From the Midwest redneck author of "The Rooster Crows at 4am!," "Lizard Poop!," and "The Philippines Expat Advisor"
Saving Money at the Wet Market in Iloilo City
Occasionally I get off my rotund rump, and go with my asawa to our local wet market in Iloilo. The walk is close to a 90-minute round trip. I make the effort to go with my spouse on Sunday mornings and actually carry on a conversation with her. It’s some quality time for us.
(Photo source: funny411.com)
I fuel up on pancakes first, however, that I prepare for our crew every Sunday. Now I never look as good as the teen beauty queen serving pancakes in the photo above, but my nieces and our nephew that live with us don’t seem to mind. The kids look forward to the tasty pancakes. I think it’s the only meal they have that doesn’t include rice.
“Snake!” my asawa exclaimed. Not much left of it, however, as the above photo reveals. It wasn’t some massive python that hung on the trees of my wife’s jungle home place in Guimaras where she grew up, but it made for an interesting conversational nugget as we walked around it.
Next up are some of the locals at this popular wet market. Sunday is a busy shopping day. I stood in the background as my wife checked with her favorite suki that gives her a five peso discount on each kilo of fish she buys. Prices were higher, in the P120-P200 kilo range, 3-5 US Dollars, because of the full moon, according to my spouse.
A full moon makes it easier for the fish to see the nets that the fishermen lay out at night. The fish are also attracted to the artificial light the fishing vessels carry. The light of a full moon takes away that advantage.
Prices at the SM City Supermarket (see next photo) are usually higher plus the fish are fresher at the local venue. A kilo of fish that costs P120 at this local market costs P130-P140 at SM. However, the “Super” Market by the Parola Dock in Iloilo sells the same fish for only P70 a kilo.
Vegetables and fruit can also be purchased much cheaper at the row of markets near Parola. A kilo of cherry tomatoes costs P15 and potatoes that cost P120 a kilo at SM City are only P50 a kilo at the “Super.” Our local market sells the taters for P60. It’s the main outlet that many of the vendors get their stock from.
At the “Super” Market, you eliminate the middleman. My asawa visits the Parola venue whenever she returns from a trip to Guimaras since the Super Market is quite a distance from our home.
The day’s catch is displayed in front of our local wet market. Not that many takers that day, however, due to the higher prices. My asawa also decided not to buy there that day.
We moved on to a line of shops about two blocks from the main wet market we shop at in Iloilo City. Lots of fruits and vegetables. And always plenty of bananas as shown in the next photo. I don’t like the taste or texture of these bananas, unless my asawa prepares them as a “Banana Que” dish as shown in the photo following this one.
Give me a Cavendish, “American” banana, any day. Problem is, most of the Cavendish bananas I see at the big markets at SM and Robinsons are spotted and too ripe. Guess they’re not in great demand and sit too long in the produce department.
Need a smoke? Here’s some popular generic brands of cigarettes that were on sale. Despite the recent sin tan in the Philippines that went into effect this year, you can tell a pack of cancer sticks are still quite cheaper than what you would pay for in the States. My only concern, frankly, is how the tax impacted the price of a bottle of San Miguel Pale Pilsen. I’ve noticed an increase of a few pesos at a local joint my American expat friend, Scott B, and I hang out. A bottle of Pilsen now costs P30, 74¢.
My wife decided to buy some fish at this location. Same price as the wet market, but since she needed something for dinner, she parted with some pesos anyway. That’s her holding the money in the lower-left hand corner of the following picture. My asawa also purchased some jack fruit and green beans. I picked up a couple of kilos of potatoes.
Made it back home in Savannah where I took the above photo of a jeepney stand located outside our main gate. Notice the lady in the foreground with the black-and-white top? Yeah, in the Philippines people will walk around with tags sticking out of their shirts or blouses just like back in the States. They’ll walk around like that all day without anyone telling them. My own asawa is often guilty of this fashion faux pas but not when I’m around. I always tuck the tab back in for her.
Didn’t spot any more road kill snakes but it was still a good walk on a sunny, breezy day in the Philippines. And it sure beats freezing temperatures and driving on slick, icy snow-covered interstates back in the States any day!