25 Mar2009


Tita VM, our wonderful “host” for Sunday morning, picked us up in Bacolod at 630 a.m. and we drove to the Murcia market, some 15-20 minutes away, eastward towards Mt. Kanlaon. Located at sort of the crossroads of several surrounding towns, market day at Murcia is a local spectacle with an abundance of goods on offer. While we had headed inland, the seafood offerings were surprisingly amazing. We started in the fresh seafood area and circled the entire market before heading off to a spectacular breakfast. My first impression was that despite all of the hardship often associated with agriculturally dependent provinces, the general population must still be eating relatively well in this part of the country. The seafood was incredibly fresh, and the prices were significantly lower than up North. And the ABUNDANCE of goods suggested a brisk turnover during the day. I was in Marketman heaven…


The simple step of lining the outdoor tables with fresh and verdant green banana leaves onto which the fresh fish was piled high made for a beautiful site and wonderful photographs. The care and respect vendors had for their goods was palpable.


Huge slices of tanguigue were on offer, the color of the meat screaming “I was caught just a few hours ago, buy me!”


And on another table, these pink fish with humongous eyes, not sure what the local name would be, were piled as though swimming up vertically at play…


I was also so pleased to see piles of fish and seafood “punctuated” with contrasting colored tomatoes, red chillies, etc. The little EFFORT to make the seafood look more appetizing is something that I don’t often see in Manila markets… here it was done so naturally, and frankly to very good effect. I don’t have a good close-up but imagine glistening silvery fish, then a turgid blood red chili laid on top of it… all on a bed of green banana leaves… now THAT is food porn at its best!


And the dried fish selection was pretty amazing. The outdoor location and airy feel also made the smell less overwhelming so that you could closely inspect the items on offer, and purchase at your leisure.


Guinamos and other variants on fermenting fish and shrimp were also well represented.


Snails sold by the can full.


A vendor with legumes and nuts. And one sack filled with tapilan, that elongated rice bean that is a bit like monggo, but which Gil of Herbana farms said was more indigenous… Margarita bought several kilos of the tapilan to try as she had never come across them before. We bought a few kilos as well to take home to Manila.


The little portions of vegetables which are priced by the pile, with good and not so good mixed in, ripe and unripe, but roughly the same eyeballed weight. Again, I like this concept. Despite the fact that I am obsessive compulsive about scales, etc.


Some purple sigadilyas, a genetic hiccup or simply a confluence of soil, sun, poor choice of sleeping partners… which were right next to incredibly orange squash or kalabasa.


Ubad, not ubod, the central core of a specific type of banana.


Fresh takway or gabi tendrils or shoots, being cleaned and cut into ready-to-cook slices.


Pre-cut veggies and fresh noodles for soups and other local dishes.


And of course, in case you need a snack after all that walking and shopping, how about a cart filled with bread, all shapes and colors, for just PHP1-2 each! I have other posts from this visit (the earlier betel/tobacco post) and some others coming up… it was a fantastic hour spent at the Murcia market.



  1. jun b says:

    amazing how simple life can be in the province with abundant of fresh catch and vegetables which the city people pays 3-4 times on a similar items minus the freshness. if given the choice I rather live near to this place and spend my early morning on this place then cook the rest of the day….hmmmm sounds a retirement plan hehehe

    Mar 25, 2009 | 8:06 am


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  3. Maria Clara says:

    That’s how wet markets set up used to be – everything sat underneath green banana leaves including meat and poultry and they used the banana leaves as wrapping materials too then old newspaper before plastic and paper bags took over its place. Vendors at that part of town have artistic presentation skills in using colored veggies to add more life to their inventories! Never seen purple sigarilyas and tapilan before only through you.

    Mar 25, 2009 | 8:25 am

  4. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    That tanguigue looks awesome!!!

    Mar 25, 2009 | 8:26 am

  5. Cecilia MQ says:

    Mr. MM, the first picture is called Aloy in Iloilo. Not sure what’s it called in tagalog. In the US I saw this at the asian store and called Senorita.

    Mar 25, 2009 | 9:00 am

  6. Jun b says:

    I thought the first picture is our famous Gigi or GalungGong? Di ba? It’s good for sinaing plus fried rice…Yummy

    Mar 25, 2009 | 9:20 am

  7. atay says:

    hurrah for negros occidental, ang galing at ang ganda! we called matangbaka “bukaw” (big eyes) but i’m not sure if it was just a descriptive term my mother used. yes, that’s aloy up top, masarap siya i-paksiw and then fried immediately afterwards. it is also made into “sardines.”

    Mar 25, 2009 | 9:24 am

  8. Marketman says:

    I think the first photo is of baby tulingan, see earlier post here. But I am not familiar with any local names in Negros for this fish.

