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To Infinity and Beyond. "Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Shopping for pomeloes at Bankerohan.

PHILIPPINES | Sunday, 17 August 2008 | Views [1570]

I recently embarked on a mini-quest to buy pomeloes as a take-home present for Mama. The fruit was in season in Davao so I opted to get some—only this time, I was doing it just by myself without any of my friends or colleagues from Davao accompanying me. I usually bring home presents from my visits to the provinces—mostly fruits, delicacies, or meats (like longganiza or fish)—especially since Mama likes eating fruits (I guess the only ones she's not fond of eating are macopa and aratilis, if that’s ever a fruit, because her taste buds abhor it; I’m sure to receive a frown from her if ever I bring those home).

But of course, I got tips and some bits of instruction first; I wasn’t about to foray into the market without doing my homework. One of my colleagues, a resident of Davao, really gave some useful advice (read: techniques) in buying pomeloes from the Davao market:

1. Taste the samples first. Buy from the bunch where the samples were taken. (Well I guess if they’re sweet, I should get them; if not, then try other ones.)

2. Choose the medium sizes and the heavy ones. (I guess this meant that the heavier they were, then they were much juicier. I could then avoid dry, old ones.)

3. Price ranges: Class A Php50-70 per kilo; Class B Php30-40 per kilo. (This depended on how much I was willing to spend really. But my colleague did say Class B pomeloes are still ok).

Other tips he gave were to request the tindera for the seedless and juicy ones, just to make sure. Also, I should also ask the tindera and say “pakapin,” which in Bisaya meant adding extra to the weight but for the same price. And of course, on top of all these, the ultimate piece of advice was to haggle. For some reason, I knew haggling was the hardest part because from experience I hadn’t the heart for it (some of my friends even accomplish tremendous, if not unbelievable, feats and start haggling from 50% off the price, which I couldn’t imagine doing myself). This was why I always went about shopping at local markets with friends who were versed in the local dialect and can do wonders in the art of haggling; in this way, I was keeping myself from being ripped off and was getting the best value for my money. Still, I decided to give it a shot just by myself.

The most recommended place to get fruits was in this local place called Bankerohan. I decided to take a jeep going to the market rather than going about on a cab. It only took one ride and I had to walk some short distances at some points from my hotel.

And so at the market, I just did as I was instructed. So far I executed the techniques fairly well and I knew I was on my way to getting a good deal: pomeloes were heavy; they tasted sweet; Class A produce of the Nenita brand from the Florendo farm (yes, former 1979 Ms. Universe beauty queen Margie Moran-Florendo comes to mind; the pomeloes come from their farm). Only the haggling part was still in the way.

When I finally let ‘er rip, looking back, it seemed like I was doing a measly haggle. And in the end, I didn’t get any more discount on the Php50 price per kilo but the tindera told me that she’ll give me the box for free (one box cost Php50 and I was paying Php500 for the pomeloes I was getting which weighed a bit more than 10 kilos). Well, I definitely say my haggling technique still needs work, but I went home a happy man. I’d still say the whole experience wasn’t bad, it wasn’t bad at all.

Tags: culture, davao, haggling, market, philippines



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