On Monday I went shopping at the Mahagony Market here in Tagaytay. After living here for almost 5 months, I discovered this market only because I had to go to the Hall of Justice, which is located in front of it. (In a future post I’ll explain why I went there.) The Mahagony Market is a public market. Public markets are the poorer, less sophisticated version of the mall for Filipinos. You can often get better goods, or better prices, at a public market. And at a very large public market such as Mahagony Market, you can also get a very broad selection of goods.
The front part of the market has stalls selling everything from packets of tomato paste to newspapers, as well as services. Car insurance and legal services predominate, but haircuts are available, all sorts of dry goods, hardware and household items, etc. At the back of this section are some restaurants, with parking behind them. The back part of the market consists of two large concrete-floored structures with booths inside them. The one on the left is the “wet market” where all sorts of meats are sold. The one on the right sells fruits and vegetables.
The produce available at this market is fantastic, in most cases much better than, and less expensive than, the large supermarkets in the shopping malls. This is the only place I’ve found really good tomatoes. The tomatoes elsewhere tend to be small and not that sweet. Here they have beautiful red ripe sweet tomatoes in all sizes, including very large. I also found eggplants that come closer to those I bought in the US than ever before. Most eggplants here are the long thin Chinese variety. Lately I’ve found small round dull green eggplants in the supermarkets. At this market on Monday I finally found large round shiny purple eggplants. The one item I still cannot find anywhere except the large supermarkets is berries, and the only kind of berries available even there are strawberries.
Anyway, I had managed to get everything on my list at the market on Monday, including specific fruits, vegetables, plants, a whole chicken, hot dogs, tomato paste, and take-out bulalo from one of the restaurants. Bulalo is my favorite Filipino dish, one of the few that I can usually eat without modification as it fits in my very strict diet. Bulalo is a beef soup, made from the knee joints of the cow, including the bone, the marrow, very tender meat, a few vegetables, and a beefy broth.
Well, I was walking back to my car, which I parked behind the wet market. I had made several trips to the car already to place bags of groceries in it. At this point I was carrying 2 newspapers and a bag with my bucket of bulalo and 5 small packets of tomato paste. In the middle of the wet market is a small concrete ramp, about 4 feet long.
As I walked down the ramp, my feet slid out from under me and I fell back at an angle, on my left arm and left side. I fell pretty hard. I was in pain, and made some noise. A man who worked in the market was next to me, standing there as I got up, asking if I was alright. I asked for a chair, and he pointed to the other side of the wet market. I gathered my things and walked there. By the time I got there about 10 men had gathered, trying to be helpful. They suggested I go to the toilet to clean up, as I had dirt all over me. I sat down in the chair. The man who had sold me the chicken and hot dogs earlier brought me a cup of hot water, which I drank. The toilet did not look appealing. I took my shirt off and used it to clean my arm and my side. The men put my bags together, rebagged the bulalo, which had lost all its liquid but was otherwise intact.
I called Dindin, got in the car, shirtless, and drove home. We unpacked the car, and I ate the bulalo meat and vegetables.
Then Dindin drove me to the hospital, about 2 km away.
It turns out I broke a rib.
Tagaytay Hospital has been deemed a Center of Excellence, the highest rating for a hospital of its type. We went to the emergency room there. The whole experience that first day took about an hour. They took 4 x-rays, a doctor did a physcal exam, and explained things to me. I was not surprised to hear that there is not much to do for a broken rib, it heals on its own in 6-8 weeks. I was told to make an appointment with one of the hospital’s orthopedic surgeons the next day.
That first day at the hospital cost 1266 pesos, about $30, plus about $9 for 8 pain pills.
The next day I saw the orthopedic surgeon. That visit cost about $11, plus $17 for 7 pills of a different variety, they help with pain and also with inflammation.
I do have pain whenever I take a deep breath, cough, laugh, or move. Movement while lying down, or lying down or getting up from lying down, entails the worst pain. Despite that I slept a good 9 hours the first night, and have been able to sleep since. The pain is slowly reducing.
Of course, Dindin has been wonderful at taking care of me.
People sometimes want to know, What can I do to help you?
It is often difficult to do much from far away. But there is something you can do.
You can join me on my journey. I have embarked on a journey to write, publish, market, and sell my own books.
The first book is entitled, “Moving to the Philippines: The Complete Guide.”
This is a somewhat risky venture, as I am now living on my savings, and my plan is to make a living as an author and publisher. The next 4 books I am planning are:
Poems to End Hunger (book of poetry, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to The Hunger Project)
How I Beat Diabetes (nutrition/exercise/health)
A Stand For the Earth (expansion of a poem I wrote, The Earthist Creed, into a program of thought/action)
The Last Body (sci-fi/fantasy novel with time travel and genetic engineering themes)
I’m very excited about Moving to the Philippines, as I think there is a large market for this book, and I hope to enlist a variety of government agencies, organizations, and companies whose interests are aligned with the success of the book to help market it. But ultimately it will be up to me to promote, market, and sell the book. I’m working with some very experienced partners in the publishing industry to make this venture a success. So what can you do?
Right now, you can participate in this blog. Read the blog. Post a comment. Share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, email, etc. The wider the readership I can generate for this blog, the larger the platform I will have to market the book.
Later, there will be other exciting adventures in this journey. For example, you’ll have the opportunity to pre-order copies of the book, to purchase the book after publication, to read the book, to make suggestions for the book of for future editions, to review the book on Amazon.com or other sites you use, to give away your copy to someone else who will review it, etc. If you do read the book and find it worthwhile, perhaps you’ll have some ideas of your own about groups that might be interested in this book and how to approach them.
I realize that not everyone wants to move to the Philippines. But this is the first part of the journey, to make this first book a success, and after that, the sky’s the limit.
Thanks for reading.