15 Jun2014


Perhaps scheduling a mini-eyeball on Friday the 13th was just tempting the fates. Anyone who has read 10+% of the posts on this blog knows I am a bit obsessive-compulsive, anal-retentive, and leave little to chance. But a confluence of factors led to a final date of June 13th, which was not only a Friday, but around a full moon and just after the rainy season decided to make its appearance with several consecutive days of raging thunderstorms. With folks flying in from the Middle East, Davao, Tacloban, Bacolod, Cebu and various parts of Manila, there was no stopping this party…


On Thursday, MM, family and crew headed to the beach. One car went ahead to visit market sukis in Nasugbu and inform them that we needed lots of seafood the following morning. When we got to the beach, we were told that our sukis had warned that the pickings the following morning could be bleak. Stormy seas, a full moon and a holiday meant hardly anyone would be out fishing, so it wasn’t likely there would be much to buy. Yipes. Meanwhile, we passed by Gejo’s Malipayon Farms and left with a stunning selection of greens and lots of herbs. Just down the road, we stopped at Nacho’s Toscana Farms where they had prepared a stunning selection of tomatoes and bell peppers, and so far, so good.


As soon as we got to the beach, the lights went out, and the blackout continued for 9 straight hours!! Not only did we start to fret about the meats we had brought with us, but I couldn’t bake any tortas or ensaimadas that I had planned to give guests to take home the following day (our stove has an electronic starter mechanism). And forget making any homemade mango or coffee mangosteen ice cream as well. Thunderstorms whipped through the area and our home looked like it was in the middle of a deluge. Our barbecue had no roof over it, and seriously, I was worried I couldn’t pull off a decent lunch the following day.


Early Friday morning, we headed to the Nasugbu market, and while there was absolutely no tangigue or tuna for a starter of kinilaw (with tabon-tabon and dayap fruit sent in from Butuan just for this dish!), I did manage to score 12 kilos of alimango, lots of shrimp and prawns, and squid as well. So at least there would be enough food for the guests, assuming we could cook it.


The rains continued, the crew put up a makeshift tarp over the barbecue grill, and just minutes before 10am, Peterb, our first guest arrived. Betchay, Kasseopeia and Agnes (GreensBlossoms) arrived next, and shortly thereafter the van carrying everyone else. Nacho arrived and 20 of us were now ready to begin preparing lunch. A 5 kilo boneless pork belly was already on the grill, and we proceeded to make two paellas — one a classic red paella with sofritto and chicken and seafood, and a paella or arroz con negro or withs squid ink and squid and prawns. We also grilled some fish, large prawns, experimental sriracha pork, etc.


Meanwhile, we prepped a large salad bowl filled with Gejo and Nacho’s spectacular lettuce, some sliced dried fruit brought by Nacho and dressed this with a simple vinaigrette. Some guests kindly put together the spectacular tomato salad with local white cheese and herbs from Malipayon Farms. It was so nice to have Nacho explain the different types of tomatoes from his farm, and since I had emailed a few days before, we were fortunate to get them totally vine ripened.


I cooked up a ginormous pot of chili crab and we set everything out buffet style on side tables and the kitchen table (out of the rain) and sat down to lunch at about 1230pm. Some tamales from Betchay were also served, spectacular balaw-balaw was the perfect dipping sauce to pork or grilled fish, and it was a veritable feast for the senses and our stomachs, a huge relief given the challenges of the last 24 hours. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and there was much laughter, an impressive amount of food consumed, some rather unusual fruit wines tested and imbibed with critical commentary, and everyone except me taking lots of photos.


Dessert was a smorgasbord of yum. We had fruit, brownies and lemon squares. Betchay brought pinipig, amazing sapin-sapin, Ging brought Belgian lace cookies, Lee some wonderful Bailon’s piaya, Lynell some caramel tarts and I am sure I have missed or forgotten something. I haven’t even mentioned the absolute windfall of delicacies that everyone brought with them for MM and family and I am so overwhelmed by your generosity and thoughtfulness. Bouquets of flowers, a plant, and even a crate filled with nearly two dozen dayap seedlings from Chris, who couldn’t make it as he is currently in New York! Nacho brought rosemary plants to give other guests and Betchay raffled off a copy of her husband’s book on Philippine history.


