012413 - The Urban Tracker (In Sorsogon): The Take Homes From BucalBucalan

A stream by the neighborhood on our way to Bucal Bucalan.
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ou know that a city is alive just by looking around the market site. But even on the deeper rural side of Sorsogon, there's an unfamiliar barter happening in unexposed corners of the neighborhood. 

We wheeled our way into that area for the pick-up of our pre-ordered seafood take homes, and we were surprised to find more.

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An old dilapidated provincial house still looks cool
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Crossing that bamboo stilts is still a challenging ordeal
Aboard the jeep, an elderly lady told us to follow her suit into the school where we supposed to meet someone in the area. The lady happened to be a teacher of Bucalbucalan Elementary School as she was greeted warmly by the students crashing along our way. A slack neighborhood revealed streams with bamboo stilts for a bridge and farm animals straying anywhere like the flock of duck and her breed. Going into inner extremes revealed provincial houses and the way of outback farming life.

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Purok Origano in Bucal Bucalan
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Tiger prawns, cheaper by more kilos in Bucal Bucalan.
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Fresh shrimps is too hard to resist when in Bucal Bucalan
From Bulabog, Bucalbucalan to the stretch of Rizal are known Sorsogon destinations for seafood abundance. We proceeded to the part in Bucalbucalan in Purok 6 Origano where we met a dealer for our order of big shrimps and prawns. The dealer told us he ran out of supplies so he gave the remaining 4 kilos of big shrimps at a discounted rate. The shrimp at Php 180 a kilo, and the tiger prawns at 250 a kilo. He pointed us the nearby coastline of Bulabog if we were looking for more.

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Take home loots of pili and a box of saba banana
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A bundle of freshly picked pili fruit, Bicol's own
Instead, one contact neighbor invited us graciously in their humble home. The family already packed the boxes containing native bananas and pili for our take homes. I couldn't believe how my friend befriended this local and handed us all these token bounties  -  way too much than expected. There's a distinct kindness you can never usually find but in this out-of-the-way place, we're lucky to find generosity flourishing among the farmers and fisherfolks of Sorsogon.

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Freshly harvested bananas as bonus from our host
With our loot packed well, we found a tricycle to bring us to Bulabog passing the Pepita Park. Along the way, a fellow motorist noticed our pail of seafood and asked where we got it. The nice guy then zoomed away with his motor and the tricycle driver told us that guy was the incumbent Mayor of Sorsogon.

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Baluko, a native deli in Sorsogon
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Taking home a pack of dried gabi leaves from Sorsogon
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The alimasag looks promising in my appetite but not on my pack
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Pack that dilis for a Sorsogon hangover
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Taking a bottle of Bagoong kisig for a change
Later in the central market, I was looking for pamakot a pinkish alternative to charcoal as cooking fuel but it's not around this time. Instead, I turned to the wet market section for more prawns but the price turned me off it's more costly. Along the search, I got acquainted with the kinds of native fishes like kuyog, kanduli - and the baluko out from its shell after so much questioning from native old vendors. I would love to get one of those alimasag but it's too heavy already to bring. So I resorted to lighter ones like dilis and laing leaves which sounded original in taste and the bagoong kisig which a vendor told me matches with pili meat.

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Stir-fried shrimps in 7-Up for my culinary attempt
We decided to cook the big shrimps instead of packing it fresh using garlic, Sprite and butter for fear of spoilage. Seafood has a longer shelf life when you cook it especially if you are taking it for a long ride. While sipping the fresh buco juice which we shared with the neighbors, I was relishing the tapestry of images I caught earlier in the market. So in the end, Sorsogon seemed to be draining me but in a very very sentimental and special way.

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Old time fish vendor serving a customer in Sorsogon Public market
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Kanduli and other queer fishes are all-time saleable items
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The frenzy of Sorsogon market is a poetry in a glance.
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