Palengke Etiquette 101 Amid Pandemic

A palengke is a term used for a Filipino wet market that is permanently situated in a particular location. It has been said that the word palengke was derived from the Spanish word “palenque” which means wooden stockade. 

Inside the Palengke you’ll find different sections such as the dry good section, fresh produce, and the meat or the wet section of the market. Each section has kiosks, stalls, and tables along the hallways. All these sections can be found under one shared roof.

Items usually being sold in the palengke are fresh local produce from the country. During the holiday season, vendors are more than usual as seasonal items produced by local artisans are also being sold. Vendors in the palengke are usually from the same municipality where the palengke is located, or from its neighboring towns. 

According to history, palengkes are known to be a gathering place of indios. Indios is the term used by Spaniards to refer to Filipinos. In the time of pandemic crisis where social distancing is observed, palengkes has still remained to be a gathering place for sellers and buyers. However, traffic has lessened compared to what it used to be. Some palengkes implement policies to prevent the spread of the virus among its shoppers, sellers, dealers, and porters. While some palengkes are more lenient, it is still better to observe palengke etiquette as a way to keep yourself safe and respect the space of others. 

Fruit section in a market

Palengke etiquette 101

If you are going to palengke anytime soon, you may consider practicing the palengke etiquettes below.

1. Limit the size of your group to help prevent palengkes from being overcrowded. Previously palengkes were usually teeming with people especially in the morning or when holidays are approaching. It is ideal if only those who will really shop will go to palengke. 

2.  Wear your face covering like face masks and face shields at all times. 

3. When haggling or talking with a vendor or anyone in the market make sure that you observe social distancing. It is better if you can avoid getting too close even if there are lots of people around. 

4. While going around the market, follow one-way traffic to avoid counterflow. Also, refrain from crossing on marks or tapes with an X sign, as this indicates that the area where they are placed is off-limits. Also, walk on hallways not between booths to maintain clogged-free hallways. Moreover, enter and exit on designated areas. 

5. As much as possible refrain from touching produce or flowers. Let the seller get your requested items. If the seller prefers you to pick your own items then you can do so.

6. Always sanitize your hands before and after holding items sold from the palengke. It is best if you sanitize your hands even before entering the market.

7. Refrain from bringing foods and drinks when going to the palengke. 

8. During the pandemic concerns, keep yourself updated with market dates. Some markets have set schedules per municipality. 

9. Some palengkes have opened their online store. If the items you need to buy are available in their online store then you can consider purchasing there for convenience and avoid going out. 

See You At The Market!
Happy shopping
Any palengke etiquette we missed? Let us know. Drop your comments below.

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