One of my favorite places that I visited during our recent trip to Davao and Samal Island was the Bankerohan Public Market in Davao City. The trip to the market was toward the end of our visit and served two purposes, to help me practice my Cebuano (Bisaya) in a “live setting”, and of course to see this gem of Davao City. My only regret was that I didn’t spend more time there. Next time it will be a priority for me.
I’d not been to the Bankerohan Public Market during any previous visits, so this was quite a treat for me. I wasn’t expecting it to be so large and so nice. I was also able to go through part of the Agdao Market while there this time, but I much prefer the Bankerohan Market. The stalls, and really the whole setup, just seemed so much nicer. I’m not sure how the two compare in prices, as I didn’t really get a chance to buy that much and there was an awful lot to take in.
I was escorted to the market by Mindanao Bob (Bob Martin) and my Bisaya teacher, Bebe. It was a pleasure to join them to practice my Bisaya, and to see how far along Bob was in his own practice. It certainly was motivation for me to keep at it, regardless of how slow it’s been going for me at times. I worked on phrases like, “Pwede ba ko’ng magpractice ug Bisaya? (Can I practice Bisaya)”, “Unsa’y imong pangalan? (What is your name)”, “Pila kini? (How much is this), and related phrases. It was a lot of fun to see and hear their responses. Most vendors were very receptive to speaking to me, and that it was also fun, if not funny, for them.
I also got to see a lot of fruits and vegetables that I’d never encountered before. Most vendors would have samples available for you, and if not, were more than agreeable to cut some for you. I purchased something that I can’t even remember what it was, but it was more for the exercise of buying something using only Bisaya. It was quite good, whatever it was.
I think the best part of the trip to the market was when we took a back path to the inside of the market and ended up at a little restaurant that I believe was called Del Mar Cafeteria. There I got to enjoy a little more Bisaya discussion, but more essentially I got to try puto maya and sikwate. I don’t think they called it sikwate, that’s what I’ve found looking for it on Google, but it was the drink made from pure tabilya or tsokolate. I really enjoyed that, as it is the pure cacao beans roasted and ground into tablets. I picked up a pack of their Pure Tabliya and brought back with me, but so far have not been able to emulate the drink they made for me. I guess they have a little more practice at it than me.
Samal Island has their own markets. In particular there is a Public Market in Penaplata, and I imagine I’ll take advantage of the that pretty often at some point in the future. That said, a trip to Bankerohan Public Market will be one of the main reasons for me to visit Davao when we are finally living on Samal.