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Padre Garcia, Batangas : The Cattle Trading Capital of the Philippines (Livestock Auction Market)

Cattle Trading Capital of the Philippines Padre Garcia MapOne Friday morning, I went to visit my friend in Padre Garcia. I really miss this friend who’d been away for like a year now. I paid him a visit for I am into another agenda and that is to request him to write a song for me. (laughs)

We were supposed to meet at 7am because that is the only time we could meet (We’re both busy bees). But it didn’t happen because I arrived late. The reason – COWS! I did not remember that it was Friday, and that day is the BAKAHAN day. Holy cow, it’s traffic!

I then remember that i have another self-imposed-assignment which is to write an article about Padre Garcia here in WOW. And so, i grabbed the chance and started asking people about the auction market. Of course, i still did text my friend to see him sometime in the afternoon (if he’s still free).

I interviewed a man named Mang Tano and asked him why he’s there. “Mang-iiwe kasi ako at kakabenta lang namin ng apat na baka. (I am a cow care taker and we have just sold four cows)” said, Mang Tano Illana, 46.

“Marami ang napunta dito para bumili at magbenta ng mga baka. Mga tag-malalayo ineng, Bulacan, Laguna may mga taga Maynila din at tsaka mga dine din sa atin,” (A lot of people come here to buy and sell cows. Others are from far places, Bulacan, Laguna and others are from Manila and here from our place.) he added. 

With such a number of cattles and people, I feel like wanting to search for the Bakahan history. And so, here’s what i’ve got.

It was in 1952, three years since the town’s founding, that local leaders instigated what would, to this day, be the essence of the people of Padre Garcia’s claim to brilliance and industry. Led by the first elected mayor, Jose A. Pesigan, vice mayor Rustico K. Recto and councillors Narciso Calingasan, Ciriaco Bolilia, Lucas Recinto, Jose Katigbak, Anastacio Dimaculangan and Amado Bacordo; anticipating the need to augment the town’s coffers, they embarked on an economic enterprise – the cattle market or “ bakahan” . The uncertainty and plight of the township then, serve as the fire to fuel their drive.

As such pioneering ventures, they were faced with seemingly improbable tasks; the biggest of which is the well entrenched livestock market of neighbouring Rosario . A town roughly four and a half times bigger and just three years before, Padre Garcia, then known as LumangBaya or Sambat was a part of Rosario . The site of the first cattle market is the now Municipal Gym or Plaza adjacent the Park which was then the Municipal Hall.

The cattle market day has always been set on Fridays, its origin can be traced back to post-war 1945 as the LumangBayan’s market day and thus reconsidered to coincide with that of Rosario’s, not to rival but to engrossed what crumbs may astray from the latter’s cattle tradings. The first few months’ unsuccessful operation gave rise to marketing tactics which was to be construed by neighbouring Rosario ‘s leadership as a threat to its pre-war cattle market, a rivalry to last twenty years began.

I am certain that this auction market has greatly help the Garcianos lives. I just hope that Padre Garcia would remain as the home of the country’s largest Livestock Auction market in the coming more years.

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