The Scent of Yesteryears


When I was in college, I hated the idea of riding a O6A jeep (plying V. Rama Avenue) to school.  Sometimes, even though it usually meant that I’d be late for class, I’d instead take a O6C and endure the toxic traffic of Osmeña Boulevard. What exactly was I trying to get away from? The unmistakably murderous stench of Taboan. The route from my house to the University of San Jose-Recoletos was short. But it also meant that I’d have to brave Cebu’s buwad capital. When you just got out of the shower and you just put on a nice-smelling cologne, the last thing that you need is the smell of ginamos and buwad clinging to your uniform.

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Ginamos, one of the many evil things about Taboan. Haha!

Last week, more than a decade after I graduated, I found myself parking my bike near the dried fish strip in Taboan. Although I still don’t like fish and I still couldn’t stand the taste of buwad and ginamos, the smell was strangely no longer revolting. I thought the smell was rather nice, actually. I couldn’t explain it. But somehow, as I stood next to my bike and breathed in the rancid air, I felt a certain calm. The same feeling I usually felt when my Lola would give me a hot serving of champurado after a full afternoon of bato-lata. Funny, right? I never thought that the smell of dried and double-dead fish would evoke so much emotion.

Or maybe I’m just getting old. Haha.

So, here are some photos from my very first visit last week. Hope you like ‘em.

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Freshly-made charcoal sold by pack at 5 pesos each.

Plastic, ceramic, and clay pots sold for cheap!

Everything you find in Carbon you can also find here.

My mom’s and lola’s favorite – kalan.

Fresh fruits!

And vegetables, of course!

Pork and other meat products.

Chicken and chorizo!

First-hand encounter with a chorizo maker. He has fast hands!

Interior of the Taboan public market.

Eggs for sale!

Depende sa klase,” the vendor said.

Busy day at the market.

Favorite sweets!

Salvaro and patatas!!!!!

And probably the most popular part of the market. The dried fish section.

A long row of buwad vendors.

This one is really popular among tourists.

Plants are also sold outside the gate.

A lot to choose from.

Visit the Taboan Public Market if you can. I’m sure the smell will also bring back awesome memories of your wonderful past. :D

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11 thoughts on “The Scent of Yesteryears

  1. I’ve been there once Ley in the dried fish section only. Oh! to much to choose and I spend a lot on buwad @ pusit. They mouth-watering, at the end I put on weight. We don’t stay long as my sister said its a dangerous place. Is’nt it?

  2. i used to go to this place with my aunt. i hope the guy’s cigarette ashes didn’t fell into the chorizo mix. :) i love chorizos, buwad and the black kalamay!

  3. Tabuan is indeed a place to select so many varieties of BULAD & GINAMOS! I like bulad more than ginamos ’cause it’s so clear that they dried those under the sun but I was wondering too how they processed the ginamos? One time before when I was young I was eating ginamos with cooked tapioca & I found out that there were so many dead maggots also in it & maybe have eaten some of them. Oh I was really vomitting from it upon knowing that I maybe have swallowed most of it & since then I never eat ginamos again. What a very interesting experience really!!

  4. gi mingaw nasad ko sa Tabo-an dah. Kani-adto mo kuyog ko og pangompra diha para sa luto-on sa udto :) usahay magpahilot sad sa usa ka pongkol nga manoy kung hilantan o obhon mi tungod sa lisa o pi-ang :)

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