An Update on Projects

Plenty of things going on here, or so it seems.  Guess it may be time for a little update on how things are progressing as we continue our stay “at home” in The Philippines.

Signs of illness have left the household–hopefully for good.  We’ve increased our awareness of what we eat and drink, how and when we wash our hands, and all the little hygiene tricks that we can think of.  All it took was one bout of the “day afters” to convince us that we should be on watch at all times.  Of course, this means that the house got a good cleaning, too.  So, we start fresh and clean; hopefully no further bouts with the “day afters” are in our future.

Nothing! turned out to be just that–nothing.  Too many things went on during my “week off from life.”  A couple of christenings, a wedding, and other social events somehow found their way into my “nothing week” schedule.  Believe me, I didn’t place them there.  Non-participation was not an option, as many know.  All was enjoyable, I must say.  Still, I wonder what it would be like to do absolutely nothing for a week.

Not Nothing
Not Nothing

The papaya trees are growing.  I’ve identified one, possibly two female plants.  That means there’s a chance for fruit!  The others are not big enough yet to identify.  Hopefully one is a male so that the others can be pollinated.  I look forward to seeing how things go.  So much so that I purchased a couple of ripe papayas from Davao and, after devouring them, am preparing the seeds for planting.  One cannot have enough of a good thing.

The dragon fruit saga continues to be in the planning stage.  We’ve talked with the local agriculturalist and believe she might be the one to contract out the job of putting the dragon fruit plants in.  Right now, we’re talking in the neighborhood of ten to sixteen plantings in our back yard, and perhaps five to seven in the side yard.  The plantings will be quite a task, and will be more like permanent fixtures, so we want to get everything right the first time.

I’d mentioned in some of my comments to previous articles that I was busy “making dirt.”  In my effort to improve the green tint to my thumb, I decided to put in a little garden–about five square meters–and see what I could grow.  I turned the soil and tilled it the best I could with a garden shovel, then set about to decide what to plant.  I’d brought a number of seeds with me when we came back from our USA vacation.  Deciding what to try first was my first problem.  I finally settled on sweetcorn.  I planted about twenty-four seeds (six by four rows) and now wait to see sprouting.  Corn grows in this region at this time of year, so I shouldn’t have nature working against me.  I give myself all the problems I need.  Hopefully within a couple of weeks, the corn will be tall enough for its first application of organic fertilizer.

Speaking of organic fertilizer, one of my smaller tasks last week was to apply some to our calamansi plants and to our weak dragon fruit plants (the original, uncared for ones).  I can see the difference the fertilizer plus a little water makes.  Things are starting to grow, again.  We’ve had a few days with showers, so that helps.

Well, what’s next on the schedule?  I’m not sure, but I heard some murmurings about obtaining a bahay kubo for the back yard.  Talk is that it would fit in the corner of the lot, and would have its approach through the dragon fruit–possibly on a system of trellises.  It would all look pretty nice in a year or two, I would imagine.

There is still the question of where to plant a couple of mango trees, too.  It’s getting near time to get that task accomplished as one of the three grafted trees I have waiting for transplanting has already perished.

So there you have it.  Things continue to perk here.  Projects continue to be seen to, albeit slowly at times.  Planning continues in other areas.  Hopefully, when all is said and done, there will be nice pictures to share with you.  Were I to take pictures right now, the place would look like a pre-construction zone–not much to look at.  It’s best to leave the photography until there’s something worth looking at!

Post Author: PaulK (218 Posts)

Paul is a CPA and a retired tax accountant, having served companies and corporations of all sizes, as well as individuals, in public accounting practices. Prior to what he refers to as his "real job," he served a 24-year career in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a Master Chief Petty Officer. It was during this career that he met and married his OFW spouse of 35+ years, Emy, while stationed in London, UK. (Though he pleaded for the assignment, Paul never received orders to the Philippines.) A "Phil-phile" from an early age, Paul remembers his first introduction to the Philippines in the primary grades of a parochial elementary school where, one week each year, children donated their pennies to purchase school supplies, food and other necessities for Filipino children in need. That love for Filipinos continues to this day. Calling Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte--in the far northwestern part of Luzon--home (just about as far away from Davao as one can be while still being on one of the major islands) Paul prefers a more relaxed provincial life style, and willingly shares a different view of the Philippines from "up north"!

