“What’s up, Doc?” This is the famous line of the lovable cartoon character Bugs Bunny. Other popular characters are Roger Rabbit and the Easter bunny.

Since childhood, I always wanted to have my own rabbit. I grew up visiting pet shops and the Arranque market. What discouraged me was their size when they grew up. They were not as cute as when they are small. With research, I learned that there are different kinds of rabbits, and what I had been seeing was what we normally called “local rabbits.”

Our family decided to enjoy the 2015 Yuletide season in Manila instead of traveling to various provinces to experience how locals celebrated the season. The thought of going to Cartimar always excites me, so when my family asked, “Dad, where you want to go this Christmas season?” I replied, without hesitation, that I wanted to have lunch at Dampa then explore Cartimar. I often visited Cartimar in my high school days decades ago. I don’t go as frequently now due to work constraints, so I looked forward to exploring it again. Plus, it would be the first time for my two kids.

Since the 1980s, Cartimar has been popular for imported shoes and pets. Now that it has been renovated, there are more options, including stores for bicycles, Japanese food items, plants, apparel, and grocery items.

The number of pet stores has grown. They also differ in sizes and store layouts. Some are still conventional all-in-one pet shops that carry different selections of pet animals. The number of specialized stores for dogs, birds, and all fish are good additions for the hobby. Marine fish stores are still present. What surprises me are stores that are designed like those in Hong Kong and Singapore, which gives the buyer a nice experience. A1, Pet City, and Big Fish Place are great store additions.

Normally, my priority is entering a fish store, but a nice furry pet store, then named Pet Galore (now renamed Pet ‘N Us) got me curious. Their staff members greeted us politely; one, Jam, patiently answered all our inquiries. The place was properly ventilated because of its air conditioning system. Guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters, and cats were housed neatly in glass enclosures. Pet accessories were nicely displayed.

My son Aaron could not let go of a rabbit, so Jam explained to us about the many types of rabbits and their behavior. I soon became curious about the owner of the store as I had a vision for his shop. Jam politely withheld details of the owner for confidentiality. We purchased the rabbit, a Netherland dwarf, and its food, and the staff members assured us they would always be there to answer all concerns.

Incidentally, upon talking with Animal Scene managing editor Jeffrey Lim, I learned that Pet ‘N Us is owned by Archie Uy. The rest is history since Archie and I are contemporaries in the hobby scene. I contacted and met with him for a coffee; we had a fun time chatting about pets. He also has a farm from which my daughter got her dream Scottish Fold cat. Pet keeping is amazing because of the fellowship it provides the hobbyist.

 

This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s August 2017 issue.