I am back in Manila and gosh is it hot and muggy or what? By all accounts, the month that I was away was wickedly hot, but now we have the twin downer of heat and high humidity! But weather report aside, it was time to hit a market — and better yet, a market having a birthday party. The Salcedo market has turned a year old — a terrific idea, that not only became a reality, it has grown to a substantial size in just 12 months. The residents from around the area are thrilled to have such a nice place to go to on Saturdays, stock up on produce and other goodies, eat some paella, barbeque and ethnic specialties and not have to pay P40 parking to some mall opertor (sorry, I digress into a pet peeve – did you realize that if you go to a mall grocery with your car and spend just P1,000 and pay P40 in parking you have added 4% cost to your groceries!!?)…
To celebrate last Saturday, June 18, the organizers and vendors really outdid themselves. Stalls were filled with more goods (mostly baked, prepared, cooked foods and flowers) for sale. The text brigade and neighborhood banners did their part to attract a huge crowd to the market and heavy traffic in the vicinity was a sign of success. There were more pigs roasted and ready for the chopping boards, a troup of ati-atihan style dancers with dark makeup and bird-like headpieces hopping around to the heavy drone of beating drums (not sure how late sleepers in the nearby apartments felt about all the ruckus), crowds that were at least 2-3 times more than usual, and raffle prizes for lucky visitors (the last photo shows one of the market’s organizers awarding prizes)!
All of the decor, diversions, crowds, etc. were sufficient to keep spirits up and spending high but the keen observer had to realize this is possibly the lowest of the low period for fresh produce. Thankfully, Salcedo Market thrives more on prepared foods rather than vegetables and fruits so many folks wouldn’t even have noticed the rather dismal offerings in the fruit and vegetable arena. Having said that, there were huge santols which are in season, lots of avocados, some remaining lansones and some mangosteen on offer. The leafy greens were looking really tired and there was less stuff brought in from the mountain province than during the cooler months. There was a good selection of imported strawberries (outrageously priced), peaches, cherries, plums etc.
If you haven’t visited the Salcedo Market, please put in on your list of things to do. It has a terrific selection of homemade specialties (isn’t the best food in Manila found in homes, not restaurants?), local and imported produce, terrific baked goods, edited floral and plant offerings, organic herbs and veggies, good coffee and tea, delicious paellas and lechons, and a clean, safe, airy and comfortable environment to spend a lazy Saturday morning! Happy Birthday Salcedo Market!!!