25 Jul2007


I am in Cebu at the moment, and very busy, hence the relative quiet on the blog, and thus the need to do posts where you can all amuse each other with your fantastic answers to the question of “what you do for a living? I am utterly amazed by the variety of things everyone is involved in… it’s really fantastic! But I did want to do a post on a recent visit to the Carbon Market in Cebu, which is the mother of all produce markets on the island. Similar to Divisoria in Manila, The Carbon is where a lot of produce on the island of Cebu changes hands… When I announced at the small family office that I wanted to hit the Carbon that afternoon, everyone looked at each other like, “is he out of his mind?” A few years ago I went to the Carbon at about 10pm (near the peak of the market) and it was WALL TO WALL PEOPLE and produce and frankly, at one point it did seem a bit unsafe to be waltzing around, an obvious tourist. The Carbon seems to have more “interesting characters” than other markets I have spent time in. Located at the end of the Cebu railway line (yes, there used to be a railway), the area was used to store coal in the days when it powered steam engines that in turn generated power for the city. With all the huge mountains of coal stores, it became known as The Carbon…


Today, it is a huge market, the largest on the island of Cebu, and it almost always has a stunning amount of produce on offer. I really do wonder where the view that Cebuanos don’t eat vegetables comes from as there is an abundance of greens and other vegetables…here is a photo tour of The Carbon Market, circa 2007…

An abundance of indian mangoes…


Kalamansi sold by the piece (prices by 25 pcs or 100 pcs, for example)…


Garlic sold by the clove, taking “tinggi-tinggi” to the extreme, and adding plastic garbage to our environment…


A little mountain of gabi (taro root)…


A selection of greens…


Stunningly fresh and huge cabbages and malunggay leaves in the background…


Mangoes by the thousands in the section of the market that is the epicenter of mango trading…


Baskets of landang


A headache worth of kalabasa!




  1. Risa says:

    What is landang?

    Jul 25, 2007 | 10:34 pm


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  3. suzette says:

    what’s landang?

    Jul 25, 2007 | 10:34 pm

  4. Marketman says:

    Sorry, here is a link to landang, used in guinataan in Cebu.

    Jul 25, 2007 | 10:38 pm

  5. shalimar says:

    oh my I miss this market so much!!!! maka mingaw intawon

    Jul 25, 2007 | 10:50 pm

  6. suzette says:

    oic… hehehe, guess i missed that post :) thanks!

    Jul 25, 2007 | 10:50 pm

  7. emz says:

    i’ll be in cebu first week of august and i’m planning to go to the carbon market. aside from the usual foodstuff, several sites in the internet has mentioned that one can also purchase native bags and handicrafts there at really cheap prices. i’m not really sure of the quality since there’s not much information available on the net. i don’t mean to impose, but i’d appreciate it if you or anyone can provide information. by the way, is it safe for a tourist to stroll in Colon? from what i’ve read its the oldest street in the philippines. thanks! :)

    Jul 25, 2007 | 10:53 pm

  8. ykmd says:

    Went there rarely as a kid since there was a small market closer to our house – just remember the din and bustle :) And now I know why it’s called Carbon! The landang picture makes me miss benignit as usual – comfort food on a rainy day! And I love veggies! The simpler the preparation the better!

    Jul 26, 2007 | 12:31 am

  9. Maria Clara says:

    The best ripe mangoes in yellow sunshine color captivate me. I can picture myself enjoying the ripe mangoes with suman sa ibos and cup of tsokolateng batirol cannot get any better than that. Wake up wake up and smell the cup of Joe too vivid a fantasy.

    Jul 26, 2007 | 12:36 am

  10. brenda says:

    I only go to Carbon to buy pirated DVDs, hehehheh. And when I do, I make it a point to buy onions, garlic and some fruits by the kilo because its really much cheaper there compared to other markets.

    Jul 26, 2007 | 3:56 am

  11. elaine says:

    Pretty much reminds me of the trading post in La Trinidad in Benguet and a bit organized. I truly miss going to the market!

    Jul 26, 2007 | 6:49 am

  12. connie says:

    I can’t help but giggle at the first picture with the vendor slumped over her bilao of siling labuyo.

