Integrity and credibility are priceless. It’s a critical life lesson and certainly worth contemplating on a cool and quiet Sunday morning. I got up well before sunrise today, and by 7am I was famished. I pulled out some leftover “loose” uncooked longganisa meat from the fridge, put a non-stick pan on the stove with a touch of oil and fried about a cup worth of meat until cooked and broken down into little bits. Next, I added in several cups of day old rice, stirred, added in a few lightly scrambled eggs, stirred again and seasoned with some salt, freshly ground black pepper and a few teaspoons of seriously wicked homemade siling labuyo (native bird’s eye chili) vinegar. Scooped some of the fried rice into a bowl, grabbed a pair or mismatched chopsticks, settled into an chair in the lanai/garden and opened up the newspaper…

When I got to the Sunday Inquirer Magazine, I noted that the cover story (in fact, the entire magazine’s focus for the week) was about Pinoys in the Blogosphere. Several articles about blogging, bloggers, and the blogosphere… Then I started to read Margaux Salcedo’s article which narrates the rather disturbing, but totally believable story of the DARK SIDE of food bloggers who write for compensation; and worse, bloggers who write bad reviews if restaurateurs refuse to buy their “services” (the modern day equivalent of revolutionary taxes as it were). I appreciate Margaux bringing this issue to light and for mentioning marketmanila.com as one of the exceptions to this growing (dare I say) trend… I completely agree that this type of appalling behavior gives blogging a bad name in general…

But there is also a part of me, as I wolfed down the fried rice, that was screaming “I TOLD YOU SO!!!” to no one in particular, but to all internet users in general. So for the benefit of new readers or those who may have missed the first 6 years or so of this blog, let me reiterate a few things:

1. I absolutely positively do NOT accept any money or goods in kind in exchange for a post that I write. I buy and taste or consume 99.9% of the items I have written about. I do not attend PR events, accept free tickets to shows, freebies or promotional items, free meals, food, etc. EXCEPT in very rare instances where people I have already written about, or who insist beyond gracious refusal, that I take a taste of their goods, etc. I used to be able to say I have NEVER accepted a freebie, but these days, I must be completely transparent and say I have taken a bottle of homemade vinegar from Gil Carandang who has been a suki for over 12 years, or a baked good sent in exchange for jam I sent their way, fresh lettuce from a farmer, or pinakbet from Jessica Soho. But in nearly all cases, these were AFTER the fact, and definitely of no significant financial consequence nor would it result in further coverage of the subject at hand. One of the reasons I preferred anonymity in the past is that restaurateurs didn’t send freebies to our table and treat us with kid gloves, or vendors try to get me to taste their goods. It is difficult to say no, but not impossible. Nevertheless, I have probably ended up buying hundreds of items rather than suffer the awkwardness that may arise, but I am pretty certain my standards on this regard are as high as they come almost anywhere on the planet.

2. Many restaurants, PR agencies, homebakers, etc. have asked me to taste and review their goods. I probably get 5 of these emails a week at least. And in all cases, I have declined or ignored such requests.

3. I do not go “out of my way” to try and review a restaurant or product. I blog about what I come across, so this is by no means an exhaustive and comprehensive coverage of the pinoy food scene, just the meanderings and thoughts of a single person.

4. There are no paid advertisements on this blog. I do NOT make any money from the blog whatsoever, with the exception of the repeated mentions of ZUBUCHON and related experiments (that have commercial implications, and are indeed a business), which I have documented over the past 3+ years from the time I experimented with lechons to the time it was featured on an international television program to the time that the crew spearheaded an effort to market it in Cebu.

