Roadside vending… and buying

 

In the Philippines, roadside stores and stalls abound. They dot our landscapes. See a highway? There’s a strip somewhere, just count 5, 10 or 15 minutes since driving and you’d likely come across one such. No kiddin’. Alright, maybe sometimes, it takes 20, depending on which part of the country you happen by.

 

Image of a fruit stand in Southern Philippines

On the way home from the Tagaytay hills, the papayas, the melons and the bananas wave to motorists/ philippinewanderer.org

 

It’s still an agricultural country, right? Meaning, about 10 kilometers from the highway, there are farms. And, there are farmers, of course… With their fresh produce – from the barns, the fishponds, the backyards and the farm proper (fruits and vegetables, mostly).

 

Image of a two huge pile of young coconut harvests being sold at the roadside

A simple stop and a fast purchase, young coconut piles, by the highway/ jeffblock.wordpress.com

Oh, there is a municipal market somewhere, sure. But markets, with their usual traffic of people buying and hosts of permanent stalls and stores regularly selling, are for those who can forecast the supply and the demand. Roadside stores are for the tentative, the unsure and the undecided. You know, the willy-nilly, the-wind-took-me-here, I-happen-to-pass-by customers? There.

 

 

And, no worries. I mean, it’s the same on the other end – the vendors. They are seldom sure when the next batch of the crops will be displayed and up for sale, when the next bushels of the harvests will come in and if the fruits will have ripened by next week. They will see, see? They will try… In the meantime, why don’t you have a look and feel of what’s on the rack, huh?

 

So, the roadside stores are for the passers-by, the chance buyers, the momentists… Driving in a highway, at regular or even odd hours, could be an exhilarating experience, at times. There’s the stretch of road to be negotiated, the trees that seem to move, the colorful or unpainted houses along the way and the solitary soul walking or crossing – without even a hat!

 

And suddenly, there is your strip – with the goods piled one on top of the other – uniform, assuring and interestingly familiar. It’s not like a 7/11, no… The crew members do not wear uniforms, there is no cash register and there are no lozenges on the counter, haha. But there are weighing scales – the traditional, analog kind and when one’s lucky, there’s another – digital. And, the melons are waving… 😉

 

So, you and your companion make a stop. There is really no shoulder to park on… Vehicles zoom past you as the two of you get out of your car, you look at the compartment at the back, making sure there is enough space (as though you really intend to buy!) and you arrange your clothes to make sure you look alright, somehow… You look right and left, wondering if a former classmate, office mate or somebody you used to be interested with, happen by. As if…

 

Image of a roadside stall in the highway

It is always the countryside scenery that is the backdrop of those roadside fruit stalls/ members.virtualtourist.com

 

It’s a very vulnerable feeling, standing at the highway to make a purchase in the middle of nowhere (it’s not really a nowhere, you know the name of the place) while every other motorist is happily on his way – to wherever. You take a few steps towards the goods that beckoned to you from the comfort of your seat, the air-conditioning and the certainty of getting there – to your wherever. The melon makes a greeting, nagmamaganda (feeling pretty).

 

Hey, people, it is officially rainy season, over here. The countryside in the tropics is enjoying a breather from the humidity, the heat and fury of the glaring sun and the soils are returning to their original dark brown. The farmers are planting, this time of the year… But they are also harvesting, yes.  Thus, it is quite a busy time for their spouses, siblings or cousins, manning their stall in the highway. The roadside establishments are on business… 🙂

 

Here is one of the fruits that capture the motorists’ attention these days:

 

Image of a heap of lansones fruit in a fruitstand

Lanzones is sweet. Make that two kilos, please/ http://www.flickr.com

 

Image of a lansones tree, laden with fruits

The lanzones tree, around this time of the year/ http://www.traveltabai.com

Lanzones (Lansium domesticum) or lansones  is a tropical fruit from a tree that could grow quite tall, sturdy and old, haha. Over at our place, there are lansones trees older than me and even older than my uncles and aunts. But hey, it’s not very friendly to climbers… The body and the branches of the tree are very rough, they hurt the arms and hands of the enthusiastic, the curious and the daring, hehe. There are official and designated lansones climbers in the locality where they are typically grown. 🙂

 

Lanzones fruits, if I recall correctly, start ripening in June. But the peak of the harvest season is September. That is when the fruits are sweetest. But for some reason, lansones fruits flood the cities and towns  starting in August – at the community Saturday markets, at the regular fruit stands, the supermarkets and, at the waysides… The lansones produce are put in a very light container called the kaing, made from an indigenous material. By the way, here’s another picture of the fruit-bearing tree…