    Jul 26, 2007 | 7:25 am

  13. Cumin says:

    Thanks for this, MM. I have good memories of going to the market in Carbon, I used to be assigned to buy veggies, while my sister shopped for meat in the adjacent building. I was 11/12 years old then, trained early by my mother to bargain! By the way, I’ve always meant to ask: any restaurants you recommend in Cebu?

    Jul 26, 2007 | 7:46 am

  14. bernadette says:

    that man with the basket of kalabasa on his head must be pretty strong! :-) I recall that I’d always see to it that I go to Carbon whenever I get a chance to go to Cebu just to stock up on danggit and dried pusit—it was so cheap then! And I also would go to a place where a lot of varied kinds of beads were sold…was that also in thereabouts? I would just keep on walking and looking at the interesting stores and talipapas. Thank you MM for the recent photos of Carbon!

    Jul 26, 2007 | 9:14 am

  15. The Steak Lady says:

    Hi Cumin, regarding Cebu restaurants i can recommend the ff:
    Ginza at Banilad road and Ofukusan for authentic Japanese, La Buona (Escario st.)and La Tegola (Banilad) for authentic Italian, Golden Cowrie and Chika-an for filipino/cebuano, AA and Cheavers BBQ for cheap grilled food, Tsai for Asian Fusion, David’s and Olio for steaks and seafood, Ching Palace and Grand Majestic for Chinese, Cafe Georg (banilad) and Oh Georg (ayala center) for pasta, salad, sandwiches ang great desserts, and the all time favorites have to be Sunburst Fried Chicken and Abuhan pochero =)

    Jul 26, 2007 | 10:18 am

  16. TOPING says:

    Sunburst! Thanks for reminding me, Steak Lady! Somehow they get chicken right, and I’m normally not into fowl. Skin, isol, liver… lami tanan! (Coleslaw’s too watery, though…)

    Jul 26, 2007 | 10:27 am

  17. Cumin says:

    Hey, very quick response! Daghang salamat, The Steak Lady. I grew up in Cebu, still visit a few times a year, know some of the places you listed, and look out for new discoveries. My family also likes Kaona Grill along A. Fortuna St in Banilad and STK in the Capitol area for the best scallops — both are unpretentious restaurants, very cheap by Manila standards. Amazing how restaurants in Cebu, Davao, Bohol, Palawan are able to keep prices so low and the quality so high, di ba?
    Love your blog, MM. Not just reading you but also exchanges with the rest of the foodies community!

    Jul 26, 2007 | 11:25 am

  18. CecileJ says:

    I have eaten at this nice hideaway on 10 Dove Street in Cebu. Does anyone know what subdivision it is at? Also, there’s this shop that sells mini mercedes de brazos that are to die for!

    Jul 26, 2007 | 12:14 pm

  19. lee says:

    1 trip: A headache worth of kalabasa
    2 trips: A migraine worth of kalabasa

    Jul 26, 2007 | 2:12 pm

  20. divalicious says:

    i’ve worked/lived in cebu for a year and i consider it as one of the best year/s in my life. the restaurants mentioned are familiar with me. i agree that cebu has some of the best food in the phils and yet they’re very inexpensive compared with manila prices. cebu is definitely on my list when i go back to the phils.
    what do you think of the spanish restaurant just outside the city? i forgot where it was exactly. it’s located in a residential area without a sign, just a small wooden door….

    Jul 26, 2007 | 2:41 pm

  21. The Steak Lady says:

    Ah, yes. 10 dove street in Sto. Nino Village,Banilad. Tita Marisol’s cakes are really super popular! She has a lot of choices available and she supplies most of the restaurants in Cebu. For only Php150 (not sure if they have increased) you get a salad, sandwich and cake of your choice… all at very generous portions! they can also close the place for you minimum of 20 people and have a buffet spread. simply yummy! Num is (032)346-0618. Regarding the Spanish restaurant, it’s called Aranos. This is located in Fairlane Village in Guadalupe, Cebu City (kinda hard to find though), It’s a very small place ran by the Ibarlucea family. Great spanish food! Sorry, i didnt mention the STK in Mactan Island since i think MM made a post already. Our family’s favorite is No Problem! hahaha, funny name but great food. look for Manag Rose. Hi Toping, i agree with you. coleslaw (that comes with your order) is too watery but Sunburst is THE best chicken ever! This is originally from Iligan but became so popular in Cebu. I hope they will open a branch in Manila soon! =) oh, and how can i forget the original Ding How dimsum place in Colon street? now its more popularly known as Harbor City dimsum in all the major malls.

