Market Manila is just about 11 months old. In this period I have explored numerous markets, food stores, ingredients, recipes, gained and lost dozens of pounds and written over 300 posts with greater ease than I could have ever predicted (I am not a writer by nature). The list of items I would like to feature grows longer by the day and I wonder when the well of ideas or my enthusiasm is going to dry up. I never planned to post daily entries (I was thinking 2-3 a week) and I am most certainly shocked by the over 2,000 comments that the site has received during its maiden year. It is here that I am most touchedâ€¦ over the past few months a recurring theme in readersâ€™ comments is that food is so inextricably linked to their fondest memories. Because so many of you are now living abroad, this weblog seems to have given you a â€œwindowâ€ to things from back home. That was not my original intention, but it is a brilliant albeit unplanned side effect.
My basic blog statistics tell me the barest essentialsâ€¦ 32% of my readers are based in the Philippines, 32% in the United States, about 16% are in Australia (a surprise for me), 5% in Canada and the rest (15%) are spread out over 50 countries around the globe including readers in Japan, China, the Middle East, Jamaica and Poland! I estimate I have about 2,000 sukis or regular visitors who visit the weblog. Over 96% are â€œlurkersâ€ who read the posts but have never once left a comment! As the Yuletide season grows closer, I thought I should do a month-long extravaganza in December on all of the great food and related items that makes Christmas in the Philippines so memorableâ€¦ bibingka and puto bumbong at simbang gabi, party food, holiday menus, dÃ©cor, parols, hams, roasts, desserts, pastillas and kakaninsâ€¦etc. This shall be my Christmas gift to all of you, wherever you may be, but as with all good things, I need time to prepare… So this seems like a good time to pause for a moment and pose two simple questions for Marketmanilaâ€™s readers and I hope you will indulge me with your answersâ€¦ 1. What city do you live in? 2. What would you most like to see or read about in the month-long run-up to Christmas 2005? I will do my best to cover the most commonly mentioned items (if possible) and I truly look forward to reading comments from as many of you as possible. I am away from my desk for about two days without my laptop so donâ€™t be surprised if I am the silent one for a changeâ€¦