At any rate, JGC wished me luck and advised that I might get luckier in Binondo. Knowing how overpriced fruits in Binondo are, I insisted on going to DV because I do know the exact place to find them. Needless to say (but I'm still saying it), I did't find any this time. Must be the season or something, rain and all, but what were there were the usual ponkans (yawn..) , grapes and anything round to cater to Filipinos' new-found penchant for obtaining "luck" in whatever form. Streets are awashed with fruits of all sorts, lucky charms (Chinese characters embossed in faux gold with long red tassels) , clothing and new-generation firecrackers including those which I know are illegal. As I said, this is DV.
The area around Divisoria Mall was, to say the least, terribly cramped with stalls taking over what little street space there is left, squeezing people into several lines. Then there are the cargadors with their huge boxes of deliveries further pushing people out of the way. I can't say this is all fun. Any first timer would have fainted on the spot. But back to the fruits.
There are pears of all kinds, really huge ones to the point of being grotesque, from Japan, Down Under, and the common ones from China (yellow and green, though I prefer the latter for its juiciness and that it doesn't easily ripens). Kiwis sell for Ps 20 per piece, and dragon fruits from Vietnam go for Ps 120 per kilo (2 pieces by the looks of it). The huge, ugly pears sell for Ps 25 each. It was obvious that due to the mad rush for anything round, the sweet melons and pineapples (not round but it holds a special place in the list of lucky things) were harvested way too early. Tiny pineapples like those I buy in Dangwa for flower decoration purposes sell for Ps 10 each, while the melons were just about the same. They look terribly unripe and I seriously doubt if they can be eaten at all. Oh, well. Basta kumpleto ang 12 fruits, who cares?
What did I end up buying? A trusty, old-style marble mortar and pestle from Romblon at Ps 100, longgans (ps 100 per bunch), and atiezas (acheza?) which was one of the fruits of my Pampanga childhood. I saw them in this lonely stall where green señorita bananas, nice suha, and solo papayas were also displayed but largely ignored by everyone. At Ps 30 per kilo, they are sure to be a hit at home since we rarely see these Pinoy fruits anymore. I miss the mabolo a lot. I only know of one tree exisiting in Mexico, Pampanga because I used to pass by that garden in my elementary school days.
I decided to escape from all the madness by walking all the way to Tabora and catching a jeep to Avenida, from where I'd be taking a bus home via Sta. Cruz. What a day indeed. And I will surely be back.
By the way, 2006 is said to be the year of Red Fire Dog (Year 4703) to celebrate on the 29th of January. I wonder what it has in store for Rabbits like me.
I will edit this article on my next visit. I didn't get to write down what I really want to say.