[Video] To The Piggy Farm in the Jungle We Go!

Piggy Farm in the Jungle

Those who know me know that I am a night-creature and the only time I’m awake before the sunrise is because I’ve been awake all night.  But this particular day I broke my routine to get up extra early for an all day trip to the northern end of Cebu to visit my piggies at a farm in Bogo.

Piggy-Farms have been discussed many times in the Ex-Pat forums online as to whether they can be profitable or not as a way to generate income. After hearing all the pros and cons from both sides, I came to the conclusion that the business model is solid.. it’s the “who you know” element that can make or break a piggy investment.


Having people you can trust to raise them, getting them properly trained and providing the correct type of housing as well as vet-care and grains are key.  A good location is good too, where there is water and shade readily available.

Fortunately for me, my business partner (Filipina) has a keen eye for good properties and was able to negotiate a good price for the farm in Bogo, seen in the video.  It is away from the city by about 2-3 hours and even has a small stream on the land with plenty of usable land.  ‘Baby-Piggies’, once weaned sell for about $35-$50 (USD) depending on weight and health.  These can be raised and resold for ‘Lechon’ (rotisserie pork; a big favorite for large parties here in the Philippines) after 3-4 months for anywhere from $100-$130 each, again depending on weight and health.  Raising them on good grain, rather than just ‘weeds & scraps’, gives you a good reputation that the meat will be delicious.  🙂
Months before I left the U.S., I purchased my first 3 Baby-Piggies.. Missy, Daisy and Enriquita.  These I intend to keep as producing ‘Momma-Piggies’.  Each litter is anywhere from 10-15 piggies so.. profits can add up quickly.  First litter it is not uncommon to lose up to 40%.  Total we lost about 6 piggies our first time around.  Some said it was due to the big earthquake in Negros that same month since many other Piggy Farms in the Negros area reported such losses but.. rumors, superstitions and ‘chisme’ spread fast in the provinces so, I take it with a grain of salt.

After a pleasant drive along the eastern coast of Cebu to the northern-most tip of the island we finally arrived about a quarter mile from the farm.  We went on foot from there since no road reaches the actual farm.  Construction on the new breeding stalls is just about complete and the next phase of stalls will begin in about a week, giving us the room we need for all these new piggies.  I will be purchasing more Momma-Piggies and our goal is to reach 10 Mommas in order to begin seeing a decent profit sometime next year, God willing.

Piggy Farms are a great idea and all, but I wouldn’t recommend it to every ex-pat landing on the island.  We’re lucky there’s a livestock market less than ten miles away.  Transporting piggies is something you have to take into account come market time.  (Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase; “This little piggy went to market.”, eh?)  In fact, on our drive to the Farm I actually saw a medium-sized Piggy riding in the back of Tricycle.  (Hey.. whatever works.)  There is an inherent risk (as with any business) having your money tied up in ‘pork futures‘ as it were since for all you know some plague could wipe out your whole inventory.  Not all the baby-piggies survive, so that’s a factor.  But if the moon is right and your piggies are ready for market between November and January.. there are plenty of fiestas and holidays at that time with people paying top dollar for ‘Lechon’ (rotisserie piggy) and you can make bank.  During the rest of the year most occasions are birthdays, weddings, other fiestas and such.

My business partner got a good deal on a carabao, which has already doubled in value.  We also have two female Moo-Cows and are hoping they’llget it onand provide us with a calf or two.  I keep suggesting a disco-ball to get them in the mood but they are hard to find out here in the jungle.  Might have to get one on eBay.  Meanwhile we have some trusted people (finally) to work the farm for us.  We have plans to build a larger home for the caretakers since they’ve outgrown the smaller one.  More lighting and a proper fence are going in this week.

As for living out on the farm.. I tell you, it is SO peaceful out there.  Like being in the mountains.. but with banana trees instead of pine trees.  No pumas, no crocodiles.  Lots of fresh coconuts, mangos and bananas growing all around.  If I did live there I’d grow corn for some corn-on-the-cob on warm evenings outdoors under the stars.  There are pros and cons to either farm life or city life.  But I tell you, being out there it’s like ‘time’ ceases to exist.. it is just SO incredibly relaxing out in the province.

