By Anna Valmero
GABALDON, NUEVA ECIJA–A visit to the Dupinga River is twice as exciting if you taste the local talangka (river crab) delicacy peddled by youngsters like Jose Pacleb and Romeo Dela Cruz.
Talangka is like a smaller, bite-size version of your typical alimango, which can weigh up to ten pounds such as in the case of the king crabs.
Jose and Romeo, both 11 years old, are among the handful of children who offer talangka to visitors in the Dupinga River, an emerging summer destination with its clear, running waters to cool you down on a hot day.
Their mothers catch talangka during the evening and the boys help out by selling throughout the day. A plastic bag, containing about 60 pieces of talangka, costs P20 each.
The talangka are steamed and come with a spicy vinegar dip. To eat talangka, remove the spiky legs and the carapace. Then, dip the remaining soft meat and shell into the spicy vinegar and eat to your heart’s delight.
Jose says the meager earnings of her mother from doing laundry is not enough to give him an allowance to go to school.
“Minsan hindi na po ako napasok para makabenta ng talangka, pambili ng bigas (Sometimes I don’t go to school so I can sell river crabs so that we can buy rice ),” the boy says.
Romeo says his earnings would also go into buying medicine for his father who was recently stricken with flu.
“Medyo matumal po ang benta pero sana mas dumami pang pumunta rito para maraming bibili (Sales are somewhat slow but I hope there will be more tourists visiting the area so there would be more buyers).”
The unsold packs of talangka are not wasted as they are brought home for dinner. While it requires patience and hardwork to sell the cooked talangka throughout the day, the boys say they enjoy what they are doing and they are glad to be of help to their family
Young as they are, they feel glad to promote this native delicacy especially to first-time visitors. Someday, they tell me, they want to start their own business selling this native delicacy.
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