Saturday, October 25, 2008

Dumaguete Public MarketS

I was told by an online acquaintance not to miss the public market. And miss the public market, I did not!

When I got there however, I thought this was not a singular public market but more of a plural public markets. The area is composed of a number of buildings (six?) that comprises the public market of Dumaguete. Yes Daryll, I now agree with you. This must be one of the cleanest in the country. I did not at all experience the usual “yucky” feeling while roaming around this area. This place can even be compared with that of Marikina!

It starts right behind the bell tower with what is called the Fruit Market and fruits they really sell. Yes, the Dauin-bound ‘esrides’ park here. Too many kinds of fruits on sale; from apples to jackfruits, to oranges, guavas, mangoes, durians to peaches, pears and papayas. They’re all there! I loved the smell at this market – interestingly fruity – what else hehe! The delectable scent of the langka dominates the place. And I wondered how they keep or where they throw their garbage in this place – never had a chance to spot any.

Then there is the Fruit & Vegetable Plaza. Name it you’ll find it there. I was surprised to see there was even a stall selling oregano seeds! Whatever those are hehe! Very first thing I noticed in this area is/was that the vegetables are laid out as they are – fresh or not. No manangs who continuously douse their vegetables with water to make them look fresh.

What actually caught my attention in this area of the market were the numbered coconuts. The style in this place is to mark each “de-husked” coconut with the price for which it is being sold. Hmm, did I say it right? Is there such a word as “de-husked”. Whatever hehe, basta, I mean “with the husk removed”! Am just taking the analogy from “de-boned” and “de-faced” hehehe! And I had to stay a few minutes watching an old man mark each of those coconuts with the big numbers for a price tag! I asked how many marking pens he consumes each day and told me “the equivalent of two”. When I clarified what he meant by “the equivalent of two” he told me that they would usually refill the pen with ink so that it’s cheaper. Hmm, wise!

Then there is also the Fish Terminal & Storage Complex and I actually did not feel bad being in it. While they trade and sale fish of all types, being there does not give you the yucky feel of trotting on wet, slimy and smelly floor. In fact, it sports the same kind of flooring that most every public market in the country are made of - bare concrete. I could not say this place is sparklingly tidy nor sterile but I think the right word is orderliness - and perhaps too dryness of the surroundings.

Next buildings are the meats and poultry, fish and other sections selling everything like DVDs, bags, toys, school items, clothes, etc., like you would see them at Divisoria. So it’s a normal public market after all. But why do I (and other observers) like this particular public market? Is it because it’s right behind the church? Nah! I think the clue is discipline and order. Each stall sticks to its allotted space and each vendor has a stall. This is very much unlike anywhere else where the stall owners would eat up the alleys with their wares or extend protrusions so that they can be more visible to the buying public than their competitors. In this place, I did not see vendors spreading their wares on the streets nor did I see ambulant vendors thrusting their goods at people. In this place, the alleyway is still and alleyway, the sidewalk is still a side walk (you know, that place where people walk on? Remember?), the parking areas are still parking areas – and they even have designated spaces for motorcycles and cars! This is probably the secret. Then again, I could have been visiting at the “wrong” time? I hope not!

Hey, in an inner building of the square that is lined with carinderias on ground floor and what seemed like air-conditioned offices on second level, something caught my curiosity! These are the tarpaulin sheets draped above each carinderia and obviously sponsored/donated by Coke. Each sheet has the logo of coke printed on it with a name at the bottom. I got curious what those names were so I asked one of the stores on the other side of the street. Simple! Those names are the owners of the carinderias. Coolness! In this place, they don’t anymore go to the extremes of creating funny or even silly names like “Kikay’s Kainan” or “Asado ni Mando”! They just sport the FULL NAME (yep, that’s the full first name and full surname of the owner/proprietor of the carinderia)! Unique!

For a chronology of stories on this trip, click the following article numbers:

01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18
19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   32   33   34   35


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