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.

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.


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. 😀