Unkempt storefronts and generations-old businesses keep Pateros alive. This city in the southeastern area of Metro Manila supports a vast array of local industries — from making rice cakes called “inutak,” to producing “balut” (fertilized duck egg) and red eggs (salty duck eggs). Pateros has already changed drastically over the years. Families who used to have breakfast in carinderias and neighborhood restaurants now opt for pancakes and sausages in fast-food chains. Also, the once thriving Pateros River is now full of garbage. Although much has been compromised in the name of progress, the city has managed to preserve some of its richest traditions. The tight-knit community’s dedication to their heritage and livelihood makes Pateros an interesting place even on ordinary days. Numerous hidden gems await those who explore the city’s snaking streets. Balut makers, for example, would gladly explain their craft to interested visitors. It is notable that there are still no malls nor commercial centers in the area — perhaps this is the reason for the continued success of local businesses. While the rest of Metro Manila is urbanizing and modernizing, Pateros wholeheartedly embraces traditions that have been passed on from generation to generation. Every February 13th, the children of Pateros celebrate the feast of St. Martha, who according to legend, helped duck farmers fight a crocodile who was attacking their animals. People from other areas of the Metro would gladly drive to Pateros to get a crate of red eggs. They say that it’s better than red eggs from any other part of the country.

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