A Penthouse Apartment at Casa Adobe


It’s a bit of deja vu, as I did a Father’s Day post in 2006 which featured two newly hatched birds in a perfectly formed nest resting on a yucca branch in plain view from our terrace at the beach. And I did another post on a baby bird smacking into our glass doors, twice! So when I paused to observe, and eventually photograph this pair of maya-maya birds at the beach last weekend, most probably caring for their newly hatched chicks, I thought that it was an incredible coincidence that Father’s day was just a few days away…


Our exterior walls are clad in raw unfinished adobe stone. They have an incredibly earthy quality to them and we love how they change color during a rainstorm, turning from a dark grey with specks of brown to a nearly matte black. But over the years, we have noticed that the stones have provided several natural “apartments” for the birds. And last weekend, I spied an incredible amount of activity at two “penthouse” units right near the top of the adobe walls. It wouldn’t surprise me if it turns out that the birds had been customizing their apartments by expanding them one grain of adobe at a time. But in this two exit unit, one end of the apartment has been stuffed with hay while the other is the entry and exit to the family’s abode. The mother (I assume) kept flying off to find food that she would bring back and stuff into the hole to feed her young chicks that you could HEAR chirping away. Meanwhile, the father (I assume) was on guard duty on the ledge just up above. What amazed me about this scene was the care, persistence and protectiveness apparent in the couple’s efforts to raise their young.


In the span of say 2 hours, I noticed that the mother or father brought back food or other materials at least 20 times, and went inside the nest at least 8-10 times. And ever present was the other spouse out on the ledge, looking out for predators or other enemies. It was a microcosm of what families of any animal class should be about. Looking after and nurturing their young, and later, knowing when it is appropriate to let go. I was a bit concerned about this nest up high on the penthouse floor, because once the little chicks decided to head out on their own, it was a long way down smack into a cement paver. But then again, most nests are nestled precariously in lofty heights.


In many traditional human families, it is often the father that is supposed to be the “provider” or the one that earns a living. But more often than not, both parents now work and parenting for much of the waking hours of children is done by someone else, a grandparent, aunt, uncle, siblings, staff, teacher, counselor, etc. If there was one thing I would wish for all parents around the world, it would be that at LEAST one parent was around at home for the formative years of their own children. I am not talking about quality time. Just time. And lots of it. And the presence of mind to use the time appropriately and to recognize when one can seize a moment and use it to teach or learn something new. Time flies by so incredibly fast, that before you know it, your young children are teenagers and well on their way to their own independent lives. Cherish the early years and hopefully, you will build a bond that truly lasts a lifetime.


So with that slightly convoluted post, here’s wishing all fathers out there a Happy Father’s Day! And for the bachelors in the readership, this last photo is for you. Just beside the family in the apartment to the right, was this bachelor pad with this rakish 20-something zipping in and out of his studio. You could almost make up the dialogue while they pooped out on the ledge:

Bachelor #1: Hey dude… what’s with the Mrs. barfing all the time?
Dad #1 : Oh, it’s just the kids’ breakfast, needs to be processed a bit…
Bachelor #1: Ewww. And what’s with all the noise, you think they could keep it down a little?
Dad # 1 : They couldn’t sleep last night, too much NOISE from the party in your pad, buddy…
Bachelor #1: Oh, sorry, things got a little out of hand last night
Mom #1 : Dad, will you stop talking and take out the garbage???

Hahahaha. Happy Father’s Day!

Previous Father’s Day Musings:

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28 Responses

  1. Dear MM – Happy Father’s Day! As you know, here in the US, Father’s day is official “Dad barbecues day!” But w the forcast in NJ – wet & hot (almost like Manila!) – guess there won’t be too much barbecuing this weekend!

    Have you tried one of those indoor grills? sometimes available as attachments to ranges/cooktops/ovens? I figure one needs a pretty strong venting system to use these, otherwise smoke alarms will be set off everytime!

  2. MM, I loved this post! A bird-friendly environment is so much fun. Husband and I had a guest robin family in one of the back sheds, and we always took care not to spook the mother bird as she went about picking worms off the ground for baby feed. She comes back every year, so we must be doing something right.

    And that imaginary interchange between the bachelor and the Dad is hilarious!

