The enormous basket of napa cabbage was already spoken for, and the name of the buyer and total weight of its contents were written on a small piece of paper, indicating 94 kilos (or 206 pounds) worth of cabbage… I can barely bench press 130 pounds on an inspired day, so carrying 206 pounds for an extended distance of any sort without busting a gonad or two was simply mind-boggling…
So here is how it is done. Squat down low and place the wide strap high up on your forehead. Then with the help of 2-3 buddies who serve to balance the weight on across your back, become one with the basket of cabbage.
And with a quick pop as you might see at the olympic trials for weightlifters, rise up quickly and confidently and voila(!), you are now carrying some 200+ pounds on your back and head.
This was so not unusual for this guy that a friend even handed him an ear of boiled corn so he could munch before walking the basket over to the nearby trucks, or if back at the farm, travel up to several kilometers to get his produce towards the market.
The farmers were certain anyone could do this and I tried to find a lighter basket to carry with their coaching, but fearing a hernia or worse, a serious loss of poise and uncontrollable fits of laughter, I chickened out of the attempt. I have so much respect for the farmers who toil not only to raise this spectacular produce in the far reaches of our islands, but also CARRY it great distances just to get it to market. Now if only some of the hundreds of millions or billions of pesos that went missing in the fertilizer scam, the handouts of cash at the Palace or ZTE-like shenanigans could be coursed to helping folks like this raise more, bigger, better priced and more conveniently distributed produce, then and only then might one say that we had truly scraped the bottom of the barrel of rotten organic matter and start to regain some sense of moving back onto the right path to national progress and pride. Sorry, couldn’t resist that. But things have been smelling really bad around these parts lately. :(