09 Sep2006


I was in Cebu for the last few days, extremely busy at work and just a bit crazed. Thankfully, the trip was extremely successful and highly productive. While I didn’t get to check my site that often, I did get to squeeze in periods of food exploration/accumulation, which shall result in several related posts in the days ahead. Before I got married, I rarely checked in any baggage whenever flying. I have perhaps thousands of kilos of baggage allowance that was “wasted” over a decade of zipping here and there. Too bad I couldn’t accumulate it, since recently I have been travelling weighed down like a burro, schlepping sacks and baskets and boxes of stuff from one city to another. With Cebu markets bursting with fruit and other produce, this trip was a good example of Marketman with checked in baggage… First order of business upon arriving in Cebu was to send someone to the Carbon market in search of kabog or wild millet. After several hours he found some and bought everything they had (3 kilos) for me to take home to Manila.

Next up, I decided to bring home a large basket stuffed with 10+ kilos of Cebu mangoes, which bags2at PHP65 a kilo weren’t cheaper than mangoes in Manila, but they looked terrific and tasted even better. With mangosteen in abundance at the markets and at a more reasonable PHP190 a kilo (PHP250-300+ in Manila), I decided to bring home 6 kilos so that I could possibly attempt my first homemade mangosteen jam. With several baskets showing up desk side at the office, I asked the crew if the breadfruit or kulo behind the office had finally ripened and they checked the humongous ancient tree out back and sure enough, after 3 months of waiting, the breadfruit was just right for the picking, so they promptly picked a couple of dozen and dropped them from the large tree. I only managed to bring 4 home.

A pleasant surprise from a friend in the form of four specially ordered Boholano tortas from Dauis, on bags3the island of Panglao arrived just minutes before I rushed off to the Cebu airport. The tortas were supposed to be picked up at dawn and hand carried by ferry to Cebu but a glitch in the order meant they had to be baked, packed, picked up, transported and delivered to me by 3 pm instead, with the messenger running the last few hundred meters to make sure they got in with seconds to spare. They looked terrific and tasted great. They appear to have less egg yolks than the torta recipe I made several weeks ago but I can definitely see why folks who visit Bohol and get to taste a good torta wax poetic about it for many months afterwards… I handcarried the four tortas back to Manila last night.



  1. Jean says:

    MM, are those mangosteens locally grown?

    Sep 9, 2006 | 1:54 pm


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  3. Marketman says:

    Jean, I think they were brought up from Davao or Cotabato or other mangosteen producing areas of Mindanao. They were good, but not the finest.

    Sep 9, 2006 | 2:05 pm

  4. harold says:

    This is off topic but I read Butch Gamboa’s article today in the Philippine Star, lo and behold, the article was about the growing dissatisfaction of Cebu Pacific passengers. I don’t know if you will still consider yourself more lucky MM compared to what Butch’s wife went through. At any rate, Cebu Pacific should really do a lot to improve its service.

    Sep 9, 2006 | 2:39 pm

  5. Apicio says:

    I might be getting ahead of a post on kabog or wild millet, but what is it like and what do you do with it?

    About the most expensive fruit I came accross in Brazil was a US$2.50 mangosteen (ea.),
    contrasted to a small crate containing 3 pomelo sized atis for the same price. If supply of mangosteen jam is so unsecure, is it practical to delegate somebody in Davao at the height of the season to do some custom canning for you or your collective?

    Sep 9, 2006 | 3:52 pm

  6. Marketman says:

    harold, thanks for that tip. I can’t find the article on the Star website, boy does that website smell or what?, so I have to find the paper instead so I can read the article… Apicio, millet coming up. And my first experiment with budbud kabog was a complete disaster. There goes the first half kilo of this precious grain or seed…

    Sep 9, 2006 | 4:42 pm

  7. Sandra says:

    Mangosteen is my favorite fruit in this whole wide world. Next come lychees. I guess I prefer tropical fruits vs. temperate ones.

