02 Mar2009


Just minutes after our plane touched down at the wonderful new Bacolod/Silay airport, we were headed into town and decided to check out the evening market where the freshest catch is put on sale late afternoons. The pala-pala market was downtown and streetside. The fish on offer was superbly fresh, and the volume and variety spoke well of the nearby seas, which must still yield a good catch, despite decades of overfishing. We didn’t buy anything, just wanted to see what this market had on offer, and well, to see what the next 40 hour visit had in store for us from a culinary perspective… If this was the first indicator, things were looking really promising…


Glistening bisugo with crystal clear eyes…


Several varieties of squid or cuttlefish thick with the “laway” of really fresh seafood…


A mind-boggling array of sea and farm-raised shrimp/prawns…


Bangus with silver skins shimmering in the harsh light of naked lightbulbs…


Live edible shells…


A view of the market stalls…


Tools of the trade. Stay tuned for some 15+ posts from a Bacolod trip that lasted some 24 waking hours. :)



  1. F1foodie says:

    Oooh… Negrense cuisine, cannot wait.

    Mar 2, 2009 | 10:55 pm


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  3. RoBStaR says:

    Was it libertad market? or central market?

    Mar 2, 2009 | 11:22 pm

  4. Lava Bien says:

    Will probably visit Bacolod late April or early May. Wow!

    Mar 2, 2009 | 11:23 pm

  5. eric says:

    isnt that pala-pala? i cant wait to go back tehre i miss my hometown

    Mar 2, 2009 | 11:27 pm

  6. juls says:

    that is pala-pala i think….

    thanks MM for the 15+ upcoming posts!

    hope Bacolod made you a convert to its charms

    Mar 3, 2009 | 1:25 am

  7. ely says:

    looks like pala-pala in banago, bacolod. or maybe you were in cadiz?

    Mar 3, 2009 | 4:01 am

  8. Marketman says:

    eric, juls and ely, thanks it was pala-pala, and I have revised the post to reflect that… many thanks.

    Mar 3, 2009 | 4:40 am

  9. marilen rodriguez says:

    can hardly wait for the bacolod postings!!

    Mar 3, 2009 | 5:16 am

  10. azucena ciocon jones says:

    MM, you miss my hometown Talisay City. It’s Bacolod/Talisay/Silay airport. Talisay City is famous for its deep fried in oil salted peanuts w/ lots of ahos(garlic), linaga nga pata,sweet lanzones, santol na Bangkok, young coconuts-butong drink , sweet sugarcane,rambutan and other fruits from Bo. Concepcion which i miss so much from my chidhood. Looking forward for your upcoming posts….Salamat gid.

    March 3rd, 2009

    Mar 3, 2009 | 6:39 am

  11. sanojmd says:

    hmmm. cant wait for the chicken inasal post..

    Mar 3, 2009 | 6:55 am

  12. jun says:

    This is what you call gift of nature to Philippines. People from other countries will pay a fortune to have the freshest seafood.

    Mar 3, 2009 | 6:56 am

  13. Lex says:

    The best part of visit Bacolod is the freshest seafood at incredible prices. People there are quite cosmopolitan and well traveled for provicial folk.The inasal is best there. It must be the chickens or the water. Nothing is painted with banana ketchup. Now you know why the place attracts many foreigners and retirees. This is why Larry Alacala (the late comics artist) adopted Bacolod as his home till the very end. Life is good, food is cheap and people are generally nice. Next time you should stay longer and visit the ancestral houses outside the city. Looking forward to your other posts on your short visit.

    Mar 3, 2009 | 7:58 am

  14. lee says:

    yeah Pala Pala. one of my favorite food places.

    Mar 3, 2009 | 8:22 am

  15. Maria Clara says:

    Welcome to Food Land birthplace of inasal, piaya, and lumpiang ubod. It is the sugar capital of the island and like the doyennes used to say land of “Hacinderos and Hacinderas.” Nice place to forage seafoods.