That’s my adventure for today, hope you enjoy the video and look forward to seeing you here again.  I will soon be posting the digital photos taken during this trip as well.  Feel free to join the Newsletter with the box along the right-side of the site so you get notifications of the new stuff and updates.  For a gallery of photos from the piggy farm and some more info on what it takes to get started.. visit -Here-.

Henry ‘Reekay’ V.
www.lifebeyondthesea.com


 

Author: Reekay

After 49 years living in Southern California, USA, I decided to move to the Philippines despite never having been here before. In July, 2012, I took a leap of faith and transplanted myself to the amazing Philippines. I am a single man taking an honest look at all that the islands here have to offer, one day at a time. I hope you find my LBTSea site informative, entertaining and hopefully a bit of each. 🙂 Be sure to visit the Forum and other parts of what the site has to offer. Browse around and be sure to sign up for updates via email. Enjoy!
— Reekay

8 comments

  1. Henry

    Interesting day no doubt! The true country side of the RP is so beautiful and peaceful. I tried to get my wife to settle on Guimaras with the world famous mangoes, but she did not want to ride a pump boat everyday to go to the supermarket…lol.

    Therefore Roxas City, Panay it is! Seafood capital of the RP. And the mangoe capital is only 60 miles away!

    Carry on and be safe.

    1. I’ve never been into mangoes before, but those were the ones from South America that I got in California. I tried the ones here and.. much sweeter! This morning I dropped three of them into the blender with some orange juice and pineapple chunks.. good stuff! I may add coconut next time.

      As for the province areas.. yah, they have their own relaxing charm about it. Some shade, a good book and a hammock.. I could get used to that. 🙂

  2. Hi Henry,

    It looks like you did your homework when picking this venture and it helps a lot when you have an insider (girlfriend) that can help in planning, marketing, and finding trusted caretakers. My suggestions are to take it slow, know the market and actual profits before expanding too much. Plans on paper always look good but when actual numbers come in it may not be worth it to some.

    For some background, I’ll give you some info on my stories I had when living in the PI. So you’ll know I’m not just giving you some BS advice.

    Back in 1999 my wife and I lived in Cerritos/Long Beach area of So Cal. My dad passed away and my mom and dad had invested lots in fish ponds/farms in the Province of Pangasinan (4-5hrs) from Manila (Similar to Bogo) and rental properties in Manila. After my dads passing my wife, 2 year old daughter and I decided to make the move and run my parents businesses. (My wife and I are both US citizens but born in the PI even though we lived most of our lives in the US) Knowing nothing but the So Cal. Lifestyle (I know it now as the RAT RACE) we were shocked and amazed of the main differences between the 2 countries. But within the first week or so we knew we were going to stay for the long haul as we enjoyed the initial taste of our home country. We arrived in Pangasinan when it was during harvest time for my parents business and when we were done it, we had a bag full of cash and we had big smiles on our faces on what we can do with that amount of money. I think it was a curse, now that I think about it, as we were just exposed to the good side of the business. But reality set in after another few weeks into our stay. A typhoon came by and flooded the area and wiped out a main bridge that connects our home to Lingayen/Dagupan City. Not to mention the newly acquired fish fry we just planted into the farms. We were in the PI from 99-05 and I think every year we were flooded out and that just killed potential profits. But we tried about 6 or so businesses when we initially got there (including farming pigs, chicken, prawn, mangoes etc..) and all had its trials and tribulations. It took us about 3 years to find a good business with minimum work, caretakers and capital. (Prawn Hatchery Business) Once we found this we down sized our fish farms from 300 acres to 90 acres and focused on the Hatchery business. And during the losses we took to our fish farms due to the typhoons one business that my parents invested in which never took a hit was rental collections in Manila. I honestly think now, that if we were to sell the farms and invest into rental properties we would have been better off. So I guess my point is – “DON’T PUT ALL YOUR PIGS IN 1 BASKET” and simply know your budget needed per month/year to live on then plan on a few businesses that will equate that and enjoy the fruits of your wise investments and enjoy life.

