To Market, To Market!

This is our public market in the province - locally called Palengke or Pamilihang Bayan. Active on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

So, we do our marketing only on those days to buy fresh produce, fish, meat and poultry. People from nearby barrios also go to the poblacion or town proper, where the public market is situated during market days. Some of the barrio people go here to sell their produce as well (usually backyard produce).

I already have my suki or patrons that I frequent most of the time. being a fan of vegetables and fruits, some of them already know what i Like. If i missed visiting them for, say a week, my suki will say "How come you did not buy from me this week?". Some of them even know me by name.

Haggling or Tawad is also one of the games of the trade. You can ask for discounts aropund 5% to 10% of their selling price. Often, ask for additional or dagdag after the purchase. If you have 10 pieces of tomato for five pesos, ask for another piece. Or just round of to the nearest tens the total purchase... Say, if total purchase is 85, ask for tawad of 5 pesos so you pay only P80!

In general, I find it fun to visit our my favorite vendors during market days. You bump into people you know eons ago... Sort of having a reunion. "Oh hi Ma'am Martin, I thought you were in Canada? Having a vacation?" At times, I hear "How come you did not attend the aerobics last night?" or "Did you hear about Mang Tacio's daughter?"

You will also hear the latest gossips and events in town... from exercise, to accidents to reasons why there is no electricity. Well, I have not heard them discuss about Obama though! They are more concerned about prices in gasoline, LPG's and basic commodities.

In the Philippines, try to visit the local public market. It is so different from malls and supermarkets. Try to appreciate the difference and explore our culture.

Well, come to think of it, one of our nursery rhymes is about the market. I think I have forgotten some portions of the song now that I am doing the real trip to the market myself.

To Market, to Market
To market, to market to buy a fat pig;
Home again, home again, jiggety-jig.

To market, to market, to buy a fat hog;
Home again, home again, jiggety-jog.

To market, to market, to buy a plum cake;
Home again, home again, market is late.

To market, to market, to buy a plum bun;
Home again, home again, market is done.

To market, to market, a gallop a trot,
To buy some meat to put in the pot;

Three pence a quarter, a groat a side,
If it hadn't been killed it must have died


Secret Garden Part 2

Some of the photos that, due to lack of space, did not make it in the first part of the secret garden.

But every one of them has a space in the secret garden within...

And they deserve to be shared.

Sharing is a part of having that secret garden within our hearts... enjoying the serenity and glow that gardens of blooms could provide...

Enjoy the rest of the plant photos in my neighbors' gardens in the province.

In the hope that it will help you create the Secret Garden in your hearts...

=========================== . . . .

All photos were taken with the permission of the owners , my neighbors, in Nueva Ecija, Philippines. (Some observing me during the activity.)


A Resort By the Mountain

Finally, there is a newly developed resort by the foot of Sierra Madre Mountains.

The resort is called Stone 8. We have visited this a couple of times. The water is so cool, coming from the mountains. It is very near the Dupinga river, so most probably they have the same source of water.

From our part of town, it takes us around thirty minutes to get there. From the main city, it is about an hour and a half.There are breathe-taking views of mountains and hills along the way.

I saw the old bus that goes to the east coast of Luzon, Dingalan.

I also saw some farmers along the way. And carabaos , too.

At the resort, there are pools for adults and kids. slides. Fish ponds.

Of course, what is a Filipino vacation party without the videoke? Yes, we can sing our hearts out right here in this resort. I have belted a couple of songs during a relative's birthday bash here and a friend's vacation who came from Australia.

But the water, although really cold is so inviting. Very natural. No chlorine since it is free flowing, so water is replaced regularly...

From time to time, there are vendors of native delicacies and bananas that visits our kubo (nipa hut). Often, in our visits here, we buy the bananas offered so cheap in the resort.

Now, a trip to to this part of north eastern Luzon near the Sierra Madre Mountains will only be complete after a visit to this nice resort.



I have learned a new Tagalog word through careful listening and...

drinking with my relatives and close friends!

We were having a blast drinking local strong beer (aka red horse) and has discussed heck a lot of topics from the sun and space to Obama. I missed the local beer and did not bother to open the gift of vodka from my brother-in-law.

Our drinking forum subjects were so diverse, I cannot understand what the other half of the group is saying anymore. (For me this is one good element of alcohol, it opens up the mind and makes other people talk.)
Most of the topics evolved around relationships. I gave them some lecture about the application of strategies, based on Sun Tzu's Art of War, whenever there is a discussion between them and their wives. It was so funny, realizing that there are strategies to be learned and applied not only in business but also in relationships. I just hope my other brother in law will be careful next time in handling marital arguments involving his controversial mobile phone.

Our lively discussions were suddenly halted when my sister handed over a packed pancit (noodles) to a drinking buddy, my high school friend drinking right beside me.

Holding the packed food, He immediately commented "Ah, ok na itong paminto!" (This is an acceptable paminto)

I asked, "What does paminto mean?

It turned out that the word is combination of Tagalog prefix pam or pang which means for, or to be used to. And the word pinto - which means door or opening. Hence, literally, paminto means, an item which will be used in a door.
"Why do you consider this food as paminto? Use it in your door?"

"No. This will be the best proof of your alibi, so your wife will open the doors for you!"

