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Honoring My Mother | Suki

It is the Pinoy’s catch-all term to either describe a favored customer or merchant, involved in special transaction whereby the customer regularly purchases from the same seller, in exchange for favorable treatment (as defined by Lexico and Oxford dictionaries).

This so-termed favorable treatment could translate for the customer, enjoying lesser prices for goods and services, or the choicest selection not available to other common buyers. As such, both parties refer to each other as “suki”. Interestingly, their bond is not far off from the Japanese definition of the same word, which means “to like or love” in that language. Could be, that’s where we got the word from.

With that lengthy description out of the way, this is to pay homage to our many sukis in our community, some of whom have since then become our good friends through the years.

Worth mentioning first is Carmen, our fresh cow’s milk delivery person, who has been our suki for the longest time. Since 2009, she has been coming every Saturday, bringing us fresh milk, in chocolate, regular, durian or strawberry flavors, along with milk bars of the same. Still fresh from down under that year, our son had developed a particular love for fresh milk, which we had difficulty getting here (we didn’t know anything). All we were familiar with at that time were those non-fat varieties packed in cartons that had longer expiration dates. Our son had of course tried them all for a while, but still craved for fresh ones. Our paths crossed with Carmen and thereupon learned that a dairy processing plant was located nearby in Malagos. Indeed we have been so lucky to know she could bring us milk that was as fresh as our son wanted.

Our next and youngest suki used to come every Wednesday and Saturday. Marvin had started to bring us fish from the Toril fishport in 2012, but has stopped doing so in July this year because of his apprenticeship as an electrician. He used to deliver only the best tuna, fried slices of which our son brought to school as baon. Marvin likewise offered other varieties of fish for us to choose from for our daily fare. During every visit we had always encouraged him to go back to school or find a better job while he was still young. Although now, we seek our fish fill elsewhere and miss his visits, we are happy just the same, especially because of his better chances and opportunities at his new job. At least, it is a far cry from dangerously driving a motorcycle heavy laden with fish.

Another suki who comes on Wednesdays is Eric, our shells “specialist”. He brings us mussels and clams (or tahong, and imbaw in the vernacular) and an occasional Gusò, or seaweeds on the side. Funny thing about Eric is his standard back-story announcements regarding his deliveries of the day. He’d say things like, the mussels are smaller these days because of the storm or because this and that. Or he would blurt out, the clams are especially bigger now because they are all females (Baye).

These three people are our all-time fave sukis, although there are others who are worthy as honorable mentions. One is the peanut man. He comes every Sunday right after the mass at the chapel, loudly shouting “Mani, mani!” Through the years, he had already gotten our tastes down pat, plus how much are we buying. No salt on the peanuts and little on the popcorn, 20 pesos worth of peanuts and 20 worth popcorn.

Lastly, there’s Tata and his wife whose store has become our alternative fish or meat source, just down the corner. An avid NBA fan, he is the source of my updates on who’s playing where, how much is one’s pay cut in this season, plus in-depth analysis of past and future games.

In all, these are but some of those special people in the community who have helped eased the rut in our daily routines. While not necessarily leading to a close friendship as yet, our relationship with them is nevertheless bordered by their honesty in their dealings with us. Technically, we are still clients to them but the tie-in had not ended there. While at the onset we chose them over other sellers, we deeply appreciate what has developed between us over the years and feel thankful always that we have each other.

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