I have RAILED vehemently against the lack of disclosure, the freebies, paid endorsements, etc. several times over the last several years, sometimes to an occasional outburst of indignation from other writers, press people, PR professionals, advertising folks, and readers of this blog… but my views on these matters have been consistent all along. If you are curious, you may wish to read or re-read these old posts:

Why I Don’t Write For A Newspaper/Magazine & Why I Don’t Accept Any Freebies – Read the discussions in the comments section of that post, they are most interesting…

And for an early situation that I exposed that sounds similar to what Margaux Salcedo described in her article today in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, read in the order given, these posts from two years ago:

Mad Crowd Media, Don’t Piss Me Off!
Mad Crowd Media – The Concluding Post
P.S. Nestlé Just Sent An Email


Don’t believe everything you read on the net or any other media for that matter. Use your head, and build your own opinions. Think critically. Be wary of folks who may not be totally objective simply because they HAVE agreed to accept compensation in whatever form in exchange for writing something on their blogs or space. There is a big difference between an opinion and a paid opinion. Search for folks who have, over the years, built a reputation of integrity, independence, objectiveness — in other words, who have credibility. If you want to go further still, eschew or intentionally stop reading folks who you think lack integrity. After all, they make their money based on the popularity of their blogs…

As a blogger, it may be suicidal, but honest nonetheless, to say that I personally believe that food and travel bloggers are FAR MORE CREDIBLE if they SIMPLY DO NOT ACCEPT ANY FREEBIES or COMPENSATION WHATSOEVER from the subjects which they write about. Following defined ethical standards outlined by well-known international newspapers and magazines is a very safe and logical starting point. And DO NOT even attempt to argue that people with less means are exempt from the ethical standards I suggest… I have answered those arguments before in the posts indicated above.

I will go further and state on the record that I think many users of the internet are relatively naive, impressionable and just outright GULLIBLE. So while I hope they all learn to discern the “grain from the chaff” perhaps that is too much to ask given the state of our educational system, so it behooves bloggers with any significant audiences whatsoever to blog responsibly.

Restaurants and purveyors of food should not be cowed by what are now described by some quarters as tantamount to powerful “threats” posed by individual or large groups of bloggers who feel they can create, promote or destroy based on what is written in the internet, or is the more appropriate term the social media? I say fight back! Question if the blogger writes for compensation. Whether they are part of groups that sell their services to known PR agencies. Whether they have asked for freebies from fellow restaurateurs. Build your own lists of credible food blogs and bring balance and sense back into the equation! Readers of food blogs should do the same! On the other hand, restaurateurs who think they can BUY a good review and PAY for positive coverage are also at fault for feeding the animal that has now, in some instances apparently turned beastly. :(

Finally, a few words on “group think” or “mob rule” or whatever you want to call it… but in the past few years on this blog and in my daily dealings I have found increasingly that more folks here and elsewhere ignore basic logic and rationale and instead rely on what the mass public opinion or what I like to refer to as “safety in numbers”. I am generalizing somewhat, but I find sometimes that Pinoys like to be in “groups” and feel protected when there are lots of others of a similar ilk or frame of mind, regardless of whether the discussion is logically framed and conclusions are drawn from facts. This is relevant because in this day and age of the internet, one seems empowered simply because the ability to spread truth or lies has become so easy, aided by the click of a few keys, with little thought to ethics, responsibility or consequences. We all need to step back from this and realize that the internet and more specifically blogging is simply a tool, a wonderful tool for some perhaps, but NOTHING ELSE. It’s when, how, why and what we use this tool for that really counts. And doing that well harks back to desirable and laudable qualities and attributes that have been around for several millenia which include, among others — honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, credibility, etc. Phew! Time for lunch. :)

P.S., Margaux, if you read this, can you email me the name of the PR group, blogger and restaurant referred to in your article? I may try to be responsible most of the time, but a little chismis keeps the juices pumping as well… hahaha. I am kidding, I don’t really want to know and can probably guess at least one or two of those identities… :)


151 Responses

  1. All very true, MM. And thanks for this post. Honesty, credibility, integrity – these are some of the values that should be forever ingrained in our children and our children’s children.

  2. Amen. Amen. Amen Market Man. I may sometimes find some of your posts pompous or self-serving BUT definitely I respect and admire your integrity. Keep it up.

    Most of the time when I read blogs giving glowing reviews of a a new restaurant or a product, I often ask myself “how much?”.

