Photo essay: The Malatapay livestock market

Categories photo essay, Portfolio
Livestock grazing under coconut trees
Livestock grazing under coconut trees

A cloud of dust hung in the air as boisterous livestock were everywhere. There were cows, carabaos, pigs and goats in between throngs of people under the uncaring gaze of slender and tall coconut trees. It was Wednesday and for the barangay of Malatapay, in the municipality of Zamboanguita, Negros Oriental, it was livestock market day.

I was told that sellers and buyers come from all over Negros and even Cebu. Piglets inside wooden pens or sack being checked by buyers. A seller is dragging a hesitant calf, probably oblivious of its fate. While several carabaos were tied to a fence at one area, bundles of pesos were being exchanged at another.

But the market has a unique way of selling via auction: hong-hong (whisper). There’s no loud shouts of prices but instead, hand motions, whispers and either a nod or a shaking of heads. If the price is acceptable, money change hands. If not, another will whisper his bid.

It’s a lively open market. People are laughing, some looked seriously. There were crying pigs being led to a cage or a man carrying his pig after a sale. People come and go as livestock is being led into the fenced bidding area. Just another Wednesday livestock market in Malatapay.

Buyers evaluating piglets
Buyers evaluating piglets
Piglets inside a sack
Piglets inside a sack
The Malatapay livestock market is one of the most popular markets in Negros Oriental and happens every Wednesday
The Malatapay livestock market is one of the most popular markets in Negros Oriental and happens every Wednesday
Livestock, typically cows, carabaos, pigs and goats are everywhere during the Malatapy livestock market
Livestock, typically cows, carabaos, pigs and goats are everywhere during the Malatapy livestock market
A carabao being shown to bidders
A carabao being shown to bidders
The graceful curve of a cow's hump and neck
The graceful curve of a cow’s hump and neck
A carabao is numbered for auction
A carabao is numbered for auction
A proud cow owner rides his animal
A proud cow owner rides his animal

HOW TO GET THERE: From Dumaguete City, ride a jeep bound for Zamboanguita. Jeepneys pass by infront of Robinsons. Tell the driver to drop you off at Malatapay. Its better to alight at the junction and walk to the open market. This is also the way where one can ride a pumpboat for Apo Island.

I help businesses get qualified leads and more sales via FB Ads and Messenger Chatbots. I'm also a photographer, blogger and writer based in Cebu, the Philippines.

A true blue Cebuano, I make stunning images and meaningful stories. My work has been published in various coffee table books as well as local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and has frequently done photo assignments for Mabuhay, an inflight magazine.

My personal Photography work has been exhibited around Asia and Europe including Paris in France, Germany, The Netherlands, South Korea, China and around the ASEAN regional capitals.

I am a peripatetic traveler and have been to all 81 Philippine provinces and abroad.

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