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A 'Public market' in the Philippines

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If ever you need something for your daily living: Your last choice should be a Mall with a Hypermarket. Most often too expensive and not fresh. Check a Public market for that.

What is a 'Public market'?

The 'Public market'
public_market_plan A Public market can be an area with several buildings or only one building. It depends on the size of the city or barangay. But it is always owned (built) by the Government and managed by local Officials. Sometimes you can find a building with several cubicles. Each cubicle is rented to run a single store and specified business. Mostly for dry goods. Aside from such a building it is common to have another area with a roofing. Here you can find normally all about food. Veggies and fruits on the outside, mostly at the back of this area. In front you can often find the meat stalls with standard offers like chicken, pork and a little beef. Next to the center it is expected to find the fish section. If you are interested to buy fruits: For such they have most of the time a separate place aside from the main market but still in the near.

If you visit the market with the intent to buy something, keep one main rule in mind: The cheapest prices are to find at the end of the market. Especially when it comes to veggies. Walk more - to save money. A foreigner should watch out for stalls with price tags or else the prices will increase immediately when you enter the stall and ask for a price. That's expected and common in the Philippines. Every dealer will try his luck to earn a 'foreigner bonus' this way. If you are not familiar with the market, it will give you a hard time to find something special, aside from normal food. While strolling around you might find something accidentally but it is normal in Asia, to ask in a stall where to find something. If they don't have it, it's not their lost to point to a store in the neighborhood.

meat stall area Maybe one of the scariest experience for a Westerner in a public market in the Philippines might be the meat section. Compared to the fish section, this is more worse when it comes to hygiene. In the fish section you can see a lot of fishes are still alive on the table, below they are held in water and alive, on the table you can see often ice to keep them fresh... but at the meat stall? The bigger portions like a shoulder or a head are laying on wood or simple PVC while some final products/cuts are shown on a stainless steel layer. Sometimes a small fan with something like a flag is turning above the meat to scare the flies away. After some hours without any kind of cooling, the not yet sold meat looks already dried and dark and no more fresh. To be honest: to accompany Tess into this area is giving me always stress. Especially that special smell in the warm air.

not fresh looking I feel really happy when we can find somewhere chicken, even covered in a plastic bag. If they are laying on some ice, that already looks like heaven to me. But lucky me: Tess is also into such kind of minimum hygiene when we visit a public market. Our standard handling for meat: Hurry back home, cut the meat into pieces and put it as fast as possible in the freezer. Any kind of meat normally will be cooked well done to give no chance to any kind of bacteria. If you follow this simple rules, you don't need to worry.

written by Frank





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