Memoirs of a Navy Brat






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Raising Pigs For Food And Profit  




Not long after, we followed up with another endeavor...... raising pigs in our backyard for food and profit. We had the pig sties constructed at the back of our quarters, along the sea wall, where it was convenient to clean it by simply water-spraying the wastes into the sea. The pig pens had the rock surface of the sea wall for its floor, wood for its front railings, and galvanized iron for roofing, back and side walls, to protect the pigs from the elements.

The pig raising project started with a pair of Landrace breed, a sow and a boar, which did not take long to quickly multiply. Eventually, we  saw no need for the boar, as insemination services were readily available from outside breeders. Later on we brought in another breed for cross-breeding to produce sturdier and more resilient stocks.

The hog food was sourced from the leftovers at the base's galley or mess hall, which we picked up after every meal hours. Just beside the pig house was a covered structure we made, were the hog food was heated in a large cooking vessel, using firewood for heating. Fresh vegetables and growing or fattening mash were mixed in the concoction before it was served to the pigs. Feeding was twice daily, early morning and late afternoon.

Raising pigs, at the start, was not worrisome as we had the services of Dr. San Agustin, a veterinarian from the city. But when he migrated to the US, we had to fend for ourselves. Not all the time we had hired helpers, so there were times my eldest brother and I had to do the cleaning of the sties, the retrieval of food leftovers from the base galley, the preparation of the food, the feeding, and the bathing of the hogs. Now without a veterinarian, my brother also did the inoculation when the necessity arose. There were times when we had to stay up the whole night to assist in the delivery of piglets. Deliveries were always joyful moments for us, as this meant additional stocks, so we did not really mind the sacrifice. It was fortunate the good veterinarian left us instructions on inoculating, assisting in deliveries, and caring for newborn piglets, before he left for the US.

Slaughtering of pigs was usually done on a Saturday morning. Our neighbors were our usual customers for the meat. We kept just enough for our family's pork requirements, and the head normally went to our butcher, CPO Diomedes Lopez, who was also Dad's official military driver.

Raising pigs substantially helped a lot in supplementing the family income. As I now look back into those years, I can't help but heave a nostalgic sigh. Those years were like living in paradise, in a self-sustaining environment where you can't go hungry. We had sea foods, chicken and pork meat, and eggs which we did not buy. The only thing missing were vegetables, and it's only because we had no available fertile land space for backyard gardening. Besides, the soil in the base was sandy and not fit for vegetable farming. We had not heard of hydroponic gardening then, which would have made it possible to raise vegetables without the necessity of having adequate land space.

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