03 Feb2017

There is so much vitriol and hatred on social media these days. I’m not sure why, but it’s a relatively recent phenomenon that’s perhaps fed by a lack of appreciation for facts, a lack of critical analysis, a lack of accountability and the bravado that comes with a veil of anonymity. I personally don’t have a facebook account, and never have, but our Managers in our Cebu office have asked me to post a “reply” as our Zubuchon facebook account is hot and heavy at the moment with all kinds of vitriol…

Apparently, it all started with my totally innocuous brief instagram post the other day with a photo of our Manila menus with the caption “Our Manila menus have just arrived… and the work site is crazed!”

A few hours later, a well-meaning instagram follower must have read my post and decided to spread the news (not necessarily in this order, as I don’t track these things so intently) and a post went up on Yummy.com’s page, then Spot.ph contacted me to ask a few questions and they posted an announcement on their page, then booky.ph posted a revealing post that tracked down our restaurant address to the number of the street (a fact even I was unaware of until then), then ABS-CBN.com, then MB.com (Manila Bulletin), then several other apps and sites, then the following morning, a post on Inquirer.net.

LET ME BE CRYSTAL CLEAR. WE NEVER CONTACTED THESE PUBLICATIONS OR WEBSITES TO ASK THEM TO POST AN ANNOUNCEMENT OR PHOTOS. WE NEVER TALKED TO ANY OF THESE OUTLETS EXCEPT SPOT.PH THAT INITIATED CONTACT WITH ME BY TEXT TO FACT CHECK. WE NEVER PAID NOR HAVE WE GIVEN ANYTHING IN KIND TO THESE OUTLETS AS FAR AS I KNOW, AND I DO NOT PERSONALLY KNOW THE PERSON WHO CONTACTED ME FROM SPOT.PH. Zubuchon is GRATEFUL for their unexpected posts that have apparently been broadcast to some 500,000+ people who follow their feeds, websites, pop-ups on facebook pages, etc. And if only 1 in 10 people even vaguely glanced at this exposure, then a whopping 50,000 people in and around Manila (and elsewhere) have presumably heard that Zubuchon plans to open in Manila soon… And all that mileage for FREE. Thank you social media.

So how did booky.ph get so much detailed information when we never gave them any? Apparently, they read the instagram posts I wrote, they read our Facebook page, they intelligently searched instagram high and low for another reader who had posted a photo taken in front of a tarp at our Makati construction site. They messaged that person and asked for an address. The person replied it was Talisay street. If you google Zubuchon Talisay street, you are led to a mynimo job posting our HR people placed to hire staff that identifies the specific street address of our upcoming restaurant. So you see, while some folks are so sure there is a conspiracy of some sorts, some simple sleuthing leads to facts and likely hypotheses as to how information (and in this case totally factual information) is obtained, mostly with the click of a few keys on your computer or phone.

These social media posts almost all used the same photo of a plate of our lechon, taken WITH attribution from our facebook page. None of these sites (except Spot.ph) contacted me or our GM to cross-check facts or details, nor did we have any input into their choice of words. And honestly, I don’t even really know why this is news, it must have been a slow news day. WE DID NOT FEED, REQUEST, SOLICIT any social media exposure, though I repeat, we are certainly pleased they saw fit to mention us… But these were their headlines, which are the apparent source of the brewing maelstrom:

Yummy.ph : “Zubuchon is Making Its Way to Manila” — factual

Spot.ph : “The 5 Emotional Stages of Discovering That Zubuchon is Opening in Manila” — Catchy and unusual, perhaps some might think a bit OA, but it’s their choice, no?, and it is based on the writer’s opinion, as well as a factual claim that we are opening in Manila.

booky.ph : “Cebu’s famous Zubuchon opening in Manila Soon!!!” — “FAMOUS” is perhaps a word that has gotten knickers in a twist. Famous is defined on Dictionary.com as being : “having a widespread reputation, usually of a favorable nature; renowned, celebrated” So for whatever reason, booky.ph chose this adjective, WE HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. But when someone calls you famous, are you supposed to punch a gift horse in the mouth? Of course not, you accept it quietly and graciously. WE have NEVER ever referred to ourselves as being FAMOUS. Ever.

ABS-CBN.com : “Cebu favorite Zubuchon to open in Manila” — “FAVORITE” is another adjective raising the hair on people’s necks. Favorite is defined as “preferred before others of the same kind”. We had NO SAY in anything that ABS-CBN.com chose to write. And “favorite” is an adjective they chose, WE HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. So if you have a beef with it, take it up with ABS-CBN. We have NEVER ever referred to ourselves as being a FAVORITE or CEBU FAVORITE. Ever.

Primer.com.ph:“It’s Confirmed! Zubuchon to open branch in Manila.” — factual

Inquirer.net : “Cebu’s famous Zubuchon to Open Branch in Makati” — “famous”, same issues as booky.ph above.

The unexpected social media coverage that apparently originated by my posting a photo of our menus on my personal instagram account has apparently stirred up a hornets nest. And my goodness, the vitriol (defined as “cruel and bitter criticism”) is spewing like the sulphuric acid that they used to throw at people in 1800’s Great Britain. To attack and throw acid on someone is also known as vitriolage, I learned something today.

So let me address the key issues as I see them, and those that our staff feel I should reply to:

1. ARE WE THE “FAVORITE” OR “FAMOUS” CEBU LECHON? As I state above, we never claimed it, we never said it, we never wrote it anywhere in our Facebook, website, materials, interviews, etc. NEVER. So if you have a beef with the adjectives used, take it up with the folks who wrote the pieces. And if it bothers you that someone describes something as such, dig deep to figure out where that feeling comes from and what to do about it. As Mayor Osmeña apparently posted today on Facebook “the one thing we learned is that Cebuanos don’t like being told what their favorites are” or something to that effect. I wholeheartedly agree. Thanks Mayor Osmeña, and so happy you dropped by at lunch two weeks ago at the Ms. Universe swimsuit event at Jpark Hotel. We hope you enjoyed the lechon skin at Zubuchon. We know you love all kinds of lechon, from all of Cebu’s best purveyors. :) If there is anything to be learned from this brouhaha, Manila press should be wary of declaring what provincial folks preferences are, lest it seem like Imperial Manila is dictating something to the understandably proud Cebuanos. Sensitive, are we?

