12 Aug2014


Imagine the energy expended over five grueling hours of swimming, biking and running, the exhilaration of finally crossing the finish line, and the chest swelling with pride when this medal was hung on your neck. That is what every finisher at the Ironman 2014 Race in Cebu experienced. I didn’t want to say anything… but this is what the medal looks like. :)


Yes, I can only imagine the incredulous thoughts and looks of disbelief on your faces as you read that last line and for a millisecond, thought, Marketman?!, seriously? Hahaha. NOT. As the hundreds of participants in the Ironman race flooded Zubuchon’s new Marina branch from Friday through Saturday and after the race Sunday, my managers, staff and I all wondered what it took to prepare and steel one’s self for this race. And soon after the race finished, dozens of folks walked around proudly with their “FINISHER” t-shirts, some hobbling and barely moving without wincing a great deal. But they came to eat their lechon, and a surprisingly strong demand for our new seafood menu as well.


We doubled up crew, brought in all of our “A-Team” from other city branches, and for several hours straight we felt like we were in a marathon to feed the participants and their guests. Accountants were behind the scenes washing dishes, our buyer was chopping lechon, managers were clearing tables and we tried our best to accommodate the deluge into our restaurant that was just a few days old.


There were glitches, but honestly, with groups of 40 demanding that their food be delivered all at once like we were at McDonald’s, it was a real challenge at times.


These photos taken when it wasn’t so CRAZED yet, as later in the day it was all hands on deck and I ended up helping at the kinilaw bar, selling hats and bags to Koreans, unruffling feathers ruffled by glitches, and all around pacing that would have just about let me finish a 21km light jog that day.


The wisdom of the diets was beyond me. I assumed carbohydrate loading the day before, and massive eating after the race. And that fatty pork would not be a good thing. But there seemed to be no rules. Pig, fish, vegetable, desserts, shakes all seemed to be in strong demand.


And despite trying to dissuade others from waiting 30-40 minutes for a table(s), we had guests waiting in their air-conditioned vans until tables came free, and of course we delivered our complimentary peanuts to them while they were in their vehicles looking over our menus. Yipes.


So honestly, I thought the crew deserved a medal for their service over those 3-4 days. And like some bizarre scene from a movie, one day last week, after the race, a regular guest walked in, and after speaking with one of our managers, gave us this authentic Ironman 2014 Finisher Medal. No, we did not earn it the traditional way, and would never misrepresent ourselves. But how cool is that? Not sure if the man manufactured the medals (it was designed by Kenneth Cobonpue) or if it was an extra, or someone delirious from lack of electrolytes post-race threw it away, but this man gave it to us, and I will have it framed and displayed at the branch, not because we finished the Ironman race, but because we fed so many of those who did. :)


The donor shall remain anonymous. And I send him my profuse thanks. And I hope that the Ironman Race will return to Cebu next year, so we may feed the throngs of contestants and their guests again. And maybe, just maybe, if I plan far enough ahead, we can have a simultaneous “IronPig” competition that will see guests trying to eat a trifecta or more of porky dishes, to earn a “FINISHER” t-shirt that would be proudly worn just like this medal above. :)



  1. sister says:

    Does an entry do ALL the segments of the race as required any where else in the world or in true Filipino bayanihan fashion each segment is run by a different person on a team relay style, like the staff at Zubuchon? At least your staff works in air conditioned rooms and are not clad in lycra. You could do a Zubuchon pig medal for the employee of the month…

    Aug 12, 2014 | 4:49 pm


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  3. titashi says:

    I think I will join the IronPig next year!!! When will the registration begin? hahaha! ; )

    Aug 12, 2014 | 6:17 pm

  4. Betchay says:

    You and your crew deserved that medal!!! Congratulations!

    Aug 12, 2014 | 7:09 pm

  5. Marketman says:

    Sister, most of the contestants seem to do the entire race, swim/bike/run which totals 70.3 miles of activity (it’s a HALF ironman), but you can also register for limited spots for relay legs where a team of three do one leg only. The race is run as a pre-cursor or kind of validation of folks who do eventually want to run a full ironman. 2,500 participants total, some 1/3 from abroad, 2/3 local. And yes, the clad in lycra is a tough condition… hahaha.

