Monday, January 31, 2005

Baguio's Commerce

Sometime in the 70s, the stores at the foot of Session Road were owned by a group of “bumbays”. Bombay Bazaar, Bheroomul’s, Pohoomul’s, etc. Just recently, I met a lady who hails from La Union but has worked in Baguio in her younger days. As soon as I told her that I grew up in Baguio, she somehow felt a common bond between us. She said she used to work at Bheroomul’s. She is now 65 but she endlessly reminisced her days living in that city on top of the mountains.

These Bombays used to scare me. My mother used to buy my underwear at Bombay Bazaar and she’d spend more time than she should, talking to the owners. Somehow, I was always drawn to the forehead of the owner’s wife. I was scared, more than intrigued with the red dot on here forehead and the way she dressed. The incense was of course something I did not appreciate when I was a kid.

If you went closer to the city market, the environment was different. The wealthy Chinese families owned most of the stores from Mido Inn to Lapu-lapu Street. Just below Mido Inn is Sunshine Restaurant. And then another bakery (I forgot the name) and U-need Grocery store. A few stores from these of course is Tiongsan Bazaar. The family who owned Tiongsan Bazaar were by far the most well known Chinese merchants. Tiong San was strategically located along Magsaysay Avenue that people usually made it a meeting place.

Next to Tiongsan was PangHoi Restaurant and another dry goods store. I used to buy my plastic covers for my books and notebooks here if Tiongsan Bazaar got so busy. For some reason, it was mechanical for me anyway to buy my soy sauce, vinegar and other dry goods at Lapu-lapu Street. My father is part Chinese and he would never miss buying a “lapad”, a variety of dried fish and dried pusit. Sometimes when the queue is not that long, I buy them at Sunny’s just inside the city market. Sunny’s was a funny store. You get served on a first come, first served basis depending on how good you squeezed yourself in to get to the front.

Saturdays and Sundays were always trips to this Lapu-lapu Street. Fertilizers for my green-thumbed mother, a yarn at Evelyn’s for my school projects including a treat of Kiangan Bread. Oh it was just rows and rows of small Chinese grocery stores.

Hilltop was a mixture of different merchants. We have the Igorots who at one point monopolized the distribution of vegetables. At the very top are Chinese merchants concentrating on the trading of wastebaskets, dust pans, charcoals etc. If you were frugal, you can buy the vegetables at lower costs at Hanger Market. If you were lazy, you’d content yourself buying at the city market.
If you are from City Camp, Campo Sioco, Camp Seven and QM, another chinese owned store close to where you get your rides from is Sunshine Grocery. I loved Sunshine. Their prices are reasonable and the owner is a hands-on guy. Mmmm..the smell of Bread

Oh, I could go on and on but I’ll save them for later.

16 Comments:

Blogger watson said...

Hello TingAling! Bheromulls! Wow, it's been quite a while since I heard of that name. Do you also remember Radio City? It's a store that sold clothes. There were three kids living in the second floor then. They were cousins. Rich kids, but they preferred to play with us poor folks ehehe. They had tons of Lego. We'd play on the streets when we were in our neighborhood, but inside their store, we'd play lego. We rarely went there, though.

At Bombay Bazaar, that's where we used to buy toys at the second floor. And yes, they always had the incense going.

4:25 AM  
Blogger rolly said...

Ngayon lang ako napadaan dito. PArati kasi ko sa serendipity mo e naiinip na kong wala ka pang blog dun.yun pala mas updated to. hehe

Anyway, nakakatuwa ang matatanda natin no. Hindi mo makuha ang humor nila. Biruin mo, ipang takot sa tin ang bumbay. Dati nga pati intsik e. Wag daw akong lalabas ng bahay at baka ako gawing vetsin. At saka yung weird na tukso ng mga kapatid ko "di ka naman talagang anak e. pulot ka lang sa tae ng kalabaw!"

Speaking of Baguio, may kaibigan ako sa college na naging OIC ng baguio. Ang pangalan niya ay Bobby Paraan. Kilala mo ba yun?

5:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ting... hi again, just a follow up on your recollection of Baguio ...was Assandas Dept. Store. Of course, run by the "Bumbays" as you said. Do you know that the son of Bheroomul's is still in Baguio? He did establish his own family there now as he has written a small history of their family thru Col. Juny LaPutt's(a retired PMA & UB teacher then who's now in Hawaii)website about Baguio.Too bad, he took out his website that had so many pictures & hits in the Net then. To correct your entry Panghoi (was a school supply then where we used to buy our stuff too then.).You're right there was a chinese resto beside Tiongsan Bazaar then. I miss Plaza Drug Store(Dra. Lopez was our physician then) Plaza Theatre (loved the double showing there. Of course missing the midnight snack of mami & siopao place beside Mido Hotel on the corner of the plaza. Oooops forgot comment lang pala ito Ate Ting.Like I told JMOM keep blogging about good ole Baguio. Thanks. JoeL

4:39 PM  
Blogger Mec said...

hay naku mama ting

Baguio now seems to be all about the SM Mall there... nasa-sad nga ako kasi pag nagpupunta kami dun, yung SM yung trip puntahan ng mga kasama ko eh

wala nang nagtyatyagang pumuntang la trinidad for the flowers... bihira na lang

4:47 PM  
Blogger Mec said...

hay naku mama ting

Baguio now seems to be all about the SM Mall there... nasa-sad nga ako kasi pag nagpupunta kami dun, yung SM yung trip puntahan ng mga kasama ko eh

wala nang nagtyatyagang pumuntang la trinidad for the flowers... bihira na lang

4:47 PM  
Blogger ting-aling said...

Tama Watson, yung second floor may mga toys. Meron din silang mga baby clothes, etc.

Hello Mec, oo nga daw. Noong umuwi ako, hindi ko na kilala yung aming mga kapitbahay..peks man..at saka baka pag pumunta ka ng Trinidad, aabutin ka ng siyam-siyam sa traffic..meron akong kaibigan doon pero husme..hindi kami nagkita kasi nga traffic.

5:05 PM  
Blogger ting-aling said...

Tito Rolly, I don't remember Bobby Paraan becoming an OIC..baka you are referring to Col.Ping Paraan. Ping Paraan became my boss at one point in my life..indirectly. Member siya ng board of directors ng isang company I used to work for. He is now in the States I believe. Kilala ko yung wife niya ngayon.

Yung isang anak niya is a known Opthalmologist..yung nakapag-asawa sa isa sa mga Claridades..

5:10 PM  
Blogger ting-aling said...

Hi Joel..Oo nga, I forgot about Assandaz. One of these Bumbay Families also had a store specializing in remote control cars and expensive watches near Sizzling Plate in the 80s.

5:12 PM  
Blogger ting-aling said...

Opps! Junnie La Putt..yeah, his daughter was a former classmate of mine..I am not going to tell who otherwise you'll get to know how old I am..hehe

5:13 PM  
Blogger Jet said...

Sarap talaga ng may hometown. You get to know the place very intimately. Di gaya ng pag sa Manila ka, everything gets so impersonal.

Si fafa Jay pag tinanong mo kung saan ang hometown, sasabihin niya sayo sa Pasay... hehe.

3:46 AM  
Blogger JMom said...

Hi TingAling! Oh I do so remember Bombay Bazaar and Tiongsan. Loved to just go and browse and look at the toys and such. I had a very different reaction to the "Bombays" though. I just always found them fascinating, and for the longest time, those red dots on the ladies' forehead just seemed so exotic to me.

I remember the hanger market too! Whenever I went to market with my lola, she would always trudge up there for the lower prices. Plus, for some reason or other, she always knew some of the vendors personally, and would go for a visit. The only thing I hated, the mud! Your shoes always get so wet and muddy everytime you go to the market.

9:08 AM  
Blogger JMom said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:17 AM  
Blogger rolly said...

No, ting. nagkamali ako ng pagsulat. hindi si Bobby ang naging OIC. Yung tatay niya. i think teh father was also connected with a mining firm before that. hindiko lang alam kung siya yung kilala mo. Anyway, Bobby is a college buddy.

6:45 PM  
Blogger ting-aling said...

O di ba Jet? Mahirap talaga kung nasa metropolitan area. Parang always on the go tapos wala kang time to get to know your neighbor.

8:06 PM  
Blogger ting-aling said...

JMom..the mud..the mud..ugghhh.

Tito Rolly, I thought so. Ping Paraan worked at Benguet Corp. He is Bobby's dad.

8:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice to read your posts about Indians in the Philippines, pity , not really good quality Indians come there. Secondly, nothing to be shocked about as India has many races, perhaps you can find your filipino looking people in India in the provinces of Nagaland and Mizoram, where the people look exactly the same as Filipinos and practice Christianity. Google it and find it. And hope you meet some really good and educated Indians in the future.

2:39 PM  

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