06 Jul2011

When a local television celebrity calls to ask if they can film a segment of their show in your new restaurant (even though it is your opening day and there are two eyeballs already planned), do you say no?

Of course not. You find a way to somehow squeeze them in… So when GMA Network folks called on Friday afternoon, the day before the two Saturday eyeballs at lunch and dinner, we graciously agreed to a mid-afternoon appointment. I figured if we were going to be crazy and do two events, we might as well be insane and do three events in one 12 hour span of time. INSANE is right.

But oddly, I really liked the premise. The show is “Day Off” and the idea is that they give a worker a day off from work while one of the show’s hosts does his or her job. Then the worker who has the day off gets to do whatever he pleases (within reason, of course) and in this case, I think he asked to eat lechon. So GMA flew the guy to Cebu, toured him around the sites and as one of the stops on his day off, they treated him to a meal at Zubuchon. Cool, huh? I don’t watch much television so I honestly hadn’t heard of this program before, but the crew were giddy with excitement and wanted to know which of the two famous co-hosts would show up. Imagine their delight when both co-hosts showed up! :)

So in walks in Carmina Villaroel and sidekick Pekto and the cameras are rolling (three hours late as the flights that morning were affected by bad weather in Manila). I won’t pre-empt the show, so you’ll have to watch it if you want more details…

But I will tell you one of the off-camera moments that had everyone is shock, awe and pleasant amazement. Ms. Villaroel is apparently a vegetarian, or at least avoids pork, beef, etc. and has done so for many years now. We had adjusted for this by sending out vegetarian or near vegetarian dishes to complement the lechon roasted specially for the occasion. But once the filming was done and crew were tucking into the food, Pekto and others kept goading Carmina to taste the lechon, a thing they apparently subject her too whenever there is meat around. With taunts that if she was going to ever break her resolve, now was the time, with this crispy skin, Carmina surprised everyone and had two tastes or bites of skin, with vinegar!

The GMA crew couldn’t believe it, we couldn’t believe it, and this snapshot of Pekto brandishing a wicked grin of “victory” says it all. After all those years, we are honored Ms. Villaroel chose our lechon to taste… and she said it tasted great, and after all those years, she still can recall the taste of meat done well… But let me make this clear, she had just two teeny tiny bites of the skin. :) And a huge thank you to the GMA crew for such a professional and rapid as possible shoot and visit. And for gamely posing for snapshots with many of the crew for whom this was a real “kilig” moment, I am told. Imagine, it was the first official day at work and Carmina and Pekto came to visit?! :)

The segment shot at Zubuchon is apparently coming out this Saturday, 9 July 2011 at 6:10pm: (NOTE: REVISED AIR DATE, program was split into two episodes, so ZUBUCHON BIT AIRS ON SATURDAY, 16 July 2011 at 6:10pm — THANKS!)

“Day Off”
(different channels depending on your cable carrier or location abroad)

Please DO NOT laugh if they air any of the seconds long interview they did with Marketman, it was atrocious and I won’t mind it if they cut it out completely. :)

P.S. My camera officially died during this visit. So several of these photos were taken by AT, on his camera. Last photo by EE. Thanks.



  1. becky says:

    congrats on the opening! yey 1st commenter :)

    so true, filipinos love meeting celebrities

    Jul 6, 2011 | 9:51 am


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  3. ness says:

    congrats MM! Will there be a replay? I don’t think I’ll be home at that time…

    Jul 6, 2011 | 10:02 am

  4. ihid says:

    The family loves Day Off. I wish to have one….

    Jul 6, 2011 | 10:10 am

  5. aisa says:

    Yey! Reg and I will watch it this Saturday! Congratulations! It was nice to see the picture of the Zubuchon Family! =)

    Jul 6, 2011 | 10:54 am

  6. Gej says:

    One big “aliw”! The family looks forward to watching the episode.

    What a large staff. Are they all involved with the restaurant? It seems that aside from celebrities Carmina and Pekto, every one else is from Zubuchon. No TV crew.

    Jul 6, 2011 | 10:58 am

  7. Tin says:

    wow! such fun, congrats on your opening :-)

    Jul 6, 2011 | 11:05 am

  8. Chizbun says:

    Now I’m craving for some Zubuchon… I hope you guys set up a resto here in Manila. *wish, wish wish* :)

    Jul 6, 2011 | 11:20 am

  9. julie says:

    yes, i agree ihid, i want a day off too! one i could use to enjoy Zubochon at the beach!
    MM, my brother and his family reside in Cebu and i have been pestering him for some time to try your lechon, and now the restaurant. parang clueless pa siya. if only ako yung taga-diyan. my 87-years young mother loves lechon though it’s on her list of “bawal” na food. She sneaks in a bite whenever my brother brings home lechon from Cebu. I’m sure lalo na kung Zubuchon!