"Ahhh.. So it is not just putot (or take-home food). It will also serve as the key to open the door and show your wife that you really came from a legit occasion!"

And since my good friend (since elementary days) has a valid reason to drink, plus the paminto, he does not have to worry going home late that night!

That's another strategy for drinking husbands!

Ahhh... Now, I know... And will advise my fellow drinking buddies: Everytime there is an occassion to drink, and your wife is not a part of the group... Make sure to bring a paminto with you.

It is the key to your homes... a key to blissful marriage! hehehe!

If symptoms persist, consult your wives!


related link for the putot:


A River That Runs Through . . .

. . .Our Town.

I visited the river or ILOG in Tagalog, that runs on the North-Eastern part of our province. It connects to the Pampanga River and a small portion is called Daus River. There is also a resort near the mountain, taking advantage of the view and the waters that nature offers.

It was late afternoon when I visited the river. So refreshing...the cool breeze that touched my skin. I walked, skipped, hoped along the river banks... on the stones.. some with moss and a bit slippery. The water here ius a bit cold. (I have taken a bath here a couple of times, along with the carabaos.. hehehe)

The river is surrounded by hills. And glancing to the east, the great Sierra Madre Mountain Range can be seen where the water comes from.

I saw some carabaos being bathed by their owners. Kalabaw is the national animal of the Philippines - the farmers' best friend. Near the river, there are farms of vegetables and mostly of palay (rice) and onion. Agriculture, being the main source of income of most of my provincemates, the river really helpd them a lot.

The modern world has also taken its toll in the province. I am surprised to see a plastic trash - one that I can trace to have come from supermarket in Metro Manila which is 5 hours away sans traffic. There are also other garbages in the river, but not really that much. I hope, the local government and the public will be more concerned and help clean this river.

As the sun starts to set, there were farmers crossing the river. Walking. Traversing the water current. On their head, they carry produce or whatever items they got that they avoid getting wet.

Some farmers are already on my side of the river, but came from the far east side. I saw them walking in groups towards town. Next thing I knew, some of them are already watching me taking photos of the river and the sunset. Most are their kids watching me.

I heard someone say "Ang ganda! Ang ganda pala!" meaning, it's beautiful, surprisingly beautiful.
Seeing the photo of the river and the sunset from the digital camera.
That time, I realized that maybe they were amazed by its beauty only because they have not stopped... paused... in order to appreciate their environment. Farmers are known hard workers. I am just glad to have sort of shown them the nice view of their workplace... of the river ... of the farm.

For some people, it is just a river. For some, it helps them water their farm.

For others, it could be a place to dump their trash.

For some, it helps them clean themselves... it also helps clean their animals. ...
The river also marks their pathway towards town... it segregates the northern and southern portion of our part of the province.

It is just a river... that has different meanings to us province dwellers.
A river that helped a lot in agriculture, in maintaining the balance of nature.

...A river that runs through our town.


Feast of Sto. Niño

Our province recently held a religious procession in honor of the Sto. Niño, the child image of Jesus Christ.

It is almost similar (or patterned) to the way Cebuanos celebrated the feast by having the Sinulog Festival. A famous parade and street dances in honor of the child Jesus. Santo Niño is the oldest religious image that reached the Philippine soil. A wooden image was brought by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 and was presented as a baptismal gift to Queen Juana

During the Holy Mass, I have learned that the Philippines is the only country (tolerated?) that has this kind of feast and approved by the Holy See.

"Just remember that this Holy Child grew to become the adult Jesus Christ, who died on the cross to save us from our sins", the Parish Priest reminded his flock during his sermon, as he invited everyone to join the procession.

In my almost two decades of embracing life in this part of the province, I think this is the first time we held a colorful parade for the young Jesus. A lot of people joined the procession with each barrio or barangay having representatives. There were various images in different clothes, most are in greens and reds.

Aside from the religious images, there were also a lot of children that were dressed the same as the Holy Child. The parents and guardians beside their children. The children are so cute waving their hands... and the fun part of it is that some of them are giving away goodies - candies, pop corn and stuffs to the watchers.

There were brass bands, ati-atihan dancers, female dancers in native moslems costumes (of Southern Philippines) similar to singkil and some people in green shirt printed with "Viva Sto. Niño!" People of all ages are present - from the young children, to teen agers to the lolas (grannies). As I was taking photos, I thought I bumped into a young lad - to my surprise, he turned out to be our young parish priest! :)

I find it interesting the various types of vehicles used to carry the religious images depicting the young Jesus. There were small battery-operated toy cars, tricycles, bicycles with sidecars (still a tricycle?) , passenger type jeepneys, owner-type jeepneys, SUV's and the pugpug or hand tractor. I was waiting for the carabao or cow with cart... But it's a no-show.

I find the parade fun and worthwhile. It shows how the town people cooperates with one another and how venerates the Savior. I also observe a lot of them having fun during the parade, greeting people as they pass by and seemingly not minding their exhaustion.

The colorful procession - the dances, the trimmings and the entire pageantry is just the Filipino's way of expressing how important the Young Jesus is in our lives.

I am glad and am proud for having this tradition, finally, in our town!

My congratulations to the organizers of the event!

Viva Sto. Niño!