I will be brutally honest. A Zubuchon is BEST consumed fresh off the coals, while steam is still coming out of its rear end. There are no ifs or buts (pun intended) about it. And if you live in Cebu City, that can certainly be arranged. Butt, :) after 9+ months of deliberation and experimentation, we introduced airfreighted Zubuchons a few months ago, with this announcement. We only did that after at least a dozen costly experiments to find the “ideal way” to prepare and ship the piggies with the least amount of degradation to quality. With that caveat, dozens of folks have ordered the whole lechon over the past couple of months and nearly all of our feedback has been positive, so if you want to order a whole Zubuchon for the holidays, here are the details. For the first time ever, we are also opening up orders to folks who live abroad, and would like to send their family in Manila a lechon for the Christmas holidays.
What are the sizes and prices of Zubuchons?
Zubulight (Total cooked weight of 5-7 kilos range, average around 6 kilos) PHP4,200 or USD98.00 (Marketman recommends this one the LEAST, as the diminutive size means the skin is more likely to soften in transit)
Zubuchon (Small) (Total cooked weight of 10-13 kilos range, average around 11.5 kilos) PHP 5,900 or USD138.00
Zubuchon (Medium) (Total cooked weight of 15-18 kilos range, average around 16.5 kilos) PHP7,200 or USD168.00
These prices are inclusive of all handling and air freight charges for Manila, customers MUST PICK UP their lechons at the PAL or Cebu Pacific air cargo terminals (very easy, directions below). For the Zubuchon medium-sized lechon, the average effect cost per kilo is roughly PHP436 a kilo, or roughly 20-30% cheaper than Manila lechon prices. And most of you know the story… we use backyard raised pigs, all natural and organic stuffing ingredients whenever possible, we have happier pigs, NO ADDED MSG or mixes, employ human lechoneros to hand turn the piggies on bamboo poles, and focus on taste, not looks. :)
Why do most lechon purveyors avoid the question of how much their lechons weigh? And what is the right way to figure out how many people a lechon serves?
Lechon producers dodge the question of weight, because it seems that the size of lechons can vary by season. During the peak December season, folks sometimes charge the same “low” prices, but deliver a smaller pig (I once thought of taking ads out with the tagline “Did your holiday lechon go on a diet?”. In other words, know what you are buying and if you are truly getting good value. The reason there is a range of weights provided is because each pig varies in yield of cooked meat. They might weigh the same alive, but be as much as 20% less heavy than the other once cooked… it’s a quirk of the business, and is a bit unpredictable. However, over time, we have tracked our deliveries and know the average weights we delivered over time, so you can expect to be within the stated range 98% of the time. Also, here’s another trick to know. If you order lechons for air freight delivery, the airwaybill should state the weight of the package when it was dropped off at the Cebu cargo area, and thus its easy for you to see just how much the cooked weight of your lechon really is, give or take a few hundred grams for the packaging, without bothering to weigh it when you get home. :)
It personally drives me totally nuts when a purveyor refuses to state cooked weight of their lechons, but very blithely offers the number of servings that the lechon is supposed to provide. If you don’t know the cooked weight, you wouldn’t logically know the number of servings. At Zubuchon, our formula is dead simple. If lechon is the main part of your feast, we think you should plan on about 300 grams serving size per diner (some of this inevitably bones). Females tend to eat less, hungry males more, and it evens out. Unless you intend to totally pig-out, literally, 300 grams is a reasonable figure, in our opinion. As such, if you order a lechon with a cooked weight of say 16.5 kilos, AND logically remove say 4.0 kilos worth of the heavy head, feet and other parts, then the net “meat” weight is roughly 12.5 kilos, and should feed roughly 40 people, with no leftovers. If you want more skin per diner and or leftovers for paksiw, pritchon, flakes, etc. get a bigger lechon. If you want to compare across different purveyors, just fix your serving size and when you know the total weight, less the figure for head, etc., then you will know how many it will reasonably serve.
How do we ship our lechons? What are the best flights to use for particular meals?