    Jul 26, 2007 | 3:17 pm

  22. The Steak Lady says:

    Hi MM if you’re still in Cebu, try to check out Merto’s in Banilad Town Center and order their Belgian chocolate lace cookies. i got it before my flight back yesterday and it’s really very good! it’s called Les Chocolateries (dentelle au chocolat) and you can call them at 0917-6220427. It’s become so popular that even Manila guests have them shipped over by boxes!

    Jul 26, 2007 | 3:25 pm

  23. Marketman says:

    The Steak Lady, yes, I have had the dentelle au chocolat, they are good. As for restaurant, Try Snow Sheen (hole in the wall with no aircon) near Colon that is a downtown institution for terrific pancit for less than PHP100, I also hear that ABACA near the Shangrila in Mactan is super chi-chi (I haven’t been yet), there is a Japanese restaurant on the way to Mandaue that I haven’t heard the name of. An Italian restaurant near Maria Luisa by a previous chef of Shangrila… The Vietnamese restaurant Lemongrass in the Ayala Mall is surprisingly decent as well…

    Jul 26, 2007 | 3:44 pm

  24. Cumin says:

    Ayayay, so many new options! Definitely looking forward to my next trip to Cebu. Haven’t heard of Merto’s but that will be first priority. Yikes, so much food and just one stomach… The Steak Lady, you forgot to mention that the meals in 10 Dove Street also include soup, really good bargain. Have also tried Aranos several times in the 1990s and, during my meat-eating days, used to love their lengua. Maybe the Cebu-based foodies can get together sometime with MM?? Not necessarily at Aranos, I remember you said you didn’t like lengua, MM?

    Jul 26, 2007 | 10:00 pm

  25. Sheena says:

    Cumin and Steak Lady, you guys forgot Casa Verde in downtown Cebu City. I love their ribs here. I made an entry about Casa Verde in my multiply account complete with pictures. http://babysheens.multiply.com

    I heart Sunburst chicken! =) I can finish 2pcs thigh + 1 order of chicken skin in one sitting.

    speaking of food, where’s the best place to eat sutukil aside from the one beside Lapu Lapu shrine?

    Jul 27, 2007 | 1:05 am

  26. CecileJ says:

    Steak Lady, sadly 10 Dove St’s. prices have doubled. When I was there this January, the set meal cost 3 or 4 hundred yata and doesn’t include drinks. But it was totally worth it!!! (Soup or salad, hefty sandwich and yummy cake!)

    Jul 27, 2007 | 10:38 am

  27. perkycinderella says:

    Is Mario’s carinderia still exist in Cebu? My family went there in late 80’s. It located outside of Cebu City. This hole-in-the-wall eatery serves the best bulalo in town (or outside of the town, whaterver?.

    Jul 28, 2007 | 1:35 am

  28. The Steak Lady says:

    Snow Sheen! wow MM, that’s a classic! Same as Pete’s Kitchen in Junquera =) Giussepe’s is the Italian resto in ma. Luisa, and Kagura (i think) is the one in A.S. Fortuna, Mandaue. Hi CecileJ, I called 10 dove to verify prices, and it’s Php160 for a set meal (choice of soup/salad, sandwich and cake). Php250 up for the buffet meals (min 20 pax). perkycinderella, i can’t believe you tried mario’s! that’s one of Cebu’s best kept secrets and has been around for a long time. It’s still in it’s old location, beside the Provincial Capitol Building. Sheena, there’s this Sutukil type of eatery located at “bukid” right after the old Casino Building in Nivel Hills. It’s pretty popular plus good prices and great view of the city. sorry, forgot what i’s called but most of the folks in the area know about it =)

    Jul 28, 2007 | 12:00 pm

  29. Sheena says:

    Thanks The Steak Lady! I’ll tell my boyfriend to ask around so we can go there next time =)

    Jul 30, 2007 | 1:18 am

  30. Ali says:

    Don Merto’s has THE BEST steak in Cebu. They are opening a new place on Juana Osmena St where the new Casa Escano bed & breakfast is.

