By CJ Kuizon
Davao Today

When I hear ‘night market’, I cannot help but imagine the one in Cagayan de Oro and the one in Baguio.

The Baguio night market is an everyday affair, an obvious concession to the tourists who flock that cold city all year round. A lot of night market vendors have daytime stalls inside the many buildings that house wagwagan (previously owned items; Cebuano: ukay-ukay) near the big downtown market. At night, they display selected clothes, shoes and bags in the streets around the closed market. Like magic, the clothes sell less.

Other Baguio night market vendors are more informal, with their wares spread on a blanket or banig (sleeping mat). These vendors usually have day jobs other than being vendors. Some are even students who just happen to find themselves with home decorations and other second-hand knick-knacks to sell. They hold something like an impromptu garage sale at the night market. The last time I was there, I saw coffee mug trees, bike helmets, baseball bats and even commemorative plates with pictures of long dead American presidents, no doubt remnants of Baguio’s American-influenced past.

The Cagayan night market is held only on weekends. Starting late Friday afternoon, several streets near the park in Divisoria are closed to traffic. In the middle of the park is a large gazebo, which serves as a stage for guest local bands. One block is informally reserved for tents of restaurants selling barbecues. The streets are filled up with red checked tables and waiters compliment you as you pass by so that you will choose their red-orange chicken over the others.

Vendors occupy most of the space, though. Like Baguio, Cagayan is known for selling branded ukay-ukay clothes, shoes and bags. However, since vendors are usually familiar with the brands that can command a price, these goods seldom come cheap. You are better off in Davaos very own Bangkerohan or Lizada street. The Cagayan night market also features bootleg CDs and DVDs. Cagayan is known to have a wider selection of these and the copies are often clearer.

Back here in Davao, I was curious to find out what makes its night market unique.

But in the end, I realized that it didn’t really matter. Davaos Chinese New Year night market was a chance for vendors to sell and display their wares. And, if you were in the right mood, then you would find your own way to have a good time or to simply wind down; if not for the upcoming year then at least for the night. (CJ Kuizon/

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