The 2014 Central Luzon Regional Athletics Association Meet has already ended as of writing this article, however, it is pleasing to know that the province of Zambales, particularly in Iba, which was the venue of most of the contests, had once again hosted the sports event.
Although CLRAA Meet is all about friendly athletic competition and display of sportsmanship, the event also gave local businessmen and school districts an opportunity to participate in a bazaar. This year, many teachers contributed to the event not only as coaches but also as merchants and promoters of the local products found in each municipality in the province.
Each district’s booth was placed along the sidewalk. Some of the booths sold souvenir items, plants, baskets and other house wares, Christmas decors and of course, food. Each booth was uniquely designed. Products were not as varied because there were stalls that sold almost similar stuffs, but the teachers were all hospitable and approached inquiries (especially discounts) with much patience and warm smiles.
Walking along the sidewalk means you have to squeeze into traffic of people on foot (and some parked tricycles, which were on demand because of the event); nevertheless, scrolling while shopping at the bazaar had been a chance not only for shopping (or window shopping) but also for meeting wonderful people and most importantly, learning.
Buying at the stalls promoted education on the local products. Some vendors shared their knowledge about their processes and technology in making their manufactured goods. Additionally, each school district posted their teaching techniques and strategies, and their district’s co-curricular achievements.
There are other stalls set up by local businessmen as well. There are foods to enjoy and bring home, and there are some free samples available (the wines included, but I do not drink so I enjoyed the free cassava candies). There are souvenir shops that mostly sold key chains, necklaces, tags, bracelets, leather bags and wallets, shirts and other tokens.
The products were all fairly priced, shopping experience had been enjoyable and educational. I am now looking forward to the next event in Zambales — or somewhere else, if given the chance — not only to watch but also to shop for unique finds again.