    Magnolia a long time ago had Coffee Mangosteen as “flavor of the month.”

    You don’t have the schlep mangoes from Cebu. You can buy more delicious mangoes from Guimaras at the same price from my mother’s home in South Forbes. We get shipments all the time from our farm there.

    Sep 9, 2006 | 6:15 pm

  8. sister says:

    Sorry, mangoes from Guimaras, even with a Forbes provenance, are possibly still not as good as Cebu Guadalupe mangoes. Guimaras mangoes are delicious but they do not have the delicacy of flavour and texture of Cebu mangoes and the almost complete absence of fiber. Just a prejudiced opinion but I have eaten more than my share of mangoes over half a century, from at least four continents.Florida, Egypt, Sydney samples have all been tested and compared to the homegrown varieties and Cebu does trump every one of them.
    Yes, coffee mangosteen is my all time favorite Magnolia ice cream flavour. I’ve made it here in NYC with bottled mangosteen jam and expresso coffee. Talk about food nuts, this family is certifiable.

    Sep 9, 2006 | 6:59 pm

  9. corrine says:

    For many years, I buy only Guimaras mangoes. Now, I don’t know what variety I buy but they are plump and not fibrous. Well, whether Guimaras or Cebu mangoes, Philippine mangoes are the best! Can MM sell his mangosteen jam? I’ve never tried it. And hey, I spent 3 days in Panglao and I didn’t know that they have good tortas!

    Sep 9, 2006 | 7:11 pm

  10. harold says:

    MM, here’s the link to the article.


    Sep 9, 2006 | 7:28 pm

  11. Doddie from Korea says:


    Like Apicio, I am waiting with bated breath on the millet recipe. There is an abundance of yellow millet here and green millet too. They sell sacks of it here.

    Can you please give us more information on the tortas? It is like the ordinary tortas that our moms make for lunch or supper?

    Sep 9, 2006 | 7:59 pm

  12. Marketman says:

    harold, thanks for the link… Doddie, I wonder if your millet is the same as the one here… as for tortas, it is not the meat version I think you are referring to. I have a recipe for a Visayan torta (the cake) AND the torta (with eggs and meat) in my archives…

    Sep 9, 2006 | 9:41 pm

  13. Apicio says:

    To Sister, Have been wondering about Egyptian mangoes since Hermés recently tried taming the quick vanishing smell of green mangoes with Jardin sur le Nile. They could have travelled to certain areas of the Philippines in January or February when the mango trees are in full bloom and invoke that atmosphere and come up with a much superior perfume.

    Sep 9, 2006 | 10:15 pm

  14. fabian says:

    the only mangosteens i remember eating are Thai (sad reality?). could somebody, sandra or sister perhaps, compare the mangosteen one gets in Bangkok to the stuff from Cebu and Guimaras?

    Sep 9, 2006 | 10:40 pm

  15. fabian says:

    i forgot to add: mangosteens are also one of my most favorite fruit! durian and raspberries are also in the running :)

    Sep 9, 2006 | 10:41 pm

  16. Sandra says:

    You should try the “tortitas” made in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. It is like ensaimada but tastes even better. And you dip it into hot chocolate . . . there goes my diet.

    The best ensaimada I have tasted though is the one made by Maricel Cunanan. It is her grandmother’s recipe.

    MM — I’ll host you a food tour in Negros Occidental/Iloilo the next time I am in the Philippines. This is a promise.

