Thursday, September 3, 2009

Bus Terminal, Lato, Buad and Market

Slept well at Nagano and I woke up still wanting to roam more of Bogo City. So I headed out early at 7AM. I heard they have a new bus terminal so I took a tricycle to go and see it. I would be looking for it later anyway when I head out to other towns.

Hmm, the terminal is expansive and clean by the sea and just behind the equally clean public market. The views out into the east (the sea) should have been splendid if those structures beyond the sea wall were not there. What are those anyway? I guess squatters since they’re built already on the water. Even saw a family huddled by the seawall eating their breakfast on the ground. They looked like scavengers. Hmm again, if not controlled, I don’t want to imagine what will become of this place some years more.

Eager to get a closer look of the placid waters, I looked for and inched forward to a side where there are none of the roofed structures to and that’s to the left as I faced the bay. Lovely, some fisherfolk were already busy tending to their boats and nets by the very calm waters. One of them picked from inside his boat, a bundled net full of what looked like seashells and dropped it on the shallow part of the water. I called out to him asking what that was for. He said those were clams and needed to be in the water so they wont die before he can bring them to the market nearby.

Lato. I got too hooked looking out to the calm waters of the bay, the boats and even a nice little gazebo-like hut that stood on the water, I did not notice there was some exciting silent activity behind and a few steps away from me. Some women and a man were sifting through a pile of seaweeds. They were silent, just picking through the lot, selecting some choice pieces and separating them into a plastic bag. As they looked rather greener and shorter that what I commonly see, I asked what it was. They said “lato”. I asked what they were doing and the reply was they were separating those that are of good quality from those that are mediocre as they sell for a different price. Hmm. What a tedious task.

As I took more time watching them silently (they too were silent), I could not help but wonder… “what was there basis for saying this and that is good quality? Do they have a referenced measurement, color tone or texture for deciding so? Where do they keep that?! And I almost slapped myself for having thought so! The process consultant in me was meddling with my appreciation of the rural life. Hah!

I also wondered and to this date I have yet to know… do people plant lato? Where in the seas do they grow? Are they considered sea grass or sea weeds? Are they part of or complementary to corals? Don’t some sea creatures consider them food? Aren’t we depriving them of that, if any? What if people over-harvested lato? Do they grow that fast? Will this thing become endangered? What is its value in the ocean’s life cycle? Ah now I must research about all those! See?! I had to be at one silent corner of Bogo City to titillate my mind about the existence of a certain specie hehe! The benefits of roaming this archipelago… it invites us to learn more about things we’d otherwise just take for granted!

Buad. That is pronounced ‘boo-wad’ in bisaya. When I sheepishly stood up and said a hushed “thank you” to the very silent lato sorters, behold another worthwhile activity that I did not realize was already unfolding just a few steps from the women. Two men were putting out wide bamboo trays full of neatly arranged fish to dry in the morning sun. I did not have to ask, those were obviously the beginnings of dried-fish that will soon find their way to market stalls. The fish looked like they have started the drying process (probably yesterday) but not yet too dry the way we see them at the palengke.

Oh, while I now remember I have all along been wanting to see a place where they dry the fish to become danggit. The fish here was not danggit, but I now think the process would be a bit similar – only the danggit fish are cut open to spread like butterflies hehe! I have seen something like this during my trips to the outskirts of Catbalogan but those were a smaller scale, probably just for the family’s consumption. Needless to say, and after I have said so many words… this was the first time I saw such a number of fish being laid out under the sun to dry. Oh yes, there were different kinds of fish here, but they were grouped accordingly!

I asked, “are these already salted?” The reply was “some are, some are not”. It depends on what the buyer wants. Wow! I asked too why the trays have to be laid out elevated on racks, why not just lay them flat on the ground. The reply was “dogs”! Oo nga naman. I felt really stupid for not having thought about that hehe. Those bamboo trays were being taken out from a little shack by the edge of the water and there were still more in there as the two men busied themselves putting them out stack per stack. Hey, mysteriously there was a noticeable absence of the pesky flies! I did not ask but wondered… don’t they little and big flies come out here? Ah, they were probably all asleep still. It was only 7:16AM when I checked!

Okay, after the dried-fish go-see, I breezed through the public market after the bus terminal on my way to main street where I noticed both the dry and wet areas are clean and orderly. Last one I saw something like this was at Dumaguete.

Hmm, the derivative benefits of roaming around… I just wanted to see the new bus terminal and I saw enormously more!


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