2. DID ANTHONY BOURDAIN DECLARE THAT HE ATE “THE BEST PIG, EVER!” in Cebu. Yes, he did in 2008, but which was aired in February 2009. And he wrote it in a book I still have on my bookshelves. And he said it on camera for an episode that was played for a global audience of 180+ million people. And actually, he was kind enough to say something nice about the Cebuano lechon he tasted on at least FOUR SEPARATE RECORDED OCCASIONS:

“Best Pig, Ever!”
Anthony Bourdain, 2008 (program aired Feb. 2009)
No Reservations, Philippines

On the hierarchy of pork he’s eaten around the world: “Puerto Rico’s lechon is great. In Bali, the lechon is even better. And in the Philippines, the lechon is slightly better than that. It’s the best of the best.
Anthony Bourdain, October 2009
Interview by Frank Bruni of the New York Times
Food & Wine Magazine Blog

“…it doesn’t get better than that…”
(referring to the roast pig he ate in Cebu)
Anthony Bourdain, 2013
Interview in Promo clip for Parts Unknown, CNN

“I had really fond memories of the last time I had lechon in the Philippines. In fact, not to kiss your ass, but it is the finest pig I’ve ever had.”
Anthony Bourdain, 2016
Parts Unknown Episode filmed in Manila

So while you may/may not care or agree/disagree with him, he SAID it. And it was a boon for Cebuano lechon. It was a boon for Filipino food. It put the city and the dish on the global stage like never before. I received over 500+ emails requesting more information about it in the months that followed. We hosted several local and international TV hosts who visited Cebu in the wake of Mr. Bourdain’s visit. No matter what you feel about Mr. Bourdain, what he did and said about Cebuano lechon was kind, positive and helpful for Cebuano and Filipino food. Period. Did you not want that for the food from your beloved home province? Did you do anything to advance Filipino cuisine 8 years ago before it was cool and chichi to do so? Did you agree to host an unknown stranger who emailed twenty times beforehand and explain and answer anything and everything they asked (before they disclosed who it was?). Did you prep your place of work for a visit that included 8 crew members and four cameramen? Did you spend the money to show them the best food you could personally muster? Did you give them a tour of a local dried fish market and previously visit it three times and try and learn as much about dried fish as you could so you were prepared? Did you do this all proudly with no expectation of anything in return? Probably not.

The exact same recipe for the lechon we served Mr. Bourdain is the same recipe we serve at Zubuchon today. And it wasn’t until nearly a year after we started to sell lechon, repeat a YEAR AFTER in 2010, that we sent Mr. Bourdain a message to ask his permission to use his quote “Best Pig, Ever!” and he graciously and quickly replied just a few hours later, that we could, of course, use the quote. We aren’t bragging, we are simply using a factual quote from a well-thought of culinary ambassador with global experience. And an extreme penchant for pork. Why that riles people is for them to figure out. Surely if he said that about any other thing he ate on his Philippine trips, those folks would be proud to state it as well. What’s it called, a crab-like mentality? And honestly, I would have thought by now, 8 years later, he would have found another pork dish that would have pleased him more than our roast pig that we served him on a balmy afternoon on a hill just behind the Cebu State Capitol…

3. BASHERS SAY, “ZUBUCHON ‘IS NOT’ a CEBU LECHON”

So what, pray tell, is a “CEBU LECHON”?? If one goes back just 30 years, few if any Cebu lechons used MSG, a flavor enhancer, and a shortcut instead of a myriad of natural, locally grown stuffing ingredients. I have nothing against people who like MSG, I am simply stating that Cebu lechons of yore didn’t have it at all. Cebu lechons from the 1960’s and before that had a paler skin, and if darker, were likely painted with a liquor popular in local towns, like Talisay lechons, for example. Go back 100-200 years and you realize soy sauce was more of a luxury, probably imported, and not in common use in lechons or adobo, for that matter. Go back further than that, to say the time Magellan landed, and you are talking simple spit roasted pig, with salt, possibly coconut water, some simple herbs and spices. Or at least that would be a historian’s best guess, not counting documentary proof from Pigafetta, Magellan’s chronicler. So what version of Cebu lechon are you referencing?? And why LIMIT IT TO ONLY ONE version? Who is to say that is the ONLY VERSION?

Besides, we created ZUBUCHON, precisely because we wanted to do our own version of a lechon. Not just to copy and do what others were already doing well. To innovate, to go back in time in some senses (no soy sauce, no msg, just coconut water, etc.) yet tweak it a little bit by adding rosemary and using a bit of olive oil. What is so odd with that? The name was taken from a 16th century map, which we actually own, that refers to the island as ZZUBU or “ZUBU” when we registered it. So even there, we reference the past, and try to ring true to it, with a modern twist, as I have repeatedly written. So no, our intention was not to make the same old, same old, which millions of folks love, but it just wasn’t our intention. So we called it ZUBUCHON. And you know what, I think it has every right to be referred to as a Cebuano lechon if you wanted to. Certainly just as much right as a lechon that is stuffed with green onions, garlic, a cup or two of MSG, lots of salt, brushed with bottled soy sauce and roasted over coals. Who said the latter type is the only lechon worthy of being referred to as a CEBU LECHON? It might be more popular, but it has no exclusive right to the moniker Cebu lechon. None. It’s like saying there can be only one version of Adobo.

Folks who bash so vociferously should perhaps note that Carcar lechons are often stuffed with pasyotes, or epazote, a marijuana looking like herb that came with Mexican sailors brought over during the galleon trade some 300-400 years AGO. Do you hear the bashers saying that’s an odd herb? That Carcar lechon isn’t worthy of being called a Cebuano lechon? Grow up. Take off your blinders. Broaden your minds. Educate yourself. Study some history. It’ll make your arguments more credible, substantial and believable.

4. “THE ONLY FOLKS WHO EAT AT ZUBUCHON ARE TOURISTS.”