    Yours is one of the very, very few blogs I trust. Thank you. Thank you.

  3. And this is why I stopped going on food trips organized by professional bloggers in my city. I thought bloggers will be honest and transparent with food reviews they’ll do but over the years, transparency and honesty in the food blogging community has gone downhill :(

    As what Dan said, “Yours is one of the very, very few blogs I trust.” And so thank you Marketman for always being upfront and til now, credible :) Happy new year!

  4. yes!!! i agree with everything you say and applicable not only to food blogs but all blogs that share snippets of things they discover.

  5. I truly admire your policy of paying for the stuff you write about. While there are other popuplar food blogs I follow, I take their reviews with more than a grain of salt even when they disclose that they’ve paid for their food because of past instances when they’ve accepted freebies for their reviews. Perhaps this caution is brought about by the possibility that after a good review of a restaurant or product, the blogger expects something in return, thus the good review. Your blog is really the most credible.

  6. The reason why I follow your blog religiously, why I go to your blog daily–whether you have a new post or not–is because I learn a lot, not only from you but the other readers as well–about things that I already know about and do not know. Your posts are not only well-written, but are aesthetically well-presented as well. Your opinions are written with honesty, integrity and passion. Overall, your blogsite is pleasing to the eyes–neat, uncluttered, free from pop-ups and tiny little squares of ads…which is a big help for me, a nearsighted who requires reading glasses when infront of the computer. That is why I so much appreciate the presence of people like you in cyberspace who blog about their passion with no rewards in return except the thank you’s and thumb-ups of your readers. I don’t have anything against bloggers who have ads and solicit ads for their blogs, but I agree with you that it lessens their credibility and I take whatever they write with a grain of salt. Funny you mention it, but there’s a blogger who recently wrote about an “undiscovered” resort somewhere, but when I googled the name of the resort, I found a few sites (tripadvisor.com, for one) which mention it and the words used by the blogger to describe the resort are similar, if not exactly the same, as the one used by a tripadvisor reviewer. Of course, it could be the blogger and the tripadvisor reviewer could be the same person or 2 different persons copying from each other! In any case, it’s really up to the readers to filter the information they receive–whether from newspapers or internet or office gossips–and decide whether to believe or not. In this age of information overload, one should be discerning (and cynical, at the same time) to appreciate the information that comes his way. However, for me who has been reading you since 2006 or so, your blogsite has been a tremendous source of knowledge which I have put to good use both at home and at work.

  7. A blogger has a right to to monetize his site, but he must disclose if he is being paid for to do a review to maintain ethical standards. In this case It could also be the PR firm preying on the restaurateur. Unless all details are provided then I reserve judgement on this blogger.

    A true blogger has to maintain Independence and Integrity IMHO. (Marketman’s a great example) Otherwise blogging can turn from a public service into another PR tool.

  8. Marketman go take them down one at a time!

    I’m not personally against paid endorsements but at least say so. And if a blog chooses to have ads make it easy on the eyes. And please what is it with sudden ads appearing on my screen which I have to click for the nth time?

    But it’s really nice to come back to marketmanila and read its consistent well-written entries and info on Philippine food. Never fails to make my day.

  9. Very well said Mr. M. You’ve nailed it right on the spot.

    It’s rather unfortunate that some ‘event bloggers’ have ‘willingly’ allowed themselves to be used as mere partners of PR firms – attending events and launches and afterwards posting snippets or even entire press releases about the product. It’s unfair to blog readers to do such but for the sake of maintaining good relationship with the PR and the client, some bloggers have ‘institutionalized’ this practice.

    I’m quite shocked at the high price of so-called ‘positive reviews.’ Social media these days is very much free and available to all.

  10. and that is wny, MM, i love you and joey (chichajo, 80 breakfasts) to pieces! and that is also why your credibility is way, way up there! padayon, Bay!

  11. And if MS shares the names of the PR group, blogger & restaurant owner maybe you can also share it with us. Poor restaurant owner! I hope this PR group & blogger (and the rest of their lowly ilk) get exposed.

