07 Aug2016

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 9.01.24 AM


Our small store at the Mactan airport domestic departure area has higher prices than our city stores. We can’t help it. Recent rental increases means that some 40+%, YES, read 40+% OF EVERY PESO of revenue goes directly to rent and taxes. So about 5-6 weeks ago, when I spotted a small strip mall like building for rent near the airport, we jumped at the chance to lease it. Our objective was to set up a small Zubuchon take-out outlet filled with a full range of Zubuchon items as well as other typical Cebu pasalubong items that visitors to Cebu often take home with them. It will have the first DRIVE-THRU lechon pick-up window in Cebu. And basically, a 2-3 minute stop here just before the airport could save you up to 20% off airport prices!

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 9.03.40 AM

So imagine this conversation a month ago when the ink on the lease was still damp…

Architect & Contractor : Hello Marketman.
Marketman : Hello. Do you think we can get this place open in time for the Ironman crush of guests on August 7?
Architect & Contractor : Huh? (Crazed looks) thinking quietly “Is he F%$#@! crazy?”
Marketman : One week for plans. One week for permits. Same two weeks to order equipment and develop signage.
Marketman : Then 10 days of construction, renovation lang di ba? Should be okay, no? (Evil grin)
Architect & Contractor : How about just the shop first?
Marketman : Okay, let’s just do it!


So here is how you open a new retail outlet in about a month’s time. Really.
1. Sign lease and at the same time get wheels rolling on several other simultaneous tasks.
2. Ask graphics designer to develop new “BUY B4U FLY” material
3. Print tarp and put it in front of your store once it is done.


4. Approve architectural plans and drawings of perspectives. First two images up top belong to our wonderful architects, Maya Franco & Associates
5. Start construction and do other drawings for details on the fly. Order equipment and design display tables.
6. This is what it looks like at T-72 hours to opening. T-72 hours!!


7. Glass in stalled, painting in progress, and electrical being tweaked. The building already had electricity and water and floor tiles that we re-used.


8. Visit site at T-24 hours, and marvel that there appears no sign of a front door other than a makeshift frame! But calmly confirm with poor harried assistant that all is on target for opening in a day’s time (already delayed a day from original plans, we don’t have much room for errors)…


9. Freezer and fridge in place the day before opening. Assuming we get a door. Meanwhile, Marketman rushes to the Carbon market to buy baskets and bilaos and other stuff. Stocks from various suppliers are arriving at the head office in full force. Scouts from Bantayan have sent boxes and boxes of fresh daing for our stores. Lard is being made and packed. Biko portioned and frozen.


10. Voila! August 6 Saturday we managed to get the place blessed at 9am, set up for a few hours and opened for business by 1pm or so! Marketman wasn’t in Cebu for the opening, since it was a day later than originally scheduled. :)


11. Still missing signage, shelves, etc. but the objective was to have a place for Ironman guests to buy their pasalubongs and that deluge of sukis should start passing by by this afternoon, August 7th! The air conditioners work, fridges are on, it’s almost there.


12. This store carries the full range of products we have on offer. And we can arrange special pick-ups from here if desired in future. Think pick up and check-in your own whole lechon for lunch or dinner in Manila…


13. We have the freshest dried fish on offer, neatly (and smell-proof) vacuum packed and stored in chillers for even better longevity. Prices for dried fish are up to 50% MORE at the domestic airport!

IMG_2754 (1)

14. Fresh chicharon is delivered to this outlet daily. Our freezers and chillers have a wide range of our products.


15. Crazed office staff trying to make the store look a bit festive for opening day, despite missing a lot of the paraphernalia we need for a completed offering.


16. Even for products like Titay’s rosquillos, our prices can be as much as 20-33% less than airport prices!

IMG_4977 (1)

17. Some tarps/signage up like in the plans up top.


18. And two hours BEFORE we opened, this couple came in and bought two bayongs full of pasalubong! Talk about bueno mano! So for all those folks who have come to Cebu for Ironman and haven’t had time to complete their pasalubong shopping, please drop by our new store on your way home in the next few days! Over the next few weeks, we will be opening more stalls behind this store and there will be both well-known local Cebu brands and delicacies, as well as a “street food” style set of kiosks towards the rear. We are looking for lots of new products like some authentic Carcar ampao, Catmon bibingka, cassava cakes, etc. to put on offer in future as well.

Open a pasalubong store in about 1 month? Done. :)

A huge thank you to our architects and contractors and Zubu staff that no longer seem to wonder if anything is really impossible. :)

Top two images are from Maya Franco & Associates



  1. Esquire says:

    amazing!! Congratulations MM and crew!

    Aug 7, 2016 | 1:52 pm


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  3. Chinky says:

    Congratulations, MM! Another Zubuchon outlet to visit!

    Aug 7, 2016 | 2:06 pm

  4. millet says:

    way to go, MM and crew! congratulations and best of luck, as always!