This is one of those apocryphal assertions that will be believed by folks who think Elvis is still alive, the Loch Ness monster is real, the world is flat, and that all foreigners, outsiders, people unlike “us” are evil. Where does this lack of logic and xenophobic behavior come from? We have run Zubuchon for nearly 8 years now, and so you must understand we are in the best position to know our customer base. Here it is:

– Roughly 20-25% of our restaurant guests are local and foreign tourists. Of that figure, roughly 2% are foreign tourists, and say 23% or so are Manila or other provincial based tourists. We are proud of this. We are so happy guests come from all over the place. And we don’t automatically think tourists have bad taste, which is what haters seem to suggest when they say we only serve tourists who couldn’t possibly appreciate well-prepared food.
– That means, a solid 75-80% of our restaurant guests are locals. And they are locals who have come back to us time and again. Otherwise there is no way we could have opened up 8 restaurant locations in just 5 years. Bashers only need to visit our SM mall locations to see if their bizarre assertion that 80-100% of our guests are blonde and blue eyed, or only speak Tagalog, Ilocano and Chabacano. :) Seriously. Tsk. Tsk.

And better yet, when locals bring tourists, you should hear what they say, they sound downright proud to be hosting them for a meal at Zubuchon. So while you may wish to make yourselves believe no one like you eats with us, then we are happy that no one like you eats with us. We are happy to serve the guests who happily come to eat with us. We will never make everyone happy, nor will we satisfy the myriad of personal tastes that abound in the province. Duh.

5. “MR.BINAMIRA IS NOT CEBUANO”

This one makes me laugh. And makes my grandmother turn in her grave. First of all who cares? Is it not possible for a non-Cebuano to excel at making a Cebuano dish? The logic is so flawed one would be forgiven for thinking intelligence, or lack of it, is an issue. Does Margarita Fores, a friend, an Ilongga, self-trained cook not have a right to excel at Italian food and become Asia’s Best Female Chef? Is the best rated restaurant in the country not run by a Spaniard at the helm of the kitchen, serving Filipino inspired dishes? Does the Chef at Antonio’s, another highly rated restaurant and also an Ilonggo I believe, not make brilliant continental inspired dishes? Are not some of the top restaurants in Cebu, frequented by many of the upscale bashers run by non-locals serving local and international fare? Should Mr. Gokongwei not excel in food, real estate development and airlines in Manila just because he is originally from Cebu? Should the Gotianuns not likewise run a real estate conglomerate based out of Manila because they are from Cebu? Are the Aboitizes evil for having moved their corporate headquarters to Manila from Cebu and control business all over the country? Of course not. That’s just absurd. ABSURD.

For the record, I was BORN in Cebu, which technically makes me Cebuano. I moved to Manila and grew up there. I went to school in Manila, then to university and graduate school abroad. I lived and worked in places like Singapore, Jakarta, New York, London, Riyadh, Mumbai, Melbourne, Vienna, Hong Kong, Hanoi, Bangkok, Washington, DC, etc. I moved home in 1995 and started to spend a lot of time in Cebu in 2000 or so. My father was a Patalinghug, of the Opon (Mactan) Patalinjugs. My grandmother used to say her family went back several hundred years on the island of Mactan. There certainly are enough mayors and civil servants in that family, and roads named after them. My mother was a Veloso-Abueva, her mother from another established Cebu family, tracing her roots back to the Velosos who have lived here and Leyte, etc. for centuries. It’s a huge clan by now, I gather, and includes a rather infamous member of late. My wife’s family is Cebuano in roots as well, and is related to several of the folks that bashers might refer to as true blue CEBUANO. My wife, daughter and I hold Philippine passports, and never anything else (unlike the significant number of wealthy folks including Cebuanos who hold dual citizenship for convenience). So I am curious just where this concern about my being Cebuano or not is relevant or useful??

6. “ZUBUCHON MUST SPEND MILLIONS AND EMPLOY A BATTERY OF MARKETING/PR EXPERTS AND FIRMS”

Hahahaha. That’s the funniest thing ever. Our marketing department consists of one young wonderful staff member for nearly 15 outlets (restaurants, kiosks, drive-thrus). She also happens to have won the best song/songwriter award for a Visayan pop artist two years ago. And she is paid a modest salary. She does all our posters, Facebook posts, radio ad placements (she wrote and sang our Zubuchon jingles herself), packaging, stickers, menus, etc. with the help of our GM. We have an outsourced graphic designer, who did our logo 8 years ago, and does work for us to this day. We have NEVER employed an ad agency, a PR person, etc. We do not pay bloggers for posts, but we have hosted bloggers local and foreign, mostly at the request of the DOT, and we have also hosted television shows, movies, documentaries. We buy newspaper ads very rarely, usually to announce a new store. We have appeared in over 20+ newspaper and magazine articles, and NEVER ONCE DID WE PAY FOR THEM unless they were explicit advertisements. So you see, folks who think we actually spend money for the coverage we have gotten, WE DON’T. Doesn’t that just burn you up in a big way? This most recent vitriolic brouhaha is going to actually HELP us, despite your attempts to jointly push down Facebook ratings, leave vitriolic messages to dishearten our employees, etc. Because in the end, most publicity is good publicity. And all I did was put ONE INSTAGRAM post with a copy of our menu the other day. Now that’s a PR lesson for the PR professionals. How to get a message to 500,000 people for zero pesos. SAY THAT AGAIN, ZERO PESOS. :)

