Sunday, September 28, 2014

[Market Walk #2] : Bacnotan Public Market

"I've heard of the Bacnotan Longanisa but what about the one from their public market? 

Come and let's explore Bacnotan, La Union's Public Market!"

Early morning at Church, plaza and Municipal Hall Area

Disclaimer: I'm not a food Blogger but I love to be one :-)

While its Municipal Hall area is located at a secondary road few meters away from the main road, the Bacnotan Public Market is located just along the national highway.
The Public Market itself is composed of few buildings. 
The one fronting the national highway is where some of the commercial stalls are located such as groceries, restaurants, beauty shops/parlors, among others. It is also known as Phase-1.
The central one is an old building (one storey) where the general merchandise are sold and nearby are the "Ukay-ukay" or rtw's/clothings and other wares. 
The rear one is the recently added building (Phase-2) where at the ground floor are food and general merchandising stalls and at the second floor are the meat and vegetable section.
It was Sunday that day a market day for Bacnotan.

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It was early in the morning when i rode a jeep going to Bacnotan, La Union. Inside the jeep were banyeras (containers) filled with bangus (milkfish) bound for the public market of Bacnotan. The time was 4:40 am when we arrived at the Public Market particularly at the back where most of the deliveries were done.
The marketplace were getting busy at that time. Carinderias (food stalls) were being opened and started cooking food, vendors started laying mats for their commodities, porters were busy pulling small crates filled with fishes while nearby heavy chopping can be heard and from which big chunks of meats were also drawn to bring them at the second floor.

Early morning prepartions

At the second floor of Phase 2 building. It is were most of the action takes place.

Porters pull banyeras of Bangus at the second floor. 
They remind me of the painting by Juan Luna entitled "Spoliarium".

The sun had already risen as i stood at the second floor beside the parapet wall and near a vendor who laid her merchandise on a mat at the floor. I noticed the big mushroom he laid out wrapped in plastic bag.
"Nang, mabalin picture en dayta uong?" (Ma'am, can i take a picture of that mushroom?) I asked her. She must have not understood me as she replied "Fifty pesos dayta anak ko" (that's fifty pesos). "Haan ma'am picture ek lang" (No ma'am i'll just take a picture) i said again.
"Ay kunak man.." (oh, i thought..) she said as she opened the plastic bag which contained the mushroom for me to take photos.

The second floor area of the Phase 2 building
The hay mushrooms as sold

Like a paparazzi, let's peek at her basket... Oh, string beans

After a while Mr. B. Sambot (Admin/Market Collector) came and asked me if there's anything he can do for me. I told him my purpose and that I have talked to Councilor-Engr. Abad about me doing some "Market exploration" which is just taking pictures and writing about what i have experienced. Through-out our conversation i asked him if they were also familiar with the "Bacnotan Longanisa" and he escorted me to Doc Angie, a stall owner and a section head for the meat section.
She was very accommodating with my inquiries. She said that their longanisas maybe ordered in advance and its ingredients can be made to suite ones taste but generally, they make their longanisas "hamonados" which means that there is that slight sweetness like that of the hams.
She then put a half dozen pieces of longanisas in a plastic bag and handed them to me and said "Pagramanam tani sample dayta" (Something to taste, that's a sample). I said that i will pay for it but she insisted not to. 
Omg!, that was my first ever freebie from a stall in a public market. 
I thanked her and went to take some photos around.

Doc Angie at his meat stall
Coconuts at the second floor
Bamboo shoot, she said that it is the big variety from
Mindanao so i bought a twig to plant
Exotic, dressed frog in season this rainy season

I went down from the second floor into the ground at the back of the market where they had laid their merchandise on the ground.

Bananas from neighboring town of Apayao, San Gabriel, La Union
More Bananas
"Karot" is a tuber crop that are thinly sliced then immersed in water to draw out some
of its juices then formed back into a ball when they sell it. To cook, unroll it then
fried just like a potato chip. Sprinkled with salt to taste.

Aquarium fishes

After looking around the whole marketplace, I rode a jeep and went home.
At home, I cooked the Longanisas. 
There was some sweetness with a tint of pineapple and burst of garlic.
I loved it!

The longanisas i got from Bacnotan market. Left is when it was still uncooked
while at the right is when it was already cooked
now bring on the plates of rice and an extra rice please.

Once again, to Engineer F. Abad, Doc Angie and all of you i met at the Bacnotan Public Market, thank you as i eat longanisa at our Home Sweet Home.



Subject   :  Bacnotan Public Market
Location :  Municipality of Bacnotan
                 Province of La Union

How to get there:
From Manila, ride a bus going to these Northwestern luzon areas : Laoag City (Ilocos Norte), Vigan City (Ilocos Sur), Candon City (Ilocos Sur), Bangued (Abra) but you have to get down at Bacnotan, La Union Public Market.

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  1. My father was from Bacnotan and his family were old guard residents. I spent my first 6 years in that town and went back a few more times. Progress finally reached the sleepy town of Bacnotan and I am glad. Your article and pictures brought back pleasant and innocent memories. As I looked at the pictures, I can almost hear my paternal grandmother asking me to behave and my aunt egging me to taste a delicacy. I think I started to hallucinate since I swear I can smell the Ilocano dish. I am much older now and have been out of the country for so long that I can no onger recognize who I am related to but the image of the St Michael church and the public market is etched in my memory.

  2. Thank you for your article. it brought back pleasant and innocent memories of years gone by. My father's family hail from this town and I spent six years of my early life here and sporadic short visits thereafter. I have been away for so long that I don't think my relatives stilll remember me. As I read your article I can almost hear my paternal grandmother admonishing me to behave and my aunt egging me to taste the delicacy. I can almost smell the aroma of the I locano dishes being prepared and hear my mother telling me not to eat in the market. Pleasant memories. thank you.