Previous eyeballs were always done in the safety of restaurants, or on our premises in Cebu, where I had a phalanx of chefs, waiters and crew at my disposal. So this smaller gathering in our small beach house, was something new, and riskier. But despite the hiccups, everything just seemed to fall into place. It was like a huge gathering of family and friends, with such wonderfully varied backgrounds, age groups, occupations, walks of life, and it was a raucous snapshot of the best of Filipino camaraderie. There were the stories, the laughs, the food and all of the add-ons, and the hours whizzed by until folks started to make their way back to Manila close to 4pm. And yes, the rains actually stopped just as the guests arrived. And the sun made an appearance a few hours later.


A huge thanks to all of you who made the effort to get to Nasugbu that stormy Friday morning, and a huge thanks for all the unexpected goodies you brought along. Marketmanila.com is nearly 10 years old, probably the equivalent of 100 man years (almost a dinosaur) in today’s technological landscape, but the best thing to come out of this community, is just that, a community of thousands of people with a common passion for food and a love of life. It was a pleasure to host some 20 folks for lunch, and I look forward to meeting more of you in the future.

P.S., I was so crazed with getting lunch on the table, I have hardly any pictures. If other guests would be kind enough to share photos please do so for the benefit of other readers… Thanks.



  1. Thel from Florida says:

    Despite some “suspenses” I am so happy everyone had a great time. All dishes look great too. Mabuhay! Until next time, hopefully I’ll be in attendance.

    Jun 15, 2014 | 10:54 pm


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  3. Natie says:

    What a happy-looking crowd! Thanks for sharing with us…

    Jun 16, 2014 | 12:55 am

  4. Connie C says:

    You don’t keep any matches in your household? or perhaps anybody might have had a cigarette lighter to light up the stove when the magnetic igniter fails?

    Bright smiles, happy, well fed and entertained guests. Am so jealous! But happy for everybody you were all a stronger force than a Friday the 13th hex.

    Jun 16, 2014 | 5:22 am

  5. Marketman says:

    Connie C, stove top burners ok with a match, but ovens are fired by an electronic rod… that can’t be remedied with a match. :) It’s a negative for a Viking in a third world country with intermittent electrical supply…

    Jun 16, 2014 | 6:22 am

  6. millet says:

    “some rather unusual fruit wines tested and imbibed with critical commentary” – “lasang plastic balloon” and “lasang acetone”. peace, Joey–happy birthday. very crazy crowd, that.

    Jun 16, 2014 | 7:15 am

  7. Gej says:

    Nice happy smiles indeed!

    All the food looks so good! Tamales is one of my favorites – that tamales, Betchay , certainly looks fully loaded!

    Jun 16, 2014 | 8:54 am

  8. Joan says:

    Had one of the best pinipig and sapin-sapin, thanks to Betchay! It was great to meet her and Agnes, Cass, Nacho and Peter. I hope hindi kayo na-trauma sa amin :)

    Thank you MM, for the feast and the honor of having us in your beach house. We would have wanted to stay longer and explore the beach but our raucous group might be too much for your peaceful village to handle…

    Jun 16, 2014 | 9:54 am

  9. Joey says:

    Masaya ba yung eyeball?


    Masarap ba yung local fruit wines?

    Hindi poooooooo! ;-)

    Jun 16, 2014 | 10:40 am

  10. peterb says:

    Joan, not traumatic enough, we want more! :)

    Joey, okay naman yung macopa. Yung acetone lang talaga ;) Happy Birthday!

    Who has photos of us cooking in the grill? :)

    MM, It was raining hard as soon i entered Nasugbu, still raining as i was following the guard to your house but stopped as soon as i parked in front of your house. :) Thanks again MM! :)

    Jun 16, 2014 | 12:36 pm

  11. Cheryl says:

    wow! hope i can join you in the future! God bless u more MM!

