Once Upon a Time in The Eighties, a Filipino architect named Apolonio "Pol" Medina Jr. came home from the Middle East and made a comic strip, inspired partly by a friend who bought a pig farm and partly by other things from his life and work. Pugad Baboy (Filipino for "pigs' nest") is a newspaper comic about the daily life and adventures of a community of fat people in a Manila suburb.Pugad Baboy debuted in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on May 18, 1988, one of the young paper's first comic strips. After 25 years, controversy forced Medina to leave on June 6, 2013. Weeks later, it resumed as a webcomic. It has produced merchandise, book compilations, original graphic novels, and a short-lived live-action TV comedy series.While the main characters are the Sungcal family and their talking dog Polgas, it also features strips tackling Philippine society, culture, and politics. The wide scope of its humor has caused it to be compared to Doonesbury.
Pugad Baboy has examples of the following tropes:
Afraid of Needles: Tomas. In one strip, he actually pulls a gun in front of a doctor when he takes out a syringe.
Art Evolution: The early strips resemble little of what they are today in terms of character design. Not only are the eyes bigger, they are also more rounded.
Author Avatar: Medina says that he identifies himself with Dagul (for his serious side), Utoy (for his child-like behavior) and Polgas (for his adventurous side).
Author Filibuster: Most of the characters' discussions regarding current events are Medina's social commentary. Most of them are quite sarcatic.
Dagul also exhibits this when he gets to show off his martial arts skills.
Tomas and Bab also have their moments.
Beware the Nice Ones: Barbie. She's generally nice to most of the community members— but if you're Tomas and you've just come home at 4 in the morning, drunk and stinking of woman's perfume, then you better run.
Camp Gay: Pao. This is a plot point in the Hiwaga ng DuenasStory Arc, where he was captured by a cult searching for pregnant women to be sacrificed, and they thought Pao was pregnant because of his big belly.
Cerebus Syndrome: Originally and primarily a comedy strip with a focus on Slice of Life adventures, over the years it has often delved into story arcs of varying seriousness, tackling issues like drug abuse, organized crime and government corruption. Some stories are also Fantasy and Science Fiction-oriented.
Drives Like Crazy: Many of the male drivers, though resident mechanic Joboy is the worst offender.
Early-Installment Weirdness: Polgas couldn't talk in the earliest strips. When he first talked, it was a big deal, with the Sungcals freaking out.
Expy: Noli's hairstyle and Permastubble are shout-outs to Rambo.
Fartillery: Many strips portray this, but Kules the engineer was the most memorable.
Kules' Arab boss: "I own ten oil refineries."
Kules: "Well, I have only one oil refinery."
Kules' Arab boss: "What does it produce? Benzene?"
-Kules farts, causing the Arab boss' cigarette to explode-
Kules: "No. Methane."
Another story involves Igno and Bab using a bacon-covered balloon filled with farts, to be used on Senator Cabalfin's guard dog as part of their plan to watch his maid take a bath. It works... though the dog isn't the only one knocked out.
Gatling Good: Tomas wields one against bank robbers in the James Bab arc. The bank robbers survive the carnage, but only after Tomas destroys the wall surrounding the robbers.
Gratuitous English: Shows up in both straight English and "Taglish" forms. Justified in that English is also the other national language of the Philippines.
Hair Today Gone Tomorrow: In flashbacks, Dagul is shown to have had much fuller hair, though even then it was already receding.
Karmic Death: It's suggested that Cassius "G.I." Jones, villain of a Story Arc set in Subic Bay, was killed by the vengeful families of the women he and his henchmen lured into prostitution. Although the local news says that his body was never found, Polgas (in his "Bark Justice" alter ego) created the story to cover up the suggested murder.
Lethal Chef: Tiny. She once used papaya soap on a papaya-based soup when the dish called for the real deal.
Rags to Riches: An introduction panel in one of the compilations has Pol Medina lampshading how the comic has helped him earn a rather comfortable lifestyle... then poking fun at how his "riches" still look like crap compared to what wealthier Filipinos enjoy.
Pol Medina is a tad too fond of joking about Arabs and South Asians being foul-smelling to the point of Unfortunate Implications. One strip series involves a chemical agent called PSSI, with the acronym translating in English as "Iraqi soldier's jock sweat", and another strip has resident hippie Bab scare Tiny and Pao away from their shawarma by claiming that it tastes like an Arab's underarm— which lets him claim the shawarma for himself.
Paltik's circumcision blues.
Polgas' and Dagul's table conversations turning to Squick-worthy subjects, occasional ending with Debbie making them leave the table.
Dagul being the Butt Monkey of his maid's jokes about him being bald.
Tomas being pummeled by his wife Barbie when she sees him flirt with other women.
Servile Snarker: Brosia. She makes up for her general lack of intelligence (or formal schooling) with witty jokes and pranks at the other characters' expense, particularly Dagul.
ShoutOut: Several, mostly based on Western pop culture such as Wiseguy, Film/Ghostbusters, Film/Aliens, Film/Predator, Nolan's Dark Knight Saga, DC/Marvel Comics and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Others are based on Philippine pop culture, like Darna. Bab at one point also quotes "The Gospel of John."
The nonsensical title ''Pugad Baboy" (as pigs don't nest) is likely a reference to the Philippine historic site Pugad Lawin ("hawk's nest").
Snark Bait: In-universe, Dagul is the usual target of Brosia's jokes.
Speed Dating: In one strip, Tiny finally accepts Bab to be his girlfriend, for only two seconds. She even says it is the shortest date ever, worthy of the Guinness World Records.
Senator Cabalfin, who is the embodiment of the Philippine Corrupt Politician. However, on occasion, his portrayal is sympathetic, such as when Tomas, Bab, and Igno plan a Peeping Tom raid on his compound, intending to peep on Cabalfin's maid in the shower.
Sometimes, caricatures of actual politicians appear, mostly as a Take That by the author.
Stupid Surrender: In one arc, the armed Igorot henchmen of Atong Damuho in Baguio didn't surrender because of the combined military might of the PMA cadets and the NPA rebels. No, it was the appearance of gay men from St. Louis University that made them decide to give up.
Stern Teacher: Miss Nobatos is visibly in her 50's or 60's, and often acts as the Straight Man to Paltik's horse jokes (because of her buck teeth).
Take That: The comic delivers more than a few jabs towards corrupt politicians, the NPA, the Catholic Church, and the follies of Filipino society in general.
Vigilante Man: One Story Arc involves a vigilante group called the Walang Payat Gang (Literally means No Thin Person Gang), formed by Polgas alongside Utoy, Paltik and Joma, the sons of Dagul, Tomas and Noli. They engaged in non-lethal vigilante operations against Dirty Cops, culminating in making the local corrupt chief of police mend his ways.
What Could Have Been: Initially, Manila Bulletin was Medina's choice of submitting his early work back in 1987. However, he got lost in Intramuros and asked a bystander for directions. The bystander gave him the wrong one and Medina ended up in the office of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, which was still new at that time. Apparently, the Inquirer chief artist liked the strips and the rest is history.
Write What You Know: The story of Kules, Dagul's eldest son, is based on Medina's experience as a overseas contract worker in the Middle East.