26 Apr2008


Now this is FRESH. In stark contrast to the fish in the previous post from The Pasil Market, all you have to do is take a look at these photos to realize the quality of seafood at the Bogo market was far superior to the large wholesale market in downtown Cebu. Bogo is a fairly large town near the Northern tip of Cebu, near good fishing grounds, and with a medium sized market. We scheduled our trip to depart from Cebu City at 5 a.m., precisely in order to reach the Bogo Market at around 7a.m., on a Thursday, one of two tabo or major market days each week. There wasn’t as much volume or variety of fish/seafood at the market when compared to bigger city markets, but the quality was so darned good that if I had an LPG tank, burner and pan, I would have been cooking up a storm for breakfast. We were still on our way to Malapascua, so we didn’t buy any perishables, but I could have easily filled a cooler at this market… And for some strange reason, despite many of the fish here being similar to those photographed at Pasil, I got the feeling there was a lot more dignity for the produce here. They would end up in people’s stomachs all the same, but here it was more genteel, more human, less ruthless… does that make any sense?


A good sign at most of the vendors was the unpredictability of their offerings, the mixed jumble of shellfish with fish, seaweed with eels, etc. The vendors were either the wives of fishermen themselves, or got their goods directly from a couple of different fishermen, probably delivered straight off their boats, from the previous evening’s catch. In the photo up top, the color and sheen of the seafood says it all. This photo captured the goods exactly as is… no rearrangement of seafood, no photoshopping, etc. Almost anything you make with these ingredients would probably taste good. Forget about coming with a recipe and wanting to buy 1 kilo of white shrimp, or crabs… you had to buy what looked best instead! And the seaweed! Utterly stunning and fresh, you could almost taste it without even sticking it in your mouth!


The fish were clearly line caught, some with hook marks clearly visible. And you weren’t just buying fish, the protein and source of sustenance for your next meal, you were buying the romance of a lone fisherman in a small banca out at sea, struggling to land this 6-8 kilo dorado or mahi-mahi. Plus the joy the fisherman felt when he realized he would have enough money from that catch alone to head home from the market with more mundane provisions like soy sauce, vinegar, canned goods, cooking oil and rice…


The seaweeds were incredible as well, the same variety in several shades of the same color, from red to pink to magenta and everything in between. Why we don’t have more of this fantastic ingredient in local restaurants is beyond me. At the Bogo market, a seaweed fan would be in heaven, I tell you, HEAVEN.


Here at this town market, I felt right at home, the vendors were so incredibly nice and patient enough to describe their offerings, going so far as to hunt for a shell on which a particular seaweed preferred to grow on… etc. I had a wonderful visit to the Bogo market, and the next few posts will feature some of the interesting items I found there…




  1. Vanessa says:

    Your market jaunts are the best! And I do spot some terrific lato (seaweed) among your photos. They’re my absolute favorite. Just a touch of vinegar with chilis, and we’re good to go. :-) I love what you wrote about the “romance” in fishing. Very Old Man and The Sea, and gritty in a way those massive fishing trawlers cannot aspire to be. :-)

    Apr 26, 2008 | 8:45 pm


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  3. Chris says:

    I don’t know if one can call any market genteel =) but I do get what you mean. The photos show a world of difference between the two fish markets. I guess the Bogo market is more at a human scale, giving a friendlier atmosphere for both the fish and the people…

    Apr 26, 2008 | 9:47 pm

  4. kasseopeia says:

    Yes I can see what you mean with “more humane”… They don’t look too exploited at Bogo.

    Wow! Lato and guso! Yum yum!

    I beg you MM! Write the books! Please!

    Apr 26, 2008 | 10:12 pm

  5. corrine says:

    Beautiful! It’s like seafood heaven…nothing like eating fresh seafood. In Coron, we didn’t even have to put salt on the fish. It’s fantastic!

