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Food Vendors

Living on the beach has its advantages. Besides being able to buy fresh fish, there are food peddlers everywhere. Right now I see and hear the ice cream vendor carrying a big box on his back like a backpack. He rings his bell to announce his presence and on Saturdays or Sundays when locals flock to the beach, business is good. But it should be good everyday because temperatures never seem to go below 85°F. Beads of sweat trickle down my face as I sit at the dining table eating lunch.

There are two women I’ve watched walking up and down the beach, covered from head to foot to protect them from the harsh sun. They are selling boiled peanuts in small plastic bags or “ibus” which is sweet rice wrapped in coconut palm leaves. Three “ibus” cost P10. One day my relatives bought two bags of coconut candy for P5 each. I am astounded at how “cheap” these goodies are. I know how far they have to walk to make a sale, I can’t imagine there is any profit in their work.

There’s also a guy who runs around selling something I haven’t discovered yet. He has a speaker that blares out a six note music piece. And he rides up and down the street several times a day announcing his arrival as loudly as possible.

For breakfast we buy “puto”, rice muffin in banana leaf. These are P6 for five pieces. We usually buy 3 bags and this is more than enough. Sometimes we buy the “bibingka” which is wider, the size of a saucer and flat like a pancake. It’s not difficult to know our vendor is outside because he toots his horn until he's certain he has awakened the entire neighborhood. One morning when we failed to wake up and pick up our breakfast food, the vendor left our goodies with the guard. Since then we’ve stop ordering from him, the novelty having worn off.

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