    Aug 7, 2016 | 2:08 pm

  5. Kouta Ono says:

    Congratulations Tito Marketman and crew!!! Now I have to find a way to persuade my parents to visit Cebu and your store…

    Aug 7, 2016 | 2:32 pm

  6. joe jj says:

    MM, if you were in government, you have what others lack — political will! Hearty congrats!

    Aug 7, 2016 | 3:52 pm

  7. ConnieC says:

    As they say, if there is a will, there is a way! Congrats MM !

    Aug 7, 2016 | 3:58 pm

  8. Betchay says:

    A big congratulations to you, the staff and the architects/contractors! More reasons to come and visit Cebu soon. I love the concept of the Pasalubong drive thru!

    Aug 7, 2016 | 5:12 pm

  9. Thel from Florida says:

    Wow, Wow, Wow! Congratulations to you and all hardworking folks who made the deadline possible Marketman aka Superman – – your business is getting so big. Next opening, Manila huh! God Bless always!!!

    Aug 7, 2016 | 8:03 pm

  10. Ging Berdon says:

    whew!!! amazing! Congratulations!

    Aug 7, 2016 | 8:52 pm

  11. Footloose says:

    Umm, getting closer to the airport. I hope this is the prelude, the gathering of momentum for the final leap for your Manila debut.

    Pasalubong reminds me of its Japanese exact equivalent, omiyage. Another that is really close is their term for what we would describe as layogenic, bakku-shan – a girl who appears pretty from behind but not from the front.

    Aug 7, 2016 | 11:52 pm

  12. Nina says:

    Excellent! Just in time for our forthcoming visit to Cebu in a couple of months… still, hope you will open one in Manila, too soon.. sigh.

    Aug 8, 2016 | 2:32 am

  13. La Emperor says:

    Wow, talk about photo finish, ala Olympics opening ceremony… ;-) . Congrats once again.

    Aug 8, 2016 | 3:02 am

  14. farida says:

    Congratulations! MM. will stop by, for sure, on my way back to the States. What are the hours of operation? Thank you.

    Aug 8, 2016 | 7:52 am

  15. Marketman says:

    farida, were you at the lunch with Bebing where I sent a lechon for the 90th birthday party? :) Our passalong center is still figuring out hours, but for now, I think it’s open at 6am to about 10pm in the evening. I will update this comment if they’ve altered hours. Thanks! Thanks to all for your kind greetings!

    Aug 8, 2016 | 8:34 am

  16. ami says:

    MM, just a suggestion. Can you write a post dedicated to all the items available for purchase in this store (with prices too)? That way we can easily make bilin what specific item we want family and friends to bring back to Manila. Congratulations btw!

    Aug 8, 2016 | 11:11 am

  17. Lee says:

    Great concept and branding and just one month to set this all up! This is just one short ride in a yellow mini jeepney from the airport :)

    Aug 8, 2016 | 3:23 pm

  18. Gigi says:

    great idea MM!

    Aug 8, 2016 | 4:20 pm

  19. Natie says:

    This is so wonderful, MM. It seems like a short time ago, you were opening A restaurant. Now THIS!

    Aug 9, 2016 | 8:12 am

  20. EbbaBlue says:

    Congratulations! Congratulations! Congratulations!

    Aug 9, 2016 | 10:36 am

  21. Kasseopeia says:

    Congratulations, MM! Another Zubu-store to mob!!!

    Aug 9, 2016 | 1:58 pm

  22. Ying says:

    Congratulations! Just in time, as my son will be in Cebu next week for a few days. Is this walking distance from the airport? May I know the exact location? Thanks and looking forward to some Zubu pasalubong!

    Aug 9, 2016 | 4:15 pm

  23. Marketman says:

    Ying, it’s a bit of a walk from the airport, say 12-14 minutes or so from the terminal. It’s on the airport road itself, and on the left side when coming from the airport, across from Chikaan restaurant. The signs are pretty clear. If he sees the large abandoned building in the background of photos above, he will see the store.

    Aug 9, 2016 | 6:03 pm

  24. Ying says:

    Thanks for the directions MM, I can finally have that lechon dinuguan I missed when we transitted Cebu from LAX!

    Aug 9, 2016 | 10:24 pm

  25. Marketman says:

    Ying, yipes, I am not sure we carry frozen dinuguan there. Let me know a couple of days before he goes and I will prepare a special batch for him to bring to you. My treat. :)

    Aug 10, 2016 | 7:30 am

  26. eps says:

    “Think pick up and check-in your own whole lechon for lunch or dinner in Manila…”
    This seriously gave me goose bumps. Just the thought and my mouth waters…

    This is my first post ever on this site…couldn’t help it. My heart is still beating fast thinking about eating Zubuchon lechon in our own dining room :)

    Aug 10, 2016 | 8:01 am

  27. chin says:

    congrats mm! wish you can open one in legazpi, albay

    Aug 13, 2016 | 11:42 am


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