20 Nov2014


If reindeer can fly (admittedly more elegantly due to the way they gracefully leap through the air), why not piggies?! Imagine if Santa’s sleigh were pulled by a dozen mangalitsas, kurobutas or black credo ibericos? That would be Zubuchon’s realm, definitely. :)


A week or so ago, we were driving to the office in Cebu and I spotted a roadside vendor making and selling some rattan deer and other christmas related items out of rattan vines. I’m not sure what compelled me to stop, but we did, backed the car up and I rolled down my window to ask if the man could make some three-dimensional pigs. He looked at me a bit quizzically, but said he could give it a go. I told him I would send over a large logo for him to use as his guide, and he had some artistic license to interpret it as he saw fit. I also noticed he appeared to have suffered a stroke and his right side was still mostly paralyzed. He also had a non-local accent and it turns out he was from Leyte, relocated to Cebu (after the storm) and was trying to eke out a living from the one thing he knew how to do with his hands. One sample, a few adjustments and a couple of visits later, he produced this FANTASTIC rendition of our Zubuchon mascot/logo. It was so amazing that I ordered a dozen for the stores, obviously because they just look good, but also because I figured it would help the guy out. He was ecstatic to receive the order, which was the equivalent of more than a month’s wages. And I have no clue how he does it but he can turn out 2-3 of these beauties a DAY, and using only his left hand for the most part! He seemed to get the essential haughtiness or “katarayan” of our piggy, and I am just plain amazed by his talent and perseverance. And don’t they just look terrific in the restaurant?


On another level, our elderly parol supplier of the past few years, who I also found roadside years ago selling lanterns to passersby, absolutely REFUSED to make us several hundred parols using papel de japon this year. He said last year’s order for 300 pieces nearly caused a divorce and arguments with his offspring as the lanterns kept tearing and they were a royal pain in the ass to complete on time. No matter how much we begged, pleaded, and offered to increase the price paid, he was firm and we had to give in and order them in red plastic instead. Given that we plan to use some 500 pieces in all of our stores this year, and some of them outdoors, I just had to suck it up this time around. It’s a bit of a bummer, I am very traditional about those paper parols, but such is life in the modern setting. But the disappointment was fleeting, for look at them installed en masse at one of our outlets — I thought they looked pretty darned good.


Some 300 pieces in total were put up against our windows and outdoors on the terrace. And they are getting a lot of comments from our guests recently.


And for the third component of locally sourced goods for the holidays, our trees are trimmed with locally made handblown glass ornaments — clear medium and large sized balls, and red and white painted and glittered glass ornaments in different shapes — that hang on some of our Christmas trees. We also put some of the ornaments on our gift table in case anyone wants to purchase them for their own trees.


I totally enjoy running a small business, despite all its quirks and inevitable challenges. But it’s the little things like being able to buy a dozen rattan pigs and 500 parols from roadside vendors on a whim that almost always seem to make it more rewarding and worth all the effort, particularly towards the holidays. I don’t get an official receipt nor VAT for these purchases, and so from a business perspective they don’t make sense. But from a human point of view, I know these types of purchases will do more good, period.

Oh, and I brought one of the piggies home, with another to follow. Our chocolate brown labrador was amused with her new friend, and they seemed to be bussing each other on the cheek. Heeheehee. :)






  1. ConnieC says:

    Great idea!

    Think the labrador is confused….finds the form all too familiar, but without the smell and the usual animal skin texture, so trying to explore and get a good feel of the curious animal:)

    Nov 20, 2014 | 3:53 am


  2. Notice: Undefined variable: oddcomment in /home/marketman/marketmanila.com/wp-content/themes/marketmanila-v2/comments.php on line 33
  3. ricky gonzalez says:

    mabuhay ka marketman, you have the IQ the government has none or is incapable of having.

    Nov 20, 2014 | 7:13 am

  4. artisan chocolatier says:

    You are amazing!!

    Nov 20, 2014 | 8:33 am

  5. Natie says:

    Sooo beautiful! Those local craftsmen are artists! Imagine how much those would cost in the US!

    I love the Philippines during the holidays.. The Dog loves The Pig, too..

    Your restaurants are immaculate.. So clean!

    Nov 20, 2014 | 8:42 am

  6. Richard says:

    LOVE the rattan pigs..

