We both woke early this Saturday morning and decided to head to the gym. We left the house around 06:45 and pulled into the gym’s empty parking lot around 07:15. It was only then we realized that we were way to early on a Saturday as the gym did not open until 8am (these things happen in retirement!). So we decided to drive back downtown and go for a walk at the Paseo Park in Hagatna (Guam). It’s a scenic walk that involves walking along the paved trail and around the small peninsula that harbors Chamorro Village, the baseball stadium, and the fishing pier. When we finally arrived there, a rainshower was upon us, and because my wife decided she did not want to walk in the rain, our walk too was canceled. Some days exercize just escapes you without having to manufacture an excuse.
With our day’s exercize derailed, we decided just to head over and locate a Filipino store that Teri has seen advertised lately, only to learn once we got there that we have already been there. We just never realized the name was Ariana’s Market when we were there previously. So we went inside anyway to look for some mentholated Snow Bears hard candy. They compare to the Hall’s brand of eucalyptus hard candies but are imported from the Philippines. The day prior, we hit three different stores looking for Snow Bears only to find none – they were all sold out, or “Out of Stock” which is a common phrase and occurance where we live in Samar in the Philippines.
Once we got inside Ariana’s Market, I immediately was drawn to the pastry section where I found some locally baked Buko Pies. Buko pie is a traditional Filipino baked young-coconut (malauhog) custard pie. Popular with Filipinos (and me), it mostly resembles a coconut cream except it is not made with custard, but with a sweetened condensed milk, making it more dense. I got me a slice along with some Cassava Cake, which is another classic Filipino dessert made from grated cassava (manioc).
On this island, there is no shortage of Filipino culture or food products for that matter. Need to find Del Monte brand (sweet) Tomato Sauce for your sphaghetti with hot dogs, no problem. Need some Red Horse or San Miguel to wash down your Balut? Again, walang problema! Guam seems to be the place where sari-sari stores become Super Sari-Sari’s because they all resemble a small grocery or market with just about every filipino product you can imagine, including imported filipino seafood delicacies like bangus (milkfish) and Alimasag (crab). Actually, even the local Chamorrow markets are sprinkled everywhere around the island and they too are like sari-sari stores on steroids. Here though they are referred to as neighborhood markets. How they all remain in business with so much competion is a wonder. It must be the cold beer, snacks and ice cream that keeps them going. I’m not sure.
One thing is true about Guam, everything that is consumed on this island is imported. EVERYTHING! I guess it is allot like the island of Samar… most everything comes from either Cebu or Manila (except for local fish products and lumber). From lumber to riding lawnmowers to foodstuffs and draft beer, it is all shipped in from points around the globe. And yet it is rare to find something completely out of stock here except… when it is a Filipino product being shipped from Manila. As the owner of Ariana’s explained, many things are out of stock now because the shipments are all being delayed at the Port of Manila. That was her applicable reason anyway. In my opinion, it’s just another day and business as usual for the Philippines! Oh, and about those Snow Bear candies… we found them. The last two bags that were available and Teri bought them both. Now they too are “Out of Stock.”
If you are interested to know more about the Filipino product selections that are available locally here on Guam, you can visit Ariana’s Facebook Page advertisements.