    Jun 16, 2014 | 12:54 pm

  12. Nacho says:

    I ditto peterb’s comments, not traumatic at all meeting the group! it seems peterb had a busy day, even making it all the way to the farm on the way home, bravo!
    MM Thank you again for your having us over and for preparing such a spread!

    Jun 16, 2014 | 4:18 pm

  13. millet says:

    Gej, we missed you, but MM made sure some we had some of your microgreens and other salad things in the salads. peterb, i will send the pictures to MM. nacho, i would definitely drop by your farm next time i’m in tagaytay. betchay, agnes, cass, nacho and peterb, it was really nice meeting you all!

    Jun 16, 2014 | 7:35 pm

  14. peterb says:

    Nacho, barely made it as I arrived just before 530. I just had to get some tomatoes for a tomato mozzarella salad I was planning. The family loved it, all praises for the tomatoes! Thanks Millet, will send some photos to MM as well. A pleasure meeting you too!

    Jun 16, 2014 | 8:37 pm

  15. Gej says:

    Thanks millet. I was very sad I could not make it and meet all of you. Happy though for all of you that you had such a great time!

    Kudos MM and Mrs MM for organizing the eyeball and for pulling it off in spite of all the challenges!

    Jun 16, 2014 | 8:56 pm

  16. greens_blossoms says:

    It is so nice to put a face to a name now….and was a pleasure meeting you all…don’t forget to invite us next time you all meet up again :-) definitely no trauma…the setting was very personal and relaxed…and never ending laughter…you all made the “newbies” feel like a part of your group…and to the gracious hosts, MM and Mrs. MM, you both made us all feel very special by welcoming us in your house and preparing a feast!

    Jun 16, 2014 | 9:05 pm

  17. kristin says:

    glad everyone had a good time…one day soon…sana kami din maka join? hehehe…

    Jun 16, 2014 | 10:53 pm

  18. joey @ 80 breakfasts says:

    So sad to have missed this! Next time for sure I will wrangle a way to make it!! :) The group photo is fantastic…such happy faces :) :) And, of course, I am sure the food was awesome no matter what hiccups came along the way :)

    Happy nearly-10 years MM! Looking forward to more!

    Jun 16, 2014 | 11:53 pm

  19. Kasseopeia says:

    “lasang acetone” and “lasang plastic balloon” are for the books. I am never washing my squid-ink-and-chili-crab stained dress ever!

    I agree with peterb: not traumatic enough. I’d like to be traumatized some more please – be it in Bacolod, Baseco, Bangkok, or Bietnam!

    That sriracha pork was phenomenal, and Nacho’s tomatoes still haunt my dreams. I will make it to the farm on my bike soon enough.

    Thank you to MM, Mrs MM, and The Lady (with purple streaks in her hair) for having us, and to the food-crazy (and crazed) mad mix of wonderful people from all walks of life. Best Friday the 13th ever!

    Jun 17, 2014 | 12:03 am

  20. Mimi says:

    Are those atsuete pods in vases on the tables? Great idea!

    Jun 17, 2014 | 12:31 am

  21. marilen says:

    Happy to see that some of the MM ‘family’ have met – eyeball to eyeball!!

    Jun 17, 2014 | 1:14 am

  22. Loneykitchen says:

    Friday the 13th and a “Honey” Moon were good omens for another fun-filled EB. MM and Mrs. MM, thank you for your gracious hospitality. Fantastic food made better with laughter and interesting conversations between old and new-found friends. Salamat gid!

    Jun 17, 2014 | 3:53 am

  23. Betchay says:

    @ Gej: it is the famous Robinson Tamales from Cavite City. It used to be a seasonal specialty made only during special occasions like New Year, X’mas, Fiesta and Easter but after word got around, it is now available daily but big orders need advance notice.


    @Joan: nice to meet you too! Hope to see you next time I eat at Zubuchon!