    Sep 9, 2006 | 11:59 pm

  17. millet says:

    no, i don’t think the mangosteens are from here (davao) – the ones i’ve seen on the farms around here don’t look like they will be ready until at least the end of the month. mid-october will most likely be the peak of the season. but those you got look gorgeous, MM. am eagerly awaiting your budbud kabog post because i asked my hubby to buy me some millet when he was in dumaguete last year. i have tried it once, and it was so unlike the suman he brought home (although this particular budbud was a lot inferior to the ones i remember having in dumaguete so many years back- they must have all gone commercial?). i still have about 2 kilos of millet sitting in my pantry, and i don’t know what else to do with it. help! i heard you could also make biko with kabog? by the way, doesn’t “kabog” in cebuano mean “bat” (yup, those minions of dracula!)? wonder how the grain got the same name. and how come it seems that only the bisaya know and use millet?

    and, MM, what did you do with the rimas (breadfruit) – ginataan, or fried then sprinkled with sugar, or served with matamis na bao (coconut jam)? or did you try a new recipe for it? i can never tell the difference between breadfruit and the other type that looks so much like it (can’t even remember what it’s called, but it’s surely not marang).

    Sep 10, 2006 | 12:08 am

  18. millet says:

    p.s…..and what a surprise to read my name up there! i wouldn’t want to be called “kabog” though… :->

    Sep 10, 2006 | 12:13 am

  19. Mandy says:

    is that kabog for the budbud kabog my mom keeps on mentioning as the best suman for her? that torta looks good! i’ve never tasted that ever.

    Sep 10, 2006 | 1:02 am

  20. Maria Clara says:

    I have had the opportunity to taste all mangoes from across the globe. Philipppine mangoes especially the carabao variety are the champion of them all. If they are in a boxing competition, as soon as the Philippine mangoes enter the ring it is a technical knock out, no doubt about that. With the seal approval of Sister says, Cebu mangoes reign supreme of them all! No offense to Sandra. Paired with suman they really take my breath away. Breadfruit or rimas takes me back to my childhood memories. Grandmother has a ritual of shopping to Ongpin once a month and brought back dried preserved rimas which are out of this world. She rationed her grandkids with 3 or 4 pieces of this triangle cut rimas. They are delicious. She has an apador in her pantry where she stashed all her favorite foods locked. Mischievous kids we are with my cousins we unlocked the apador and enjoyed them. I have not seen rimas for ages. I cannot wait to see what you come up with the millet.

    Sep 10, 2006 | 4:39 am

  21. sister says:

    I have to try the Hermes perfume to see what you are talking about. Egyptian mangoes are better than Costa Rican mangoes but Australian mangoes are really very good, probably a close runner up to Cebu Guadaloupe mangoes. In May and June in the US Ataulpo “Champagne” mangoes arevery good, they are grown from trees in Mexico related to Cebu mangoes.

    Sep 10, 2006 | 6:24 am

  22. Regina says:

    Very intrigued about the kabug MM, maybe one of these days you can show a picture of it. We normally make suman or other kakanin for home consumption and that is intriguing. Also have not heard or ever tasted of torta (the cake. Love your blogs.

    Sep 10, 2006 | 6:32 am

  23. Marketman says:

    Apicio, do mango blossoms have a great fragrance like citrus trees? Geez, another experience I have to try… I think Hermes was trying to replicate the bracing freshness of the green mango…almost like a citrus note. Will have to smell that new perfume as well… Fabian, the Thai mangosteens I had were pretty good, and if I remember correctly, much cheaper than our local ones… Sandra, for a previous post on commercially made ensaimadas, including Cunanan’s, I had a post here and for a recipe that is involved but results in a nice old fashioned ensaimada, check here. Millet, discussion on millet (the grain) coming up. My first experiment was a total disaster. And yes, I personally agree that budbud kabog is the best of all the budbuds I have tasted. Mandy, try this torta recipe I posted a few months ago. Maria Clara, this week is one down memory lane…stay tuned for breadfruit, mangosteen, etc. Apicio et al, I have to confirm that my sister is a certifiable mango nut, having not only tasted a lot of the global stock but transported them from here to there. Few people I know can eat as many ripe mangoes in a single sitting as her…heehee. As for earlier discussions on which mango is the best, there are posts here and here. My sister and I are admittedly biased as we call Cebu home.

    Sep 10, 2006 | 7:21 am

  24. lori says:

    There’s a woman in San Lo who makes tortas. I’m not sure if they’re comparable to what you ate, MM, but details are here.