7. WHAT ZUBUCHON THINKS IS IMPORTANT TO US. Not what you think should be important.

1. We helped bring positive attention to Cebuano lechon. We innovated and charted our own path. We developed a new brand. We upped the ante with respect to lechon dining in Cebu. Before we opened, how many lechon restaurants were bright, airy, clean, air conditioned, frequented by locals and tourists alike? How many followed after us? Be honest. We introduced menu items and new products that are widely copied today. We re-introduced old products and dishes that we took inspiration from those who came before us.
2. We buy as much of our ingredients locally as possible. We use only backyard raised pigs. No commercial piggery pigs. We use as much local stuffing ingredients (except a few herbs and olive oil) as possible, spending upwards of PHP500 in stuffing/ingredients for each pig. We do not use ADDED MSG, and while that may turn off a large chunk of the market, that is WHO WE ARE, and there’s lots of room for other purveyors who prefer the MSG route rather than achieving flavor the old-fashioned way. If they are so proud of it, why don’t they scream “WE ADD LOTS OF MSG” to our lechons so locals and tourists alike will know that’s what they do??
3. We treat our people right. We have paid fair wages and all benefits from the beginning. We are 82% permanent staff, not ENDO. We have had NO BROKEN SHIFTS SINCE WE OPENED FOR BUSINESS. We don’t pay piecemeal like others who might pay say PHP50-100 a lechon they cook. (But if they burn it, they fine staff and sometimes make them pay for it.) We have relatively low employee turnover, more training than most places, and we gainfully employ nearly 300 staff members who in turn support over 1,200 family members. So in short, we have employed lots of Cebuanos very decently.
4. We try to provide good customer service. And while we often have shortfalls in this area, we do try harder and train more than we ever have before…
5. We are proud to be a Cebu-born and based company, and we look forward to opening our first restaurant in Manila.
6. We are NOT the biggest lechon company in Cebu, by far. In fact, we are only 4th or 5th in terms of lechons cooked. But we never aspired to be the biggest. We just aspired to do things our way, the best way for US and our clients. And we know we will only ever appeal to a small proportion of the dining population. We are happy with that. Not sure why others can’t be too. Whatever did we do to you to earn the vitriolic responses you so proudly place on our Facebook page, for others to see and know that you are so angry…

So before bashers get smug about throwing stones left and right, I ask the simple question, “Why Doesn’t Everyone Just Strive to be Better, not BITTER?”

Innovate and invent and create better products.
Raise the quality and standards of everything that you do.
Employ more people and employ them well — pay better, no broken shifts, pay all SSS, Philhealth & Pag-Ibig on time.
Build local brands rather than just look to everything imported.
Think of more productive and positive ways to spend your time.
Actually do something that benefits others who need it more than you do.
Be proud of what’s good, not denigrate others to make yourself feel more superior.
Understand what factual, logical and defensible assertions are.
Grow up.

Finally, I have always been asked by interviewers, friends and family what constitutes a great lechon? And my answer, and I think I have been quoted on this on more than one occasion, has always been… “Any lechon that is properly sourced from more natural surroundings, is stuffed with fresh ingredients (no MSG, my personal preference), and cooked with love over natural coals, and eaten while the steam still rises from its butt, is a great lechon.” I have enjoyed great Filipino lechons in Bacolod, Cebu, Bohol, Manila Legazpi, Palawan, Mindoro, Boracay, Quezon, Batangas, Manila, Tarlac and Ilocos. And great international lechons in Hong Kong, Singapore, Bali, Madrid, Barcelona and Lisbon. And no, I NEVER, EVER said Zubuchon was “the best pig, ever”, Mr. Bourdain kindly said that for us, multiple times. Thanks again, Tony. You and I seem to be pissing off a lot of petty, envious, illogical folks lately. :)

 

COMMENTS:

  1. JE says:

    Just recently coming back here, and I for one am pretty stoked that you’re finally breaching Manila. This recent blip on social media, though, is just proof that we really can’t have nice things here.

    Feb 3, 2017 | 7:27 am

     
  2. Joan says:

    I lived for a few years in Cebu MM and Zubuchon was my Sunday after-church habit. Happy you’re coming over to Manila (just a few blocks from me! Yey!)

    Feb 3, 2017 | 7:40 am

     
  3. NielGQ says:

    Very well said, sir! I, for one, can’t wait until your store opens end of feb.

    Feb 3, 2017 | 7:43 am

     
  4. Charisse says:

    Like everything else we can find on social media today, bashers seem to be on a roll and people revel on bringing others down. But, as you may know already, good things always last, ALWAYS. On a side note, I hope other entrepreneurs in the food industry will follow your example of paying workers decently and fairly. More power and looking forward to your branch here in Manila (thank heavens I don’t have to reroute my flights to Cebu whenever I have to be in the South).

    Feb 3, 2017 | 7:46 am

     
  5. Marichu says:

    This bashing reeks of middle school fights. I guess some people’s emotional levels didn’t go beyond middle school.

    Feb 3, 2017 | 7:55 am

     
  6. ami says:

    I took a peek of the Zubuchon FB page after you mentioned it in your previous post and was pretty shocked with how negative and vicious the comments were. These people have probably never stepped out of their bubbles to develop appreciation for innovation or reinterpretation. Just ignore the haters and bashers. Basta kami excited for this Manila branch.

    Feb 3, 2017 | 8:58 am

     
  7. Carla says:

    My family was based in Cebu when I was pregnant. I had a Hyperemesis gravidarum, which pretty much meant that I could not eat anything without feeling sick. The only exception was the munggo from Zubochon. I must have eaten that for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for about five months straight. We’re back in Manila now so this is happy news.

    And on another note, wow, people get riled up so easily!

    Feb 3, 2017 | 9:08 am

     
  8. Ging Berdon says:

    BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!

    Feb 3, 2017 | 9:27 am

     
  9. Lou says:

    Well said! I for one look forward to my first ever Zubuchon when I visit Manila, hopefully in a year’s time!

    Feb 3, 2017 | 9:54 am

     
  10. Francesca says:

    Very well said, Marketman.

    Feb 3, 2017 | 9:59 am

     
  11. Julianne says:

    I never knew Zubuchon FB page. I read some comments after reading this entry and goodness gracious me!! So much negativity! These are the type of people who always see the glass half-empty. As for me, we went to Cebu 2 years just to eat at Zubuchon. It was a very quick trip! We arrived in the evening, dinner at Zubuchon.. breakfast in the hotel. Then, lunch at Zubuchon, then dinner again at Zubuchon. We were a bit embarrassed but none of the staff recognised our faces! LOL. Imagine, 3x at Zubuchon in less than 24 hours!! Definitely, the best pig ever!! We have nifedipine sublingual just in case. Hehehehehe. Makes me want to go back to Cebu..

    Feb 3, 2017 | 10:02 am

     
  12. Betchay says:

    I am also aghast as to how a simple innocent post can attract so many hate and bitternesss. What is happening to our society? These trolls are only emboldened because they hide in the anonimity of the internet. And sadly we have to agree, it is the Filipino crab mentality at work.

    Feb 3, 2017 | 10:14 am

     
  13. Kai says:

    This is exactly why I left Facebook last year. People are unreasonably sensitive and will not even think twice before posting hate comments. Hive mind jud.

