30 Sep2011

Many, many moons ago, enterprising Negrenses sold a Christmas star or parol one holiday season, in a bid to help raise funds for the people of Negros. I don’t even recall if it was after a storm, a major drought, a deadly drop in sugar prices or whatever calamity might have necessitated the coordinated effort to raise funds, but the idea was a hit. A bazaar held in Manila brought the best of Negros to the city, and both the charitable effort and the commercial one was a success. I most vividly recall the star and the charity, a sort of status symbol of sorts in a reverse kind of way… Whether you had one or several hanging outside your home that holiday season, you were identified as having stepped up to provide some assistance to those who needed it. The bazaar became an annual event, and it is one gathering of handicraft and food purveyors that I always try to visit. It started last Wednesday and will run until Sunday, at the Rockwell Tent in Makati.

I don’t know about you, but it always drives me a little batty to hear that first publicly played Christmas carol soon after we reach September every year… It’s just way too early. I know the country tries to lay claim to the longest Christmas season on the planet, but just because we starting jingling our bells or roasting our chestnuts some 110+ days before Christmas doesn’t really cut it for me. Lately, television programs have started countdowns from 100 days and their sets are already festooned with holiday decor, well before even Halloween or western Thanksgiving Days take place! Christmas is my favorite part of the year as well, but I personally think it gets watered down if you start to celebrate it 15 weeks beforehand. Having said that, I bought my first batch of “Christmas” items this year at the Negros bazaar… up top these laser cut wooden ornaments (stars, balls, etc.) that would make great giveaways and extremely well priced at PHP40 each.

I also stopped at the Casa Carmela stall for some comestibles… It was the best merchandised food stall of the bunch. Casa Carmela, first featured here for their adobong pitaw, now has a huge range of savory and sweet delicacies. I ended up with bottled pitaw, chorizo and guinamos…

At a stall just across from Casa Carmela, I purchased three bottles of this “aged” tuba vinegar. I was surprised when told it was all-natural, with no food coloring or any other additives. It has a rich caramelized color and a nice acidic hit of native vinegar falvor. At PHP65 per small bottle it was pricey, but worth the try. My only reservations about the product? Note the bottles say “Del Monte” and on the backside of the bottle it says further “Property of Del Monte” — while I applaud recycling, I am not sure about re-using a commercial ketchup(?) bottle for packaging one’s vinegar. Makes me wonder if the caps are re-cycled as well (with original computerized coding on the caps). Also, on vinegars, I like to see the acidity level clearly labelled, say 4, 5 or 6% acidity as it helps to prevent buying products with a higher chance of natural cooties.

I couldn’t resist the double long barquillos from the stall selling El Ideal products. As kids, we used to crunch down on these, pretending to smoke cigars, and naughtily blowing out the crumbs if no adults were watching… Barquillos and ice cream were a classic pairing in our home, despite the fact that the barquillos always shatter when you poke them into the ice cream!

Christmas Ornaments
Banj Claparols
Creative Definitions

Bottled Food Items
Casa Carmela
54 Lizares Avenue
Bacolod City
(Several outlets in Manila)

Tuba Vinegar
The Fruit Farm
Bob’s Fruit Farm
Lacson and Magsaysay Sts.
Bacolod City



  1. isabel says:

    Thank you for the heads-up, Mr. MM. Need to replenish my stock of negros guinamos! ;) and i am in makati btw

    Sep 30, 2011 | 2:23 pm


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  3. wil-b says:

    nice Christmas ornaments. . . would love to get some of those. . . would love to try Casa Carmela’s products as well. . . off to rockwell !!!

    Sep 30, 2011 | 2:43 pm

  4. Betchay says:

    What is casa carmela’s chorizo pudpud? I love their different flavored mini piayas!

    Sep 30, 2011 | 5:45 pm

  5. albert says:

    Hi MM, pagbigyan mo na mga kababayan natin… unlike the Americans, we Filipinos really aren’t big on halloween (except for those big subdivisions south of the metro) and we certainly DO NOT celebrate thanksgiving, so we can perhaps be forgiven for starting the Christmas festivities very early. Mayhaps it’s our way of compensating for the absence of those two very american holidays.

    Sep 30, 2011 | 6:00 pm

  6. Marketman says:

    albert, you are right, no Halloween for the most part and no Thanksgiving like the Canadians and Americans. But All Souls Day and All Saints Day are pretty somber and we’re in the thick of Christmas carols by then as well… :) Betchay, it’s basically chorizong “hubad” already cooked and bottled in oil for re-frying before serving. I suspect it will be a hit with folks trying to bring a bit of home to their homes abroad… wil-b, are you based back at home? Weren’t you off to the islands and island in the past? Isabel, how odd that your server is based in Kuwait!

    Sep 30, 2011 | 6:32 pm

  7. chreylle says:

    rockwell is just a 5 minutes drive from here, we’ll definitely visit it tomorrow

    Sep 30, 2011 | 7:00 pm

  8. natie says:

    i love bazaars, especially if it’s for a good cause. Betchay, in Ilonggo, ‘pudpud’ means ‘to disintegrate’ or break into tiny pieces (just like the crunchy barquillos)…

    Sep 30, 2011 | 8:10 pm

  9. k. ramos says:

    I used to snack on barquillos and ice cream too! And rosquillos. Rosquillos were my absolute fave.