    Mar 3, 2009 | 8:25 am

  16. Jel says:

    Pala-Pala like our “dampa” here in Manila minus the price

    Mar 3, 2009 | 8:45 am

  17. millet says:

    can’t wait for the diwal and talaba.

    Mar 3, 2009 | 8:48 am

  18. Anbu says:

    Hi folks. This is a really random question but hopefully I can get a response. Is it possible to use a whole coconut as a cooking vessel? For example if I was going to cook a chicken dish, can I put the chicken in the coconut then either steam the whole coconut or put in on an open flame?

    Mar 3, 2009 | 8:58 am

  19. cherub96 says:

    Yey, you finally get to visit Bacolod. I was born and grew up in Iloilo but fell in love with Bacolod when I relocated to join hubby. Food is one of the reasons why I love this place: the freshest seafood from Cadiz, the cakes from Calea, the chicken inasal, the various dining places where you eat good food at a quarter of Manila’s prices. Negros has a good potential also in ecotourism…unspoiled mountain retreats, hot springs, hidden beaches and endless stretches of sugarcane :P. I am so glad you enjoyed your trip to BC and I look forward to your posts.

    Mar 3, 2009 | 9:06 am

  20. aiden says:

    i had good memories of pala-pala. we had occasional dinners there which was like dampa style.

    Mar 3, 2009 | 10:39 am

  21. mardie c",) says:

    omg, fresh seafoods! kalami!

    Mar 3, 2009 | 11:29 am

  22. APC says to: Anbu says:

    Hi, you can’t use the coconut shell to cook in your chicken over the open flame, it’s going to burn. I don’t know about steaming chicken in it, haven’t heard or seen anyone doing so in my entire 29 years of eating coconuts. The shell can be used for decorative items, also as a receptacle for a famous dessert “kalamay hati” after it is cleaned and polished.

    Mar 3, 2009 | 12:08 pm

  23. myra_p says:

    Anbu, local fishermen once served me a coconut soup wherein the whole nut was roasted over coals to cook the fish and vegetables inside. The top portion was cracked open and very fresh pieces of lapu lapu, tomatoes and onions were added to the coconut water. Lightly salted only. Upon serving, a spoon was used to scrape off some young coconut meat, to add another interesting dimension to the sweetish-salty soup that tasted like summer in my mouth. Easy to replicate with minor effort :)

    Mar 3, 2009 | 1:01 pm

  24. myra_p says:

    Anbu, if you want to try a whole chicken, you need to find a really big coconut :P

    Mar 3, 2009 | 1:04 pm

  25. Martin L. says:

    galing nanan kakalaway manit gid

    Mar 3, 2009 | 1:23 pm

  26. GJN says:

    Diwal, lampirong, bay-ad, giant barnacles (forgot the local name), batchoy (minus the msg), gulaman (seaweeds), bulgan, fresh lumpia (altho’ available in Manila at Bailon’s), munog-libud sa Silay, inasal of Chicken House, batitis, bihod, pitao, ubad, cadios, guinamos nga bilong-bilong, kalan-unon sa Ideal, Virgie’s, Tia Dami, Totong’s … These are just some items in my list of things to eat when I get there in April.

    Mar 3, 2009 | 1:37 pm

  27. Cynthia says:

    I love pala-pala! I recall that the original one was located near the provincial capitol. Well, that was about 18 years ago, when I was still in college. We used to go there early in the morning after a tiring night-out somewhere in Goldenfields. Sinugba nga Isda & fresh fish tinola would be cooked right in front of us, then we would slowly sip the piping chilli hot broth. Ah, nice filler for a crumbling stomach in the wee hours of the morning.

    Mar 3, 2009 | 3:20 pm

  28. akosistella says:

    Wildly anticipating the full food report.