How to Move to the Philippines Manual


  1. Gary Wigle says

    I live in an apartment and would love to have the space you have Paul. A few chickens and a goat or two. Dragon fruit would be great as would the sweet corn. You are living like a KING! 😀

  2. Mike says

    A garden will be my last development project, after so many others, on Samal. My Amah always told me to have a “thinking garden” when I became an adult & I can think of nothing more peaceful than sitting, surrounded by foliage, contemplating my navel. Better, yet, rocking in a hammock. Gee, now I’ll need a “laughing” brook and a few garden gnomes, fishing in it. No, skip the gnomes, too commercial. Sounds like paradise in the making, Paul!

    • says

      Hi Mike – Well, it’s a l-o-n-g term project turning the “back yard” into a “garden.” For some Westerners, the time spent waiting would be unbearable. For me, it’s just extra time to learn how things grow (and, of course, how not to repeat my growing mistakes!) 😉

    • says

      Hi Robert – I agree that sweet corn grows here–we have friends who grow Japanese sweet corn and do quite well.

      I must admit, though, that the seeds I have are a little old and are for a hybrid white and yellow sweet corn. It shouldn’t make that much difference. Once I get it to sprout and grow about 6″ – 8″, the corn will get some organic fertilizer. Then, again at about 18″ – 24″. Waiting for it to sprout is probably the toughest part of the job! 😉

      • Ricardo Sumilang says

        Paul, when you speak of organic fertilizer, do you mean carabao manure? As a 5th grader in Palauig, Zambales, a requirement for passing the agriculture class was to collect a kariton-full of dried carabao manure from the dried-up rice fields for use by the succeeding year’s class for their own vegetable plots as did the preceding class did for us. If this is the case, I suppose you wouldn’t have a problem gathering carabao manure, as I remember there is a rice field directly across the highway from you house in the video you posted last year. I note also that you were able to pass seeds through Philippine customs, but this item is verboten the other way around, isn’t it?

        • says

          Hi Ricardo – The organic fertilizer is more of a compost product that the local agricultural office has available. There’s manure in it, but probably little or no carabao manure. Most of the carabaos up here have been replaced by kuligligs and Kubutos.

          Taking seeds back to the USA would be strictly verboten, I believe. Of course, I don’t plan on doing that. 😉

  3. Robert says

    As an update to the first photo, here is how the corn looks like today. That is 2 months old corn. The harvest is expected in one month from today. This is the white sticky type of corn. I like it simply because the sweet corn type is not available.
    Ric, our lot is full of Carabao manure. We paid children to bring it here and we mixed it with sandy soil.
    The tomato on the photo has grown on its own.
    The Hibiscus photo is for your eyes only!

    • says

      Hi Robert – Thanks for the update and the photos.

      We’ve plenty of cows around – maybe I can find some young lads interested in making a peso or two? 😉

      • PapaDuck says


        Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving there. Did you and your family have a turkey? It sounds like your projects are moving along, probably not as fast as you would like though. No worries they will all turn out fine. Have a nice holiday season.

        • says

          Hi PD – No, but we had other Ilocano delicacies with which we celebrated. 😉

          Projects are slow to go but then, I’ve got the time to wait. Things will look nice in a couple of years. 😀

  4. Bruce Michels says

    Sounds like your nothing turned into Something over night. :)
    But that a good something just getting out and kicking up the heels from hard labor is nothing in itself.
    Glad to see your brown thumb is turning a little greener. When we get there I know by then I’ll have a go to guy to tap some brain knowledge from. I’m thinking the same vegtables that grow in Florida should grow in the Subic Bay area Of the Philippines. Heck I grow Filipino vegtables here with no problem. Keep us informed on your color transformation on the thumb.
    (Hint) Clear dishsoap w/ water does great at keeping bugs at bay.
    2caps of soap to 1/2 gallon.
    Or you could spray San Migel and keep them drunk :)

    • says

      Hi Bruce – That darned thumb just isn’t changing colors very fast. It’s more black and blue than brown, and not even a hint of green.

      I’m pretty well bug free, courtesy of the soap and water combo. Those bugs can’t stand to be clean. 😆

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