    Anyhoo, still a fan of this blog and Zubuchon’s grilled squid. :)

    Feb 3, 2017 | 10:19 am

     
  14. SpaceDog says:

    It’s the internet, the pseudo-anonymity or lack of face-to-face contact makes people think they can say what they like. They forget that their comments have real impact on real people.

    I think you give them too much credit by spending so much time in a response (don’t feed the trolls!) but, on the other hand, the fact that you did shows that you’re committed to both speaking and spreading the truth as well as defending your staff and your business.

    Zubuchon are good people who make great Lechon. And that’s all that really matters.

    Feb 3, 2017 | 10:24 am

     
  15. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    And I say you have every right to say “you up the ante on lechon dining experience!”

    Bravo MM!

    Feb 3, 2017 | 10:28 am

     
  16. Ross Del Rosario says:

    Feb 3, 2017 | 10:32 am

     
  17. NidaFe Ortego says:

    I first heard about Zubuchon through your site. As soon as you popped up on FB, I started following your page because I do remember Tony’s “best pig ever” quote when you hosted him for his show’s initial Philippine episode.
    We attended a niece’s wedding in Manila last November, and to surprise me, the hubby arranged for a lechon tour in Cebu, because that’s where Zubuchon is and he knew I’ve been following your page.
    Our guide took us to Rico’s, Alejo’s, we went to this little hole in the wall called Original Lechon Belly, we went to C&T, and of course Zubuchon. Our best pick? Zubuchon.The taste of the pork came through (the hubby said it was exceptional roast pork but uncomplicated and clean-tasting), the seasonings were balanced, and we both loved that we could take our lechon on the plane in a convenient to-go pack.
    The other places’ lechon were ok, but one place used too much salt, another place had so much seasoning (we were told they stuffed their lechon with a mixture of spices and herbs) that the seasonings overpowered the taste of the pork.
    I would love it if you could open a branch here in Southern California!

    Feb 3, 2017 | 10:40 am

     
  18. Steph says:

    Not a lechon fan, but I really liked zubuchon. Pretty excited that you’re opening in Manila! :)

    Feb 3, 2017 | 10:47 am

     
  19. zaia says:

    ahhh… Facebook. Just made me want to try Zubuchon all the more, though. Hehehe.

    Makati is still a bit far from my place but at least not as far as Cebu :)

    I’m gonna meet you soon, Zubuchon! :)

    Feb 3, 2017 | 10:50 am

     
  20. bes YS says:

    Well said MM! *clap! clap! clap!*

    I love, love Zubuchon. Period.

    Feb 3, 2017 | 11:31 am

     
  21. Cebuana says:

    MMM….Magnificent Market Man!CLAP.CLAP.CLAP.
    As a Cebuano, me and my guests are never disappointed with our meals at ZUBUCHON. And guests from other places always bring home Zubuchon for pasalubong.

    Zubuchon lechon offers the market LECHON WITHOUT MSG, and we think it might not be a good idea to eat too much of that… FOR BASHERS, GO AND EAT CUPS OF VETSIN (MSG), ITS YOUR CHOICE TO SHORTEN YOUR LIVES! IN ZUBUCHON, THEY CARE!

    Go MM ,a true blood VISAYANG DAKO, GO ZUBUCHON. FOR zubuchon bashers, you have your multiple option to eat MORE LECHON WITH MORE MSG AND MORE SALT, thy will be done…hahaha and for others, IN VISAYAN DIALECT……NASUYA RA MO!…ANG MA S, MA DEAD? Joke. BASA-BASA PUD ug history PAG MAY TIME?
    “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” — Henry Thomas Buckle

    Feb 3, 2017 | 11:35 am

     
  22. ChrisB says:

    Well said, as always. As for me, I’m just excited that Zubuchon is finally coming to Manila! Yay! It will soon be a “Manila Favorite” ;-)

    Feb 3, 2017 | 11:44 am

     
  23. manny says:

    Keep focused on the manila branch. Dont mind the bashers. Heck bicol express wasnt even invented by bicolanos but by folks from laguna. Yet everyone in bicol love it and arent complaining. Must be the beauty of mayon.

    Feb 3, 2017 | 12:05 pm

     
  24. Susie says:

    Oh honey, I have been busy defending your honor. We Cebuanos seem to have gotten our collective knickers in a twist over a headline which, obviously, some people don’t seem to recognize you didn’t have anything to do with. Makes me laugh but I’m glad you’ve said something.

    Feb 3, 2017 | 12:14 pm

     
  25. Lee says:

    sharing my Facebook comment posted in JD’s page:

    I like Zubuchon but it is not the best lechon for me. The best lechon I had was in a forest clearing in a jungle only accessible after a three day trek. I shall not name the province lest the secret spills out. The lechon had to be a native pig with 36 brown spots and no flaws. The charcoal was from some endemic tree that as of this date is critically endangered that it is considered a crime to even touch it. The stuffing and aromatics were an assortment of forest herbs gathered by left-handed virgins. The lechon was then roasted by a village elder who has to undergo a stringent selection process by his peers. That lechon was excellent!!! I wish they opened a branch in Rome.

    Feb 3, 2017 | 12:19 pm

     
  26. yette says:

    Go MM! Never mind those basher’s. Basta ako I’m eagerly waiting for Zubuchon here in Manila. They can’t put a good man down. Know that you’ll always have your Marketmanila family to support you and the team.

    Feb 3, 2017 | 12:37 pm

     
  27. EbbaBlue says:

    Coming back to Pinas this year, and very happy that I don’t have to go to Cebu to eat at Zubuchon.

    Feb 3, 2017 | 12:48 pm

     
  28. JoeL says:

    Hello MM, retired back here in PHL. Congrats on your Zubuchon, Makati soon. But, kindly do a feasibility study and open one in San Fernando, Pampanga (SM)…closer to Tarlac and not a 5 hour trip…trapik! Let them move on MM.

    Feb 3, 2017 | 1:17 pm

     
  29. luisa says:

    zubuchon manila will be a huge hit because if this! all the best!

    Feb 3, 2017 | 1:26 pm

     
  30. Aimee Ramos says:

    I don’t understand why there is so much negativity with the opening of Zubuchon in Manila. I have been seeing a lot of comments in your blog from way before asking when you will be opening a branch in Manila. If they don’t like the taste, no one is forcing them to eat Zubuchon.

