07 Jan2009


Before the Christmas holidays, I decided to take a day-long roadtrip to nearly the Southern-most tip of Cebu island, with my main objective being a visit to the Mantalongon market up in the mountains also referred to as the “Baguio of Cebu”. But there were other pleasant surprises during this 10 hour excursion, which had to take place on a Thursday, the designated market day at Mantalongon. We left Cebu City at 4:30 a.m. to ensure that we covered the 120+ kilometers quickly enough to get to the market by 7 a.m…


A quick stop at a roadside Julie’s Bakery that was open at 5:30 a.m. yielded a large bag of freshly-baked, medium-sized pan de sal that were surprisingly good. Not too sweet (though not salty either) and just out of the oven, they beat a lot of Manila pan de sals by a noticeable margin. And at PHP2 a piece, they were reasonably priced. I think I ate almost a dozen.


Once we reached the town of Dalaguete (pronounced da-la-get), we turned West and climbed up fairly narrow and often rough roads to about 1,000+ meters above sea level. There were several stands of beautiful hardwood trees and pines as well, and the mist/clouds were all around us. One of the amazing human sights on the way up were the local habal-habal or motorcycles for hire, which often ferried as many as 4 or five passengers up the nasty roads. I never managed to get a clear photo (we were bouncing around too much ourselves) of the habal-habal, but my favorite one had a driver, with 2 kids in front of him, and 2-3 adults behind him, the furthest being this 70+ year-old likely grandmother who had a majority of her rear end hanging over thin air. The unspoken thoughts of everyone in our vehicle included the ridiculous safety risks we were witnessing (no helmets, everyone hanging on for dear life) as well as the seemingly insensitive view that if the “lola” fell off, it wouldn’t be as bad as if they lost some of the younger passengers…


It was nice to see areas preserved as forests, and the trees sending out branches to reach for space that received sunlight. I imagine the whole country used to be blanketed in foliage like this, but today it is a rarity indeed.


A frequent sight along these rough roads were students trekking several kilometers up or down the mountain to attend school.


When we finally got to the Mantalongon vegetable trading center, we were amongst several trucks from the city, all coming to load up on vegetables at the cavernous, gym-like area where deals for humongous baskets of vegetables were completed. More on the market, up next.




  1. edee says:

    love the 1st photo!

    Jan 7, 2009 | 11:17 pm


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  3. chrisb says:

    Sorry to detract from your topic, MM. I just noticed the mess on the last photo. People should really learn to clean up after themselves. Sayang, local markets are almost always so messy. Why can’t we have clean markets like in Europe? Anyway, I’m sure you had a blast buying fresh produce. =)

    Jan 7, 2009 | 11:51 pm

  4. Gina says:

    Hi MM. I think it’s Mantalongon, not Mantalongan. :-)

    Jan 8, 2009 | 1:51 am

  5. Maria Clara says:

    Spectacular sunrise! Yes, you are absolutely right pan de sal are their finest when they are fresh out of the oven capturing in the roof of my mouth the aroma, taste and heat they eject.

    Jan 8, 2009 | 2:07 am

  6. dhayL says:

    too bad you’re not able to take a photo of “lola” in your story, i guess we just have to use our imagination! :)

    Jan 8, 2009 | 2:10 am

  7. Marketman says:

    dhayl, I absolutely wanted a photo of the scene as well! MC, the pan de sal were HOT. Gina, thanks for that, have revised spelling in post. chrisb, I completely agree about the tidyness issue… and more photos of market up soon. edee, that was taken at roughly 545am or so…

    Jan 8, 2009 | 7:04 am

  8. millet says:

    never knew there’s a place like this in cebu. have always wondered, too, why Dalaguete is always pronounced without the last “e”.

    Jan 8, 2009 | 7:32 am

  9. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    Dalaguete was were my father’s family hibernated during WW2. The brother of my paternal grandfather built a house there and we use to go up during holy week and summers in the 70’s and 80’s. We enjoyed fresh green vegetables and strawberries then.

    Jan 8, 2009 | 7:44 am

  10. ihid says:

    Julies is one the local bakeshop that we patronize here in Cagayan de Oro. It started in Cebu and is open for franchising. Its products are tasty and always fresh. Aside from that it is a socially responsible company, it gives out academic awards to public schools. http://www.juliesbakeshop.com.ph/cares.php#CSR

    Jan 8, 2009 | 8:49 am

  11. cumin says:

    Good morning, MM! What a wet, gloomy day this is, perfect for one of Julie’s pandesal dipped in sikwate, no? We dropped by the Dalaguete market on Dec 26th, hoping to buy lots of veggies but surprised so few were on sale and of rather poor quality at that (severely malnourished carrots etc). The fantastic bargain though was large saba banana sold at 10 pesos for 7 pcs, grabeng barato, di ba? Your blog today is great timing, I’m looking forward to more stories of veggies in Mantalongon.