    Nov 20, 2014 | 9:03 am

  7. ami says:

    Since the parol is now made of plastic then you can reuse it for years to come.

    As for the rattan piggies, I think it would be a nice idea to jazz it up for whatever season or festivity that’s happening at the time. For example, have it wear colorful sunglasses during the summer months.

    Nov 20, 2014 | 9:27 am

  8. Dinah says:

    I was teary-eyed reading this! I wish more businessmen have hearts like yours! As they say in those memes, #FaithinHumanityRestored

    Nov 20, 2014 | 10:34 am

  9. shane says:

    that particular feeling that you get when you know you’ve helped someone…warm and fuzzy and light like you’re walking on air…

    MM, always happy to read posts like this…it’s a testament that all is not lost and all is not without hope…

    love the decoration…sign that the holidays are definitely here…and the color red, an abundance of happiness and luck…

    MM, your labrador may not want you to put in storage his pig after the holidays… :)

    Nov 20, 2014 | 11:11 am

  10. Karina says:

    LOVE those pigs! Smaller versions could sell as Zubuchon souvenirs :)

    Nov 20, 2014 | 12:30 pm

  11. Raine says:

    Thank you MM for having a big heart. I can tell you right now, more than the money he earned from your purchase, you have given this man a far more precious gift- the gift of dignity when you valued his skill in creating those gorgeous piggies with one hand (the left at that!). So, thank you.

    Nov 20, 2014 | 2:05 pm

  12. Dan Santos says:

    Kudos to you MM. Forget the credit from the input vat, I’m sure it will come back to you a hundred fold. :)

    Nov 20, 2014 | 2:29 pm

  13. meekerz says:

    That’s brilliant! Now I want a dog version of my own too!

    Nov 20, 2014 | 3:07 pm

  14. Tok says:

    An intelligent man with a BIG HEART. God Bless MM!

    Nov 20, 2014 | 7:09 pm

  15. january says:

    ginger is happy on her newfound friend, of her size kase :)

    Nov 20, 2014 | 7:54 pm

  16. Marie says:

    I’m loving the little porkers! The man you found is definitely an artist! Sucks about the parols, as I’m a bit of a traditionalist, but, definitely love how you decorated Zubuchon!

    P.S. I’ve great memories of Zubuchon. I work in Shanghai and wasn’t able to go home for about 3 years (for Christmas) because the government was quite strict about allowing in Filipino nationals during the Beijing Olympics
    . Anyway, the first year I got to spend X’mas back home, I took my parents to Cebu, and obviously, I wanted my Zubu Lechon when I flew back to MLA. The crew was ultra nice and even taught me a lesson on how to haggle for CarCar chicharrones when I told them that I’ve been a HUGE MM fan since 2008! (I’m actually not a big lechon fan, but that lechon was amazing! I still dream about it to this day.)

    Nov 20, 2014 | 10:01 pm

  17. Marj says:

    The piggies look awesome! Absolutely love your restaurant decor.

    BTW, how can we get one of those glass ornaments here in manila? I’ve been looking for those for years :)

    Thank you!

    Nov 20, 2014 | 11:43 pm

  18. dianne says:

    Bless your kind heart, MM! I pray that more Filipinos would follow your example.

    Nov 21, 2014 | 12:49 am

  19. aireen says:

    Those are beautiful pigs!

    Nov 21, 2014 | 7:41 am

  20. Libay says:

    You have a big heart MM. May you continue to be a blessing to others.

    Nov 21, 2014 | 8:57 am

  21. khrishyne says:

    i saw the piggies when i passed by marina last nyt. they can be permanent fixtures in every zubu branch. their neckleashes will be updated per season nalang…:)

    Nov 21, 2014 | 10:52 am

  22. Kasseopeia says:

    I agree with khrishyne – they embody the sass of your little red pig, so why not make them a permanent part of the decor? I can imagine how they’ll look when Sinulog comes ’round :)

    Nov 21, 2014 | 11:01 am

  23. Marketman says:

    Kass and khrishyne, yes, they will be at home in the stores for a while I think…

    Nov 21, 2014 | 11:44 am

  24. ykmd says:

    He captured the frisky feel of your piggy so well! Bless you MM for helping so many folks.

    Nov 21, 2014 | 1:39 pm

  25. Emman says:

    Maraming salamat. You have the true spirit of Christmas.

