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.