Farmers Market is one of the best “wet” markets in Metro Manila. Good and convenient location, airy set-up, wide aisles, numerous vendors, organized sections, excellent variety and competitive prices make for a great shopping experience. Any metro foodie from near or far should walk its aisles at least once. I believe great markets thrive when there is a meeting of two groups of people: vendors who offer quality, variety, good prices, consistency, volume, etc. and consumers who come regularly armed with serious aggregate buying power. Farmers (as it is called by regulars) has plenty of both groups – thus its success.
Farmers Market is a bit of a misnomer as it does not appear to be made up of farmers who cart their produce to the market then return to the farm after their harvest has been sold. Instead, it is more of a traditional wet market where vendors are simply middlemen/women sourcing the best the country has to offer and selling to a wide variety of consumers ranging from the middle class housewife, the cook or major domo of a wealthy family or the buyer of a nearby restaurant or cafeteria. I raise this point as farmer’s markets are popping up all over North America and there has been a growing trend of getting the freshest produce directly from the source – think Union Square Farmer’s Market in New York City, for example.
Farmers Market in Cubao is located right on EDSA, beside the Cubao Shopping Complex and adjacent to the Cubao MRT station. It has a very central and accessible location. You can take your car and use nearby parking (though it tends to get full later in the day), you can take an MRT, and there are all types of public transportation such as buses, jeepneys and taxis nearby. It’s tough to miss this landmark that has been around for roughly 30 years. The structure is rather large with approximately 3-4,000 square meters of covered area, possibly more.
Everything is covered by a warehouse type roof that sits very high above the market, which provides an airy and less dark interior. The market is apparently private and seems better organized than most public markets. There are two levels at farmers, the upper that houses fruits, vegetables, flowers, etc. and the lower level that has the seafood and meat sections. Hygiene is generally good on the upper level but less consistent in the lower level. Depending on the time of day and the last pick-up of garbage, some parts of the market can be grotty.
The best part about the market is the variety of goods on offer. There are hundreds of vendors total. the Vegetable section had all the staples in stock plus lots of interesting finds such as small sweet korean squashes, very orange kamote, baby corn, leafy herbs, etc. The fruit section had a good selection of local and imported items. Flowers were abundant but too many chrysanthemums for my liking. The seafood section was terrific – several counters offering fresh sushi grade tuna displayed on ice (probably for nearby restaurants), galunggong, talakitok, lapu-lapu, 6 kinds of seaweed, etc. The meat section looked extensive and besides the usual had goat meat, live native chickens, etc. Go early in the morning if you want first pick.
This is one of my favorite markets in Manila.