  3. What an appropiate post—at the ledge of our trellissed bedroom balcony I watched the many times the small wild dove family raised and nurtured their newly hatched chicks for the past 2 years.I’m not sure if they are the same couple or a different one each time but the nest up above is never vacant for long!Despite their poop in our balcony I dont have the heart to remove the nest when it’s empty.Like you I’m amazed at the wonders these birds do–parenting 101!
    Your birdie script was funny!

  4. Love this post! Happy Father’s Day Marketman and to all the fathers out there!

  5. Happy Father’s Day, Marketman! This post reminds me of “March Of the Penguins”!

  6. From one father to another….HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!!

    I like the way the “bachelor” is poised.

  7. happy father’s day, MM.. this is what i like about this blog.. not only a food blog.. anything goes in a good way.. but entertaining and hilarious.. i love this post, so much emotions.. btw, how much are you renting your penthouse? lol

  8. from avian to human fatherhood — love this post! happy father’s day to you and all father-readers of this wonderful blog

  9. Ãœ Yer Funny Mr. MM!!! Ãœ HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to YOU and ALL THE DADS out there!

  10. Happy Father’s Day! Reminds me of our summer home in Scandi.
    Last summer we arrived to find a bird’s nest under the outside stairs. One parent bird perched on the balcony rail for nearly two weeks. While the other parent bird would make trips for food.

  11. HAPPY FATHER’S DAY, Mr. MM ! Wishing you good health, peace and happiness now and always.

  12. To all the TATAYS out there…HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! …and to all the Nanays out here…TAKE OUT THE GARBAGE and give TATAY a break!!!!…hahahaha

  13. Happy Father’s Day Marketman!! I think you’re a great dad–seeing how The Child has turned into The Teen and a wonderful person!! Ms. MM and the Teen are lucky to have you! We all are too—ikaw Tatay dito sa site….Happy Fathers’Day!!We love you Tatay MamangPalengke!! Ha ha ha!!

    Happy Fathers’ Day to all the tatays,papas and dads on this site!(especially my favorite Silly Lolo).

    Bettyq,here in the Pinas,the moms often bring out the garbage (sige panoodin niyo “Basura Ads” of Bayani on tv and the moviehouses)—it’s usually the Mom. Ha ha ha—anyway Happy Fathers’ Day–let’s cook for the Dads. SOMETHING FUNNY HAPPENED TO US….we celebrated Father’s Day last Sunday(14th) because my son insisted that was the day–so with card and lunch and dinner we celebrated Father’s Day. It was only in the late evening while chatting with a friend that I realized we had the wrong day—hahaha–dilemma!! Do we repeat tomorrow??!! Hahahaha…why not??!! Opportunity to cook and bake again…might be meeting with Chris and GayeN of this site later. Toodledoo…exciting…

  14. Touching and funny! Another post that makes me really happy.
    Happy Father’s Day!!!

  15. Buenos dias, MM.
    Every morning while having breakfast on the balcony, at exactly 9 in the morning, thousands of swallows come and fly restlessly in front of us while we’re having breakfast. This area where I’ve been living for years has a rich vegetation,i.e. oranges, avocados, fig trees, as well as flowering plants and cypress trees. Because the community swimming pool is huge, one can also enjoy watching seagulls having a swim, depending on the weather. Pidgeons also abound, as well as sparrows and all these birds are a real treat to watch. Somehow, it’s the swallows that catch our attention since they have made the huge vent of a condo in front of us as their permanent home. Indeed, hundreds use it for their nesting apartments and there are times when too many of them make me creepy. With the view of the Mediterranen sea plus the large garden and vegetation these different types of birds offer a titillating view of how they think, look after their chicks and of course, their adaptability to city/town life. The only trouble is, these birds dirty all apartment buildings all at once upkeep and maintenance of all buildings become a logistical nightmare. In Europe, they spend billions each year to keep the top of historical and emblematic buildings free of bird droppings. London alone spends fifty million pounds a year and that’s just to keep rooftops clean —-but for how long? It’s also a problem in coastal areas and this condo building where I live is now ready for another painting—thanks to the millions of these birds that visit us at this time of the year. I’ve never thought that swallows could be so restless. They never keep still. But yes, they are caring and clever birds, minding their chicks with love and affection. They are part of our daily breakfast scenery and my husband and I always look forward to these birds zooming past in countless droves, rather smelly especially when they come too close.

