It’s hot. Make-you-wanna-slap-your-daddy-hot. It’s busy. Make-you-wanna-slap-your-daddy-busy. The stink of the dried fish stalls slaps you in the face so hard it makes you, in turn, wanna slap your daddy in the face…so hard.
Welcome to Siaton Public Market! My mama’s hometown. 25 miles west of The City of Gentle People, Dumaguete. Where everything is so over-the-top fresh it makes you want to connect the palm of your hand to the fleshy part of your old man’s mug. For reals. I haven’t seen anything this fresh since I checked my bad self out in the mirror this morning. Yup. It’s like dat!
Seaweed hawkers flaunting their “veggies of the sea”. Each tangle of algae bursting with salty and briny goodness. Fish vendors showcasing their early morning catch. The smell of the ocean still permeating the air and the skin of each wide-eyed shark bait still shining like 2-karat bling. Pork hustlers yelling over each other, enticing the more carnivorous among the crowd to give their sexy cuts of red meat and silky fat a try.
Sundays are especially mad as the local farmers – fruits and veggies and alliums in tow – attract the town’s entire population, it seems. Where the color spectrum as we know it are equally – and beautifully – represented: Succulent Red tomatoes. Juicy Orange, well, oranges. Deliciously sweet Yellow mangos. The acquired taste of Green bittermelon. Blue – the color of my face, breath held in desperation, as we pass by the dried fish section. The ever popular and versatile Indigo shallot. The soft and fun to eat Violet eggplant. Yeah. ROY G. BIV in full effect.
This place is bananas, man. The freshness. The craziness. The madness of it all. Makes me wanna give my dad a good, old fashioned high five…right in his face.