Our preferred freight carrier is Philippine Airlines. But with strike rumors looming, we may also use Cebu Pacific or other carriers. On the 24th of December and 31st of December, cargo space is sometimes limited. So we may have to limit shipments to Manila as dictated by the airlines. Besides, our order books for those two days are nearly, if not already full. On other days, we have NEVER had a situation where the airline has refused carriage due to a lack of space. The lechons are packed in boxes, sealed and shipped airfreight.
If you are ordering for lunch, we recommend the 9:05am departure arriving at cargo area Manila at roughly 10:45-11am. If you are ordering for an early dinner, say at 6:30-7:00 p.m., then specify the 3:35pm flight, arriving cargo area by about 5:15pm. If you are eating late, say 8:30pm or so, you could try the 5:15pm flight, arriving the cargo area by 7-7:15pm. We also send on other flights if necessary. You should consume your lechon within 3-4 hours after it arrives in Manila or refrigerate/freeze it for consumption at a later time. We cannot be responsible for airline delays and cannot guarantee delivery times. But I will say that in the past couple of months, we have had a 100% delivery rate, with only a few delays of 30+ minutes or so…
Who to call or email for inquiries and additional information:
Please call +188.8.131.5264 during normal office hours or call/text our cellphone at 0917.627.4761 on weekends and off hours. Look for Victor, Beverly, Roger or Eva.
You can also email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org
How many days in advance do I need to place my order?
For peak holiday periods PLEASE place your orders as early as possible. We have production limits every day and will have to turn away customers when our limits are reached. Each lechon is hand-turned, so we can only manage several dozen a day. Payments must be confirmed and received in our bank account at least 2 business days before the delivery date. For those of you abroad, remittances can sometimes take a couple of days to be received in the Philippines. Payments at this stage are only through cash or bank transfers. We do not accept any credit cards.
Where/how exactly do you pick up the lechons at the Manila airport and is it a hassle?
Almost all of our lechons are shipped via Philippine Airlines. Once a flight arrives, passenger baggage is off-loaded, then cargo is off-loaded and sent directly to the cargo area. For PAL, the pick-up is incredibly easy once the cargo has arrived. The following is a detailed set of photos to find the cargo terminal. After your first visit, it will be a breeze to do follow-up visits. Oh, and don’t forget, the name of the person PICKING UP the lechon must be the person whose name appears on the airwaybill number.
Head towards the PAL terminal on the main airport road. You will hit the “inspection area” where the guards often ask you to stop, roll down your window and point a flashlight at your glove compartment. Of course if you had ill-intentions, you would know this and stash your firecrackers under the seat instead. Pass through this area and smile at the guard if you desire.
Roughly 50 meters down the road you will see the ramp up to the departure area of Terminal 2. Do NOT go up the ramp, veer right instead, as if heading for the arrival area.
You will see a curve in the road headed right, under the sign that says “Terminal 1”, take this RIGHT turn…
…and you will indeed see Terminal 1 (that Marcos era terminal, long outgrown and often without functioning bathrooms) in the distance unless the smog is really bad that day… :)
After roughly 200-300 meters, on the left side of the road, you will see a low-lying building with a sign “PAL Cargo”…
Turn left when you reach the entrance gate.
Stop in front of the loading docks under the sign PAL Cargo and if your cargo has been unloaded, you should have it and head out of the area in less than 10 minutes. The area is spacious and safe. We have picked up dozens of packages here. And another tip, if you are planning to return from the province with tons of extra baggage, just send the baggage by air freight, its much cheaper than checking it into your flight as excess baggage. :)
Finally, if you made it this far down the post, and you are ONE OF THE FIRST 25 Marketmanila.com readers to place an order for a medium-sized lechon (PHP7,200) Zubuchon for airfreight delivery to Manila starting right now, then you will receive 1 kilo of frozen lechon sisig completely free (an otherwise PHP500-600 peso value). All you have to do when you place your order is say you read marketmanila.com and you want the “FISHPAN” deal. Happy Holidays from Marketman and the Zubuchon crew, we hope you and/or your family and friends enjoy your Zubuchon!