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Because the last month has been particularly stressful, you may have noticed I’ve been reading a variety of comics – from Tintin to some shoujo manga.

I needed some more heavy-duty stress relief, so I decided to read the 5 volumes of Pugad Baboy comics that I recently mooched locally (books 124-128 of 2009).

Pugad Baboy (roughly translated: Swine’s Nest) by Pol Medina, Jr. , is one of the Philippines’ most famous and longest-running comic strip on a daily broadsheet (Philippine Daily Inquirer).

As described in the foreword of one of the books, the comic series is about “a community of fatsos and a dog named Polgas.”

Written in colloquial Filipino, the series features the neighborhood and the interactions of its residents, everyday domestic situations, political issues, and current events.

The cast of characters is as follows:

-The Sungcal family — the chef Mang Dagul and his wife Debbie (their pet names for each other are Sweet Ham and Honeycured), and their kids Hercules (working in Saudi), Tiny (a colegiala – a college girl), and the boy genius Utoy who is the ringleader of the junior group, the Biiks (piglets). They are joined by their very thin maid Brosia and Polgas is the family dog with anthropomorphic features — he drinks beer with the gang, he joins conversations, and has a variety of superhero alter-egos.

- The Lamouns — Bab Lamoun is a bum and a hippie, who repeatedly woos Tiny for her love. He lives with his mom Cecilia and his younger sister Jolen, who is Utoy’s girlfriend.

- The Sabaybunots - Sgt. Tomas Sabaybunot is in the armed forces. His wife Barbie is the real commander of the house, though, and is known to get violent towards Tomas when he comes home late from a night of beer with the boys. Paltik is their mischievous son, who is part of the Biiks. Tomas also has an ex-convict cousin named Igno.

- The Tangeres – Ka Noli is a member of the Communist New People’s army and his name is a play on Rizal’s novel Noli Me Tangere. He and Tomas have conflicting viewpoints, except when it comes to drinking. Ka Noli’s son Joma is also with the Biiks.

- Other characters include the Chinese merchant Mao Tang and his gay son Pao, the corrupt Sen. Cabalfin and his haughty wife, the money-grubbing Patrolman Durugas and the mechanic Joboy, the musician Tata Mads, the physician Doc Sebo, and the school teacher Ms. Nobatos. There is also a host of recurring minor characters, like the criminal Atong Damuho.

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instant stress relief

I read books 4, 6, 11, 13 and 15. Each collection features an out of town adventure involving the main cast.

In book 4, the gang stumbles upon evil forces in Dueñas, and Polgas rescues them as Wise Dog.

In book 6, Bab and Joboy go off on The Olongapo Caper, and Bab transforms into BabMan (Batman) and Polgas stars as Bark Justice Judge Tick Marshall.

In book 11, the gang goes trekking on Mt. Apo, the heart of an illegal logging operation. Once again, Polgas saves the da, this time as Dobermaxx.

In book 13, Dagul and Brosia get their own starrer, as Bardagul Kapote, P.I. and his sidekick Brossy foil a terrorist operation in Ilocos.

Finally, in book 15, Polgas goes undercover for the OCB (Organized Canine Bureau) in Arayat, Pampanga to foil a ‘ magic mushroom’ operation.

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comics and more comics!

I’ve been reading Pugad Baboy for over a decade now, and it still never fails to make me laugh, even though I’ve read some volumes several times already.

I like the good-natured camaraderie among the residents — the Punch and Judy antics of Tomas and Barbie, the running banter between Mang Dagul and Brosia (regarding his baldness and her intellect); Brenda’ s love for shopping; the kids wisecracking in class with Ms. Nobatos; Bab wooing Tiny; Ka Noli and Tomas’ friendship; and the regular drinking sessions — and how they all pull together when the situation calls for it.

Needless to say, I  love Polgas (I hope they come up with Polgas plushies!), because he is the coolest doggie super hero (with awesome gadgets too!) and has a wonderful sense of humor!

My peeves: the lack of white space — the comics are too crammed and it gets hard to read after a while; and the paper — because the comics are pen and ink, you can see through on either side.

But as a cure for stress relief, Pugad Baboy hits the spot just right!

***

My copies: all paperbacks, mooched locally

My ratings: Book 4, 5/5 stars; Book 6 3/5 stars; Book 11, 5/5 stars; Book 13, 4/5 stars; Book 15 4/5 stars

*wallpaper cover photo from http://www.pmjunior.com.ph/