    Apr 26, 2008 | 10:38 pm

  6. Silly Lolo says:

    Talk about heaven, your posts send me there. I’m there I tell you! And I didn’t have to get up at 5 a.m. to get there, thanks to you.

    I have to confess tho’, that now I gotta rest. I get real tired just reading about your adventures. I think I will now hit the chaise, turn the tube to CNN for a while and see what kind of hanky panky HIllary has been up to lately. Then I’ll be ready to read your next adventure. Thanks MM, you are every bit as good as National Geographic! Ok, that’s a stretch but you’ll take it, right?

    Apr 26, 2008 | 11:33 pm

  7. betty q. says:

    I envy you MM!!! How I wish I have access to such an array of fine selection of fresh seafood at its BEST!!!

    That green seaweed is calling me! Have you tried a Japanese seaweed salad they call CHUKA or KUKI WAKAME? The green seaweed above looks like a good substitute for it. You have got to try it MM….it is soooo ADDICTING!!!!

    If you want I’ll post the recipe later….have to call Tomoko …her CHUKA SALAD is to die for!

    Apr 27, 2008 | 1:30 am

  8. pinkytab says:

    We are close to retirement and can’t decide whether to settle in the Phil. or stay here in the US where our grandchildren are. Your travel blogs make me want to start drawing plans for a house in a barrio.

    Apr 27, 2008 | 2:48 am

  9. natie says:

    beautiful photos, MM…the seaweeds look so fresh i could taste it and hear the crunch..those are definitely fresher seafood than the last market. see those shiny fish-eyes!!

    pinkytab,pick the phil..you can always visit the grandkids, and in return, the grands can visit you and keep in touch with their heritage.

    Apr 27, 2008 | 7:30 am

  10. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    Yes MM, Bogo IS a “better” fish market than Pasil. In Bogo its more about QUALITY than quantity.

    Whenever we are up north, we always make it a point to drop by the market (on our way back to the city) with ice filled coolers in hand so that we can take some fish home (and even to Manila!!). And yes, the lato is Awesome.

    And if I may add to Silly Lolo’s observation…”You are every bit as good as National Geographic!” and Discovery Channel combined…..REALLY!!… ;-)

    Apr 27, 2008 | 7:42 am

  11. Homebuddy says:

    Simple but very filling and wonderful, this is the type of food, most people like. Can’t ask for more!!! Wonderful photos as usual, MM it certainly heightens the cravings of people who are out of the country and can’t have them.

    Apr 27, 2008 | 6:54 pm

  12. Cindy says:

    Hi Marketman. I haven’t seen mahi-mahi in the local markets (Farmers, seaside)—does it go by any other name? Great post as usual—thanks!

    Apr 27, 2008 | 7:18 pm

  13. Marketman says:

    Cindy, DORADO is closely related to MAHI-MAHI, the latter being from the Hawaiian islands, and he former from more tropical waters…

    Apr 27, 2008 | 8:53 pm

  14. The Steak Lady says:

    My best friend’s family is from Bogo, and i had the pleasure of enjoying many memorable meals at their home with such fresh produce from this market that you featured. brings back great memories. Thanks MM =)

    Apr 28, 2008 | 1:02 am

  15. sonianer says:

    you are a one person department of tourism! your blogs make us want to visit all those places you write about
    betty– please post the recipe for chuka salad, thanks

    Apr 28, 2008 | 5:48 am

  16. lumad_bogohanon says:

    Many thanks for featuring our “Carbon” (as we, Bogohanons, call our market) in your blog.

    More power to you & to your readers

    Apr 28, 2008 | 4:28 pm

  17. bebot says:

    make me wish i am home, the only i will ever have those crabs

    Jul 20, 2008 | 8:58 am

  18. joy dignos duncan says:

    i was raised in cantecson where the market now ,i used to go swimming and mangin-as manguha ug lato or guso manh! when i saw the pictures na miss ko yong lahat . fresh fish and seaweed oh boy !!!!!!

    salamat and more power to you,

    Nov 23, 2008 | 5:33 pm


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