050113 - The Urban Tracker (In Pangasinan) : Fishy Connection Over Pantal River

Driven fisherfolks of Pantal in the name of freshness.
here's not a question and more reason to tag Dagupan as the fish mecca of Northern Luzon. 

For our last browse of this abundance, we spotted the fisher folks of Dagupan converged on the wharf of Magsaysay Fish Market with whispers in passing as they were transfixed on moving the catch into the planks by the riverbanks. For them, these fishes must be hauled, dispatched and sold for time plays the better part in the inner workings here.

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Segregating the milkfish according to its size is chicken feed for manong
At the back of the market, it’s a busy morning with fisherfolks hauling the fresh bangus catch with all other varieties coming over from connecting drop off points. Every boat that's reaching the banks carried the day's deliveries. The helpers came to aid anchoring them and helped carry the loaded basin into the banks. The bangus arriving in volumes were segregated according to sizes - there's a small, medium to the large. Then somebody had to toss it inside the receiving warehouse for the next stage.

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The big chunks of ice are just waiting for its turn to get crushed 
The sound of ice grinder is music to the ears of fish haulers one bundle at a time.
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The bangus now segregated and piled up lined up for weigh-in and some ice toppings.
Tilapias also come in bulk as they arrive in the warehouse. Men spare no time dishing them to crates.
Time to pile up the crates after a weigh-in. Crushed ice top them all to retain freshness.
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This is how the varieties of fishes are showcased and tagged around the market. Some odd and some familiar.
Too many selections, but so little time. The best way to cook those bizarre ones, ask the vendor?
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The fresher the better, the cheaper the better, but the more is just confusing.
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Long live crabs, they never go out of style.
Outside was a wonderland of fishes. It's confusing to realize that when you have so much selection, it's kinda distracting to pinpoint the best buy especially when it's all comparably cheap. There’s some breed of fishes that finally became in demand in the market like those native unknown varieties like papaget that's promisingly good if cooked the right way. All-time favorites like tilapia were as hot items like those squids, octopuses, clams, huge crabs. Dagupan Fish Market drawing from these wide selections can be safely said as a haven of these freshwater bounties that I no longer wonder why it's a crowd drawer for locals who flock here to grab a kilo or two of ocean tasting goodies. There's a creeping feeling that we the market peeps were the true strangers here as the fish were the stars.

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Save your budget for Dagupan's top staple - the dinaing na bangus of Bonuan, 
So we settled for less messy stuff - the irresistible dinaing na bangus the authentic Dagupan version. Those stalls near the entrance were selling in competitive prizes. Haggling was our technique to reach a bargain until one vendor gave in and gave it away for a discount for wholesale purchase.

Wrapped to maintain freshness and prevent contamination, tinapang bangus is a sought-after commodity in Dagupan
Bagoong and native fish sauce were also profusely available here but what attracted us rather was the golden colored smoked bangus or tinapang bangus although it's not vacuum packed.

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A golden eye for bangus.
Word has it and indeed many attested to the distinctive taste of bangus Dagupan that's yummier than any other varieties in the whole land. So no second thoughts taking home half a dozen - that is apart from the puto Calasiao and the macapuno from Pogo Chico that we already bought earlier.

No time to spare, another batch of deliveries on the move.
But thinking about how those tons of fishes in the showcase, those fish haulers did the trick and their symphony of actions did the magic. Credit that to the strong, mighty force of fisherfolks for they have no time to spare to charge Dagupan Fish market to give fish freshness a take right on our very eye.
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