    Mar 25, 2009 | 9:30 am

  9. natie says:

    atay, yes. it’s bukaw bukaw in iloilo!! and the galunggung looks so fresh!

    i miss the wet markets!! it’s one of the highlights of going back home…

    Mar 25, 2009 | 9:35 am

  10. atay says:

    ^oh yeah, could be. maybe aloy is a bit darker? i get confused between aloy and gigi etc., especially since i’m not a big fish eater. hehe.

    Mar 25, 2009 | 9:40 am

  11. lee says:

    i think the first photo is “aloy” and matangbaka is “bukaw-bukaw.” A long time ago I remember monitor lizards and sailfin lizards sold in the market before they were considered critically endangered. Murcia market is also a good source for fat freshwater eels or “sili.”

    Mar 25, 2009 | 10:02 am

  12. Nomadic Pinoy says:

    It feels good to see fresh market produce displayed that way. Very natural. Too bad, in hygiene-obsessed American grocery stores, almost everything is packed in styrofoam + clear plastic.

    Mar 25, 2009 | 10:21 am

  13. myra_p says:

    Yup, first photo looks like tulingan to me. Some sap-sap on the second photo. But I’ve never seen orange matambaka before…

    Mar 25, 2009 | 10:34 am

  14. Marketman says:

    Heeheehee, that perennial problem with naming fish in this country. Every town has its own name it seems. Myra, the matangbaka are orange because of the early morning light I think. And the sap-sap in the second photo are called something else by most other folks, but like you I always called them sap-sap… The first photo is NOT galunggong, I am almost certain of that.

    Mar 25, 2009 | 10:43 am

  15. atay says:

    my mother says sapsap is also called lawayan, and the bigger ones are dalupani. a similar fish is called bilong-bilong. confusing nga!

    Mar 25, 2009 | 11:43 am

  16. chinchai says:

    The “aloy” fish daw is deadly if not cleaned well, so one has to be skilled and careful in taking out the poisonous part of this fish before cooking. Moreso, the fish should be fresh to avoid allergy. I have one uncle who was taken to the hospital once because of eating bilasang “aloy”.

    Bangungon, the snails in the picture with pointed ends are cooked in gata with gabi leaves. But first, you have to cut the pointed ends of the snails or else you can’t suck the meat from the shells.

    Mar 25, 2009 | 11:51 am

  17. chinchai says:

    Erratum : Bagungon is the correct name for the snails found in the picture.

    Mar 25, 2009 | 11:52 am

  18. mardie c",) says:

    ayayay!!! did i just die and go to heaven? that first photo of the tulingan surely did me. fried tulingan or paksiw na tulingan, oh my, these are my comfort foods and i miss them already. and no photo-editing there, those fishes sure look fresh. one advantage of being an archipelago, we have the sea right at our doorstep.

    Mar 25, 2009 | 12:14 pm

  19. diday says:

    Does anyone know the name of the pink spiral biscuit/bread in the snack cart? I was thinking of this biscuit/bread during MM’s post, 24 February 2009 on the search for a ‘National Cookie’ material. Is this a biscuit or bread?

    Mar 25, 2009 | 12:14 pm

  20. mardie c",) says:

    and i do agree with you MM, that first photo is not galunggong, its tulingan.

    Mar 25, 2009 | 12:17 pm

  21. Tuesdayy says:

    Fish in lower part of second photo is called “bilong-bilong” in Ilonggo, scientific name is mene maculata, if my research is correct. This is usually bigger than regular sap-sap, which is a different fish altogether. Both are flat fish, and delicious whichever way cooked.

    Am drooling from my land-locked lair. I miss Pilipinas. Thanks for sharing your trip with us, MM.

    Mar 25, 2009 | 12:20 pm

  22. Cecilia MQ says:

    I think it is tulingan. first look makes you think its aloy but then it is bigger..staring at it helps hehehe small tulingan is called aloy. yes this is great cooking pinaksiw then fried after like aloy.

    Mar 25, 2009 | 12:23 pm

  23. Cecilia MQ says:

    okey I think (I think) i got all the fish down…starting from tulingan, bilong-bilong,tanguigue, bukaw, sapsap then gg. I dont even want to start with the dried fish and veggies hehehe
    Thank’s Mr.MM…great brain teaser!

    Mar 25, 2009 | 12:29 pm

  24. myra_p says:

    MM, it can’t be the morning light… Our caretaker in Batangas is a fisherman so I grew up knowing fish basics, and I know that matambaka looks almost exactly like (gray) alumahan, except for the big eyes. Unless of course the orange matambaka is not native to Batangas. The ones in your photo are so orange, they almost look like dalagang bukid.