    Feb 3, 2017 | 1:31 pm

     
  31. Mike Chua says:

    My mon in law is from Carcar. I love their lechon and think theirs is the best I have tasted. I know that Cebu lechon in general (and its variety) is one of the best. To hell with the bashers. Just feel sad for them.

    Feb 3, 2017 | 2:13 pm

     
  32. millet says:

    “So while you may wish to make yourselves believe no one like you eats with us, then we are happy that no one like you eats with us.” -Very well said, MM. So excited for you all! Congratulations and best of luck!

    Feb 3, 2017 | 5:38 pm

     
  33. nuno says:

    Read the blog.. Know how the prickchon, Accuchon (Zubuchon) concept started..

    Feb 3, 2017 | 5:40 pm

     
  34. solivare says:

    Hubby and I were driving by Yakal at 2 am yesterday and I was purposely craning my neck to get a glimpse of the Zubuchon construction. hehehe. I’m so excited! I’ve only eaten once at your Escario branch in Cebu and I can’t wait to try all the other dishes that you offer, and the lechon of course. I love how you handled the bashers MM. Now I have a new word (vitriol) added to my vocabulary.

    Feb 3, 2017 | 5:58 pm

     
  35. Leticia says:

    I would come to taste your lechon if only I didn’t have to spend over a day in airplanes and airports, each way. :) I guess a delivery to Brazil is out of the question, for the same reason. Anyway, let them be bitter, you stick with the better, to each his favorite taste.

    Feb 3, 2017 | 7:15 pm

     
  36. Footloose says:

    Before sitting down and listening to this story myself I was afraid this would turn me off from pigging out on porcine treats but as it turned out, not at all. This might afford a light-hearted if temporary respite from the cyclone of anti-social media (h/t Natie) envy and malice has generated.

    http://www.laphamsquarterly.org/roundtable/pig_lapham

    Feb 3, 2017 | 7:17 pm

     
  37. joe jj says:

    MM, ika nga sa bandang amin, ang punong hitik sa bunga ay malimit batuhin!

    Feb 3, 2017 | 8:05 pm

     
  38. Joey says:

    Ay naku- mangigil sila sa inggit. Mabuhay and see you soon in Manila este Makati! ;-)

    Feb 3, 2017 | 8:57 pm

     
  39. Joey Martin says:

    Haters be hatin

    Feb 3, 2017 | 10:14 pm

     
  40. Tugas Haligi says:

    Carcar is the best among my family and friends. Do what you do. Always good to have competition. But to be honest balbacua on mais best.

    Feb 4, 2017 | 12:23 am

     
  41. Deedee says:

    I agree with your points. I’m Tagalog by blood but proud Cebuano by heart. I’ve had my fair share of Cebuano lechon in the 20+ years I’ve lived here in Cebu. Ironically, Despite the popularity of lechon here, it wasn’t very accessible. You only had it during parties or you had to buy it by the kilo and bring it elsewhere to eat. What I like about zubuchon is that it made lechon accessible to everyone. Honestly, while it’s not my favorite (it’s in my top 3, though), whenever I’m having a spur-of-the-moment craving for lechon, there’s only one place I’ll go.

    Feb 4, 2017 | 1:42 am

     
  42. apa says:

    Good one Lee, cant wait for Zubuchon in Manila, just in time for my vacation. Yipeee!
    Bashers mamamtay kayo sa inggit.

    Feb 4, 2017 | 3:20 am

     
  43. ricky gonzalez says:

    mr joel, huwag mo ng pansinin ang mga yan, wala lang magawa, kaya kung ano ano lang ang pino-post. Sabi nga sa wikang dayuhan ay “The proof of the pudding is in the eating”. Kung maganda ang producto mo tatang-kilikin ka, kahit saan mo itayo ang restaurant mo. After all, it is the bottom line, that will show if your resto is indeed worth the the tag “The Best”, “The famous”, et al. Good luck on your Makati/Manila branch, “Knock them dead”.

    Feb 4, 2017 | 5:26 am

     
  44. Marj says:

    my siblings love to travel and i always make them bring me some zubuchon take home whenever they swing by Cebu. one of my 2017 bucket list is to ACTUALLY EAT at one of the restaurants and now I can reallocate my airplane ticket to more lechon! woot woot!

    never mind the haters MM!
    just have the staff brace themselves when all of your fans arrive on the opening week :D

    Feb 4, 2017 | 5:53 am

     
  45. Zen says:

    i’m a cebuana who now lives in manila and just came from Cebu yesterday, my bestfriend in Cebu told me exactly what you wrote here that ‘only people from manila and balikbayans like Zubuchon’ (my mom ate there almost everday when she came home from the US, good thing she inherited good non-cholesterol prone genes lol) anyway, i don’t really care and stick by my tradition of always eating zubuchon in mactan airport even if i have to stand. I always order lechon with rice and i’ve never been disappointed. I’ve been your silent reader for years now and the fact that i needed to comment for the first time says a lot about how much i love and believe in zubuchon. Sooo excited over your manila branch, i bet it will be jampacked! Hope you can open more branches soon just like what you did in Cebu. Congratulations!

    Feb 4, 2017 | 9:01 am

     
  46. Jovita says:

    Thanks for opening a Zubuchon branch in Manila, looking forward to it! And very near my neighbourhood too! If only the streets of Manila (this side of Makati) was more pedestrian friendly, I could easily walk this.

    Feb 4, 2017 | 9:02 am

     
  47. Joanne says:

    Hi! There are still more supporters than bashers.. Congrats on your Manila branch. More power! You are my fave food blogger/idol! ?

    Feb 4, 2017 | 9:49 am

     
  48. leigh says:

    I still remember a day visit to Cebu with old friends years ago … we got on an early flight from Manila to Cebu. We went straight to Zubuchon and waited for the first delivery of lechon. I still remember the sight and smell, intertwined with the smiles, the oohs and the aahs of long time friends when we bit into the crunchy lechon skin and the happy tummies after we all finally ate. We went back to Manila that night. To this day, it remains as one of our fondest memories.