    To all my new-found friends at the EB: Thank you for a memorable and enjoyable day! I think this song sums it all up


    And of course, maraming, maraming salamat MM, Mrs.MM, the Lady, and the crew for making this event possible! One more time? We hope to do the welcoming for the next batch of “eager beavers”! :)

    Jun 17, 2014 | 5:42 am

  24. Betchay says:

    Sorry, wrong link but I will just write the lyrics of the song

    Hail, hail, the gang’s all here
    Never mind the weather, here we are together
    Hail, hail, the gang’s all here
    Sure we’re glad that you’re here too!

    Hail, hail, the gang’s all here
    We’re a bunch of live ones, not a single dead one
    Hail, hail, the gang’s all here
    Sure I’m glad that I’m here too!

    Jun 17, 2014 | 5:47 am

  25. Lee says:

    Two types of paella by MM and the crew, lechon belly, sriracha pork stir-grilled by Joey, prawns grilled by Peter, greens assembled by the ladies, gurgling chili crab, grilled fish, wonderful tamales within my arm’s reach, an assortment of dessert!

    Madamo gid nga salamat!

    Jun 17, 2014 | 8:29 am

  26. Footloose says:

    In the aftermath of the eyeball held before this, several links to picture galleries were generously provided by a few of the guests. Any chance of repeating that? I don’t have any doubt that much fun was had by all but I need to look at more photographic evidence of same; even more convincing if they are before and after shots, just like antacid commercials of old.

    Jun 17, 2014 | 8:36 am

  27. Joan says:

    Lee and Jenny would have eaten more if they were not assigned to the “english-speaking table”… they couldn’t dissect the crabs while racking their brains for their buried webster’s thesaurus…

    Jun 17, 2014 | 9:09 am

  28. Edik says:

    I had a great time with you guys although a bit embarrassed by MM’s description of whatever happened at his Zubuchon Mango branch during the Sinulog 2014. Yaiks!

    Daghan kaajong salamat gikan sa Bohol.

    Jun 17, 2014 | 9:16 am

  29. greens_blossoms says:

    Hahahahaha Joan on “english speaking table”….reminded me of the wild “eFOl” table centerpiece….

    Jun 17, 2014 | 9:20 am

  30. sophie says:

    So happy to see faces of those names I knew only in this blog. I pray that the next EyeBall a lot of us MarketManila readers will be able to join and indulge into MM’s hospitality.
    Happy 10th MM!

    Jun 17, 2014 | 10:54 am

  31. mylene espina says:

    Millet, Ate/sister of Mae, is that you? If it is, huhuhu sayang I did not win – otherwise, I would have been with you eating that delicious food and catching up on life in Davao, Mommy Lachi and of course, Mae….regards to the Aviles family!

    Jun 17, 2014 | 4:36 pm

  32. bagito says:

    hope to make it to one of these EBs one of these days (years?!). nice to see everyone well-fed and watered. kainggit! :)

    Jun 17, 2014 | 10:39 pm

  33. Boopsie says:

    A very wonderful spread. Congratulations on your 10 years of Marketmanila,

    Jun 18, 2014 | 12:32 am

  34. Ellen says:


    Jun 18, 2014 | 7:47 am

  35. millet says:

    mylene espina, yes, sayang nga. Come over to davao, dun tayo mag-eyeball!

    Jun 18, 2014 | 8:15 am

  36. mylene espina says:

    Yes yes Ate Millet one of these days we will visit Davao….thanks and fond regards!

    Jun 18, 2014 | 1:52 pm

  37. joem says:

    the next time kami naman po.

    Jun 18, 2014 | 8:57 pm

  38. Gigi says:

    Hi MM,
    Just curious… how did you store the meat on the 1st day when there was no electricity? You had back up generator?

    Jun 19, 2014 | 12:42 pm

  39. Marketman says:

    Gigi, we brought most of the meat frozen, and it got there at noon still hard, and stuck it in the freezers which were still cold. We ran into town and bought up all the ice we could find and kept stuffing the freezers with ice for the next 8 hours! Needless to say, it was a dicey proposition. If the lights remained off for another 4 hours or so, lunch would have been meatless I fear… :)

    Jun 19, 2014 | 2:42 pm

  40. millet says:

    betchay, i think cavite city deserves a separate food trip! the quesillo was so rich and delicate, and it went very well with the salads. the tamales was very malinamnam too.