    Mar 25, 2009 | 12:29 pm

  25. ragamuffin girl says:

    “with god and not so good mixed in” you are right MM even if I know you didn’t mean to write it this way. Fresh, ripe, sweet tomatoes can be so godly :)

    Mar 25, 2009 | 12:59 pm

  26. Marketman says:

    myrap, you are completely correct. Duh. I went to my own link and yes, you are right, both alumahan and matangbaka are the silvery ones… hmmm, now what the heck is this one? :) ragamuffin, editing NOW! :)

    Mar 25, 2009 | 1:00 pm

  27. lee says:

    pink spiral biscuit/bread in the snack cart = dalunggan ni kingkong. king kong’s ears. I am not sure but that’s what we call them.

    Mar 25, 2009 | 1:17 pm

  28. sunset says:

    I know someone who is a fan of that orange fish, she said it is rarely seen in markets and when she sees them she buys them kagad kasi nga rere. She calls them matangbaka, and yes when she purchase them it is orange in color, should it be silver-grey?

    Mar 25, 2009 | 2:08 pm

  29. sunset says:

    typo, i mean “rare” =)

    Mar 25, 2009 | 2:09 pm

  30. iyoy says:

    aloy is the visayan word. tulingan is tagalog. different regional names for the same species, i think.
    chinchai, the pointed shellfish does not look like bagungon. the latter has a sharply angled shoulder and flatter head; the one in photo has a more curvy shoulder and rounded head

    Mar 25, 2009 | 2:28 pm

  31. Marketman says:

    sunset, this may be another case of the same name for totally different fish. I first wrote it was matangbaka, then on myrap’s comment, looked back at my old post and there was another silver fish in Batangas also called matangbaka… so yes, i am confused. :)

    Mar 25, 2009 | 3:39 pm

  32. chinchai says:

    Yeah, you’re right, iyoy. I should’ve looked more closely at the photo, point well taken : )

    Mar 25, 2009 | 3:39 pm

  33. banana says:

    Whoa, that is a lovely market! I miss home. Y_Y
    Shoot! I want fish, veggies, and pink tinapay.

    Mar 25, 2009 | 3:44 pm

  34. luna miranda says:

    that’s a scrumptious tanguigue! i miss adobong takway, my mom used to have a suki in Guadalupe market. sinaing na aloy is soooo good!

    Mar 25, 2009 | 3:56 pm

  35. Rhea says:

    we call the fish with the humongous eyes “bukaw-bukaw”, probably in deference to the owl with its gigantic eyes. Owl in Ilonggo is “bukaw”.

    the aloy, i think this is the fish where you need to take out the tails so you won’t be poisoned.

    this is a fantabulous spread of spread for a town that’s not near a coast. Murcia is about an hour or so drive from downtown Bacolod. Nothing beats the quality and price of food in the province.

    Mar 25, 2009 | 4:25 pm

  36. honey says:

    The pink fish is called “kuwaw” here in bicol. the “matangbaka” is a silver grey fish, also with big eyes. the round fish, i think, is called “sapatero” here

    Mar 25, 2009 | 5:28 pm

  37. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Ohh…so many wonderful sites at the market..those sapsap look so good…and that Tanguige…wow…and those cookies look interesting. They even have galletas. Mga sinaunang biskwet. Hahaha…I know how that spiral pink biskwet tastes like. Makes me want to visit provincial markets where there are so many “finds” .I remember visiting a market in Batangas and I went shopping berserk with all the “finds” there…ahhhh…sarap mamalengke.We’re a funny lot…

    Mar 25, 2009 | 7:11 pm

  38. maricar says:

    wowow!!!! a fashion show of fresh and dried fish…..a lot of names for fishes……sarap ng matangbaka….is the first photo alumahan????? great fish finds……..

    Mar 25, 2009 | 7:44 pm

  39. marilen rodriguez says:

    like most of the conversation going on here, we just wish we had the opportunity mamalengke – thank you, MM, for sharing your inexhaustible interest in life, in food, in history. on a visit to the Philippine Heritage bookstore?? (the one in Nielsen Towers in Makati) I chanced upon a book on illustrating Philippine fish, marine life (it was a bit hefty in price) but I wish now I had purchased it.

    Mar 25, 2009 | 8:20 pm

  40. corrine says:


    Mar 25, 2009 | 8:29 pm

  41. paolo says:

    hi MarketMan! will this be the last of your posts’ about your trip to bacolod? if this is it, i’m glad that you had a memorable time in bacolod and you’re always welcome to come back!

    Mar 25, 2009 | 11:28 pm

  42. Apicio says:

    Lee, we call them Ann Darrow cookies back here.

    First time ever seeing muradong sigarilyas.

    Mar 25, 2009 | 11:47 pm

  43. diday says:

    Many thanks, Lee and Apicio. May be called different names in different regions or by different vendors? Marissewalangkaparis, I know how it tastes too but not a single member of my family – from Cebu – can remember the name. We say, kana, kana and kana when buying these goodies at the local bakehop.

