Matanglawin: Dangerous and dirty jobs, Kuya Kim style!

by Grace Sucgang, Multimedia Producer, Matanglawin

Posted at Feb 08 2012 10:26 AM | Updated as of Feb 10 2012 02:29 AM

It’s been more than three years since Kuya Kim became the host of Matanglawin…is now the time for him to consider a change in his career?

By day he’s the ultimate Trivia King and by night he’s the weatherman on Patrol…what if all that changes and you see him being a trolley boy, basurero and even a kargador?

For knowledge there’s nothing Kuya Kim won’t do and that includes trying out some of the dirtiest and most dangerous jobs in Metro Manila. Would he have what it takes to step into someone else’s shoes, or rather, slippers, for a day? Or would he give up under the scorching sun, rough tracks, slippery market and unbearable stench of garbage?

Kuya Kim: Marketboy a.k.a Kargador

We Filipinos love our pork, or at least that’s what studies say when they found out that an average Pinoy will eat around 32 kilograms of pork or half a pig per year. But how does the pig get from the farm to the fork?

To get into the bottom of this question, Kuya Kim goes Cloverleaf Market, better known as Balintawak Market, the biggest market in the country. Then again, its size is no match for the largest market in the world, which is the market in Rungis, France. Its size of 232 hectares can house 46 Balintawak Markets!

Life never stops at the Balintawak Market. It’s literally 24/7 inside the market since goods come in at any time, even coming from as far as the vegetable farms of Baguio!

More often than not, pigs arrive already in halves from the butchers. As soon as the delivery truck arrives, they have to be carried to the stalls and there chopped into the pieces that we buy. Kuya Kim tries out one piece and realizes that on his shoulders lies the weight equivalent to a sack of rice or 40-50 kilos! It’s a good thing that Kuya Kim regularly exercises or else he’d be dwarfed by half a pig’s carcass!

So who are the people who do this everyday for a living?

Kuya Kim meets Mang Jimmie who earns Php 500 a day from being a kargador. He does this seven days a week, four weeks a month and for now has been doing this for a year. It’s safe to say that because of him, we can have delicious ham on our plates.

And here’s a bit of trivia from Kuya Kim: did you know that the most expensive ham in the world was sold for Php 126,420? What makes this Spanish Black Iberico Ham so special is what farmer Manuel Maldonaout feeds his pigs. His secret? Fiber-rich acorns.

However, Kuya Kim’s day at the market doesn’t stop there. After being a kargador, he assists in prepping some fish for sale. And one would wonder what else could be done with these refuse scales, but Kuya Kim already has the answer. It may sound strange but in ancient Egypt, women used to grind coffee beans for lipstick and to add gloss or shine, add in fish scales to the mix!

Disgusting? Not quite…at least not as much as Kuya Kim’s next job at the Balintawak Market.

Kuya Kim: Basurero extraordinaire

Would you believe that 45 percent of our garbage is actually food waste?

Perhaps that’s why it takes almost three hours for garbage men or the local basurero to haul it all in. But that’s nothing really when you think about the 15,000 metric tons of refuse that we produce on daily basis, including a million plastic bags that get thrown away.

When it comes right down to it, being a basurero is difficult not just because of the bulk that they shovel from the ground and haul into huge trucks, it gets even harder because of the stench that comes from the mixture of rotting foodstuffs and other things in the trash. Kuya Kim should know because he tried it out for himself!

Kuya Kim: On the right track

Would you risk your life pushing a trolley running at 10-15 kilometers per hour when there are trains that pass by every quarter or half an hour or so that run twice as fast?

You’d think that trolley boys at the railway may be crazy to do this for a living, with only Php 200-300 a day for wages, but for them, it’s all in a day’s work.

In Australia it’s called the kalamazoo while in Japan and the US, it’s called a handcar. Here it’s simply called the padyak-riles or trolley that serves as transportation to the many Filipinos that travel to and fro from Pandacan to Sta. Mesa to other parts of the Philippine National Railways. An average trolley boy can do eight rounds on the railway, roughly the equivalent of travelling from Quezon City all the way to Guadalupe. The length of the railways is long with a length twice as long as the LRT/MRT.

This is where Kuya Kim meets Mang Tongki, a trolley boy who serves as his mentor for the day.

His first order of business is to see to it that all the bearings and wheels of the trolley are cleaned and lubricated. After doing maintenance, Mang Tongki teaches Kuya Kim the technique to make pushing the cart easier especially when five up to ten people are already riding it.

It seems easy enough at first, but at the sound of an incoming train, Mang Tongki quickly supports the trolley on his shoulders and carries all 50-60 kilos of it to the other side of the rail. The advisable distance from a moving train is 15 meters, however, the allowance that trolley boys can give is around five feet…any closer than that, say three feet, and you’d risk being whisked off by the train.

After a lengthy discussion of railway safety, Kuya Kim thinks that he’s already safe, having moved the trolley to one side at the sight of an incoming train. It was a surprise that after one train has passed, another one was coming straight at them, making even the Matanglawin crew panic!

So a lesson to be learned: Stop. Look. Listen. And be alert, even when delivering your extro or ending spiels. Or else, there’d be no Kuya Kim for next week’s episode!

Will you try the trolley after seeing Kuya Kim ride and drive this unique form of transportation?

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February 5, 2012