All things must come to an end. When I started this blog, I had no idea where it would lead. At worst, it would fail to attract any readers besides relatives and friends and it would die a natural death a few weeks or months after it was born. Instead, it took on a life of its own, and in the past six years or so I have written some 2,700 posts in 2,100 days, or roughly 1.3 posts per day on average. Many of the posts were brainless, but others took several dozen hours to prepare for, mostly the heirloom or special recipes featured. Over the six year period, readers have clicked on some 23+million page views, for me, a totally mind-boggling number, and have left nearly 90,000 comments that have in many cases added so much to our collective understanding of a topic under discussion. Even so, over the lifetime of this blog, less than 5% of readers have ever left a comment, and just a little more than that have ever participated in a poll. Over the past year, as best I can figure, there have been some 6 million page views, most coming from a regular readership (visit at least 1x a week) of some 15,000-20,000 people from around the globe. It is my personal belief that the blog “peaked” during this past year…
…and I firmly believe that one should take stock when one reaches a peak. Often, it is the best time to step away. I won’t go through an extensive history and bore you all to death, but I will say that there have been some personal highlights on this blog. Hundreds of recipes were tested and put out there for readers to try. I have written about types of produce I have never even run across before, not to mention most of the common ingredients in the local markets. I have visited markets from Laoag to Legazpi, Coron to Bohol and lots of places in between. The public school feeding program has raised over PHP1.6 million in funds and will provide a total of some 80,000+ meals when all the funds are depleted by March of 2011. We also brought gingerbread to young cancer patients and hospital wards across Manila. Planted hundreds of trees. Donated thousands of books to public schools. Wrote several service rants across various industries from real estate companies, airlines, hotels, magazines, restaurants, etc. and I am proud to say, in NOT ONE SINGLE INSTANCE have any of those rants been withdrawn for factual errors or because companies thought them completely unfair. My lawyers will probably be breathing a small sigh of relief when they read this post, thanks for watching my back quietly all those years. :) I wrote about scams which were indeed scams, I wrote about fishpans, chili episodes, plagiarism, resting steaks, etc. and most if not all of those arguments have held up over time. Over the past few years, I have agreed to go on three different international television food programs, and appeared (with face covered for the most part) in several local publications. I turned down several guest spots on local television, requests to judge culinary and other feats, as well as interviews, etc. Obviously, the Anthony Bourdain, No Reservations program was a real high. Throughout all of this, I stuck to my original objective, to remain almost completely commercial free (I have to admit, I shamelessly promoted my crew’s Zubuchon over the past year :), and the blog has been written without accepting sponsorships, gifts, fees of any sort. In fact, the cost of “feeding” this blog has not been insignificant, but I think it was worth every single centavo, as I have learned a lot from the wonderful exchange of ideas and knowledge from the active commenters on the blog.
So what’s next? A sabbatical of sorts. A break from posting/blogging. I am not sure I have what it takes to write a book on Filipino ingredients and recipes, but I would like to do that as I think there are few comprehensive, high-quality books on the subject out there. But it would probably be a commercial failure, and take me years to complete to my liking. Many folks don’t even bother to read books these days, technology is definitely pointing to more modern ways of finding a recipe or looking up an ingredient. So if anything, I would be writing the book for my family and a very small group of foodies out there that would like to have something on a shelf, not just a file on a computer. :) My interest in food, produce and markets will continue I am sure. It seems so sudden to just turn off the switch, and to put the blog to sleep. So I have decided to take a month or two off, and when that time has passed, decide whether to return to blogging about food on a much less active basis or to call it quits for good. Thank you so much for your visits to marketmanila.com, and a special thank you to all you guys who have remained regular visitors over the past 6 years. I wish you all the very best! Just as quietly as I started blogging, I shall quietly take my leave.
(Oh, and that’s not really me in the photo, I have been using a “stunt double” all these years to fool you. Sent him to the Philippine Blog Awards to pick up a trophy, prepped him extra well for those close-in encounters at eyeballs, gave him an invisible receiver so I could radio “sound bites” to him while he was on camera with Bobby Chinn and other hosts, etc. I am actually 320 pounds, 5 foot 4 inches, and have a complexion as dark as Lapu-Lapu’s. But he does have a passport and all of the same visas we do so he can come with us on our trips near and far, like the one to Marrakech, where these photos were taken in the Majorelle Gardens of Yves St. Laurent. Hahahaha!)