  12. this is why your blog is so refreshing to read, and why i hope you won’t try to slip into retirement again!

  13. Yes! What an awesome article indeed and you’re the only one in the planet left that is highly credible in your reviews! More power and keep it up!

  14. a reason why i love reading your blog MM, checking daily for new posts, reading the archives because your blog is pleasing to the eyes (no frills and all – no blinking banner of ads that at times annoying already to the reader). thanks MM for a very honest blog site shared to us all your readers.

  15. Nice article, this is something that a lot of food bloggers, if not, all bloggers should read and be reminded of.

    I once almost got hooked to the freebies. I’m just glad I never got to the point of demanding or even looking for freebies when not provided.

  16. @ka_fredo It’s a bit tricky, when you think about it. I agree that a blogger has a right to monetize their blogs, but transparency about being paid to post paid blog entries may only work in an ideal world. Would you as a reader, take time to read a post that blatantly said it was sponsored by Brand X? No, because announcing that it’s a paid post sends the message that it’s an ad, and nobody likes reading ads disguised as legitimate blog posts. I seriously doubt that anyone commissioned by a PR firm to write puff pieces can outrightly say they’re being hired to do so – it would defeat the purpose of creating “buzz” about whatever product they’re pushing. The buzz that popular bloggers create about the product is what they’re being paid for, and I doubt they could generate that big a buzz if they disclose they’re being backed by some corporation. It would be nice if they did own up to it though, because a lot of the bigger, more popular, buzz-generating blogs out there are starting to get off-putting in their self-importance.

  17. I actually have an idea who the PR firm was. My cousin warned me off them. For my part, I am very wary of accepting invitations from anyone except for those who are introduced by friends. Plus, I really have to believe in their product or I would really turn them down. My opinion is my word. I can’t endorse everything on the internet because I belong to the education sector and have students to think of. They read my pieces. They are actually the ones who read my stuff voraciously, even after they’ve graduated. I feel somewhat responsible for whatever leanings they’ve developed while being in contact with me.

    I salute you for being independent. Thanks for this response.

  18. Our food blog was just started last year and I can’t believe that there’ll be this much controversy surrounding food bloggers. But, I have learned a lot and I’ve always been honest (sometimes, a li’l too much) about my reviews or even features of anything on our blog.

    Though I’ve wanted to attend those food blogger events, it was mainly because I want to meet other foodies like me. I do get freebies, but I’ve always been honest and phrase my criticisms constructively.

    I hope all of us will be better bloggers after this. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the issue. :)

    By the way, I hope you can give us an option to receive your blog updates through email (through Feedburner, etc). Thank you! :)

  19. Oh my…is that what your longganiza does to you? Hahaha…

    Well said MM. I do wonder how you’re doing now that somehow your cover is blown and I’m sure many restaurants and purveyors know what you look like….just don’t resort to hats or wigs a la Gael Greene.

  20. Well said and well written. (i wish i could write like you do…)

    I love your post. a total “in your face!”

    for me, i am ok with accepting freebies so long as the other party agrees that the free stuff will not affect my comments/opinions. if i notice anything negative, then they must agree that i will write about it as well.

    i will ask them to sign an agreement and post a scanned copy together with my review. (if that’s even possible) ^_^

  21. thank you for being firm in your beliefs regarding blogging/reviews. you’re of the few independent bloggers that i admire.
    i’m annoyed at this particular food blog who’s super popular /mainstream. his reviews are shallow and it’s obvious when he’s advertising/ hired to review. i have no idea why he’s followed at all. annoying. not awesome at all.

  22. Great post!

    As you probably know, in the US, the Federal Trade Commission requires bloggers to post a disclosure policy if they receive compensation or freebies in exchange for their posts. Bloggers who fail to do so can be fined up to $11,000 dollars per post. Is it time for our DTI to do something like that here?