    Congratulations again sir, & I am glad that the crew had this exciting treat of a visit from celebs to keep them inspired!! what crazy fun!

    Jul 6, 2011 | 11:25 am

  10. joey says:

    Congratulations! Ok, gotta plan my trip there already…will entice C with all the Zubuchon posts…

    Jul 6, 2011 | 11:33 am

  11. moni says:

    I always watch this show whenever my schedule permits and I will watch it on Saturday. I want to see how MM got away with his limited Tagalog language skills.

    Jul 6, 2011 | 12:08 pm

  12. jo says:

    wow very nice! congrats MM=)

    Jul 6, 2011 | 12:32 pm

  13. Camille says:

    Congratz MM! I jst want to say that I notice in the last photo that u lost quite a bit of weight :)

    Jul 6, 2011 | 1:21 pm

  14. Paquito says:

    Congratulations! No plans of “branching out” here in Manila?

    Jul 6, 2011 | 1:43 pm

  15. joan says:

    If MM was chosen for a day off episode, what would Pekto do? :) hahaha!

    Jul 6, 2011 | 2:29 pm

  16. JCo says:

    Congrats MM! You are of course, a celebrity in your own right! But this should be a great way to start the new business venture. I still recall when you wrote about the humble beginnings of Zubuchon as a weekend stall, then to an airport kiosk and now, a full-blown restaurant. Of course, the best publicity is the growing number of happy eaters that have burped their way out of the restaurant, planning for their next visit already. Well deserved success for you and your crew! Cheers!

    Jul 6, 2011 | 2:32 pm

  17. Marketman says:

    JCo, thanks, and yes, it is a pretty amazing little story. I think the crew and I are shocked to some degree about the progress over the past 18 months. It’s still very much a sort of social experiment of sorts rather than a pure hard-nosed business endeavor, but so far so good. In another week or two we open our second outlet near the Capitol building, then take a slight breather after that to take stock, and then onwards from there, we hope… :) joan, hahaha, no idea. :) Camille, I have kept off most of my weight loss, but its creeping back with all the pork on the menu. So I am back to a heavy veggie menu for a week or so… Thanks to all for the kind greetings!

    Jul 6, 2011 | 2:39 pm

  18. mayums says:

    hope to catch that episode. i sometimes get to watch their program. hay, i want a day off too. :)

    lucky winner, he gets to fly off to cebu just to eat lechon, and zubuchon at that? he came all the way from manila? wow.

    Jul 6, 2011 | 3:00 pm

  19. Lambchop says:

    What a cute story! And what a day that was! :)

    Jul 6, 2011 | 3:01 pm

  20. lizzy says:

    wow! i don’t think anyone can resist the “best pig… ever!” :)

    Jul 6, 2011 | 3:04 pm

  21. Marketman says:

    mayums, actually he and his family (4 total) came all the way from Bulacan!

    Jul 6, 2011 | 3:06 pm

  22. Anne :-) says:

    I’m excited to see your interview…. :-)

    Jul 6, 2011 | 4:28 pm

  23. tonceq says:

    And grab the opportunity we should! Congratulations MM! I’m definitely going to watch this show in the hopes of catching MM in interview action again!

    PS. Is it possible for a Zubuchon/ Marketman fan to get one of those Zubuchon T-shirts? *wishful thinking* :)

    Jul 6, 2011 | 4:51 pm

  24. mojacko says:

    ooh i always watch that show! i think they’re also quite lucky they got to feature your shop!
    day-off is on channel 24 for us skycable viewers in manila and vhf channel 11 for those with free to air antenna

    Jul 6, 2011 | 5:03 pm

  25. kariz says:

    congrats MM!!

    am so happy to have finally tasted the dinuguan and sisig- i only wish i could have tasted them from your zubuchon stall :D

    I got the frozen ones. I have to ask though, do you serve the dinuguan with lemon or calamansi? I noticed that it was lacking that zesty pop that most traditional dinuguans have (at least over here in Bulacan). I was imagining it with the kamias shake, mmmm!