    Feb 4, 2017 | 12:52 pm

     
  49. Chinkee says:

    Bakit ba, e talaga namang “famous” and “favorite”! Don’t mind them haters MM, they’re not worth your time. Congratulations on the new branch, which I wager will be the first of many in Manila ?

    Feb 4, 2017 | 1:24 pm

     
  50. Mariposa says:

    Nice to be back here. I was a lurker and has perfected my banana cake from the recipes you’ve shared here. I was born and raise in Cebu. I have traveled enough and I always look forward to Cebu’s lechon everytime I come home to Cebu. Zubuchon at first glance may seem not the typical Cebu lechon and it has nothing to do with its look or taste, but simply because it appears to be more expensive and “aristocrat” for the lack of better word. I personally, am happy that Zubuchon was opened. I get to enjoy lechon in a comfy cozy environment and I love the lechon. I am a Cebuano, and I have promoted Zubuchon several times in my IG and to all my friends from all over the world. So I guess, if others do not share my opinion, it is also not fair for them to discount my take. It is my favorite. And again, I know so many people in Cebu and from around the world who loves Zubuchon.

    Feb 4, 2017 | 4:38 pm

     
  51. Mark says:

    Suya lang sila. That is the reason for all the bashing. Many people from Manila ask where they can go to eat Cebu lechon, unfortunately there were no decent places to go to until Zubuchon came into being. To give credit where credit is due, Zubuchon is the first to open a clean and decent air conditioned restaurant serving mainly Lechon. Just like putting wheels on luggage, it was sensible thing to do but it did not happen until someone did it and everyone else folowed. And now it will be, I suppose the first one to do it in Manila. Zubucon is not the best in Cebu but they have set the direction that others have copied.

    Feb 4, 2017 | 11:11 pm

     
  52. Ishie Casey says:

    I’m an Expat travelling through Asia at the moment and got excited to taste what Anthony Bourdain mentioned was the best pig ever. Oh and thank you very much for bringing great food options along with consciousness to this crazy world. We need more intelligent people like you in a planet full of apes.

    Feb 5, 2017 | 5:31 am

     
  53. Chris says:

    You’re not a true blue cebuano! You’re marketmanila!! Not marketcebu!! Heheh just kidding!

    Thanks for finally opening one in makati!!! Looking forward to bringing my family over there to let them have what I experienced in your cebu restaurant!

    Feb 5, 2017 | 8:29 am

     
  54. ConnieC says:

    Some people can’t seem to take that other people do better things than they can. It is also called porcine envy, MM’s pigs healthier and sexier than theirs:) ‘Nuf said!

    Feb 6, 2017 | 8:22 am

     
  55. kurzhaar says:

    Off thread but I don’t know how to get to the next post on Ginger. My partner and I are very sorry for your family’s loss. We ourselves have had to say our own farewells to greatly beloved dogs, and it is never easy–they truly are members of the family. Both of us had dogs who were our constant companions growing up. I personally still occasionally dream of that childhood pet, even though we’ve had other dogs since. Our deepest sympathy.

    Feb 6, 2017 | 11:22 am

     
  56. teth says:

    yehey! aabot sa bday ko sa March!

    Feb 7, 2017 | 1:12 pm

     
  57. Kasseopeia says:

    After all the brouhaha (and finally reading this post), the only thought I had was: bagay kaya ang ginisang ampalaya at Zubuchon lechon? Or better yet, ensaladang amapalaya and zubuchon skin. Oh yes… I can’t wait!

    Feb 7, 2017 | 4:17 pm

     
  58. Marketman says:

    Kasseopeia, you must be psychic… the Manila menu has an “Ampalaya salad with fried dilis” on it… it’s a better kind of bitter. :) Thank you everyone for your comments. It is notable that not a single one of the haters/naysayers bothered to attempt to comment on this post (whether regular or newbie) and I doubt any of them read it in toto… And thanks to the nearly 2,000 people who “liked” this post on their Facebook page, I am grateful for your support.

    Feb 7, 2017 | 4:30 pm

     
  59. FleurSeann says:

    Crab mentality is everywhere, there is nothing to compete. They just declare their own war. They mean business while Zubuchon is into providing a decent livelihood to its staff. Only in Zubuchon i ever find the native and distinctive taste of Lechon similar to the ones i ate during local festivities in Negros. The right blend and aroma of spices lingers in my palate. GOD BLESS and Congratulations to the expansion. I don’t need to spend more money to let a “pig fly” to Manila. :)

    Feb 7, 2017 | 11:19 pm

     
  60. cecile says:

    I like this post. It contains stressful parts (bitter bashing and bashers) but it is a lesson in its entirety.

    AND! Wewwewweeeew! Zubuchon will finally open a restaurant in MM!

    Feb 8, 2017 | 1:22 pm

     
  61. MP says:

    Zubuchon in Manila. OMG. another excellent reason to go home sooner than planned. Thank you MM.

    Feb 8, 2017 | 5:00 pm

     
  62. Mart says:

    Not unlike sports fans being subject to the sense of a false tribalism and sticking to their team no matter what. Whereas purveyors of the Olympics would better appreciate spectacular displays of individuals no matter their their team affiliation, the incredible skills displayed by a non-olympian in their choice of sport are easily dismissed by a fan of the opposing team.

    If pork were awarded medals, Zubuchon pork gets the gold. Judge Bourdain has said as much (and is well documented to boot).

    Feb 9, 2017 | 1:18 am

     
  63. Isabella says:

    the reason why there aren’t many bashers here is because most of them use Facebook free data, which doesn’t allow access to outside sites. if they’re so mad about their favorite not getting any hype, aba e di sila din kaya mag bukas sa Manila! brother and I are really looking forward to Zubuchon in Makati. we went to Cebu last year for a week specifically to go to your restaurant and sample the magic. we loved it so much, we brought some back home, too. ?? more power to the Zubuchon team.

    Feb 9, 2017 | 9:30 am

     
  64. Alexishyne says:

    i waited for your Bonggang-Bonggang tubag when i first read those posts. every body has a favorite, but people can be so nega. Its “crab mentality” i believe, sorry, nadamay pa ang crabs,they looked delish sa imong recent post.

