01 Jul2006

Market Baskets…

by Marketman


The logo for Market Manila was based on a favorite French Market Basket that I got in Paris several years ago. It is terrific. Soft and malleable, lightweight and has short and long leather straps. You can carry it under your arm when empty and by the short straps when super full. bask2I paid less than PHP500 each and I own several of them… I fill up at least 3 baskets when I go to the markets on Saturdays. My original baskets were starting to get ratty after 3 years of use so I purchased more in Barcelona recently that are still moseying on home by seafreight balikbayan box. Some folks have asked why I don’t just use a bayong or other locally sourced basket. Actually, I have several local baskets, including bayongs, but I happen to like the weight, texture and feel of the imported baskets. I have even tried to explore having the French Market Basket copied here but I think it’s a question of the proper materials and the addition of raw tanned leather straps that doesn’t make this task so easy or cheaper than the original.

But in Legazpi last week, I spied this unusual basket in the hotel shop. The shop was closed the day I saw the basket so I went to the market instead to try and find one there. What bask3is interesting about the basket is its shape. It has a rounded bottom, a wide mouth and sturdy handles…I figured it would be the perfect market basket. I didn’t find a similar basket in the handicraft market, so I bit the bullet and paid PHP500 at the hotel store. The basket is made of split rattan, I think, and it does look good. However, the rattan is quite rigid and odd sharp pieces can definitely poke you in the side. And oddly, the curved bottom which attracted me to the basket in the first place actually makes it nearly impossible to use! You can’t stand the basket on the floor as it topples over! And the handles are too short to put it on your shoulder when empty…. I still like the basket but it isn’t going to replace my French/Spanish market baskets anytime soon…



  1. Jean says:

    ;) I can only picture you walking around with a basket. lol. Kind of reminds me of my husband walkin’ around with my own hand bag at Carls Jr. today while I wash my hands in the banyo. I think he loved it… lol.

    Jul 1, 2006 | 10:41 am


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  3. Maria Clara says:

    You are a man of impeccable taste in everything! Your writing is very articulate. You know how to reach out there!

    Jul 1, 2006 | 12:32 pm

  4. Kate says:

    That’s one thing I like about Filipino men—they seem to be more secure about their masculinity than the average white American male and aren’t afraid of being in touch with their feminine side. I think it makes them better husbands and fathers when they’re not hung up about what’s manly and what isn’t.

    Would love to see a photo of your French/Spanish market baskets, MM.

    Jul 1, 2006 | 1:54 pm

  5. Doddie Householder from Korea says:

    My husband is American and is not afraid to carry my purse. He is also no afraid to carry my market bags when we buy stuff in the weekly street markets here in Janghowon, Korea. ;)

    Jul 1, 2006 | 9:05 pm

  6. Apicio says:

    Can one really mention baskets and men in a single sentence without bringing into play racy images, I guess, just like one avoids combining men and bags. You thread rather lightly (or say even gingerly) when speaking of men and baggery. But seriously speaking, strong looking canvas totes with reinforced leather handles marketed by the great outdoor outfitters here are my equivalent of your marketing baskets there.

    Jul 2, 2006 | 12:03 am

  7. Kate says:

    Didn’t mean to diss American males, Doddie. :-) I just think Filipino men don’t get the credit they deserve vis-a-vis the generally good press Americans get in its former colony, the Philippines.

    Jul 2, 2006 | 1:56 am

  8. Jean says:

    Kate, don’t think Doddie was aiming her comment towards you, just the way couples handle things. As that blondie back in the 50’s and 60’s (Doris Day) sang in her songs, “Que sera sera”.

    Jul 2, 2006 | 8:16 am

  9. erleen says:

    Now I know what to look for when spying the market aisles for you Marketman.

    Should I find some guy with a basket, I will definitely think it is you and immediately grab you to ask for an autograph…and a picture maybe. =)

    Jul 2, 2006 | 9:05 am

  10. Marketman says:

    Kate et al, there is a photo of my Spanish baskets in the posts on Barcelona shopping with the hat as the opining photo, I think… A bayong aor basket is a whole lot more practical than all those plastic bags they give you… or in Baguio, you can hire kids to carry your bags when they get too heavy!

    Jul 2, 2006 | 1:48 pm

  11. Marketman says:

    Also, oddly, in Europe, particularly for market baskets, the usage is not gender based. In fact, the first time I tried to buy the french market basket in Paris, I couldn’t find one in stores but kept seeing both men and women walking around with them…I nearly tried to buy one off the back of a Parisian man but my wife thought I had gone bonkers and I didn’t even try… Baskets and handbags are not the same thing at all… And since we are on the topic, I have several of those heavy canvas LL Bean bags as well to take food supplies out to the beach on weekends…

    Jul 2, 2006 | 2:02 pm

  12. Doddie Householder from Korea says:

    Kate, no biggie. Jean was right. Besides, I find a man (whether he is Filipino or american) holding a lady’s purse very sexy. I mean, he is male, but masculine enough to hold his lady’s bag. Now that’s sex appeal. ;)

    Jul 2, 2006 | 3:04 pm

  13. Marinel says:

    I think it all depends on the guy. I dated a Filipino who wouldn’t be caught dead carrying my purse, let alone be seen carrying a bayong at a local wet market. It’s pretty sad. But I’m now married to a white man who doesn’t mind carrying my purse or being seen with me buying chicken feet and salmon head. I’m glad there are men like MM who don’t mind carrying a basket loaded with meats and vegetables. I think that’s very sexy, eh? What I often wonder, though, is what people think when MM takes pictures of the food before consuming them. :-)

    Jul 3, 2006 | 2:42 am

  14. Alicia says:

    I recently came across a basket on wheels in the Williams -Sonoma catalogue. Its about $99 and considering its dimensions, i was quoted that it will cost $150 to ship via Johnny Air Cargo. Its absolutely perfect for the Saturday or Sunday Market so I don’t have to keep sending parcels back to the car but am not willing to pay $250 for a basket.. anyone know of a place we could have it made? How about a MarketManila Basket?!! MarketMan can venture into licensed products!

    Jul 3, 2006 | 10:17 am

  15. edee says:

    MM, not only bayongs and basket more practical, they’re environment friendly as well…. here in Ireland, to encourage people to use re-usable bags , you pay 15cent for every plastic shopping bag you use, and that 15cent goes to an environmental fund…..

    Jul 3, 2006 | 5:03 pm

  16. lenny dunn says:

    Hi Sir,Mrs
    Am Mr Lenny and i will like to order some french market bags from your shop.I will appreciate if you can email me with the types and prizes you have in stock as well as the method of payment you accept so i can know the quantity to order.Thank you.

    Best Regards,
    Mr Lenny

    Nov 6, 2008 | 1:50 pm


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