Marianette Banoli’s large stall is often one of my first stops at the Saturday market at AANI FTI, Taguig. I try to get the “staples” on my list out of the way before shifting to unusual finds at the market. Marianette is a retailer who sources almost all of her vegetables up in Baguio/Mt. Province. They arrive super fresh and are out bright and early on Saturdays. She has volume and she has variety. Her prices are very reasonable and she consistently carries key basics.
On a recent visit, I was thrilled with her selection of leafy greens – an extensive array of kangkong, chinese spinach, Chinese and regular broccoli, bok choi, napa cabbage, white and purple cabbage, watercress, alugbati, cauliflower, etc. Everything looked fresh and they were arranged in such an easy and orderly manner… She also had nice thicker leeks (local leeks are usually rather malnourished looking, don’t you think) – though not quite like the western counterparts; young garlic, tons of fresh herbs and spices including huge sacks of mint, basil, etc. Her stall had nice basic carrots, potatoes in several sizes, organic lettuce, etc.
On another side of her huge stall were tomatoes, eggplants, chillies, ampalaya, tanglad, gabi leaves fresh, and the list goes on and on. I usually tick off my weekly list of staples and fill one or two plastic baskets with stuff before I move on to other stalls. Checking out of this stall is also somewhat more organized than at other places and they have lots of assistants or staff at hand to weigh, pack, etc. But Marianette holds court at the check out table, keeping a watchful eye on the cashbox and chatting up regulars.
She also carries strawberries when they are in season and takes advance orders if she knows you well and you place them a week in advance (I once got over 30 packs of strawberries from her). She rarely carries really unusual stuff but I did once notice a nice big pile of swiss chard in her stall, though I must have been one of the few who actually purchased some. Located near the center (but actually slightly off-center) of the FTI market, look for a large stall some 4-6 times bigger than the others. You have to walk into this stall rather than buy from the outside. Look for Marionette or one of her co-workers. It’s also one of the few stalls that often post their prices, obviously confident that they are very competitive since their stuff comes in straight from Baguio.