    Aug 31, 2007 | 10:29 am

  31. Jeko says:

    Hi there! Any contact details for Casa Escano bed & breakfast in Cebu? I can’t find their website on the internet. Thanks!

    Nov 14, 2007 | 9:30 am

  32. Benguetfarmer says:

    Where did the sayote, cabbage,chinese cabbage and other “highland vegetables” came from? Are these crops being planted there? I thought these are just planted in cold areas such as the Cordillera Mountains.

    Dec 7, 2007 | 7:54 am

  33. Marketman says:

    Benguetfarmer, Cebu has several vegetable growing areas “up in their mountains” that are a few degrees cooler as well, though nowhere near as cold as Baguio and the Mt. Province…

    Dec 7, 2007 | 9:25 am

  34. Tessa says:


    Casa Escano don’t have a website yet, but if you’re interested in more information email us at casaescano@yahoo.com, but the best thing to do would be to stop by and take a look at the rooms. Thanks!

    Dec 13, 2007 | 12:00 pm

  35. marlie says:

    Anyone here can tell me about Ermita Beach and what’s the status in the area? Is it safe to visit? I used to live there when I was a kid and of course it’s only a few feet away from Carbon Market.

    Jan 7, 2008 | 2:55 pm

  36. Jimmy says:

    Casa Escano has posted some pictures. Check them out at

    Jan 17, 2008 | 4:44 pm

  37. vikylou says:

    Reading all your comments makes me miss Cebu more and more. I’m 100% pure Cebuana and I have been to all of the restos mentioned above (except for the newly opened ones!). I havent been home for the past 6 years straight, looking forward to coming home and taking my son for his first jeepney ride:-)

    Feb 28, 2008 | 6:41 am

  38. chubbyprettylicious says:


    May 2, 2008 | 3:45 pm

  39. chubbyprettylicious says:

    ill answer my own question its not martio;s but marjo’s yummy!!!!i miss cebu!!!!!:-)

    May 8, 2008 | 7:46 pm

  40. chubbyprettylicious says:

    marjo’s not mario’s as written above heheheeh

    May 8, 2008 | 7:47 pm

  41. thata says:

    how and where can i buy ampalaya in Germany?

    Nov 25, 2008 | 7:26 pm

  42. 'ikkin says:

    where can u buy mayfair chocolates in cebu? we need them for our xmas racket…unfortunately no stocks available here in tacloban:)

    Dec 17, 2008 | 9:31 pm

  43. brian batbatan says:

    who among you here lives in CEBU?? can you help me ??? anyone of you know the “Les Chocolateries lace cookies” this is made in cebu kasi hmmm may nagbigay saakin hmm im just wondering if anyone of you here can help me get their contact number??? kahit mag long distance ako okie lng thnx in advance… brian_dragonheart@yahoo.com

    Jan 12, 2009 | 4:41 pm

  44. rhodora says:

    A lot of places to try on my next trip back to Cebu…The steak lady..Can i get the address of the No Problem Restaurant in Cebu?..I hope it’s not a problem…..kidding..

    Aug 1, 2009 | 7:19 am

  45. Nina Bautista says:

    Good day everyone! Looking for LES CHOCOLATERIES BELGIAN LACE COOKIES? Drop by Le Doux Atelier and get fresh stock at 2F Unit 12B CT Alabang Citiarcade Cupang Muntinlupa West Service Road. Store hrs Mon-Sun 9am-7pm Tel no. 5147622 Mobile 09175842930. Free delivery within Metro Manila – minimum order of 5. See you soon! Thank you.

    Sep 8, 2009 | 9:01 am

  46. Nina Bautista says:

    FYI we are now selling the Dark,White, Mint and Assorted for 412pesos.Please visit us! We also diliver within Metro Manila for a minimum order of 5. Thank you and God bless!

    Sep 11, 2009 | 11:24 am


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