Last week was a bit crazed and I returned to Manila from an overnight trip to Cebu somewhat exhausted. Some large convention cornered all the rooms in the city on Thursday night so I had to settle for a room at the Waterfront Hotel at the Mactan airport. The room was substandard with yellow brown water in the taps and toilets, the shower head filled with scum, several light bulbs were out and the room was musty and foul smelling. At PHP 4,800 a night, it was not good value. Other things happened during the stay but suffice it to say I will avoid the Waterfront hotel like the plague in future. As a result, back in Manila I slept like a log and completely missed my early wake up hour on Saturday morning to hit the markets. This was a good excuse to finally check out the Legazpi market in Makati on Sundayâ€¦
My residual foul mood caused by the foul hotel room may have been to blame, but my initial reaction upon hitting the Legazpi market was that I should return in 2-3 months and see what it was like then. Patterned after the successful Salcedo market on Saturdays, this recent addition to the Makati market scene is in its early stages. Perhaps 70-80% of the vendors offer packaged or prepared/cooked foods and it is best described as a food bazaar rather than a market. Until a critical mass of customers emerges, prepared food is less risky than fresh and perishable farm and sea produceâ€¦ but it makes for less interesting shopping as far as I am concerned. Many of the stalls carry branded food stuff and to me that is less appealingâ€¦ who wants baked goods that may be sold in the mall on any given day? Finally, the location seems less appealing than the Salcedo market â€“ it feels like you are on a hot open parking lot â€“ which you literally are (same is true for Salcedo but it doesn’t feel so exposed).
A big plus is that the organic producers who used to sell in the market organized by Mara Pardo de Tavera in Greenbelt are mostly hereâ€¦and itâ€™s nice to see them in forceâ€¦ There were some nice herb and fruit selections on offer. Overall there was far less produce or fish than is necessary in a good neighborhood market, but thatâ€™s my opinion. Generally speaking I am wary of Sunday as a market day as I find most produce seem to be harvested on Thursdays and Fridays and is freshest in the city on Friday/Saturday. This theory is bolstered by the fact that I have tracked several vendors from Friday through Sunday in different markets and it does not appear that they are always stocking the freshest or most recently arrived produce, particularly on Sundays. Also, most people in Manila must entertain on Fridays and Saturdays (and possibly Sunday lunch) so they would be shopping a day or so before.
During my visit I spied some interesting looking ukoy (photo up top) though almost certainly colored, a vendor selling tapang usa and baboy damo (cured deer and wild boar meat), some native (organic) eggs, several interesting ingredients such as dairy products, muscovado sugar, honey, etc. and one modest sized seafood vendor. There was also a flower vendor, some basket shops and other native goods. I am hopeful that over the coming months this market expands and has a wider variety and deeper selection of fresh produce.
I spent just 20 minutes at this market on my initial visit. I walked up and down all the â€œaislesâ€ and re-connected with some old organic sukis. I purchased about 1/10th of what I would buy at the FTI Saturday market and about 1/4th of what I might spend on a typical visit to the Salcedo market. Maybe it just needs some time to grow into its ownâ€¦ will have to check it out again in a few months! If you would like to visit, the market is in the parking lot in the middle of Legazpi Village in Makati. There is ample parking or you can park on Legazpi street and nearby streets.