Sunday, December 6, 2009

Tabo sa PAO

My Negros Oriental Tour: Dumaguete City
This one I did not know about nor was it even in my list of things to see. I was just exiting the Sidlakang Negros Tourism Village when some activity caught my attention. Towards the right near the corner of the EJ Blanco St. with Real (the national highway going north, I think), I saw some folks carrying veggies and the likes that seemed to have been bought just nearby. Since I knew that this area is way far (in fact at the other end of the city) from their public market, I walked towards what might be there. Voila, a “tabo”, yes a market!

Signage says “Tabo sa PAO” and I have asked at least 5 folks before I could get a bearing on what the ‘PAO’ really means. Most said they didn’t know but one said ‘agriculture’ hehe! So I am guessing, this place is a provincial agricultural office or something. Its in the city yes, nearby to Sidlakang Negros to its left and the provincial hospital down the bend to the right. And agricultural office this must be as it is not only surrounded but dotted everywhere with tall big trees canopying the whole place from direct sunlight or light drizzles.

What’s on sale? Well, a lot of greens from eatables to ornamentals. There are even baby trees, with roots and all! The vegetables all seemed so crisp fresh, and I saw a stall selling a lot of parsley! Pechay and cabbage were common but I didn’t know sigarilyas could be as long as 2 feet or more! Rootcrops of many kinds were abundant, and I almost stepped into a pile of gingers as they were just dumped on a side of one stall. Ah fruits? There were a lot too but those that come from the real trees around the province like their local mangoes, jackfruit of unimaginable sizes, papayas of various shapes and sizes – yes, some papayas are round hehe! There were little green yellow orange red thingys too that I think folks at home call 'cherry tomatoes'!

I did ask why they have this kind of market only on Wednesdays and Saturdays when there is a real and clean public market at the other end of the city. Boy have I got an answer from one of the vendors (she is a barangay captain from one southern town afterall). She said that they are the farmers who plant and harvest these produce, so they don't own and don't have time to stay at a market stall everyday. I pressed on, trying to get the significance of the 'tabo'. She said that in this system, they are able to sell their produce at higher prices than when consolidators go to their farms and buy their produce there. Ah yes, the middlemen... an ugly product of capitalism hehe! So I asked if they don't pay dearly for transportation with all of them to each his own coming down to Dumaguete. She clarified that they avail the services of the "hakot" - trucks and vans provided by the provincial government to haul (hakot) produce from their farms. Splendid! As we talked, she intimated that most transactions at the PAO are wholesale where hotels and restaurants buy their produce in bulk. PLUS, some of the vendors from Dumaguete's public market and elsewhere also visit them for wholesale transactions. Bravo NegOr!

There was dried fish and other fishy things, including bottled whatevers from the sea or shore! But I wondered why there was no meat. Well, I thought this was not a ‘tabo’ day yet (Tuesday) that’s why most stalls were empty. Many who I encountered were probably just preparing their produce for display and sale. But when I decided to get out of the premises… there I saw some meats! Live hehe! Laden by the sidewalk outside of the fence were pigs and piglets all for sale. Curious, I went near and asked the man in charge why all seemed to be young or very young. His answer was “litsononon, sir”. Ah yes, the younger the pig, the more succulent the lechon. Yumm! But that was not all. I asked too why some pigs were not tied nor caged but were standing or sitting with heads towards the inner part of a sack. The man answered that it was less stressful for the animals and he learned it from a foreigner. When 'wrapped’ so, pigs do not (yet) know how to free themselves outa the sack. Hmm, interesting! Yes, even just by a simple little trick of walking backwards! I also asked why he was selling his pigs outside of the PAO premises. After some hesitation, he timidly replied that he is not a registered member of the suppliers who sell at PAO. "So illegal ka, colorum" I jokingly asked. And puffing his cigarette, said "opo"! Ah the things I learn when traveling.

Aight, let’s move on to middle of the city before I proceed to the northern towns of the province.

If you want to read the chronology of all stories on this tour, click the following:
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
36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65

1 comment :

  1. Interesting! I love learning words from local dialects. LOL @ the pig vendor story. :)