    Sep 30, 2011 | 9:01 pm

  10. psychomom says:

    will tell my sister to visit and get me the ornaments and other goodies quick before they run out. i wonder if the pudpud would pass customs here? would love to try that with sinangag.

    Sep 30, 2011 | 9:03 pm

  11. Mimi says:

    Christmas is my favourite holiday, but I do agree September is too early. We put up decorations from the second week of November onwards. However, I have started my vanilla infused vodka- 1 litre vodka, remove a little to fit 15 beans split and scraped- at least 2 months before you re-bottle and give to foodie friends. Duty Free vodka is best, cost a lot less. MM, have you thought of the mechanics for the global exchange gifts yet?

    Sep 30, 2011 | 11:05 pm

  12. Gezel says:

    I am from Bacolod City and I miss home so much, but anyway different topic Marketman, why is it that everytime i open your site my internet security is always giving me a message that my computer is being attacked good thing I have a good online security is it just me or any other experience this, sometime I am so hesitant to open your site. Thanks

    Sep 30, 2011 | 11:40 pm

  13. lee says:

    Hello Marketman please allow some Shameless Promotion from Me… Lee

    I have made some sketches which were used for aprons, notepads, wrappers, etc… They are available at the Negrense Volunteers for Change booth. Proceeds from their sales will go to their projects. Own a piece of Lee. hahaha

    Oct 1, 2011 | 12:34 am

  14. lee says:

    “Proceeds from their sales will go to their projects.”
    .. Oh wow… Outreach and others was what I meant :)

    Oct 1, 2011 | 12:48 am

  15. Anne :-) says:

    Thanks MM for this information, I’ll go there today after my med checkup. I’ll buy a piece of Lee… :-)

    Oct 1, 2011 | 10:35 am

  16. PITS, MANILA says:


    Oct 1, 2011 | 10:48 am

  17. PITS, MANILA says:


    Oct 1, 2011 | 10:53 am

  18. mekc says:

    i wish cebuanos could do this kind of fair/bazaar in manila also.

    Oct 1, 2011 | 11:40 am

  19. faith says:

    Sorry, off-topic, but I keep seeing his/her comments for several posts now, and the all uppercase comments really bothers me. PITS, the contents of your comments are all okay, nothing offensive or rude, but using all uppercase letters when posting does give out a tone of rudeness (in online culture, it means your are shouting) and/or being KSP. Please, hopefully you could tone it down in the future and use lowercase (non-capital/big letters) when typing in and posting your comments.

    Oct 1, 2011 | 8:59 pm

  20. Millie K says:

    Casa Carmela thanks you, Mr. MM.

    Oct 1, 2011 | 11:26 pm

  21. Mar G says:

    I visited the Negros Fair yesterday and was impressed with the merchandise. I made it a point to stop by the Casa Carmela booth as it stirred some interest after reading your article. I picked up a bottle of Chorizo Pudpud, Stevia and Baked Polvoron. The polvoron was such a disappointment! Hopefully the chorizo will taste as good as it looks. I picked up several packs of Ereneta’s chorizo which my husband and I had for breakfast this am.That was sinfully delicious!

    Oct 2, 2011 | 9:37 am

  22. sunflowii says:

    yup, i thought we celebrated Christmas too early in the Philippines by playing lots of carols once SeptemBER 1 rolls around. i was surprised though to see Christmas trees being sold here in Costco as early as August. =)

    Oct 2, 2011 | 9:55 pm

  23. ami says:

    Same here MM, I find it weird that people put up their Christmas trees before All Saint’s/Soul’s Day. Contradicting eh.

    Yesterday I was in the mall and thought of doing some early Christmas shopping for gifts to avoid the December craziness around the metro/malls. I ended up buying a book, earphones and external harddrive for myself! Tsk tsk! Major fail. I really can’t bring myself to prepare for Christmas this early.

    Oct 3, 2011 | 8:15 am

  24. f says:

    Shucks. My stash of Pitaw ran out. Does anyone know if they have a distributor/outlet in Manila?

    Oct 3, 2011 | 11:56 am

  25. Marketman says:

    f, they sometimes participate in the stalls at the basement of Rockwell Mall on weekends. And here is an address on their product list you may want to try — 78 Estrella St. corner Zodiac Street, in Bel-Air I gather… Ring their Bacolod number to make sure there are retail items at the Makati address…

    Oct 3, 2011 | 6:53 pm

  26. Nikki Seva says:

    “…..up top these laser cut wooden ornaments (stars, balls, etc.) that would make great giveaways and extremely well priced at PHP40 each.”
    Thanks, this just made my day! Thanks Banj and Mike for believing in what we do. :)

    Oct 3, 2011 | 8:41 pm

  27. risa says:

    @Nikki Seva, you have very nice items in your site, but not the Christmas ornaments. But the first thing that popped into my head when I saw your company logo was, “Hey, I want a tattoo like that!” :)

    Oct 4, 2011 | 6:43 pm

  28. f says:

    Got it. Thanks, MM!

    Oct 5, 2011 | 7:55 am

  29. millet says:

    pitaw! MM, have you tried el ideal’s barquillos with goat’s milk? I thought it was all hype until I tasted them-definitely smoother with a creamy flavor. I don’t know how else to describe them. Lee, good for you!

    Oct 5, 2011 | 9:49 am


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