Barter trading alive in Pontevedra

By Felipe V. Celino
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 03:51:00 05/31/2008

PONTEVEDRA, Capiz – Experiencing Pontevedra, a town in the first district of Capiz, during market days would make one think of stepping back in time. The people have retained the traditional way of bartering their produce for things they need.

Established in 1853 as an independent town from Panay, Pontevedra was first named Caguyuman (which meant anthill) because people went there like a swarm of ants during market time, according to its website. It was renamed by Spanish friar Gregorio Hermida after finding a striking resemblance of the place to his hometown in Pontevedra, Spain.

Just like the early inhabitants, residents from the upland areas and those living near the sea and fishponds bring their harvests to swap for other products.

Jose Abaredes of Sitio Baybay, Tacas, said his wife Nenita always brought his catch of fish to the public market early morning on Market Day. When she comes home, she has a kilo of rice, vegetables and root crops in her basket, he said.

To promote the unique practice, the municipal government, headed by Mayor Jose Esteban Contreras, included barter trading among the major activities of the Guyum-guyuman Festival held on May 10-15. He said he would also focus on efforts to improve efficiency in aquaculture, fishery and farming.

Contreras, the eldest son of former Capiz Gov. Esteban Espinosa Contreras and the late Rosela Bacero, saw barter trading as an opportunity to mount a festival that depicted the positive characteristics of the community. Pontevedra is a place where people celebrate the abundance of natural resources and the positive traditions of the Caguyumanons, he said.

The municipal government decided that the Guyum-guyuman should be a nondenomination event, and not merely a religious fiesta.(PDI)

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