Market on Philippines island only operates via ancient system of bartering

This fish market on the island of Tawi-Tawi in the Philippines still operates the ancient barter system or "sambi", as it is known locally. Every Saturday in Panglima Sugala, members of the nomadic, seafaring Bajau people bring their fresh fish to market hoping to find members of the public willing to trade for fruit and vegetables. No money is involved. On Saturday (February 20), Lakibol, a resident of Bongao, travelled twenty minutes to the market hoping to exchange his sweet potatoes for fish. Lakibol wandered around for a while assessing the possibilities with his vegetables in a woven coconut basket - a traditional, plastic-free way of carrying produce. When he spotted some fish he liked the look of, he approached the Bajau fisherman and offered the exchange with the word "sambi". The two negotiated for a few moments but the fisherman turned down the offer of the root crop, forcing Laikbol to move on. Lakibol then approached a teenager and his mother and successfully exchanged his basket of sweet potatoes for eight fairly small specimens. "The Bajau people told me that fishing is hard and the wind and waves are very strong because of the upcoming typhoon," said Laikbol as he walked away from the antiquated transaction with a small bag of fish. "That's why she just gave me eight," he added ruefully. After a day of bartering, the Bajau people return to their nomadic existence at sea with their boats loaded with fruit and vegetables.