Local Government Help During COVID-19 Lockdown

Distribution of COVID-19 relief packages to residents of San Roque, Baclayon. Quite well-organised, each Purok (or “Ward” in English) is assigned a specific time for pick-up of their packages. One package per household. This is the third instance I have witnessed in our Barangay since March, coming from Barangay, Municipal and Provincial government. The first consisted of 5 kg rice and 4 tins of food. The second was a cash grant of 500 pesos. The third, 5kg rice, a pack of mung beans, 1kg cuts of frozen chicken, vermicelli noodles, and tinned foods.

Since March 16, 2020, the country has been under a state of calamity which brings into effect, for six months, the following: price control of basic needs and commodities, granting interest-free loans, distribution of calamity funds, authorization of importation and receipt of donations, and hazard allowance for public health workers and government personnel in the fields of science and technology.

Community Quarantine: Visit to our Public Market

The Dry Goods area of Baclayon Public Market

9AM, Monday, Baclayon Public Market. This is probably just about a kilometer walk from home. With my Quarantine Pass, wearing mandatory face mask. Dry goods available all days and most times, while wet market goods have display times (always fresh). Livestock are available only on Market Day.

I got some veggies, fruits, ‘panakot’ (saute vegetables like garlic and onion), mais rice (corn grits, for an experiment on making fried breads), squid (the thin pink ones, 180 pesos per kilo), vinegar and sugar (for making pickled green papaya), St Francis Bread, hopia, a faucet (the one in the kitchen might give up at any time), paint thinner and brushes (I still have to finish painting the bathroom), bleach, cheap second hand cooking oil (for a DIY wood floor polish recipe), and fresh Ramen and dry noodles.

The last time I went was 2 weeks ago, at 1PM, hot day so there was less people. I like going at odd times. Market Day for Baclayon is Wednesday.

After 14-Day Quarantine…

Plaza Rizal in Tagbilaran City up ahead.

March 25, 2020 – After our 14-day self-quarantine, I finally managed to go to the big city of Tagbilaran. We often go there to get items not available in our Municipality. These would be such things as German whole wheat bread (only white bread is available locally), cheese (real cheese, not “processed cheese”), milk (fresh milk, not powdered and fortified milk), butter (margarine is often what’s locally available), and that beef I’ve been so long wanting to get my hands on. The fresh vegetables and fruits are available in the local public market. Fresh pork and fish are also available in the public markets on certain days and hours.

I booked a tricycle to bring me to Tagbilaran City and back. We often use a tricycle for transport and I’ve been saving the driver’s names and mobile numbers over the past several months. It can be a very difficult getting transport where we live, especially in an emergency. Usually, we walk about half a kilometer to the highway where public utility jeepneys are available. But it isn’t easy these days with the entire island is on enhanced community quarantine and social distancing imposed. This means only 8 passengers in a jeepney instead of the usual 16 (or more!), and only 1 passenger in tricycles. No more ‘habal-habal’ (a popular local transport – back ride on motorcycles) for now.

When I arrived at 8:30AM, Tagbilaran’s streets were quite deserted, few people and vehicles. A few businesses still open. Cyber cafes are closed, some restaurants are closed. People 65 years old and above, below 18, are not allowed out unless absolutely necessary (i.e. medical, emergency etc). Barangay officials (local council or district) will soon be handing out Quarantine Passes.

I wore a mask. In Bohol, everyone is required to wear a mask when going out in public. I also wore simple, easy to wash clothes and tied up my hair. When I got home, I washed my clothes and had a bath before touching anything… And while I was at it, I decided to clean the bathroom as well … 😉

COVID-19 Case Update as of May 6, 2020 from the Philippine Department of Health

Pasteurizing Coconut Milk at Home

English Breakfast Tea with Coconut Milk.

If you have access to coconuts locally — coconut milk makes a fantastic creamer for tea, coffee and cacao. It tastes incredibly good with all types of tea, coffee and chocolate drinks. Add a dash of cinnamon and it’s perfect! It’s so much more delicious and nutritious, easier to make, and so much cheaper than rice, soy, oat or almond milks.

Fresh coconut milk is the best. Although coconut milk is available commercially as liquid or powder, you can go to your nearest public market or supermarket, buy a mature coconut and ask them to grate it for you. Most markets selling coconuts have electric graters. Then you can squeeze out the milk at home. Often, with fresh coconut milk, the problem is shelf life. Even if kept in the refrigerator, coconut milk may spoil in just 3-4 days. However, if you pasteurise it, it will last much longer. Mine lasts for about 10 days, sometimes much longer. I use a quick pasteurisation process: put coconut milk in a stainless steel pot, heat gently to around 70-80 degrees Celsius, below simmering, for about 15-20 seconds. This process will destroy pathogens and spoilage organisms. And that’s it! But don’t let the coconut milk boil. All you really need to do is warm it up to below simmering temperature. But since pasteurisation is not sterilisation, you will need to refrigerate the coconut milk after pasteurisation.


Sow Number 3’s Fifth Parity

Number 3’s Fifth Parity
Serviced by Pinky Boar March 1, 2019
Farrowed June 25, 2019

May 29, Number 3 was transferred to the Maternity Pen. She ate plenty of pineapples. She looked happy and comfortable. By evening, she started that characteristic grunting sound, as if calling piglets to suckle. This could be a sign of hormonal changes.

Sow Number 3 in the maternity pen, some 3 weeks before farrowing.

June 7, Number 3 was given an anthelmintic (Levamisole Hcl).

June 8, Number 3’s vulva was swollen. She had this problem several times before but not this close to farrowing. I notice that she never had this problem during lactating. I wonder if this was a sign of hormonal problems or more serious health/reproductive problem. The vulva becomes swollen and there is bleeding. Often, a boil or pustule is visible which becomes enlarged and bursts, reducing in size. However, this time, if there was a boil, it was discharging from the inside. The discharge was a mix of blood and clear liquid. I often use Hexa-mide cream (Hexachlorophene Sulfanilamide) which clears the wound, swelling and irritation.

June 17, Number 3’s vulva looked normal and no discharge visible.

June 24, nest building started at 5:30PM.

June 25, Number 3 was given her usual feed at 6AM and 4PM while she continued nest-building. She started farrowing at around 9PM. Number 3 gave birth to a small litter of 7 piglets.

June 30, Number 3 accidentally stepped on a piglet and killed it. The accident was at the trough where the ground gets wet, slippery and very hard. That area needs to be re-designed.

Observations: The small litter size is probably due to the condition of the boar. I decided to reduce the boar’s daily feed to reduce his weight. Unfortunately, this actually meant he wasn’t as strong and agile and thus kept falling off the sow during mating. When I started giving the boar the usual feed, he was much better. We didn’t need to cut piglets’ teeth. Perhaps because of the small number of piglets, although there was fighting at the teats, it wasn’t aggressive enough to upset the sow and disrupt suckling. Piglets were weaned at 35 days.

We also noticed that the fan seemed to affect the piglets. Since the fan was directed towards the center of the pen, the piglets stayed away from it and instead stayed in the creep space which was not reached by the force of the fan. So the fan seemed also a good way of guiding piglets away from certain areas, reducing the risk of laying over or crushing by the sow.

Sow Number 3 with her piglets.
Piglets sleeping, the runt in the middle.