    Mar 26, 2009 | 9:23 am

  44. Rose5 says:

    Wow ka fresh sa Aloy, i like to cook it na pinamalhan with lots of tomatoes…

    Mar 26, 2009 | 10:49 am

  45. faye.astorga says:

    The fish up top is called “aloy”, and i don’t think it’s “tulingan”, since the former is more grayer in color and more meaty. It used to be my favorite (paksiw and then fried), but I ate one that wasn’t cleaned well (my dad says you have to clean the tail part) and suffered from skin allergies. I had “caladryl” smeared all over me, that week! I just “paksiw” the small “tulingan” and “galunggong” instead.

    Mar 26, 2009 | 4:07 pm

  46. shalimar says:

    there is no day I don’t dream of my grand plan to be back in cebu and visit the neighbouring islands around her.

    I will use Marketmanila as my ultimate guide to discover places…….

    Hello from Florida again ( I had 4 hours lay over in JFK and managed to plugged in too…. )
    And there was no day in Stockholm I skipped my MM addiction. ;-)

    Mar 26, 2009 | 10:25 pm

  47. isabel says:

    the “pink fish with humongous eyes” = bukaw-bukaw… i miss bacolod… the fresh fish, talaba from hinigaran, ginamos from silay, sisi from punta-taytay… thanks for posting all the wonderful food from negros…

    Mar 27, 2009 | 4:05 am

  48. diday says:

    shalimar, my sentiments exactly .. to visit Cebu and island hopping.

    Mar 27, 2009 | 2:01 pm

  49. pink_morcon says:

    That pink spiral biscuit/bread in the snack cart is called “ugoy-ugoy” here in Northern Negros. We usually eat that when we’re young.

    Mar 27, 2009 | 9:16 pm

  50. diday says:

    thanks pink_morcon.

    Mar 31, 2009 | 2:56 pm

  51. Tina Tubongbanua says:

    Murcia Market is always a treat to go to. This is my father’s hometown and I love going there to get all sorts of native stuff including the native coffee that gives Starbuck’s a run for their money. I love the local “nipis” piaya that you can buy in the market. I have yet to see the new market since the old one got burned down a few years ago. I love reading your piece on Negros…and especially featuring Murcia.

    Mar 31, 2009 | 9:13 pm

  52. betty q. says:

    Pink fish with humongous eyes!…my guesses….bisugo, redfish (ocean perch). An aqautic website (forgot which one, now!)…fish with big eyes indicative of DEEP-WATER habitat.

    MM, off topic…does anyone know how to make pilipit? MIL makes an awesome one….lost her recipe and I keep asking her soooo many times….hubby and boys can’t get enough of those! She’s getting senile, now (me, too!)!!!

    Apr 2, 2009 | 1:46 am

  53. rai says:

    MM, im from murcia and im glad that you featured our market!
    The pink fish that you describe was the so called bukaw-bukaw.
    Wish that you will feature also the whole market of Murcia..
    The people there were so very hospitable despite of unfortunate living.
    Good luck and more power to this ad!

    May 5, 2009 | 4:10 pm

  54. flon-Gee says:

    Uy, dili na matambaka yong malaking mata na orange. Kasi rough ang skin niya at manipis ang laman. Cute lang siya pero lugi ka. Ang tawag sa amin PUSKAN! kun dako imo mata, tatawagin ka namin Puskan! he he. May classmate kami sa elem tawag namin puskan. Pero nung dalaga na siya, sexy pala ang ganun mata. heee

    Feb 18, 2010 | 12:45 pm

  55. gilbert says:

    I miss my local place in Murcia, Negros but nami guid panugba sang FRESH Fish kg LASWA NA GULAY ( FRESH VEGETABLE) sa aton.

    See you soon Murciahanons !

    God bless all.

    Mar 2, 2010 | 8:24 am

  56. einbert Elektrik says:

    The first fish in the picture is “aloy” small species of “Tulingan” the third CUT in the picture, second is not “SAPSAP” it’s “Bilong-bilong”, fourth is “Bukaw-bukaw” bukaw means owl so it was named after because of it’s big eyes.5th is “SAPSAP” bigger than this is called “Lawayan”. That bread with a sort of a pink coil is called “Ugoy-ugoy”. I like to eat this bread, cookie or whatever it is, it’s crunchie and delicious. Hidlaw nako tuloy sa Murcia.

    Mar 8, 2010 | 10:44 pm

  57. jared gabales says:

    im so happy 2 see that they have lots of good aand fresh foods,.but not only fuds but also they have lots of beautiful places,.hope that they maintain it,.go murcia!

    May 2, 2010 | 7:05 pm


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