    And I love that the frozen dinuguan had the little bits of chili in them!! When we have dinuguan here, i make sure i get the big sili and dice it up to small bits to mix with the ulam. Every viand taste better with heat!!

    Of course, the usual Zubuchon was present at our table too. I am smitten by the meat! Unlike the cebu lechon we used to get before, your Zubuchon meat even defrosted adn reheated tastes fresh and yum! I think the herbs helped a lot! And I’m so happy it doesnt taste like salt haha!! Some well known lechons there really have salty meat. I dont like it when people go crazy with sodium. Salt plus MSG is such a big turnoff for me. I didnt get that from Zubuchon. What I had was a wonderful surprise. It truly stands out from every other lechon ive had. It’s the only one of its kind where the chunky white meat can compete with the juicier parts of the pork… (think leg/thigh chicken quarters versus the breast). I’m all Filipino and who in our country doesnt prefer dark meat over white, right? So this is saying a lot LOL!

    Thank you, MM. The Zubuchon meat is perfect! I can eat nearly two servings without getting lightheaded haha! We eat it with fresh, crisp and chilled lettuce, achara and some sweet/sour sesame dressing. Make your own wrap. There’s also a pita wrap in case anyone wants lechon burrito (nom nom nom).

    Now, when is that Makati or QC branch gonna open? :D

    Jul 6, 2011 | 5:19 pm

  26. MP says:

    Well, at least now we are sure Carmina is smart! Nothing better than Zubuchon to break a vegetarian’s spirit and resolve. (sorry PETA). I hope someone uploads the Zubuchon Day Off episode in Youtube…. spread the lard, este love…

    Jul 6, 2011 | 5:50 pm

  27. Tonito says:

    Congratulations, MM!!!

    Like tonceq, I’m interested in buying a t-shirt with the zubuchon logo. (Another business venture?) Who knows, it might catch on like the Lacoste shirt with the crocodile logo; or Polo Ralph Lauren or Brooks Brothers shirts with the Lamb of God logo.

    Jul 6, 2011 | 5:55 pm

  28. MP says:

    By the way @Lee, after reading your comment, I also googled anthropomorphic fallacy. After explaining it to one of the ladies, she said: “Ate, sabihin mo kay MM wag gamiting panghampas sa ulo ni EMILAVA ang fish pan – baka masaktan …ang fish pan….” :-)

    Jul 6, 2011 | 5:57 pm

  29. Jerome says:


    you better invest in a new camera,
    the pictures look horrible.

    Jul 6, 2011 | 7:08 pm

  30. Marketman says:

    Jerome, sorry, but not everyone who works with me has an SLR or snazzy point and shoot. I was extremely grateful they managed to snap these shots at all, and wouldn’t put down the quality of shots in the least. But yes, I am working on getting a new camera though even that won’t guarantee better pictures necessarily… I take 30-50 shots for every single picture that makes it into the blog.

    Jul 6, 2011 | 7:14 pm

  31. Marketman says:

    Tonito and tonceq, working on getting some t-shirts for retail, they (along with aprons) will be available in the restaurants in a few weeks time… karlz, our dinuguan has coconut milk which modulates the typical high vinegar or acidic hit that accompanies some dinuguans. It is intentionally less acidic, but you may add a little more vinegar if you prefer… Cebuano lechons are often more salty than Northern ones. Zubuchons only use natural sea salt and in some areas, kosher salt; both without iodine. We also absolutely positively DO NOT add any MSG either in pure form, or disguised in a mix like Aji-ginisa or some other flavoring packet in our lechons. Some lechoneros across the country have succumbed to the shortcuts and use a LOT of MSG, it is what makes people just a tad “high” after eating a lot of lechon… particularly from around the belly area. If you buy our whole zubuchons and cut into the stomach cavity, you will see all of the stuffing used, a mixture of 15+ herbs and ingredients… :)

    Jul 6, 2011 | 7:22 pm

  32. kariz says:

    Coconut milk!!! Clever, and very subtle. I knew there was something about that dinuguan. The sauce was very malinamnam but I couldnt quite put a finger on it. Anyway, I liked it! But those who know me knows I’m a sucker for coconut milk LOL!

    I’m glad you clarified that NO MSG bit, including those ‘in disguise’. I hate it when other food claim to be MSG free yet I can definitely taste Knorr seasoning or the use of those broth cubes. It just stands out. Too much salt or even a slight hint of msg just ruins the whole thing for me.