    Aug 12, 2014 | 7:59 pm

  6. Natie says:

    Yes, you and the crew deserve that medal.. I got tired just reading this post!!

    Aug 13, 2014 | 4:24 am

  7. Al says:

    Congratulations!!! wow, “ironPig”, he he he

    Aug 13, 2014 | 7:10 am

  8. millet says:

    oh, i know a group that would sign up for IronPig as soon as you give the go-signal, MM! ;-)

    Aug 13, 2014 | 8:50 am

  9. bernie says:

    IronPig. I like the sound of that.
    I am looking forward to my annual pilgrimage (which coincide with an annual conference I attend in Cebu) to The Lechon Shrine of the South, popularly known as Zubuchon this September.

    Aug 13, 2014 | 2:10 pm

  10. AlexME says:

    Hi MM…you’re crew/staff and you are, as usual, the true marathoners of the restaurant business. Great work! I’ll say something, that you would not: How much was the entry fee for the Ironman? I’m sure some of the proceeds went into the medals. At least the Filipino Ironman Medal will surely stand out among the collection of medals by frequent marathoners. Just Google images for Ironman medals and you’ll see what I mean.

    Aug 13, 2014 | 3:17 pm

  11. Kasseopeia says:

    MM, I may not survive even one LEG of the Cebu Ironman but I am 99.9999% certain I will be an IronPig finisher. Bring it on! :P

    Aug 13, 2014 | 4:40 pm

  12. Gej says:

    Great timing to open your new branch!

    I’ll sign up too! Pork loading!

    Aug 13, 2014 | 6:01 pm

  13. Footloose says:

    I have seen my share of wacky trophies but this one takes the price and bear in mind this is coming from a Cabonpue long-time design fan. There’s just something about those Cracker Jack figures that say pitiful and tawdry.

    In ancient Greece, victors in the panathenaic games were bedecked in laurel boas and given black and red figure amphorae turned, incised and fired for the occasion. Hearst who bought antiques by the boatful ended up with a hoard of them and if you visit his castle in San Simeon, CA you will find them lined up high around one of the halls.

    Aug 14, 2014 | 6:58 am

  14. Marketman says:

    Footloose, if I could, Botero would do the rotund pig for the IronPig medal. :) AlexME, I believe the fee for all three legs was PHP15,000 or roughly PHP5,000 per segment. But the top prize, was a surprisingly modest $5,000. I suspect there were some appearance “fees” for the top athletes to attend…

    Aug 14, 2014 | 8:31 am

  15. Footloose says:

    I watched in full this splendid tribute to Robin Williams and could not help but have Zubuchon in the periphery of my vision.


    Aug 14, 2014 | 9:00 am

  16. Marketman says:

    Footloose, wonderful clip. I always wanted to study in the U.K. if it would guarantee I would get the accent and more importantly, the absolutely precise use of words when expressing oneself.

    Aug 14, 2014 | 11:03 am

  17. lynn says:

    hi mm, what is the address of your new branch/outlet? my bf and i will be going there, its his first time.

    Aug 14, 2014 | 3:09 pm

  18. Marketman says:

    hi lynn, its at the Marina Mall, ML Quezon Ave, Brgy Ibo, MEPZ I, just at the turnoff to the airport in Mactan, signs are pretty big… I hope you enjoy it.

    Aug 14, 2014 | 5:18 pm

  19. Ging says:

    Ironman. IronPig. Bring it on. Name the date. We WILL train.

    Aug 16, 2014 | 6:20 pm

  20. MP says:

    Finally, a competition I have a chance of winning: IronPig! I have been training for that all my life… But no lycra please. I will come in my “duster”, the better to hide the results of my intense training…

    Aug 17, 2014 | 12:51 pm

  21. Dodi says:

    And we will be there in Zubochon Mango again soon! Yehey!!

    Aug 31, 2014 | 11:22 pm


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