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Padre Garcia’s Soul Through Its Food and Livestock

On any day of the week other than Friday, the municipality of Padre Garcia is a quiet little town as one can only expect of a largely agrarian community. Right next door to the much larger municipality of Rosario – of which it was a part until 1952 – and just south of Lipa City, Padre Garcia comes alive every Friday for what is called the Livestock Auction Market.

Buyers from far and wide travel all the way to Padre Garcia for the auction to temporarily inflate the municipality’s population of just over forty thousand. It is because of this that the municipality is often referred to as ‘The Cattle Trading Capital of the Philippines.’

That title is, of course, not just a tad misleading. Apart from cattle, also traded in large numbers are carabaos, horses and goats.

Naturally, the town’s economy comes alive every Friday; and not just for those involved in the auction. Because of the influx of both sellers and buyers of the livestock, business becomes brisk as well for carinderias and other food joints that are strategically located close to the livestock pens where the auctions are held.

As can only be expected – and as though to further seduce buyers with food from freshly slaughtered livestock – these food joints offer delicacies from the more traditional goto and kaldereta to the more exotic ginataang kalabaw and champeni. The kaldereta, of course, is offered as either kambeng (goat) or baka (cow/beef).

It is, perhaps, not wise for neutrals interested in culinary adventures to travel to Padre Garcia on a Friday; unless one is, of course, interested in watching the auction as well. Otherwise, the food joints are also open each day of the week; and what they serve offers patrons a peek into the very soul of this quaint little town in agricultural Batangas.

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