    No need to cut up a whole lechon to know that- the meat tells stories of all kinds of herbs. First time we ate Zubuchon, it was like warping into jeopardy lol! Each bite called for an answer. What is Tarragon? What is Lemongrass? haha!!

    Jul 6, 2011 | 7:56 pm

  33. EbbaBlue says:

    Wow, if I am the mayor of Cebu, I will be so grateful to you dahil mas naging known pa ang city because of you and Zubuchon. Sigurado na mas dumami pa ang dumarayo dyan para matikman ang mga niluto nyo, at ang future visitors – mga naka-line up na ang mga itineraries to include going to your place. Ako rin sa pag-uwi ko next April, sana maka-punta ako sa inyo or order/pick-up from the airport your lechon. Congrats! I watch this show often and I like their format of Carmina or Pekto doing some odd jobs; I wonder ano kaya ang gagawin nila sa resto ninyo? This I have to see, kaya i-pre-record ko na ang DVDR ko para huwag kong maka-limutan.

    Jul 6, 2011 | 8:11 pm

  34. lee says:

    @MP. Our new found obsession with anthropomorphic fallacy point back to footloose. He started it all. :)

    Jul 6, 2011 | 8:21 pm

  35. Marketman says:

    lee and footloose, I always used to name my computers… and oddly, after long drives to say the beach, I used to wash the car in the same manner that one might give their thoroughbred horse a bath after a long workout…

    Jul 6, 2011 | 9:16 pm

  36. Footloose says:

    The teen and mom exited early. Good for them. I would have have found similar media attention just about the giddy limit too but what can you do? Promotion is the lifeblood of commerce. Still intrigued by the cape and masked character somebody was wondering about though.

    Jul 6, 2011 | 9:28 pm

  37. Marketman says:

    Footloose, you would DIE if you were there for the caped food reviewer. Will have to post it even though I had decided not to earlier in the day… The Teen couldn’t help herself and kept bursting into uncontrollable fits of laughter when the caped dude made his appearance… This, on a different day…

    Jul 6, 2011 | 9:37 pm

  38. natie says:

    Wow!! Think of the advertising savings—and you didn’t even spend on production-cost! Congratulations, once again! considering that here, a 30-second commercial costs more than $100,000, and in the millions during big events…

    My DVR will be set…and I do ‘save’ the old shows, from Bourdain to Soho…what a fan I am…hehe

    Jul 6, 2011 | 10:22 pm

  39. lee says:

    I just missed that interview because I had to leave for the airport. I guess it turned out “Super.”

    Jul 6, 2011 | 10:56 pm

  40. Lava Bien says:

    MM, you da man! To have my long time crush, Carmina Villaroel, visit your place, wow! A big WOW! indeed
    Hats off to you MM.

    Jul 6, 2011 | 11:04 pm

  41. roland says:

    awesome! what a great share. Thank you so much.

    Jul 6, 2011 | 11:23 pm

  42. evav says:

    wow!!! i’ll gonna watch day off.

    Jul 6, 2011 | 11:43 pm

  43. gensanite says:

    NICE!!! this is what we call, “media mileage”… cheers!!! :)

    Jul 6, 2011 | 11:45 pm

  44. EbbaBlue says:

    LIke what they say in Eat Bulaga – – – (addressing Zubuchon – – IKAW NA, DA BEST KA!!!!

    Jul 7, 2011 | 3:04 am

  45. Meg says:

    A little exposure goes a long, long way. You are on the right track, MM. Good for you.

    Jul 7, 2011 | 4:07 am

  46. millet says:

    i’ve never seen the show but now i’ll make sure to catch it. great concept! and they know how to choose their lechons!

    MM, what’s the story of the caped crusader?

    Jul 7, 2011 | 9:23 am

  47. PHILIP says:

    If zubuchons will not be available in manila… sana kahit frozen zubuchons in kilos.. ~_~

    Jul 7, 2011 | 10:55 am

  48. Kasseopeia says:

    Back when I still watched TV (I still do… about 2x a month), I’d be fascinated by how “game” Carmina and Pekto are. Lukcy guy (and family) got to fly to Cebu to eat the real deal! All I have had are the frozen ones from the airport. Yun pa lang, masarap na… what more ang mainit-init pa galing sa baga? Trip to Cebu ASAP!