    If you still have time, cross over to Roxas City, Capiz the seafood capital of the country, where shrimps are the sweetest, the alimango are heart-stopping, and the plump oysters are just P100…for one giant sack :)

    Mar 3, 2009 | 3:20 pm

  29. RobKSA says:

    stella, really P100 for one sack of oyster, you’re not putting us on are you? Part of my childhood was in Roxas City but have not visited since 1981 but still remember all those fresh seafood that I can still taste them in my tongue :)

    Mar 3, 2009 | 4:14 pm

  30. Homebuddy says:

    “Bongkawil” is the name we have for those live edible shells.
    They are seasonal. Cooking them is sort of tricky because if it is cooked in boiling boiling water, they retract and will be very hard to pull them off the shells. Don’t cook right away, submerge in water to get rid of the sand and dirt, changing the water several times. Put in a kettle with stalks of tanglad, add enough water to submerge and boil. They say this is the best way of cooking it because as the water becomes hot, they will try to get out of their shells up towards boiling. It is cooked when it can easily be pulled out of the shells. Add enough Salt before taking off the fire. My family really luv’s them, I only wish they can be had the whole year round.

    Mar 3, 2009 | 8:59 pm

  31. stef says:

    I can’t wait for your post.. If you have time, please do visit Iloilo. You’ll find great food there. Visit Deco’s batchoy, Ted’s Lapaz Batchoy, Barrio Inasal for the best Chicken Inasal, Breakthrough and Tatoy’s in Villa for great seafoods, Allan’s Talabahan in Oton for the mouth watering oysters at 25php per order and while you’re there make sure to buy the best bibingka in Mohon, and Nang Palang’s Buko pie, Delicacies of Biscocho house, Also visit Smallville for great restaurants like Bourbon, Imays, Krua thai, Mojave, Bauhinia. Enjoy!

    Mar 3, 2009 | 9:36 pm

  32. MarketFan says:

    how were the prices in the market?

    Mar 3, 2009 | 10:09 pm

  33. Anbu says:

    myra_p, very cool! I guess it would be much better cooking the whole coconut on top of charcoal, as it emits infrared so the inside of the coconut will get hot quickly. Oh my, I think my next project is set!

    Mar 3, 2009 | 10:48 pm

  34. betty q. says:

    Anbu,…most likely the coconut used for the whole one would be the BUKO as myra P suggested….there is a lot moisture ? within the thick outr cover. if it is the dry one with the dry husk then I can only hypothesize too like APC …it will burn in no time at all since those is what is usually added for fuel in creating fire.

    A word of caution, …just like anything that is enclosed when cooking, be cAREFUL …you need to let the steam out by creating a vent or it might EXPLODE!!!!

    Mar 4, 2009 | 12:40 am

  35. Anbu says:

    betty q., yeah I’m planning on using a fresh coconut, not one that is close to drying out.

    Mar 4, 2009 | 1:00 am

  36. Anbu says:

    betty q., I’m wondering if it would make sense to cover the bottom half of the coconut with foil. Since my only objective would be to cook within the hollow chamber of the coconut, then might as well protect the coconut from burning underneath with foil.

    Mar 4, 2009 | 1:04 am

  37. betty q. says:

    Anbu…OH, this is soooo exciting…you are getting me all worked up, I cannot finish writing my BORING papers! Anyway, since your objective is to cook …chamber, then I think it would make more sense to wrap the coconut in several thicknesses of foil leaving the top a bit open for steam to escape. Then make a charcoal or wooden fire …like a mound, when hot enough, create a well and put the coconut in that well and surround it with the hot embers.

    Or here is another option, remember the bibingkahan with the charcoal laden metal plate on top? Maybe you can simulate one and put it on top of the coconut wrapping the bottom of the metal plate in foil…the one touching the top of the coconut…if you opened the top of the coconut with all the goodies like fish , tomatoes or whatever you have in there while to whole coconut is suroounded be the charcoal so the ashes will not go in the coconut if it is windy outside.