    As for my wife and I we are back in the states (not due to financial issues) mainly due to her schooling being completed, my kids and both are families having strong roots in the states. But we are planning on going back and raising/educating are little ones there hopefully in the next 3-5 years or so. Hopefully sooner if we find a good business venture! We are leaning towards real estate for rentals in the province and or a Gas station.

    FYI: We are planning a 1 month trip to the PI in March and if we swing by Cebu I’ll be sure to hit you up to grab some coffee or lunch.

    Good luck in your piggy venture!

    1. Thank you, Jay, for sharing your experiences. ‘Real life’ trials and success are what it’s about. Aside from the Piggy-farm, my girlfriend also has several properties she rents out, including two homes in a very nice subdivision in Cebu. Sometimes collections is an issue, but we hope to renovate one of the properties and get higher-paying foreigners in there. Many Filipinos don’t like to rent to foreigners (esp. Americans) because they say we complain too much about minor issues. My g/f rents to a German couple and so far that’s worked out well. The properties she rents out to Filipinos have at times been ‘squatters’ so.. just like my Mom’s issues with renters in California.. owning and renting out property comes with it’s own bag of hassles too. Renters here in Philippines know the judicial system is not only SLOW but corrupt so ‘squatting’ or partial rent payments is pretty common.

      Our goal has been 10 Momma Piggys, then stopping there. We’re not looking to build a Piggy Empire, that’s way too much administration time. We just want a source of income aside from the properties. With 10 Mommas that’s maybe 100 Piglets spread out over each gestation period. Our first caretakers were relatives of a friend and that was a disaster. Not only did they want more money each month for pay, they wanted bonuses the first two months, plus pay advances.. plus stealing money from the allotment for grain. (We fixed that by setting up an account with the Feed store directly.) Then.. when this 30 year old man who was the caretaker died of a heart attack due to a life-long heart problem.. the family expected some huge amount of money from us.. as if it were our fault!! He had an easy job at the Pig Farm, before that he was working peanuts in the sugar-cane fields. The family keeps snooping around our property and saying they should thousands of dollars from us.. or that we ‘owe’ them a carabao. We’ve worried they may either steal or poison our livestock.. all because of the mentality they have that we somehow owe them something. In reality we were paying him $130 a month.. plus another $150 per month in ‘loans’ that never got paid back for one family emergency after another. (My g/f has a soft-heart, so now we send her house-maid with only a set amount of money, and that’s IT.) Plus when he passed away he had taken a one-month advance on his pay. And STILL we get this attitude from the surviving family.

      The caretakers we have now are far better. One set salary. No ‘bonuses’ and we’re next planning to build a bigger Nipa hut so they are more comfortable. My g/f is networked with the locals there and speaks the dialect. Now that I’ve “toughened her up” over the last year about sticking to terms with people’s pay, there aren’t these add-on expectations from the new workers.

      I suppose if there were some business that had no problems and high return.. everybody would be doing it. ha! But so far the Piggy Farm has been overall a good thing to develop on a small scale. No butcher store. No Lechon services. Just raise them and sell ‘em, keeping the Momma’s. We passed by a fish hatchery (Whitefish) on our way to Bogo. We looked at each other and said, “Neither of us know a damn thing about fish, do we?”.

  3. Amigo, the smile on your face in this one is priceless; and makes me even more excited to board the plane in July!

    Keep livin brother…..keep livin!

    🙂

  4. I m here in Philippines Henry__Planning to start up my own Pig Business, What is the Minimum start up Capital? Thanks

    1. It’s hard to ball-park that because your first expense will be: Property. You’ll need some farm land in the province. Do you plan to live on the farm and raise them yourself? Because if you want to stand a decent chance of making a profit that will work in your favor. If not, and you plan to trust some caretakers, see my video on hiring contractors here first. Also plan on getting the farm near where you’ll live so you can drop in at any time. Once you have land, you may need to install electric, drill a well and build a nipa-hut. The prices on each of those is, again, hard to pinpoint due to unscrupulous contractors you may have to deal with. You also need to pick a place where there is a place to get feed locally, for the pigs. And a local Vet. I wish I could give you a hard-number but property and contractors here fluctuate from place to place. Here’s the link to the video you should see first; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uxsz28OaIY

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