    Jan 8, 2009 | 9:33 am

  12. Marketman says:

    cumin, I don’t think many folks would be harvesting veggies on Christmas Day or the day after so its not a surprise the market was empty… stay tuned for some photos of the veggies the day I was there. ihid, Julie’s is doing quite well, I do like the way they have made their business grow and the products they offer, considering the markets they serve. millet, the accent in general in that part of Cebu is quite “bizarre” in that it is so clipped of different from say just 30 kilometers North of the area…

    Jan 8, 2009 | 9:50 am

  13. Ley says:

    According to my friend who is a municipal councilor of Dalaguete, it is pronounced as Da-la-git.

    Jan 8, 2009 | 10:00 am

  14. Marketman says:

    Ley, hahaha. That doesn’t surprise me in the least. Thanks for the correction. I think I have spent too much time away from Cebu. And until this trip, had never been to da-la-git… :)

    Jan 8, 2009 | 10:12 am

  15. MRU says:

    Though I’m not one to argue with someone from the area, I distinctly remember relatives who live in Boljoon refer to it as Da-la-get-e. Of course, this comes from people who live in an area where the Cebuano dialect has a bit of a sing-song intonation to it, rather than the usual Cebuano spoken in the city. It’s best described this way: if the horn of a car while in the city would go “ti-det”, upon reaching southern Cebu (in particular Boljoon), the horn would go “ti-deeeeyt”.
    PS – don’t ask me why a car horn would go “ti-det” in the first place…

    Jan 8, 2009 | 11:31 am

  16. Mila says:

    Lol, that’s so french of them to leave out the last e :D
    I remember taking a trip crossing the island of Cebu through Carcar and then very rocky trails, unfortunately so much of the forest had been cut down in the central mountainous region. I do hope more barangays start replanting trees.

    Jan 8, 2009 | 12:22 pm

  17. Ley says:

    MRU, my friend would always cringe everytime he hears somebody pronouncing it as da-la-ge-te. Dalaguete got its name from dakit or dalakit, the local name of the balete tree. Thus, it makes sense to pronounce it da-la-git.

    Jan 8, 2009 | 12:54 pm

  18. shalimar says:

    Am from Naga the further south you go the accent is completely different…

    we say it with “i” da la git….

    Jan 8, 2009 | 1:48 pm

  19. MRU says:

    Ley, Thanks for the clarification. I’ll have to remind all my relatives in Boljoon about this. Nice to see a lot of Cebuanos here. :-)

    Jan 8, 2009 | 2:44 pm

  20. Homebuddy says:

    What a beautiful daybreak photo, worthy to frame!

    Jan 8, 2009 | 2:52 pm

  21. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    MM, where the pictures of the forest of Osmena peak?

    Jan 8, 2009 | 3:07 pm

  22. Marketman says:

    Are those the ones with pine trees? I have one but it isn’t great because of electrical lines in the picture…

    Jan 8, 2009 | 3:45 pm

  23. maricar says:

    i really liked the first photo….you look like a pro in taking pictures….the place is really paradise

    Jan 8, 2009 | 4:27 pm

  24. Marketman says:

    maricar and homebuddy, the first photo is nature at its best, all I did was click my digital camera on an auto setting (I am too dopey to mess with manual settings so far). Proof positive that some of the best things in life are free.

    Jan 8, 2009 | 4:32 pm

  25. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Wow,beautiful first shot!!

    Jan 8, 2009 | 7:18 pm

  26. Ley says:

    Ey MRU, my hubby is a proud Boljoanon. He probably knows your relatives there… or you could be related…

    Jan 9, 2009 | 9:29 am

  27. VennisJean says:

    My Pal said we psssed by that place last sunday…sadly the weather was really cold we went to Mantayupan Falls….hope you went there too MM….just to boost local tourism that is….

    Jan 9, 2009 | 1:11 pm

  28. VennisJean says:

    weee…got it wrong my companion said mantalongon is on the way to Boljoon…..sorry po….

    Jan 9, 2009 | 1:12 pm

  29. Fards says:

    Am from Barili. Thanks for the plug on Mantayupan Falls VJ.
    I like to go to the tabo in Mantalongon whenever I visit. Good fresh veggies and you get a good deal too. I believe the present Mayor is trying to improve it even more. I was there last year during the Holy Week and I did not notice the sign Mantalongon-Dalaguete Market.
    That is a beautiful sunrise picture, MM.

    Jan 31, 2009 | 2:35 pm

  30. Fards says:

    I meant the mayor is trying to improve the place, not the veggies. He he.

    Jan 31, 2009 | 2:37 pm


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