    Sep 10, 2006 | 7:51 am

  25. Marketman says:

    lori, thanks for that link, I did read about her on your blog earlier… tortas are actually pretty easy to make, just deadly on the cholesterol count!

    Sep 10, 2006 | 7:54 am

  26. Apicio says:

    It is not being Chauvin about pride in Philippine mangoes. I just fall quiet whenever there was a discussion about mangoes amongst my former Caribean colleagues. The sincerest encomium I heard though was from a Thai friend who claims that they grow the best tropical fruits and he only steps aside for Manila mangoes.

    Sep 10, 2006 | 8:39 am

  27. asunta says:

    mm the mangosteen in davao are being sold for only 80 a kilo.

    Sep 10, 2006 | 10:13 am

  28. Marketman says:

    asunta, now I feel wickedly bad… actually, maybe I should go to davao and buy a container load and ship it up North. But better yet, the jam should be made in Davao. Maybe I should invest in a mobile jam mobile that can move to different parts of the country as the key fruits ripen…heehee. Apicio, Thai tropical fruits are generally superb, though their mangoes don’t hold a candle to ours. It seems Thai royalty and their government have focused so much more on their agricultural sector than we have.

    Sep 10, 2006 | 10:53 am

  29. Wilson Cariaga says:

    torta. . . I miss torta dipped is “tsokolate” yum yum. . . my lola’s friend makes torta but instead of paper, she uses banana leaf. . .

    Sep 10, 2006 | 12:02 pm

  30. mia says:

    MM, wait till about October-November in Davao, then mangosteens will be around 35/kilo. I bought a crate last year and I do not remember opening a single one whose flesh was anything but perfectly white. I should know because I ate them all. In one week.

    Sep 10, 2006 | 5:41 pm

  31. Ronx says:

    Mangosteen farming, anyone?

    Being gentleman farmers, we used to manage a small hobby-farm type in Mindanao. The elevation is about 2000 ft above sea level, so it gets Tagaytay-cold at nights. But we did not run the farm very well, and every year, we’d be in the red. We’d sell the mangosteen at the ridiculously low price of about 15 pesos per kilo, since that’s the distributor’s price. Well, that is, if we get lucky, and get to the fruits before someone else does.

    Sadly, we gave that up. The farm is now being leased for a paltry sum per month. But the lessor (?) told us that we can go up there, to EAT what we can, anytime we want. Presumably she means we can’t cart down baskets of the stuff, and we have to consume it on the spot. I’ll see if that part of the agreement still holds true. Well, I can always buy the stuff from her, and that’s still gonna be cheaper compared to fruit stand prices.

    So come to Davao anytime next month, MM! We’ll feast on Mangosteen. and we can still catch the tail-end of the Durian harvest.

    And Hiya, Millet! Nice to see a fellow Davaoeno in this group.

    Sep 11, 2006 | 4:33 am

  32. Marketman says:

    Ronx, you should consider reviewing the lease agreement, getting it back and making jam from the fruit instead. It’s really easy and you then only transport the finished product which retails at a good price…

    Sep 11, 2006 | 5:13 am

  33. Katrina says:

    Aaaaarrrggghhh!!! THAT’S what I should’ve asked for from Bohol — torta! Felipe was just there recently, and I asked him to buy me ube, since you had said Bohol has the best. He asked his host (one of his best friends is from one of the oldest families in Bohol) to get him the best kind. Unfortunately, we were terribly disappointed — it was pale, lumpy, and too milky. Maybe Bohol has the best ube crop, but Good Shepherd still makes the best ube jam BY FAR. The next time he goes to Bohol I should remember the tortas.

    Millet: If “kabog” means “bat” and assuming “budbod” has a similar meaning in Cebuano as it does in Tagalog, would that then translate to something like bat droppings? ;-)

    Sep 14, 2006 | 12:12 pm


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