  16. my hubby also complains about the poop the doves make but I love them to pieces! When the male and female cozy together, I am reminded of why they are the symbol for Love! There too along with them is a couple of maya birds who have established their love nest! In the early morning, doves and maya birds sit together side by side—perhaps like your birdlings there, comparing notes on parenting. The bachelor birds are somewhere…don’t see them :-)!Maybe they decided to join the bandwagon? How can you detect a bachelor bird from a committed one? Hahaha!!! Anyway…


  17. Happy Father’s Day, MM—i know you practice what you preach. you deserve a big present!!

  18. From my breakfast nook to whereever you are in NY, I offer you a virtual cup of Batangas tablea chocolate’ e’ topped with ganache and hinayupak na ensaymada for Father’s Day. Enjoy your day!

  19. Ms. Connie C.

    While you are having breakfast of champions, I am having only fresh pineapple. However, this is the DEFINITIVE PINEAPPLE that will do here in the Pacific Northwest. Nothing beats Moni’s QUEEN PINEAPPLE! If you come across the Pineapple from TAIWAN. go grab and buy 1. The rind may be green but the flesh is golden yellow and soooooooooooooooooo sweet! Far better than the Maui Gold or Dole from Costa Rica. I am telling you, once you get a taste of this Taiwan Pineapple., you will not go back to Hawaiian ones.

    I bought the one with the pineapple crown soooooooo tiny. I was told by the Taiwanese lady that the smaller the crown, the better…the sugar is more concentrated making is far sweeter. …also the vartiety has something to do with it. there are Taiwanese pineapples, that are golden yellow, small, and a regular crown….I think it is similar to the Queen ones. But those looked sort of not juicy inside.

    Onie, Lou, Keiko…try and go buy 1 at T&T. They are on sale for only 99 cents a pound. A really large one will cost you about $4.00. Make sure you pick the one with the really TINY CROWN and not quite yellow. The flesh is just perfect! I bought 5 PINEAPPLES TODAY!!!

  20. Awwww … your post reminded me yet again of our beloved little brown maya, Chirpy. We never did find out the gender, but it did not matter. A lovable bundle of feathers when he/she came to our lives, naging super-tame sya. When you call out Chirpy’s name, you would first hear the soft flutter of wings and then you’d feel tiny claws on our hands or shoulders (and even on my husband’s leg as he lounged on the rocking chair). He/she was free to fly throughout our little home, and kept me company as i puttered around in the kitchen … of course darting at little tidbits or beating a strand of pancit canton ‘to death.’ Our avian friend loved to sleep against my chest as I rested on the rocking chair. When we brought the bird out to the garden and to eventual freedom, he/she flew over back to the front door, as if wanting to go in! I so miss our little birdie who brightened our lives for six months. My children and i were heartbroken when one day Chirpy was found lifeless in his sleeping box. *sigh* forgive my lugubrious lapse down memory lane. I know all mayas look alike, so drab and so ordinary, but in our hearts Chirpy is special and much-loved.

    i am constantly on the lookout for other fledglings who just might fall out of the nests that are in various areas in the house. To date, no such luck.

  21. Hi betty q. I have been glued to archive postings re Cebu EB that seem to be never ending. I already emailed Tessa about my reservation. How ’bout you? And do make a PP stop over, serious!

    Re pineapples, tho I love them ( hubby does) my teeth won’t take them no matter how sweet. I don’t know its acidity or osteopenia is eating my dental enamel, but thanks for the tips re pineapple heads. We are not so lucky in my neck of the woods to get as much variety as yours.

    Alas, the chirpy birds have not returned to their nestings under the deck since we had to clean it up for painting, but there’s enough bushes around, perhaps more hospitable than the deck. Also I see fireflies between 6 and 8 PM, ( haven’t seen them for a while) and it is a delight watching them every evening at sundown. See, no pesticides in my garden or in the neighborhood it seems. Your favorite bees? I got a sting in my posterior while squatting weeding my garden and disturbing them while they hovered over my flowers. Will wear thicker pants next time.

  22. me thinks the bird is called maya (one maya only) .. not to be confused with maya-maya the fish… which reminds me of a friend who was once asked by Japanese nationals what is a maya-maya… to which she nonchalantly replies… Ït’s our national bird!!!!” LOL…

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