    Feb 9, 2017 | 9:35 am

     
  65. Marketman says:

    Thanks Alexishyne, Mart and all the commenters… Isabella, what is Facebook free data? They have Facebook on their phones but no other sites? Can you tell I am a tech dinosaur? :)

    Feb 9, 2017 | 12:22 pm

     
  66. DanD says:

    I just went to the Zubuchon FB page to see what the fuss was about, and holy cow, I’ve never seen so much negativity from a post that wasn’t politically oriented. I had to fight the urge to argue with the people dropping 1 star ratings. Its hard enough to find good places to eat in Cebu without people hijacking rating systems, and I hope this is not something that says more about Cebuano culture as a whole. I love your restaurant, and I loved your blog for a while, but apologize it took this issue for me to go out of my shell and say such. I like your attentiveness to food preparation and textures, your focus on customer service and dining experience. Simple things like the choice of vinegar you put as dipping sauce I admire, and make me want to go out and find other vinegars and see how they’d compliment different types of food. You inspire both the adventurer and the cook in me, i hope for my own selfish reasons that you continue to do so for a very long time. Thank you for many a joyful meal at Zubuchon.

    Feb 10, 2017 | 12:11 am

     
  67. Footloose says:

    Not unlike sports fans being subject to the sense of a false tribalism… My exact sentiment though I see it as tribalism in its broadest sense, being strongly attached to anything you identify with. That’s what impels you to root for your team. Unfortunately, also applied to politics, entertainment, art, literature, science (as in global warming) and notably, cuisine, which leads to loss of objectivity and erosion of quality.

    Feb 10, 2017 | 12:50 am

     
  68. Faust says:

    Hi MM, any plans setting up in Davao City? I’m a Cebuano too hailing from Guadalupe. Great article btw, love reading it.

    Feb 10, 2017 | 1:20 pm

     
  69. ros says:

    @Marketman

    Yep, free Facebook on smartphones, it’s one of the reason behind the elected demagogue’s popularity:

    “Access to Facebook is provided free with all smartphones, but Filipinos incur data charges when visiting other web sites, including those of newspapers. As a result, millions of citizens rely on social media for virtually all of their news and information, consuming a daily diet of partisan opinion that masquerades as fact.”

    https://newrepublic.com/article/138952/rodrigo-dutertes-army-online-trolls

    Feb 10, 2017 | 2:05 pm

     
  70. Marketman says:

    ros, OMG, just hours ago I read some stats in today’s newspaper that there are roughly 33 million Filipinos who check their Facebook daily, and 30 MILLION of them do it on their smart phones, rather than on computers… that is truly amazing, and a revelation with respect to the behavior of trolls and negative commenters on social media… wow.

    Feb 10, 2017 | 8:56 pm

     
  71. Marketman says:

    DanD, thank you very much for your comment, and your apparent comment on Zubuchon’s Facebook account. I really appreciate it. Your comments mean more to me/us than 100 naysayers. Thank you.

    Feb 10, 2017 | 9:02 pm

     
  72. tnm says:

    As a long time reader of your blog, I just want to say that:
    1. If I could support your restaurant, I would. On my next trip to Manila, I will surely stop by.
    2. I have benefited greatly not just by reading your posts, but also making some of the recipes you have shared.
    3. I remember way back that lady who got the “FISHPAN” award. I suppose the trolls will get it this year collectively.

    I support you 100%, MM! Don’t you worry, trolls and haters don’t last. But great cuisine does.

    Feb 12, 2017 | 9:04 am

     
  73. Kathleen says:

    Why can’t Cebuanos just be happy that a local resto will be opening in Manila. Me? So proud to have another cebu resto in bustling Manila. Congratulations Zugbuchon!

    Feb 12, 2017 | 11:43 am

     
  74. sophie says:

    don’t mind the bashers MM, we are happy that you are opening a branch in Makati, wherein we can taste anytime and not wait for a flight or sked of mtg in Cebu. to say the least, I was able to taste Zubuchon lechon last week with some stash in the freezer too that’s when my cousin goes to Cebu for a mtg and asked or shall I say plead to bring Zubuchon lechon (ZUBUCHON or NOTHING), Guava Jelly (but sad to say out of stock), Chicharon.

    LOOKING FORWARD TO QUE! HAHAHA!

    Feb 14, 2017 | 6:15 pm

     
  75. Enrico Paolo Banzuela says:

    everytime we go to Cebu, we just have to eat at zubuchon. Zubuchon – best pig ever. Internet – best crabs ever! :) more power and looking forward to your makati branch

    Feb 14, 2017 | 7:22 pm

     
  76. Curlytops says:

    Been so long since i last dropped by MM. Am not a lechon fan but i am a fan of Zubuchon. Love it. Looking forward to tasting it whenever i can. Happy to learn that there’s a branch opening in Makati soon. Malayo pa rin sa akin pero mas malapit naman na di hamak compared sa ibang branches. :-)

    Feb 22, 2017 | 12:32 am

     
  77. Boopsie says:

    Looking forward to your Zubuchon branch opening in Makati.

    We can all agree that Cebu has some of the worst crabs ever.

    Feb 23, 2017 | 4:45 pm

     
  78. Lani says:

    I love Zubuchon, and dream does really come true, finally it’s here in MMla.

    Feb 25, 2017 | 9:33 am

     
  79. Gigie says:

    Tagal ko ng hindi naka bisita dito but so glad to know that you are finally opening here in Manila. Can finally taste the “best pig, ever!”

    Feb 25, 2017 | 7:19 pm

     
  80. Moni says:

    MM, I have always been a fan of Zubuchon from Day 1. I am lucky that Zubuchon Makati is just a 5-minute walk away. Tomorrow, your opening day, my son and I will have dinner there at 6 pm. The next day, Monday, I am treating a friend for dinner there, on Tuesday, I will have lunch with my sister there. Congratulations on the opening of Zubuchon Makati with stunning interiors — high ceiling, awesome lights, wall plants, impressive menu on non-paper material, excellent food, attentive staff, and ample parking space.

    Feb 25, 2017 | 10:53 pm

     
  81. Marie says:

    I’m so excited for the Manila branch…will tell all my friends about it!!!

    Mar 3, 2017 | 3:01 am

     
  82. Gigi says:

    yay! no need to fly to cebu for my favorite lechon fix!

    Mar 8, 2017 | 9:33 pm

     

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