Baclaran...you are full of controversies and contradictions;
and yet, people are flocking to your streets
and corridors to make a living.
If you live here or just staying as store owners,
you'll notice law enforcers driving away
street peddlers each day.
There's always a cat-and-mouse chase
same routine and actions that you'll
just ignore if it happens again.
Wednesday is the market day as well as
novena day for Catholics and the well-wishers
for their prayers to be heard by the Almighty.
Both Christians and Muslims mingle,
different cultures and beliefs co-exist here.
Both poor and rich people rub elbows everyday.
Chinese, Indian and westerners
invest businesses with Filipinos as well.
Knock-off products are everywhere!
You have to haggle for every item you'll buy;
from clothes, gadgets made from China
and anything you like.
From the residents, businessmen and buyers,
a lot of surprises await each of them.
Easy money for every merchandise are on the rise.
Baclaran...you're one of the hottest marketplaces in Manila.
You can be compared with Quiapo and Divisoria.
The allure of your streets are beyond compare.
People from the city and nearby provinces
invest their money here for good.
Tourists and local pilgrims are the most targeted buyers.
Vendors will encourage you had to buy their goods.
They'll never stop until a deal is done.
Or you can just ignore their tagging and go away.
You can eat or dine at a posh restaurants
or enjoy street foods being peddled by hawkers.
Or fall in line at the nearest fast food outlets to appease your hunger.
Seats at the church facade can be your temporary shelter
under the cacophony of the trees cascading their branches
to cover your solitude as you seek peace for comfort.
What's with Baclaran?
I think you'll wonder why I chose Baclaran as my subject for this simple, but direct-to-the-point narrative poem.
I'm just stating facts without the usual usage of metaphors or hyperbole that are common in a narrative poetry.
Baclaran is the boder country or barrio between Pasay and Paranaque, former part of Rizal province.
It is once a seashore, as told by the sister-in-law of my sister where beachgoers still enjoy the fresh seawater of Manila Bay and the glorious sunset as well.
Now, it is a major hub for flea markets, aside from being the diversion road for buses, taxicab, pedicabs and other transport vehicles going to the international airport or the Roxas boulevard.
Even the overpass is often occupied by vendors selling their goods.
If you're going to visit Metro Manila, Philippines, I am very sure that your tourist guide will mention about three places where goods (clothing, gadgets) and other merchandise (food, et cetera) are at its very low prices.
Pilgrims flock the Redemptorist Church where weary souls hear masses everyday and novena every Wednesday.
From there, you can enjoy the scenery outside the church, where vendors play hide-and-seek with the police enforcers.
With the vendors outnumbering the policemen, they can always take an exit at the crowded LRT (lightrail transit station-the starting point), or hide at the narrow streets of this county.
That scenario happens everyday, much to the amusement of the local and foreign tourists. Vendors can never be pacified occupying the main streets in order to peddle their goods.
Traffic is so slow, as in a turtle-phase that you always need a siren in order to warn vendors who are violating traffic rules.
Backdoor products coming from China, South Korea and nearby Asian countries are often the subject of disputes here.
The Baclaran Multi-Purpose Cooperative building house many foreign-owned stores and retail outlets that sell baratillo or off-the price prtoducts, mostly are knock-off ones.
Fake signature bags, clothing or apparel and gadgets (iPhones, iPad) that are just imitations abound here.
The noisy environment of haggling and other cut-throat deals are the everyday scene here. Your 100 pesos can already buy lots of items, from underwear to watches, or a very cheap cellular phones.
The wet market is also a hit as the local barangay council put up another branch in order to accommodate other meat sellers, vegetable and fish vendors as well.
Crime rates are controlled as police visibility and assistant traffic personnel caught the attention of those hard-headed residents.
Yet, a warning is always posted, like: Beware of Thieves or even swindlers.
I nearly receive a fake change on my 500-pesos bill. Good thing, my eyes are still sharp like that of an eagle as a notice the notorious vendor handling me a counterfeit money.
At the end of the day, your tired feet and weary eyes will lead you to your home and tell your friend or family about your adventure in Baclaran.
Where to find Baclaran
Undas 2009 vendors in Baclaran, Paranaque City, Manila, Philippines c/o MrMusicman1971
Two years ago, this hubber made a video and shared it at YouTube with All Souls Day or Undas as his subject.
He was able to interview flower vendors and other bystanders regarding the event during the first 2 days of November.
Different kinds for flowers literally blossomed during this month as families and relatives of those who died already are showered with flower adornments on their graves and markers each year, coupled with prayers that their souls be admitted in heaven.
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