 

Image of a fruit-laden lansones tree heavy with riped fruits

By August, the lansones fruits turn heavy, rounder and succulently sweet/ tripwow.tripadvisor.com

 

Image of baskets of lansones fruits, packed, tied and sealed

Packed lansones for selling, full to the brim/ paulding.blogspot.com

These days, lansones still sell for ninety to one hundred pesos (P100) a kilo, (US $2.5, roughly) for the sweet ones. As days come nearer to August, the fruit’s price decreases, down to fifty, sometimes… But in the highways, lansones is always priced higher. Methinks, there, it does not go lower than seventy. Sometimes, lansones in the expressways go as high as P160/kilo. And, there is no guarantee they are sweet, ahaha. A buyer is usually allowed a taste test, though. But then, one bunch of lansones maybe your sweetest, the other not so. Oh, well…

 

Image of lansones fruits with skin removed

Past the golden covering, it’s succulent white sweetness/ onefilipinodish.com

 

By the way, the lansones tree is quite a useful plant, with a host of medicinal values. The dried peel of the fruit can be burned – to drive away mosquitoes. The bark can be used to treat diarrhea and in powder form, it can be employed to treat scorpion bites. It is a neat tree, actually. Perhaps, that is what you would also say, when you’ve seen one, up close… In the meantime, visit – the market, the basement fruit stand at your nearest mall or, head over the nearest highway and grab yourself a kilo or two – of this tropical treat. Not sure if they’re as sweet as they come, over at your location… But what the hey, go try some! If there aren’t, well… There are melons and mangoes… 😉

 

Image of opened melons - green and red

Melons for the refreshing feeling/ http://www.realbeauty.com

Happy fruit hunting! 🙂

 

Image of ripe mangoes for sale at a fruit stand

Mango is the sweetest fruit, grows aplenty at the tropics/ media123.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strummin’ through time

 

Hall and Oates is one of my second sister’s fave bands. Sister and I are ten(10) years and four(4) siblings apart, by the way… Last year, I found out about the Daryl Hall’s music room, where Daryl sings duet with another, more contemporary  musician. Since then, I would occasionally scan YouTube for the performances at Daryl’s venue and be awed at how this man has  kept his voice and poise – through the decades – strummin’ and singin’,  in winning form… Sharing to you one of my best finds —

 

 

Jason Mraz, by the way,  is the younger sister’s favorite contemporary singer. I would always tease her about Mraz’s hobo looks and his attempts to shed his middle class ways… Jason was here in Manila for a concert, recently. Sister, of course, went to see it and joyfully reported: Mraz was newly shaven and got himself a haircut, ahaha. The guy sings well, too, can’t argue with that… 😉

 

 

A month or so ago, I  published a poem in my Tagalog site and a fellow Filipino blogger translated it to English, in the comment section. Turned out, his translation leaned a little too much on the romantic side, hehe. Though a short note on email, I told him he is utterly hopeless, ahaha. The guy glibly and politely replied in the affirmative and sent me an MP3 copy of this song —

 

 

Image of a river flowing viewed atop the mountain

No point at all arguing with romantic people. Kinda hopeless…/ http://www.djensenphotography.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a beautiful song and ColdPlay’s vocalist, Chris Martin, is the happy husband of Gwyneth Paltrow… Not only does he sing lovely, like the two musical artists above, he also strums the guitar with a passion. Besides, I don’t see the point in arguing with, against, people who have found it – that thing called… 😉

 

Don’t tell me what love looks like . . .

 

Hello, folks! In my two years and nine months of blogging, this is one of the best blog posts I have come across. And you would know why… 😉 Happy reading, warm regards! ^_^

 

A p r o n h e a d -- Lilly

Don’t tell me what love looks like.

          It is not always gentleness,

          flowers and chocolate

          and sweetness and stuff.

          It is not always acceptance and sighs

          and reluctantly letting go.

Sometimes love is hard like a rock,

like a hammer,

like a tether that binds tight for fear of losing to the blackness.

Sometimes love damages to save.

Sometimes it cries and wars and pleads—

fights on without an end in sight.

Because it is impossible not to.

Don’t tell me what love looks like.

          It is not always kindness,

          softness and light,

          weathered words that fall

          without impact,

          without fire.

Sometimes love is a prayer,

a scream to the heavens,

blood red desperation that begs to be heard above the roar of poverty, war, disasters,

and, oh, so many more worthy needs.

And sometimes love dies to live.

Sometimes…

View original post 18 more words