    Nov 21, 2014 | 2:50 pm

  26. millet says:

    that’s so spot on, MM! and i’m with you on the parols – i just spent this morning looking for a parol maker who would be willing to m make me special ones using papel de japon. no such luck. many of the guys did not even know what papel de japon was, while those that did said it was too delicate, tore easily, and besides,they did not know how to use sticky rice paste anymore and preferred to use rugby. like you, we had to settle for plastic ones.

    Nov 21, 2014 | 4:46 pm

  27. Thel from Florida says:

    Pretty pigs — I wonder if you could spray one with red paint and see the difference?

    Nov 21, 2014 | 7:06 pm

  28. shiko-chan says:

    Adding to the chorus on the pigs, Mr. MM! I hope your post links him up with even more customers. I bet he could even start a factory, given enough time and capital. Then maybe his condition wouldn’t be as much of a problem.

    Off the top of my head, maybe there’s some sort of treatment or glaze they can apply to papel de japon so it’s less fragile?

    Nov 21, 2014 | 8:01 pm

  29. Andrea says:

    Bless you for having a good heart, MM!

    Nov 21, 2014 | 8:03 pm

  30. Greens and Blossoms says:

    Bless your kind and generous, heart, MM!!!…lovely bags on the first picture – what are they made of?….

    Nov 21, 2014 | 10:39 pm

  31. kristin says:

    love the ‘haughty, snooty’ piggies :) …MM. i have to remind myself to take pictures of the traditional straw-made piggies they use as christmas decorations in this part of the world and the ‘marzipan gris’ which they give out as prizes for finding the dessert almond from a big bowl of risalamande.

    Nov 22, 2014 | 12:31 am

  32. Marketman says:

    Greens and Blossoms, they are made from a type of hardy plastic, but woven as traditional baskets are done. Manufacturer mostly exports them, but allowed us to sell some in our Marina and Escario stores. They are wonderful, I use a very large basket made of the same material for my Saturday market forays, along with more traditional french style market baskets.

    Nov 22, 2014 | 1:03 am

  33. Adobo Diaries says:

    Love the rattan pig (now I want one!) and the red parols. Hope to visit Zubuchon soon.

    Nov 22, 2014 | 1:09 am

  34. Getter Dragon 1 says:

    I want one too.

    Nov 22, 2014 | 2:23 am

  35. Sleepless in Seattle says:

    Sassy piggy !! I collect art piggy,cast iron,porcelain,glass,crystal,wooden ones ..any nice looking ones I can get hold on to..would love to add a rattan one.you are a kind hearted man MM..that’s why we adore you :) :)

    Nov 22, 2014 | 12:44 pm

  36. Guia says:

    Such kindness, MM! Giving thanks.

    Nov 23, 2014 | 11:31 am

  37. Bernadette says:

    What a wonderful thing to do! Kudos to you and May the blessings keep coming so that you can keep helping!

    Nov 24, 2014 | 4:07 am

  38. LaraS says:

    true heart..:)

    Nov 24, 2014 | 9:33 am

  39. Dee says:

    It’d be a great idea to sell those cute rattan piggies in store. I’d buy one for sure!

    Nov 24, 2014 | 10:33 am

  40. cesbdu says:

    Taray ng pigs! Love them

    Nov 24, 2014 | 8:46 pm

  41. Shalimar says:

    I got my parol from a road ride maker too… and that piggy is so zubuchon.
    NO Cebu this Christmas for me but rather freezing London!

    Nov 25, 2014 | 6:00 am

  42. Ging says:


    Nov 26, 2014 | 1:12 pm

  43. Risa says:

    I agree with all of the comments, but may I just say that the blackboard letter forms are beautiful!

    Dec 2, 2014 | 10:20 pm

  44. BenQ says:

    The Rattan pigs look Great!!!

    Dec 3, 2014 | 8:39 am

  45. Mart says:

    Thumbs up! What a great blog entry for the holidays.
    I guess if some of the blog readers want one of their own, they’ll just contact MM to round up another order from the skilled craftsman.

    Dec 4, 2014 | 12:43 am


Market Manila Home · Topics · Archives · About · Contact · Links · RSS Feed

site design by pixelpush

Market Manila © 2004 - 2021