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Palengkera: dahon ng sili and plastic bags

The dahon ng sili was slightly wilted but I had five kilos of food on my back and it was time for me to go. It just so happened that there were three of us buying dahon ng sili from the same woman. I stood to the side and waited and listened as one of the buyers haggled with the vendor. “Magkano kamo ang dahon ng sili?” The vendor replied: “Dies isa.” “Ang mahal naman,” exclaimed the thin, spritely, wrinkle-faced manang with jet-black curly hair (surely she used hair dye) as she shook four bundles of tired-looking dahon ng sili. “Gawin mo nalang trenta itong apat!” The vendor shook her head silently. At this point, the other buyer interrupted. Her obviously “relaxed” hair was freshly washed and styled with shiny mousse or gel, and she wore light blush over heavy foundation. She wore a beige hoodie, a tight striped shirt, tight jeans, and shiny silver flats with pointy toes. Perhaps a trendy college student, or a trendy call center girl. But what drew me to her was not her appearance (seemingly over-dressed for the market), but what she said. “Manang isa nga dito,” waving a bundle of dahon ng sili in one manicured hand, and extending a ten-peso coin to the vendor in the other. “Huwag nyo nang i-plastic. Nasasayangan lang ako sa plastic, manang!” The manang put down the flimsy pink plastic bag she was holding and took the girl’s money. Then, still ignoring our bargaining manang who was muttering loudly about the poor quality of the four bundles she held, the vendor turned to me expectantly. She caught me grinning from ear to ear as I watched the girl disappear into the crowd with the bundle of dahon ng sili nodding vigorously from her bejewelled, fake leather handbag. “Ano sa yo?”, the vendor asked me. I paid for my dahon ng sili, waved away the same flimsy pink plastic bag and headed out of the market via Kayang Street, absolutely elated by the exchange I had just witnessed. Perhaps in time more people will refuse plastic bags in the market and eventually garbage will become less of a problem. There’s hope for Baguio yet!


The Nashman said…
tapos pala ang make-up and blush-on tested naman one dolphins..... :D

ang plastic bag naman pwedeng i-recycle for S&M plays....(kasi pinoy ones are so thin...)
padma said…
Hahahaha! KOREK!
The Nashman said…
I remember very well when I made a 'scene' at the Bench Store.

The fashenable peeps at the counter kasi insisted they put my newly bought red undies inside the store bag.

Ayaw ko nga, it has a massive picture of Richard Guiterrez kaya. Yaki. As if I'm going to be caught waving that thing while going down Session Road....Ibalot nalang nila sa papel ng Manila least I can read about the "So and so congressman pretending to add one hollowblock to the concrete wall of barangay ewan waiting shed" before re-using it to wipe my ass...

And how about those who ask for "Can you put two more extra bags inside" at Heathrow Harrod's just so they can use them to show and tell at Lillian's stall? O diba? (Well, at least and Harrod's bag, punit punit na at niri-recycle pa rin...
padma said…
And what about the SM bags that have "biodegradable" printed on them in bold letters? Who are they kidding? Biodegradable in how many centuries and under what circumstances?
artemis said…
oh cool, I thought only my boyfriend is refusing to take plastic bags (and I learned from him). I'm annoyed at Video One, if you rent vcd/dvd, they put it in their shop's customized plastic bags which is good to protect the vcds during rainy weather. I normally return the vcds with the same plastic bag hoping they will re-use it. One time I lingered a while to see if they are recycling the plastic bag, to my bewilderment, the guy took out the vcds, crumpled the still very new and crisp plastic bag and shoot it to the waste basket as if it was a banana peeling. As many of us, I assume :-,) rent from Video One, lets remind them about environmental consciousness.

Padma, I'll add you to my blog link.. we know each other for sure :-)
Anonymous said…
Which countries ban plastic bags? The city government should promote net bags and paperbags or the yellow pages for pambalot. What happened to the bayong project of Mayor Bautista? Sana Baguio will be plastic-free.
Anonymous said…
Hi Padma,

Great post. I love hopeful topics.

Recently, I ordered 2 meals and 3 extras from Jollibee, and they gave me 6 plastic bags when only two would have sufficed.

I just wrote an entry regarding the "trashy issues" the city's been having. (been avoiding the topic mostly because I prefer to portray the city in a positive light), and noted the garbage is merely evidence of deeper problems afflicting the city.

Solving the current problems will require a change in consumer attitudes just as much as the efficiency of waste management.
padma said…
Thanks Lisa! This was an illuminating moment for me. Sometimes we tend to feel like we're the only ones that have any sense, mostly because we tend to talk to (or among) ourselves a lot (and read each other's blogs hahaha), so it was so nice to encounter a total stranger practicing plastic-free purchasing in the market!

I am grateful you said what had to be said in your post, even if you felt it was rather negative when you looked at it again.

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