When I was young, I used to go to the market with my mother early in the morning. Every time I visit the Philippines I try to recapture the experience of doing this again. Naga Cebu public market sells everything and anything every day of the week. The abundance of fresh produce amazes me. You can feast your eyes on all the fresh fruits and vegetables.
On Sundays I get up early, quickly drink a glass of warm milk and head off to the market. It is one of the highlights of my Sundays. I leave about 6:00 in the morning for the market for another great experience. No matter how clogged the market is , somehow peace and order are kept.
The market is a welcoming place where all the action is. Vendors are all geared up to start selling their fresh produce at 5:00 in the morning. (Most organically home grown products)
While in Naga, I love going to the market to see the cheerful people up and about buying their basic needs. As I make my way into the market the streets are quiet full, congested with tricikads and tricycles, with the coming and going of market shoppers. The busiest hours are between 6 and 10 in the morning. On a typical Sunday market even the roadsides along the market are filled with vendors. Public market is busy and crowded, but you can roam around the market without problems.
I am passing through rows upon rows of vendors selling fresh produce, vegetables and colorful fruits . The look and smell of it makes my mouth water. You can see, smell, touch and pick the products you want to buy. Freshness like this only comes in the market. Interesting to see all these vibrant colors of fresh produce in various sizes, shape and textures. Seeing all these food makes me crumble. I love fruits and vegetables. Fruits are refreshing, the best resources of essential vitamins, fiber and other vital nutrients.
Who can resist the superb striking yellow color of mango? The intense succulent sweetness and invigorating scents, so delicious, best eaten bursting with ripeness. Philippine mango is the best and still unmatched. I am obviously smitten by it. No wonder mangoes still provoke our appetite. The sweet smell of pineapple and jackfruit fills my nose as I walk by a fruit vendor peeling the pineapple skin in long spirals. I am mesmerized by the variety of fruits that I have been craving for while living overseas for 28 years, the fruits that cannot be bought in the Netherlands.
Indeed it is a vibrant market on Sundays. All the fruits like apples, mangoes,avocados, pineapple, jackfruit, lanzones, chicos and bananas. Not forgetting the wholesome snacks of banana cue, camote cue (sweet potato), cooked bananas, bibingka (rice cake), boiled corn on the cob and budbud (glutinous rice) nicely wrapped in banana leaves. It is hard to break the habit of biting into these delicious wholesome snacks.
Along the roadside, outside the market, vendors are lined up in their stalls, shielded by trapal using faded beach umbrellas as roofs to protect them from the sun and wearing small towels around their necks to wipe away their sweat. Some vendors looked tiresome/overly tired. Understandable, considering the hours spent in the market selling their goods.
Inside the market building, the ground floor and the first floor are clogged with vendor stalls in their designated small places next to and opposite each other. Naga,Cebu market sells unparalled household needs on the ground floor. Down from kitchen ware to household items and basic food commodities.
Going up the stairway to the first floor, some vendors are wearing aprons and disposable gloves, selling fresh meat such as beef, pork, and chicken. A wide variety of fish is also sold. You can see lots of action on the first floor. You hear the hacking and chopping of meat and scaling of fish with their sharp knives.
The renowned LECHON also plays an important role in the market. The aroma that comes off the lechon is like an electrolyte that hits you in the eye, triggers your brain, that happen to land in your plate and finally in your mouth (just kidding) Lechon is irresistible. Who can resist the sight of the lechon spread out on the banana leaves . Don’t deprive yourself but do not overindulge as there is more than just lechon. Grilled chicken ( lechon manok) is also available, sold in various places on the market.
The one thing that struck me is the enthusiasm of vendors selling their goods. It is nice to hear market shoppers haggling (negotiating) over the price of things they buy. Interesting to see the shoppers and vendors seal the deal with happy smiling faces although the vendors will always say that they cannot make a profit on the deal when you manage to negotiate a good price.
Don’t get overly excited though as some goods have set prices and cannot be negotiated for. Amongst those are rice, canned food, dry goods and processed products.
Whenever we have to go to the market I make it a point to make time to go myself, so I can take my time as I do not want to miss the opportunity on all the fun the market brings me. When I get back home in the Netherlands (usually buy my vegetables and fruits at the supermarket) there will be no such thing, my market expedition will be over.
Wandering around the busy market on Sundays to buy the fruits I have been missing, the wholesome snacks I have been craving for and being able to savor all these, I feel some sense of contentment during my holiday. My market experience will always leave a graphic image in my memory. I will recommend it to anyone (especially Naganians living abroad) that is contemplating a trip to Naga, Cebu.
Sunday Market Day pics courtesy of, Mr. Tiny Alferez.
©Marilyn Ouano Gilsing (naga-cebu.com)
Number of visits on previous website: 2516