    However, how many coconuts do you plan on doing? I can only imagine that you need to have a fair amount of charcoal fire to do about 10 at a time? Also, I am thinking that maybe trimming the outer husk a few inches exposing maybe a few inches of husk and trimmed nicely will be a conversation piece indeed! Even it is SLIGHTLY CHARRED…gives it that RUSTIC LOOK!!!! Yeah, I think that would look awesome!

    OR…you know that egg basket? OK…how bout making one out of heavy duty grade of something like chicken wire and then shaping it into like a bowl fitted to the size of the coconut and then surroung that with the hot charcoal…when done I think it will be a lot easier to remove the whole package.

    It is pointless to do your experiment here as the weather is not and will not cooperate maybe for another few more months.

    Mar 4, 2009 | 2:25 am

  38. myra_p says:

    Betty Q, you’re attention has obviously been diverted from your work :) Anbu, if you’re attempting to cook chicken, I would wrap the young coconut in foil for the majority of the cooking time. My fish soup cooked quickly, so the charring on the outside of the trimmed coconut was minimal and prettily rustic. The whole thing was nestled into a bed of hot coals, and that kept the nut upright. You gotta let me know if you find a coconut big enough to house a whole chicken, lol! Will you stuff the chicken before you stuff it into the coconut? This is a fun project to do at the beach :)

    Mar 4, 2009 | 10:04 am

  39. betty q. says:

    Anbu…Tinola! …cooked inside your coconut…a hint of sweetness from the buko juice yet savoury at the same time.

    Or…have you done chicken in a beer can? Maybe if you can find a coconut small enough so chicken can sit on it. But you need an enclosed like barbecue grill….never mind this option!

    Mar 4, 2009 | 12:13 pm

  40. Maria Clara says:

    BettyQ: I know a chicken soup dish that has young grated coconut milk named “Binakol” and in some restaurants in Manila back then they served it young coconut shell with the top cut off. I believe it is like tinola but no papaya and leafy greens but never cooked in coconut shell. There is a Kapampangan meat delicacy called “Pinitpit” where they put raw cut chicken pieces seasoned with salt only in fresh bamboo tubes meaning the bamboo tube is green like a meadow and roast it in an open pit like lechon and some folks cook their rice in bamboo tube too. It is very good.

    Mar 4, 2009 | 12:59 pm

  41. akosistella says:

    @RobKSA: About the oysters, very true. P100 a sack at source. If you go to the restaurants by the beach, of course it will cost more. Btw, the diwal has made a comeback, so go to Roxas, asap!

    No offense to Bacolodnons, love your seafood and dishes as well! Namit guid!

    Mar 5, 2009 | 3:23 am

  42. openonymous says:

    I looked at the fish pics and saw that they had some tequiero on display in the front, those are th flat fish with black spots, masarap din sinigang or frito.

    Mar 5, 2009 | 3:49 am

  43. Rona Y says:

    azucena ciocon jones–I think we might be related. My great-grandmother was a ciocon!

    Mar 5, 2009 | 12:56 pm

  44. chris says:

    anbu there’s a vietnamese dish that uses the coconut shell as the vessel without removing teh water and the meat. you just put the ingredients (chicken or prawns) AND herbs and spices. i tried making it beofre on stove top. smoky and took so long for the soup to boil because the shell was rather thick.

    Mar 5, 2009 | 8:00 pm

  45. Azucena C. Jones says:

    Azucena C.Jones says:
    Rona Y, I’m the Ciocon from Talisay but also have relatives in Bacolod City. I would like to get to know you. My email is azucenaj(at)aol(dot)com. Hope to hear from you.

    Mar 6, 2009 | 4:52 am

  46. marycris says:

    ambot ah tani makapoli ko dira sa sunod na tuig i mis eating alopi na mais kag nila ga na tuwalya kag kalamay hati .

    Jun 1, 2010 | 2:11 pm


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