At half past nine in the evening, I walked to “Banchetto”, a local night market I kept on hearing about. “Banchetto”, which meant ‘feast’ in Italian, really lives up to its name (especially for food lovers).
Looking from the outside, the place just looked like a series of run-down tents that would cave in with the slightest chance of rain. Smoke puffs hung high in the air carrying the aroma of newly grilled food along with the sticky feeling of oily fried ones. As I began to move in closer I found chairs and tables scattered throughout the place; there were too many chairs and only a small amount of tables, which probably is one reason why many of the market goers ordered take-out.
I slither through the maze of food stalls, I couldn’t decide on what to get because there were too many choices! Caught in shoulder-to-shoulder traffic, I found myself in front of a shake stall that had a really long line (it had the longest line in the whole market). I purchased their bestseller, which was just plain Mango shake with jelly. It was really good no wonder people lined up for it. The stall beside it also offered drinks like sodas and juice, but it wasn’t that “sought-after”. I guess the people who choose to buy their drinks there, just did not want to fall in line in the famous shake stall… or maybe they just really wanted a soda. Haha.
So then it got me thinking… why did I line up at this stall with a heck of a long line instead of just grabbing a drink from the other stall which would take me less than a minute. Hmm. I came to an assumption and/or conclusion that many tend to go with the majority. I lined up because it seemed good, I mean why would tons of people line up if it weren’t, right? Being at the back of the line for only a few seconds I heard people around me talking about lining up too just because there were so many people. My assumption might be correct. It also seemed the case for food, many lined up where there were clusters of people, leaving those around rather lonely.
After getting a drink, I looked around to find a meal that would match my drink. I was rather disappointed finding myself buying a stuffed pizza, when there were a lot of choices. Then, I don’t know how it happened but suddenly, as I was trying to find an empty seat, the area was filled with people coming in and out. The once calm evening air was suddenly filled with a bit of chatter and excited clatter. After several minutes of seat scavenging, a pair vacated the table right next to me (finally!).
I expected that the “banchetto crowd” was almost all call center people (the place was just beside a call center company after all, Accenture). With their IDs’ around their necks, they still do take up half of the banchetto population. However, all types of people can be seen roaming around the market; families, pairs, large groups, and even foreigners, due to it’s popularity.
CLAYGO. Just like in Ateneo, Banchetto also observed the CLAYGO system. Numerous posters and signs were scattered throughout the place to serve as a reminder before you leave. However, there was a lack of discipline among the yuppies population, lets say 21-36. Just an assumption. Sitting for almost and hour and a half, I noticed several instances wherein the children or a middle-aged man dressed in a business attire, would clean up after the previous person who used the table. This wasn’t that case with those seated at the table before me. They left all their trash on the table!
One observation I found fascinating, considering that the age we live in is advanced in terms of technology, was that people rarely paid attention to their mobile phone when hanging around in the night market. They were too caught up in conversation and merry making that they didn’t mind disconnecting from the digital world. However, some people did use their cellular phones for taking pictures, capturing the moments and recording their experience to share to their friends, colleagues, and relatives while some just simply had peek at the time.
There was a lack of socializing between neighboring stalls. I expected the workers to talk to each other considering that they would be there for a fair part of the night, but there was hardly any observable communication or interaction between two different stalls. On the other hand, communication between workers of a stall is on the other hand observable. They mostly laughed and chatted amongst each other; they seemed to be having fun. I came across one stall where they shouted at each other as if one was at the other end of the market. Well it is a market after all so.. shouting isn’t uncommon.
Social interactions ranged from a minimal connection such as greetings between acquaintances, between shoppers and sellers, to extended conversations between those who have met up in the market, or interactions between those who flocked in groups. A market’s role as a site of social inclusion refers to the fact that it can operate well as a public space, wherein marginalized groups come to spend time, while providing opportunities to escape isolation at home or elsewhere.
The night market was truly chaotic and full of life at the same time. The food, the people, the place, it was indeed a different taste of experience. It’s actually hard to believe that in the morning this whole market takes on the sight of a plain old parking lot.
If you guys wanna check it out just go to Banchetto-Forum beside Robinsons Pioneer every Wednesday and Thursday from 8:30pm-6:00am!
Miguel Natividad | 112755 | SA21-A