The Palengke in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, Philippines

Palengke (chavacano palenque) derives from the Spanish conquerors and means public market which are common throughout the Philippines. Like any other local/public market around the World the prices of goods are obviously more affordable than supermarket stores and of those in large malls. The food produce is homegrown from farms across the Island of Palawan and exceptionally fresh having been delivered and set out at 4am each day, this particular market is a wonderful labyrinth of packed wooden stool holders divided into sections across upper and lower levels, this may sound chaotic but it is actually very well organised, with sections for fruit, vegetable and dried food goods such as many varieties of rice, then there is a fresh wet fish area followed by fresh meat and poultry all of which have individual weighing scales complete with fresh water on tap to clean each chopping area and finally there is a clothing and shoes section plus haberdashery and home goods, from furniture to wallpaper.

Walking through the often tightly packed and cramped spaces, the filipino community are extremely polite and courteous and you’ll even find them asking you to take a photograph of them and their surroundings without them forcing or even asking you to buy anything from them, they are just so happy to be included, such is the culture of filipino people. These markets truly are a goldmine for any travel, documentary or street photographer aspiring to add different kinds of images to their portfolio. For one example, the best time to go and visit the market is after midday, where you’ll often see many of the traders asleep at their outlets because they have been there since very early morning setting out their produce and are exhausted from the hard work and long day. 

This experience is truly remarkable to witness, capture and experience. More details can be provided on request if required.

All photographs © Paul Hamilton 2018 / British Fine Art Photographer living in Palawan.

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