063012 - The Urban Tracker (In Pampanga): A Street Bounty In Matamo

Coconut husks spread aground ready to be converted into charcoal
onquering Matamo, Cupang and San Nicolas fell today for Arayat's last hurrah. 

These barangays bordering the expanse of Candaba were interestingly a flourishing neighborhood but still maintained its agricultural impression. From the farthest Matamo, I kicked off my itinerary from these less explored corners of Pampanga. where farming works never go out of style. 

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Matamo Chapel, a parochial fixture
Earlier, the tricycle driver told us that a river separates Matamo to Candaba swampland. Farmlands already stretched in the perimeters of the river that included the residential area that was almost swallowed by the webs of green. Even in deeper villages, expect a presence of parochial parishes like this Matamo Chapel but of course, we expected the presence of homegrown and seasoned heroes - the farmers.

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Corn harvest being dried on the ground
On the agricultural side of town, the farmers were preoccupied with a rush tending to the new harvest of corns. A lady I approached told us they were beating time undressing the corn. A farmer in one street corner didn't mind the clutter segregating the corn with quality and filled it inside sacks. Nearby, trucks were on standby ready to get them delivered. Time was of the essence in harvest as the race was on to get the commodities on time.

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Nuts are usual street-dried items.
And in another part were a bounty of nuts already washed out and allowed to be choked up in sun. I tried picking up one and sampled by snapping its shell and dunking it in my mouth. This village would never get hungry with all these abundance swelling within. We also learned that we can buy them at its base price but we were aboard the tricycle when the driver told us

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In San Nicolas, they call a flavored instant pancit canton -Jampong.
The driver led us back to the highway to San Nicolas side on our way to Arayat downtown. That's when we became hungry after we saw a stir-fried medley of cabbage and bean sprouts and took it for lunch. But what came as a real treat was the local version of jampong - or simply put pancit canton. The flavors came in variation reading the labels on each of the plastic bottles. That's when we decided to order one for only 15. No wonder it's a hit among tricycle drivers in this area.

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Locals turn to old school remedy like this one with PASIPSIP posting.
Along the San Nicolas Highway, there's a local healer posting by Tony del Rosario. Funny because it contained a word highlight 'PASIPSIP' which means to sip or slurp but it refers to a healing strategy that is to swallow for the snake venom or dog rabies and other forms of healing for rheumatism, fracture, eczema etc. Just like in any far-flung villages, locals here still turned to this old-school method of healing due to its accessibility and economy.

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Arayat welcomes Puregold Arayat Market
On the homestretch, My partner and I met in this newly opened Puregold  Arayat Market in Plazang Luma or Poblacion. It's handsomely greenish painted but only had the chance to check it today. Locals told me it just opened a couple of weeks ago and it's obvious because the banners on the front were running the discount promos on selected items.

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Lomi - a soupy comfort from Cristy Joyce to call it a day
We took our hunger just as rains started its show again in a nearby Cristy Joyce canteen. The day ran wild with so much to get into and wrapped it up sharing stories of our local encounters and discoveries in those seemingly unfounded barangays. Over a bowl of Cristy Joyce's specialty  - a bowl of soupy rich lomi - it was such a hush.
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