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To Market! To Market! To Buy Fresh Fish.

Saturday morning. 

We were groggy, tired, sleepy and wanted to snuggle up in bed so bad. All because we had our regular overnight session at the office. You know -- working + gaming + eating and other addictions we can get our hands on til the break of dawn. At 5:30 AM, we surrendered and dragged ourselves out of Pueblo Verde to go home.

And yet, at a whim, I had the urge to visit the local wet market. I was imagining eating puto maya and sikwate. Sweet sticky rice and hot choco. Surely, it was my idea of turning one glum morning into a beautiful one. And it ended up being a really good idea. :)

So instead of stopping at Gunob Glass, we rode past our stop straight to the wet market. We rode past our regular trisikel stop. We rode past our familiar landmarks.

There, right across Jollibee and beyond the trisikel terminal, were rows and rows of merchants selling their puto and sikwate laying out rectangular tables with plastic chairs. On top of the table was a bucket for spoons and forks and a small bowl with sugar. 

We plopped down and ordered one plate of puto maya and two cups of sikwate. We didn't even know how much it was. But we ended up mindblow. Why? Total: PHP 15. 

Dabby gobbled up small spoonful of puto I offered him and we quickly finished our cup of sikwates. Refreshed and energized, we ready to stroll around the market and see if there's anything else we could gobble up.

We ended up going through the maze of the Lapu-Lapu public market and into the stalls of dozens and dozens of merchants - fruits, vegetables, meat, fish - all laid out for the eye to see and for the nose to smell. 

The scent (read: stench) of the market was overwhelming. And yet we put our chin up and marched our way, eyebags and all, to complete one mission: bring home fish for grilling.

Along the way, I was holding the kiddo's hand and grabbing my bag closer to me while whispering to him about what to witness all around him. It was something Dabby had to see and remember.

The hustle and bustle of the market was an experience you just couldn't forget: Men bringing in the catch of the day, weighing the fish, transferring goods from one container to another, adding ice to buckets to keep their goods fresh. Women shouting to passerbys, selling their wares, slapping flies away from the goods they are selling, arranging stock, counting change. Market goers straining their necks, walking on slippers on the muddy, slim hallways of the market, holding plastic bags of the goods they purchased, haggling with vendors.

All these were things that Dabby witnessed that day. And I, with my love for big supermarkets, have a lot to remember, too. It's been a long time since I have visited the public market. 

With that experience, I remembered why I hate going to local markets. But I also remembered why I love them: because the goods were not as overpriced as those in the branded supermarkets. 

The kilo fish we bought for P300 would have been worth P500 if we bought it at Robinson's or SM's. It was a steal. It's the frugal option. It was a great way to save money and still eat good food.

Later that day after we had our shuteye, we enjoyed the grilled fish cooked up by the Chef Husband of Awesome and ended up with happy tummies. 

Our conclusion: We should visit the local wet market more often. If only it doesn't stink so much.