AT A young age I was exposed to the market. Our family has a sayote plantation of the greater portion of the land around our small house, but we also have a piggery, a playground and other parts of the land were planted with vegetables that go to our kitchen to our meals.
I did not realize it then, but we had a sustainable garden and we have a shallow pit where all our garbage goes. When the pit is full, my mother would tell us to get our shovels and cover it with soil and soon we see her planting more chayote/sayote where the pit was. Then we dig another pit for our next garbage dump. I do not remember us having lots of plastic then, as they were not part of our garbage dump.
My mother would harvest and sell sayote twice a week. When it happens to be a Saturday she would tag me along or my other siblings. When it was my turn I would remember that it will also be market day. She will sell her sayote to a stall owner and then she will go around the market buying what we need at home.
Sometimes she will leave me and the empty baskets at the market park, it was near the shoe market, and then she goes buy some fish and meat and then bring it to where I was, give me some puto to eat while she goes back buying stuff and things.
When she is done with buying flour, sugar, milk and others then she will call a “comboy” that will carry our baskets to the bus station along Magsaysay Avenue.
Jeepneys were not popular because they were small Willys type; there were no Sarao, Amianan type of jeeps during those times.
I remember sitting at that park, and some kids were also there as well as some folks who maybe tired and so sat and tell stories to themselves.
It was a very friendly market where people talk and wave to each other as if a lot know each other.
I remember that by the late 1960s my mom decided to get a pwuesto/stall in hilltop when they opened the area. They bulldozed and flattened the hill and made it a flat top. There were rows of boxed stalls, under with GI roofed structures.
I remember my mom was selling bananas and corn from our uma as we were in the fruit section. I do not remember her selling sayote at that time. When the day is done, we will gather all the fruits and lock it up under the box. It was designed in such a way that the top was for our display and the underneath is for keeping our things.
I remember that sometimes we, the children, would sleep inside the box in the afternoon. Children were allowed to join their parents in the market and play among themselves within the rows of stalls. But that was short lived as my mom was able to get a stall in Hanger market. I am not really sure if it was because they were displaced during the construction of hilltop hotel or because of other reasons.
By the time I was a teenager, our store was in 403 Hanger Market and during weekends I and at least one more sibling would go with our mother to the market. We would wake up very early and if we were to bring sayote for sale, these should have been packed the day before. We would do packing after we come from school.
In other days we would be watering the sayote plants right when we come from school.
Our Hanger days were also fun especially during summer because we got to stay longer in the market and meet some friends who were children of stall owners. I got to meet some from the dry goods section on the second floor of Hanger, the flower section near the toilets as soon as you get out of Hanger pass the hotcake and coffee section.
In those times we know exactly where to go when we need to buy things as there was order and sections in the market. The market has changed through the decades; we hope it will become better.