Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What’s With An Agro Trade Fair in Cebu?

This is 'somehow' to answer a question of one reader. In particular he asked “why do you travel to go to those bazaars and trade fairs when you usually don’t buy anything”. The answer: I learn a lot from them, I get ideas on what to see next or even where to go next. I get to share these with my friends and family so they know what to get where or what to see where, and when. Plus, the experience of browsing at many things about a place, almost all in just one booth, is very conveniently educational. That means I do not have to travel far and wide to know little curious snippets about places. Like? Well, let see…

I’ve already told you about what I saw in Catbalogan, so let me go back to Cebu for a 'case-in-point'. I popped into what they called Agro Trade Fair 2011. And it was conveniently just at the very grounds of the capitol. Yep, behind the big building and in front of the Justice Fernan whatever building. Of course I was not about to hoard or haul any of the products on display. Who would cook and eat them at my Cebu home anyway, right? But fun I had and many things I learned. In fact, next year when the same thing happens, I’ll probably be there again.

What did I see and learn? Too many to mention here! But let me tell you some…

You know Pandan, right? It’s a long leaf, dried and woven into baskets or mats, right? Now, what is a mat? You were thinking of a rectangular sheet used for sleeping especially in the provinces, right? Not necessarily! In front of me were two beautiful circular mats about 5 feet in diameter, and both were hanging on a wall. The lady there told me those are good substitutes for synthetic carpets or rugs. I sent a pic via my phone to a friend who is in the business of doing interiors for restaurants, offices, condominiums and a global resort/hotel chain. The reply was “OMG I was looking for this. Is it already treated? Can they make it at 7 feet diameter? I want the natural colors, just beige, brown and dark brown almost black. How fast can they make 30 of those? Do they deliver internationally or I have to pick them? What town in Cebu are they from” and many more such questions. My reply: “heh, kadami mong tanong, eto number ng supplier, her name is Bovette, mag-usap kayo”!

See?! It was that casual! I was just showing off the colorful rounded mats that I thought were nice to see as wall decors too. Then, kung anu-ano na ang nangyari hehe. I just hope I was able to help both supplier and buyer.

Here’s more… I learned your ‘kamatis’ in Metro Manila is called ‘tamates’ in Cebu. And I thought it was just a typo error for the English name “tomatoes” hehe. Abokado, kalabasa, gabi, loy-a would be familiar to you, right? How about Kamansi? Nge! I also thought the word was bisaya for ‘kalamansi’ but what I saw on display were like little pieces of jackfruit. Gosh! I asked what it is and how it is eaten. They showed me, and I learned that only the seeds are gathered, to be cooked and eaten. Hmm, that probably is a pygmy langka, if at all there is ever such a thing hehehe! But I still wonder, why only the seeds are eaten.

Now I know what a Bahalina is, and I like drinking it with coke as ‘chaser’. I learned in my many sojourns that the ‘tuba’ placed in a well-sealed ‘galon’ or ‘simboryo’ is buried in an earth pit (a.k.a. the ground hehe) and the longer it stays there, the stronger and tastier the ‘tuba’ (wine) becomes. That is called a bahal or bahalina. Open the container, let it bask in sunlight for a few days and it becomes a high quality 'suka'. Yes, vinegar! But how about this picture? Do you know what it means? “Twenty five pesos per flat”? What is a flat? Ha?! Well, it’s the flask type of rhum bottle commonly called “lapad”. I asked the girl if “flat” is really the term they use in their town to refer to such bottle. With a mischievous smile, her answer was “aw ser oi, amo lang gi-englis”! Da! Nakakita ako ng katapat ko hahaha! So friends, when I go back to Quezon City, don’t wonder if I ask “magkano isang flat ng Tanduay?” Or “magkano isang flat ng cooking oil?”!

Takyong! Do you know what it is? It’s a snail. Am not sure it’s the same kind, but they look to me like the common brown snail we see in the countryside. I have been to many towns and farms that have an abundance of those, and generally, they are supposed to be inedible. Or at least not considered “food” by the locals. But there I was in a stall (of Borbon, Cebu) where the Takyong was prominently displayed in export-quality-looking jars. The ladies there offered me a sampler and egged me to taste it. All I could say was “di ko, di ko”! Hehehe, but they wont be processing and selling those if not edible, right? I still say “di ko” as in “diiiii gyud ko” hahaha! And the Takyong shell is made into many decorative things too!

Alright, do you know what “Pate De Pilar” is? Sociel the name ‘noh?! Awsus “ginamos” lang pala. The bottle says “seasoned guinamos”! But that reminded me, I was in Pilar, I circled the island, the boat for Ormoc even left me behind, but I did not see where they make these “Pate De Pilar”! Would be stinky fun to watch how they make those, right?! See? Aside from the beaches, I now have a new objective if ever I get the chance to visit that town again. And yes, Pilar is part of Camotes Islands, province of Cebu, but nearer and easier to get to from Ormoc City, in Leyte!

There were others more I learned at this agro trade fair. Like where to find “kalabasang bilog” and what it looks like. Do you know? Like Kawit Beach is a promising vacation spot that is now in my list of destinations. No its not in Cavite hehe! Like if you just let the lettuce grow by itself without harvesting, it actually looks good as a decorative plant! Oh ha?! Like where I could find a ‘dragon fruit’ plantation. Do you even know how the fruit looks like? What color, aber?! Like I now know where the biggest ‘sayote’ are grown in this province. That Talisay does not only have a lot of lechon (they call it inasal), they also supply the metro area with mangoes! Like I have also seen and tasted “kroepeck”! Do you know what it is?! Hmm, I like the carrot, malunggay and squid flavors! Like I learned there are only 2 beach resorts facing west in Santander, the rest are all facing the sunrise - but all have white sand! And I now also know which is the only town on this island province that can grow grapes. Do you?!

Ah, there are others more!

Oh well, see you in the next agro trade fair?!

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