Veggies on Wheels

On a traysikad, a manually operated tricycle (sikad means kick), Sita goes around town selling fresh produce, fish and meat products. She is one of the regular vegetable peddlers of our province at the foot of the Sierra Madre Mountains. We still have women peddling items walking around just carrying baskets, but I believe this veggies on wheels is a more efficient way and sells more variety and quantity.

Usually, Sita (whose real name would probably be Teresita), sells during the "non-market days." Here in our small town, we have designated market days, three days a week, when most people go to the public market. The public market building and store stalls are always there, but most vendors are present only during 'market day' (araw ng palengke). This is one thing unique about our small, not so sleepy town. Most towns and cities do not have assigned market day. So, this means our friendly ambulant vendor and her group of veggie peddlers have their assigned or peak day as well.

"Gulay!" (vegetable)... "Gulayyyyyy!", Sita shouts in order to get the attention of her prospective buyers. Often, she already has a regular route on a routine hour for the day. Like in our street, I usually see her around 5 o'clock in the afternoon.

Her clients, mostly mothers, flock her mobile store...

"How much is this sitaw (long bean)? And this repolyo (cabbage) per kilogram?

"Don't you have red bell pepper and green bean? I need to prepare chop suey today and I forgot those ingredients in my trip to the market yesterday!"

"Oh, this is a nice smoked fish... how much is this?"

"That will go well with pakbet (boiled vegetables in fish paste)! Fresh okra and talong (eggplant) here!"

"This banana has a lot of freckles, give me a bargain price for this, okay?"

"Hey, honey" a woman shouts to her husband "Sita is selling ampalaya (bitter melon), do you want me to buy some?"

"Oh this is getting expensive, can you give me a discount?"
"Sita, you already have tocino and longanisa? You are getting better and richer, huh?"

"Not really Ate Linda, I just tried selling Mekeni Pampanga's products today. Please buy some of my tocino and longanisa!"
These are examples of conversations I usually hear as I enjoyed buying some vegetables myself. Mothers check the quality and pick the best, placing them on the weighing scale. Price haggling is a normal thing.
Sometimes, topics of would go beyond what is being sold. The women would talk about their lives, their viands, recipes and of course the latest news or gossips in town. Sita needs to know some of these in order to entertain her clients. And this, undoubtedly makes it more fun. Fact is, even after Sita has left, some women still stay to chitchat (Only in the Philippines! hehehe!)

Good thing, our location in the North Eastern Central Luzon, known for speaking Ilocano in a Tagalog province, is also known for consuming a lot of vegetables. We, Filipinos eat grass! Naahhh, that just means we eat a lot of vegetables, the variety of which might mean exotic to others.

No wonder Sita sells a lot of vegetables!

I am grateful we have this lot of vegetable peddlers in our area. I know it takes a lot of physical effort from hauling to peddling. Plus, it requires a lot of customer service and public relation skills as well! Imagine that? Ooops, don't forget the vocal prowess to shout "Vegetables!"
And once again, with her ready smile, Sita yelled...

"Gulayyyy! Gulay kayo dyannnn!"

'Gulay kayo dyan' which would probably mean, 'vegetables for you!'... has a funny literal translation: 'You are vegetables there!'. Hehehe!

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