The concept of a common venue for the trading of goods and other merchandise has been with us since the time of our early ancestors. Till this day, Taboan, as it is called in our language, has survived and provided for a lingering opportunity where people from all walks of life could trade and share, not only goods (as was its original purpose), but stories and life experiences as well.
For nine years running, farmers from Marilog have been bringing their produce of vegetables in an annual one-day taboan the University of the Philippines-Mindanao campus in Bago Oshiro, much to the delight of the surrounding community and the school population.
The yearly affair, having been the direct offshoot of a project endeavor for assisting local farmers at widening their market reach, has become a much-awaited occasion and tradition of sorts, for uni residents and our family. Not only were we able to buy our favorite veggies; my mate had again been provided with the chance to meet with the farmers who had already become her old friends.
As I sifted through our choices of tomatoes, eggplants, gourds, okras and other greens, and of course engaging in small talk and joking with some of the growers, as I was wont to do, I could not help but wonder that this most basic of social encounters, a common occurrence that could easily be taken for granted everywhere, actually has a certain aura of appeal that is only short of magical. Having had a chance to roam around similar markets in other faraway places, I could only surmise that the potion threading it all together was that natural and the easy-going interaction between the people in these particular scenarios.
Could be a secret in here somewhere, a tip for peaceful negotiations perhaps, or a simple keystroke clue for a fragile handling of human affairs, I am keenly interested to know. The thing is this, it is festive unlike a church, and multi-charactered, like a play. Oftentimes I liken it to a comedy, much like the kind that brit, William S. wrote long ago, for its happy endings.
In the case of the taboàn, the grower-farmers earn money for the fruits of their labor, while the community, school personnel, and the students directly buy (no middleman here) and bring home healthy veggies that they can share with loved ones. Meanwhile, the friendly banter and sharing of experiences during all these goings-on provide for that human trait that is most-needed in these trying times in the world today, acknowledgement and respect of one another.
If one looks really hard at a taboan, one realizes that the formula for peace does not require rocket science after all. Observe and listen intently, easy flowing magic is at play here.
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