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. I paid less than PHP500 each and I own several of themâ€¦ 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 donâ€™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 itâ€™s a question of the proper materials and the addition of raw tanned leather straps that doesnâ€™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 is interesting about the basket is its shape. It has a rounded bottom, a wide mouth and sturdy handlesâ€¦I figured it would be the perfect market basket. I didnâ€™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 canâ€™t stand the basket on the floor as it topples over! And the handles are too short to put it on your shoulder when emptyâ€¦. I still like the basket but it isnâ€™t going to replace my French/Spanish market baskets anytime soonâ€¦