Tabo Market in Palo, Leyte
One of the best ways to learn about the culture of a place is by visiting their local market.
On our second day in Tacloban, we requested our host to bring us to their local market. She told me there are two markets to choose from: one is their public market in downtown Tacloban and the other one is a Saturday market called “Tabo” in Palo, a municipality about 12 kilometeres from Tacloban. Of course we chose the latter.
Palo is a 3rd class municipality in the province of Leyte, Philippines. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 47,982 people in 9,272 households. Interestingly, Palo is a sister municipality of Palo Alto in California, USA. Because of this, the city of Palo Alto supports the development of Palo in Leyte. One of their grants was a children’s library. If you want to go to Tabo market, you can’t get lost because the children’s library is just right beside it.
There were several stalls surrounding the market so we decided to parked near the library. From afar, the market looked small. There were a few scattered vendors such as this “ginger man”.
After a few more stalls of vegetables, we turned right and was surprised to see this crowd in all directions. It was 7:30am.
It took us some time to find freshly harvested vegetables such as these carrots, which, according to the vendor, came from Davao.
Most vegetables sold in Tacloban are from Baguio, Davao and Cebu. Very few are locally grown in Leyte.
These tomatoes and cabbages were from Baguio.
We were cheered up by several rice cake vendors. One of them is this cassava cake vendor who grated cheese on top of her product with a big smile. Sarap!
By the way, please don’t leave without at least a box of this yummy delicacy called … yes, moron (Php5 each).
Beside the rice cake lane were seafood vendors. We spotted wild catfishes which were all sold in less than 15 minutes.
According to our hosts and some people we met, locals are not keen on farming. Their preferred livelihood is producing handicrafts such as mats, bags …
… and knives such as this long knife called ‘sundang’. Sundang is a multipurpose knife which is also used as a weapon. Farmers tie sundang around their waists (like a sword). We took this photo from afar. We’re wondering what the sundang vendor was saying to the young lady.
Even flowers are brought in from Cebu …
and of course, Baguio. Yes, all the way from Baguio. Vegetables and flowers are usually brought in to Manila first, then to Tacloban.
On our way back to our car, we passed the dry-goods section where we saw more animal feeds than rice for human consumption.
We found a locally-grown rice which we encouraged our accompanying host to try. It was sold at Php28 per kilo only.
Tapul or black rice was sold at Php70 per kilo.
Finally, we got out of the crowded market and was tempted to buy from this vendor.
Next time you’re in Leyte, visit Tabo Market. Try to be there around 6-6:30am to avoid the big crowd. If you’re staying in Palo, you can also ride their local trike or ‘sidecar’ at Php5 only (one-way).
Do you have a favorite provincial local market? If yes, why do you like it?