    Jun 19, 2014 | 4:25 pm

  41. Kasseopeia says:

    Uy, I agree with Millet on the Cavite City food trip! I vote for one, to add to the plans for Batanes, Bacolod, and Bietnam. Haha!

    My blog is on indefinite hibernation but I do have a few pics I have been posting over my Instagram account (@kass_tastrophic) – but it is mostly of the tomatoes, as I have dreams of them still. =P

    Jun 19, 2014 | 9:05 pm

  42. peterb says:

    Kass, if you passed by Toscana, you’d drool over the tomatoes! I still have some from last week and they still look juicy! I’ll check out your instagram.

    Jun 19, 2014 | 11:03 pm

  43. Betchay says:

    @ Millet and Kass: Cavite City cuisine is indeed interesting. Hubby’s book has a chapter on Sangley Point and its long history as a port/shipyard way back from Spanish times so you could just imagine the various influences in our cuisine. The tamales is of Mexican origin because the Philippines was actually ruled by Spain thru Mexico. We also have our version of the Spanish Paella Negra( MM, your version was delicious!) but with a Chinese twist as it uses noodles instead of rice. We call it Pancit Pusit or Pancit Choku. And there is the poor man’s Filipino version of the Portuguese Bacalao(salted cod fish) which is only served during Holy Week. The Cavitenos have Fideos, Almondigas,croquetas/tortilla de patatas,Asao de carajay,carioca calandracas soup,etc —cuisine adapted from the former Motherland.There is also the dessert called Bibingkoy which they say is the soft version of the Chinese Fried buchi but I’d like to think it may have also come from the Japanese Mochi! I am no expert but just recalling the food I grew up with. A Cavite City food trip will be like going thru Philippine history! :)

    Jun 20, 2014 | 12:40 am

  44. Footloose says:

    @Betchay, pipian, you left out pipian with real epazote and pancit pusô.

    Jun 20, 2014 | 1:25 am

  45. peterb says:

    @Betchay, sounds like a plan for a food tour! :) I remember watching a food show before that featured a paella like dish that used noodles. Not sure if it was in Spain or Cuba. It was called Fideus. I remember wanting to try and cook it, but forgot about till now. First time I’ve heard though that we have a local version.

    Jun 20, 2014 | 5:55 am

  46. Marketman says:

    peterb, a fideua post here. And another one here. Betchay, I want to try a noodle with squid ink! :)

    Jun 20, 2014 | 7:11 am

  47. peterb says:

    Thanks MM! Looking at the date of the post, it seems i already saw this before even prior to that TV show. Will try this soon! Btw, not sure if you know but i saw local squid ink at Rustan’s. I tried looking for the brand you used at Santi’s and La Tienda, but they were out. Epicerie had sachets, but i decided to go the bottled ink. Pretty concentrated, the paella turned out delicious.

    Jun 20, 2014 | 8:59 am

  48. millet says:

    MM, the cavite version of the squid pasta had some squid cooked adobo-style (with ink) mixed with blanched bihon noodles, sprinkled with patis, topped with fried garlic and chopped up kamias. and hardboiled eggs, i think. really tasty.

    Jun 20, 2014 | 9:12 pm

  49. millet says:

    and calamansi and chopped chicharon on top, i remember.

    Jun 20, 2014 | 9:14 pm

  50. Kasseopeia says:

    PeterB, will get myself to Toscana and Malipayon farms soonest!

    Sounds like a plan! Cavite food trip na ito ;)

    Jun 20, 2014 | 10:38 pm

  51. Betchay says:

    @footloose: you must be Caviteno or a has a Caviteno link to know about Pipian and pancit Puso. Although I dont remember pipian cooked at home it is a Caviteno dish like a chicken kare-kare sprinkled with green onions I think. The pancit puso has chopped puso ng saging cooked in vinegar as ” paasim” instead of calamansi. Our Kilawin Librillo is actually tripe and lungs with grated papaya cooked in vinegar which is usually paired with Kare-kare cooked on Sundays.Yes, Cavitenos follow pairings of food like guinisang monggo with fried fish on Fridays, paksiw na isda with crackling chicharon,etc.

