Apart from the panoramic views, pristine beaches, century-old heritage churches, vast rice fields and rich-cultural traditions, there is something more fascinating the North can offer- their Public Market (Tiendaan in the vernacular). It may sound a cliché from this blog, but the best way to experience a town is to visit their markets. And what better way to start than where this Palengkera was born- Laoag City.
Laoag City is the Capital of Ilocos Norte. It is the center of political, commercial and industrial affairs of Ilocos. The one and only international airport of the region is strategically located just few minutes from the heart of the city. From the country’s capital Metro Manila, it is reachable by plane around 45 minutes and 10-12 hours by land. Speaking of economy, Laoag is close to many ports that can bridge trading goods from neighboring regions and nearby countries like Taiwan. To date, it has also allured some of the giant retailers to expand in the area, SM, Robinsons, Puregold to name a few. And by 2014, one of the fastest growing BPO(Expert Global Solutions) is set to open for the competitive workforce in the region. Sources of income includes agri-business, small-scale food processing factories, rice mills, jewelry-making, hollow blocks factories, and metal crafts. Recently, however, tourism has turn into a key financial driver of Laoag, contributing to the boost of commercial investments, housing and infrastructure growth. Cozy and has an ambiance of what they say a surviving relic and example of Spanish Colonial town.
*photo credits to Ms. Pati
The economic growth in Laoag paves the way for more trading of goods and services especially in its public market. History has it that the Laoag City Commercial Complex was a replacement of the old (blue-green- I think) building public market. The 3-storey structure is installed with an escalator. The hallways are a bit cramped but the market is secured and even has CCTVs installed around the area (according to my mom who roves the market 3 times a week). The sanitation and tidiness in the wet area is comparable to some of the best public markets I featured in this blog.
The open market is scheduled every morning on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. In my early days as a child, I usually get excited every Sunday as my mother used to take me to this vibrant market of course with the condition to obey her rules. During the open market (tienda), the market would pack vendors from different Barangays and even neighboring towns to sell or trade their goods. It always fascinates me to see seasonal exotic foods like fried crickets, beetles, frogs, mushrooms, freshwater shellfish and the likes.
At the Sunday Market. this photo credits to Blauearth.
When it comes to fresh produce, Public Market is far better choice than the Supermarkets.
It is also a place where one can come and buy some popular Ilocos fares including bagnet, dried fish and seafood, longganisa, tobacco leaves, and other traditional native rice cakes and snacks.
Witness heart attack food at the 2nd level of the complex (Bagnet, Longganisa, Silet etc).
Though we love the smell of fat and calories, to balance our diet, we still turn to our staple food- Green Leafy Veggies and among other weeds. We occasionally source our protein needs from different crawling living things (for lack of a better term).
Seasonal Mushrooms (August-September)
Seaweeds (Pokpoklo, Aragan, God knows what those are)
Local Squid (I suppose)
And some carcinogens…
This was taken one late Saturday afternoon in preparation for the Sunday Market. Vendors and Merchants met to trade goods/produce. I was with my Mom and our driver to deliver the produce from our humble farm.
Whenever I am in this hometown, I never fail to visit our Market, out of necessity or for amusement. If asked how I describe this place, with a child’s excitement and grin- A wonderland. Nothing much changed- has always been a fascinating sight with beehive of activities.