget class=”WP_Widget_Media_Gallery”][/siteorigin_widget] The cattle markets are catered for by very rustic, small restaurants in the style of carinderias with pre-cooked food in pots or displays. There is also plenty of rum and ice-cold beer here, as many a good purchase or sale has to be toasted. We then drank our coffee here and had a rest from walking around. A cattle vendor had already finished his work and treated himself to some strong beer and gave his environment a taste of his karaoke skills A few small stores have set up stalls on the public streets, selling fruit and vegetables, dried fish and a few other things.   A water buffalo changes hands for 35,000 to 45,000 pesos, and a large Brahman cow costs 75,000 pesos. You can imagine how much cash a buyer carries around in his shoulder bag. [siteorigin_widget class=”WP_Widget_Media_Gallery”][/siteorigin_widget]   If you are interested in the hustle and bustle of a Philippine cattle market after this report, you might want to watch the video I was able to film that day WILD EAST BEASTS – #cattlemarket | Philippines  

Fish landing at Tambobo Bay in Siaton

Fish landing at Tambobo Bay in Siaton

On our exploratory trip along the Bonawon Coastal Highway from Zamboanguita to Siation in the province of Negros Oriental, we arrived at the local fishing port on Tambobo Bay towards the end. By chance, we were lucky enough to see fish being brought ashore during our visit. There were several fishmongers on site with their vehicles, buying up large quantities of freshly caught fish. [siteorigin_widget class=”WP_Widget_Media_Gallery”][/siteorigin_widget] We were also allowed to buy and take home five kilograms of two types of fish for our own use. It was a great experience to see how the large quantities of fish were sorted, weighed, packaged and sold. [siteorigin_widget class=”WP_Widget_Media_Gallery”][/siteorigin_widget]   I was able to capture the landing of fresh fish here in the fishing port of Siaton as part of the following video SIGHTS at BONAWON COASTAL HIGHWAY | Siation | Negros Oriental  

The poor man’s lumboy cigarettes

The poor man’s lumboy cigarettes

Today’s blog is all about the lomboy tree and its many uses in the form of its fruit, wood and leaves. These trees grow not only in the Philippines, but also in other tropical Asian countries. In the Philippines, lomboy trees thrive in all types of soil, whether in rural or urban areas.   Wood The wood of the lomboy tree is used as a reliable material for the construction of houses, furniture such as tables, chairs and other household furniture.   Lomboy fruits   Lomboy fruits are sweet, purple-colored and elongated. Unfortunately, it is not easy for children to get hold of the fruit as the trees grow larger and taller. Apart from the tasty fruit, black plums also have health benefits. Black plums are rich in vitamin C, iron, magnesium and other nutrients. In the Philippines, some mature trees grow up to 30-40 meters high. At this size, it is difficult for children to reach the fruit.   Lomboy leaves for cigarette tubes   Lomboy leaves are used by Filipinos, especially those who cannot afford to buy commercial cigarettes. Buying lomboy leaves is cheaper than buying regular cigarettes. A few cartons of regular cigarettes are equivalent to a bundle of hand-rolled dried Lomboy cigarette cartons. Each bundle of Lomboy cigarettes contains 50-100 cartons. The only problem with buying Lomboy rolling papers is their availability. If you are in a city and want to buy Lomboy leaves, it will be difficult to get them as these Lomboy leaves are only available in rural markets. Lomboy leaves as cigarettes are not only popular among older people but also among young smokers. With the rising prices of commercial cigarettes, the younger generation of Filipino cigarette smokers are slowly preferring lomboy leaves. Their popularity among smokers is due to their affordability. One can buy a bundle of Lomboy cigarettes for a few pesos. Another reason for the preference of Lomboy cigarettes over regular cigarettes is that they are supposedly nicotine-free.   Production of Lomboy cigarettes     Hand-rolled lumboy leaves and dried tobacco leaves belong together and are also sold together. The steps for making lumboy leaves are described below: Step 1. cut the tobacco leaves vertically. Step 2: Place the cut tobacco leaf inside the dried lomboy leaf. Step 3 Roll each of the lomboy leaves by hand. Step 4. heat each of the lomboy leaves over kerosene or oil lamp for 3-5 seconds. The manufacturers of Lomboy cigarettes pack the finished products in cellophane with a certain number of Lomboy cigarettes in each cellophane, and they are ready for distribution to their customers.   Source of income In the Philippines, the Lomboy cigarette industry has become a source of income for thousands of Filipinos. For them, a small income can be a big help in meeting their daily financial needs, especially in times of the pandemic when money is hard to come by.  

Nut traders at the old market building in Dumaguete

Nut traders at the old market building in Dumaguete

On Colon Street in the city of Dumaguete, starting at the Campanario de Dumaguete, the old watchtower next to the cathedral in the direction of the market, there are some old market buildings. This is where I found the nut vendors. The nuts are the small peanuts and the large coconuts. There is also a woman there who grinds the peanuts into peanut butter with the addition of brown sugar and butter. The coconut traders offer the old, fully ripe, brown coconuts. The hard flesh is grated out of these nuts and the coconut milk is squeezed out. This coconut milk is used in many Filipino dishes. The young coconuts are opened and the water, together with the young, still soft flesh, can be drunk and eaten as a refreshment. Try it yourself the next time you visit the market. [siteorigin_widget class=”WP_Widget_Media_Gallery”][/siteorigin_widget] All to see in this video: Old Market Building on Colon Street | DUMAGUETE