    Jul 7, 2011 | 4:32 pm

  49. MP says:

    @Lee, indeed Footloose is to blame for the surge in our googling activities. I gotta admit, the girls and I delight in reading his, yours, Apicio, and Silly lolo’s (among others but you guys stand out) comments on MM’s blogs. We look to you all for witty lines and to bettyq and Sister for sage followups to MM’s ideas/insights/recipes… if only I can describe how our Friday pig-outs and discussions go…

    MM, I checked if the Zubuchon Day-off episode is on Youtube and it is not… I guess we’ll have to wait for a kindred soul to upload.

    Jul 7, 2011 | 4:39 pm

  50. giancarlo says:

    I’m definitely getting a Zubuchon shirt when I visit Cebu. Maybe you could have bigger sizes for the horizontally challenge Zubochon fans.

    Jul 7, 2011 | 9:28 pm

  51. Marketman says:

    giancarlo, will try to have some variety of sizes. MP, program doesn’t air until July 9, this Saturday, so it wouldn’t be up yet on the internet… millet, there is this food reviewer for the same program that wears a superhero costume, complete with tights… very nice guy, just hard to take seriously. :)

    Jul 7, 2011 | 9:38 pm

  52. betty q. says:

    Hey, MP…would love to know how your Friday soirees go! Do you have Skype? I can just imagine with Lee, Silly Lolo, Footloose being a part of this virtual soiree.

    Jul 7, 2011 | 11:52 pm

  53. leah says:

    hi marketman,

    have tried ur delish lechon last year and i must say, it was unforgettable. any chance this resto will have a branch in manila in the near future? will surely have it on my must visit list when i come to manila for a vacay… !

    Jul 8, 2011 | 1:50 am

  54. Footloose says:

    Tights? This story is trending towards Maritess vs the Superfriends territory?

    Jul 8, 2011 | 6:24 am

  55. CecileJ says:

    @Footloose: Maritess and the Superfriends! My favorite!

    Am heading to Cebu next Friday and I have made time to go to Zubuchon and to hunt down Sweet Melissa goodies at S and R! Have badgered my Cebuano friends to take me there or else!!!!!

    Jul 8, 2011 | 4:13 pm

  56. lee says:

    @footloose… now I have to watch Maritess and the Superfriends again and follow it up with SBC Packers for a double punch.

    Jul 8, 2011 | 8:54 pm

  57. Footloose says:

    SBC Packer is a hoot! Reminded me of this mature gentleman who complained of shortness of breath to his physician. The doctor inquires, kayo ba e naninigarillo pa? He responds, down to one pack na nga lamang ho ako ngayon e.

    Jul 8, 2011 | 11:30 pm

  58. Ariel Nievera says:

    Congratulations MM, nice restaurant, more continued success on your endeavors. Should have a Manila branch soon.

    Jul 9, 2011 | 3:19 am

  59. Justine says:

    Counting the days to my first and much-awaited Zubuchon experience (12 days to be exact)!

    Jul 10, 2011 | 9:40 am

  60. Alisa says:

    OMG! Just saw this post, and talagang napa-tili ako. Dahil 1) I finally get to see your face…missed that photo from waaay back the Bourdain visit. 2) I followed all your experiments in making the perfect lechon to the birth of Zubuchon, and now you “finally” have a restaurant…and I hope this little piggy will also find it’s way in Manila (Was in Cebu last March,I must make another trip for this!) and 3) Zubuchon Shirts! I really love that shirt. When will you make “I heart Zubuchon” shirts? I wanna wear the happy, prancing, Zubuchon pig :) Of course I’m totally thrilled about Dayoff visiting the store and I cant wait to watch it. Congrats MM! I am so happy for you and everyone in Zubuchon.

    Jul 10, 2011 | 10:53 pm

  61. philip says:

    The episode in day off where zubuchon will be feature is next week.

    Jul 11, 2011 | 9:09 am

  62. joyce says:

    will definitely watch out for the 2nd segment then, will check if they have the 1st segment on youtube hehe

    Jul 13, 2011 | 6:21 pm

  63. natie says:

    yeah–GMA here in the east coast doesn’t have Day Off–gotta watch youtube..

    Jul 14, 2011 | 12:30 am

  64. mikel says:

    i knew it was just a matter of time….congrats MM!

    Jul 17, 2011 | 12:30 am

  65. ihid says:

    Saw IT! The Day Off exposure was quite long – long enough to show how you struggled with Tagalog. Murag nag lock jaw. Congratulations!

    Jul 18, 2011 | 11:18 am


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