    MM, Millet gave a good description of the the pancit pusit. It is adobo squid cooked with either bihon or sotanghon noodles topped with plenty of chicharon, garlic,kinchay and this time kamias for “paasim”

    @peterb: Caviteno fideos is nothing like the Spanish original.Ours is just egg noodles with ground beef in a soup.

    Jun 20, 2014 | 11:13 pm

  52. Footloose says:

    @Betchay, a minor quibble: Bacalao as cooked in the Philippines and indeed in the rest of ex-colonies of Spain are all based on Bacalao a la Viscaina; the Bay of Viscay being the start off point of Basque fisherman plying the Grand Banks for cod. Nothing to do with Portugal at all although an easy error to make since the Portuguese have an abiding obsession with salt cod and have myriads of recipes as proof.

    If the cook is particular, pancit puso requires banana heart from a particular strain of banana, butuan. It does not turn dark when sliced and in fact, turns the broth cloudy white when added to certain fish sinigang.

    One of my favourites, librillo and labanos paired down our way with asado de carajay or pork and calf liver adobo.

    Jun 21, 2014 | 6:55 am

  53. Lee says:

    @betchay: Those Cavite Tamales were great and conveniently within arm’s reach from my table.

    Jun 21, 2014 | 12:56 pm

  54. Joey says:

    And speaking English was a small price to pay, Lee… ;-)

    Jun 21, 2014 | 2:52 pm

  55. millet says:

    Betchay and Footloose, my mom’s kilawing labanos had librillo and lapay (spleen), tomatoes, vinegar and patis, and I think, some pimiento slices. my mom’s not cavitena, but we always had paksiw na bangus paired with chicharon, ginisang munggo with fried fish or escabeche (sweet and sour fish), and the most sinful pairing was my grandma’s kare-kare with bituka (beef intestines with a lot of fat inside) and chicken-pork adobo (with slices of pork liver in it), and of course, with a side dish of binagoongang baboy. a platter of steamed oysters, sliced ripe mangoes and bowls of minatamis na saging completed the typical sunday meal during the time when the word cholesterol had yet to be invented.

    Jun 21, 2014 | 8:44 pm

  56. Footloose says:

    Agree, those are traditional pairings not exclusively particular to any region.

    And yes, those buttery bituka, deadly delicious and deadly deadly.

    I was surprised to find out that there was a tagalog term for spleen and heard it only when a distant cousin’s had to be taken out.

    Jun 21, 2014 | 9:04 pm

  57. peterb says:

    @Bethcay, ah ok, so it’s a soup (i reread your post). The pansit pusit sounds delicious ! My brother in law recently cooked pansit puti, the pancit pusit will be be a perfect. I already found a recipe online from Asiong’s Carinderia.

    Jun 21, 2014 | 10:47 pm

  58. ramon says:

    where in butuan can i get the dayap? i want to plant some here in zamboanga del norte as there is none to be had.

    Jun 24, 2014 | 10:56 am

  59. millet says:

    Betchay, your Cavite sapin-sapin (individually wrapped), bibingkang pinipig and kesong puti were in Helena Benitez’ birthday buffet, as was pansit pusit, according to an article in the Phil. Daily Inquirer today.

    Jun 26, 2014 | 9:13 am

  60. Marketman says:

    millet, yup, I noticed that, and will definitely be taking a crack at the pancit pusit soon! :)

    Jun 26, 2014 | 9:59 am

  61. Betchay says:

    Sorry guys,I was out of touch for a while.
    @ Footloose: I googled history of Bacalao and you are right, thanks! We do use that kind of banana heart as it does not turn black when sliced.
    @ Millet: Benitez’ mother is a Tirona, a Cavitena
    @ Lee: glad that you enjoyed the tamales. Do you have hubby’s book?You will enjoy that too! :)
    @ Peterb: Yes, like the song Ebony and Ivory…Pancit pusit and pancit Puti

    MM, looking forward to your version of Pancit Pusit! :)

    Jul 7, 2014 | 1:52 am


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