Saturday, October 18, 2008

202.0 Kilometers ... A Milk Odyssey

As my legions of devoted fans know, cow's milk (gatas ng baka) is not common here. I've been looking for a good source for months.

By accident, I finally found a source at an agricultural college. P50 a liter, but we had to pick it up. The college is in Baybay. That's quite a ways from Tacloban. It would be an all-day trip. Still, I was willing.

So, last week I called my contact. I was informed that she and her husband had split up. It was he who could buy the milk.

Oh the pain! The pain!

So, I sent a text (SMS) to a friend of mine here who I know has a lot of good connections. Within a few hours, I received a text from his son-in-law (turns out, he's a big cooking fan, too ... need to talk to him!) with the phone number of the marketing director for a milk co-op in Ormoc. That's only 101km away!

The prices were quite reasonable. P60 for a liter of milk, P65 for a liter of chocolate milk. So, I ordered 20 liters of plain and 4 liters of chocolate.

A few days later, and a little by surprise, I receive a text saying that that he has the milk, it's in his car, where should he drop it off? Oh no! We're in Tacloban. That's two hours away (yes, only 101km on that road takes two hours) ... I tell him that we're coming but it's going to take a little bit.

So, I drop everything, we head out. We meet him in downtown Ormoc and he leads us to his storage house. We were worried about getting enough ice to take the milk back ... as most of the sari sari stores were out of ice. But, the milk was frozen! What luck!

We exchanged money and various phone numbers (cell phones, land lines, etc.) and I headed back to Tacloban with my treasure.

I computed the price of the milk based on the use of gas. It was P110 per liter for the plain, P115 for the chocolate. Pretty expensive milk.

But, oh so good ...

Next time we'll buy a lot more to reduce the per-liter gas expense.


Natasha said...

Wow, it's really weird they don't have milk. Is it only cow's milk that's uncommon and they use some other kind?

James said...

No. They just don't use dairy here. Most of my extended family here at the house (otherwise known as the Primary Test Team) doesn't even like the milk.

Barbara said...

Lots of folks can't digest milk. In fact I think the lactose-digesting humans may be in the minority...I'm sure glad I have that gene, since I live in Wisconsin!

Glad you can find a source for milk, James!

James said...

I've done a little reading on this. I think it's about 50/50. Those of us from the Americas (north and south) and Europe use dairy. Some Asians tend not to ...

I suspect it's a simple matter of geography. Does the region in question have the land required to sustain dairy cattle?