  23. In my opinion, getting freebie here and there is not bad (in my side only once and it was a thankyou gift)…but demanding for it or expecting it is VERY BAD, as I’ve indicated in my *contacts* my opinion can be swayed if they buy me a “house n lot” and a pink pet pig that can really fly…..hehehehe! Sometimes some people get too greedy and all they think of is how to earn money, even destroying other people’s businesses (karma will get them!).

    @PinoyMuffinTop~ totally agree with you and I’ll keep that tip about sign agreement=)

  24. It is in bad taste when bloggers and social media users resort to extortion and blackmail as forms of cyber bullying.

    Blog posts of Marketmanila which makes us deliriously hungry and craving however shall also be considered cyber bullying. Is it fair and just to read about fried Lechon sisig patties at 2 a.m. with an empty pantry? :)

  25. Your blog and 80 Breakfast are the only local blogs I trust and read. Keep up the good work and your independence from any commercialism is admirable.

  26. thank you for all the tips about bloggers and blogging, MM. Have bookmarked blogs that caught my interest yet I un-mark them whenever I smell something PR-ish and fishy. I think inconsistencies and that advertorial color become obvious as time goes by. I did get to know that a popular blogger actually approach a personal friend and demanded to have his parents and children be given free accommodations plus-plus to their mountain resort and get good mention/space in his “popular” blog.

  27. market man, it’s nauseating to think of all those people blogging for food or money. i agree that if it’s after the fact and won’t affect what you’ve already written or what you’ll write in the future, then it’s fine. kudos to you for keeping it real for us!

  28. Great post regarding the issue. Hindi talaga matatawaran ang integridad at kredibilidad ni Marketman!

  29. Dear Sir, I’ve been in the blogosphere for 6 years now and I’m embarrassed to admit that… although I’ve heard about this blog a lot before, I just really “learned” about it last week on Jessica Soho. And I just wanna say… IDOL KITA!!! \m/\m/

    As a blogger who hasn’t earned a penny from my blog, I totally get what you mean. It’s not that I don’t wanna earn, I just haven’t had the chance to and in fact, I’m opening my blog for ads and advertorials now (my Google ads are so fail).

    However, I do believe that not getting paid for anything has given you the credibility that most people could only dream of. I just wanna say keep up the good work and uhm, I hope I could taste some of your dishes some day!

  30. Marketman, You know I’m an old fan – I am that woman from Brazil that got the magazine years back – and I am writing just to tell you that those are exactly the reasons I keep coming back after all these years. Keep up your good work and do not refrain to say “I told you so”, but do not think you’ll have an impact in the mass of people doing what they should not be doing, when one batch realizes the mess they are in, there will always be a new batch ready for the fry.

  31. I stumbled on your blog sometime early last year and was instantly addicted. Definitely its your credibility and honesty shining through every article that keep me wanting to learn more from you and your thousands of readers. Thank you all for unselfish sharing. Hope this never ends!

  32. When my boss was featured as a modern gentleman farmer in one of the most popular news magazines here in manila, we were so excited. The next day, some people from that magazine called in asking for some donations. :(

  33. Your blog was the first ever food blog I have ever read and followed. That was several years ago. I never for once doubted your integrity as a writer/blogger and I know this will never change.

    Thank you for sharing your food discoveries and for always promoting local products. Thanks for being a truly professional blogger !

  34. Ur funny.Big Bad Blogger a.k.a (xxxxxxx) is in your blogroll! anyway,not everyone who discloses on his blog gives the right disclosure. xxxxx’s operations have been going around among bloggers and resto owners as far as Boracay.You’re the last to know?

    Nancy, I have removed the name you wrote as I have not heard any other confirmation that that indeed is the blogger that is the subject of the article. Has it been confirmed elsewhere on the net? Can someone identify where so I can read about it? To be honest, I have been loud about my resistance to blogging for compensation, so if it is that blogger, he/she would know NOT to approach me with any related issues…

  35. MM, you are a man of integrity and I applaud you! Brings back to mind a scriptural passage my lolo ingrained in us ‘ what does it profit a man if he gains the world, but loses his soul.’

  36. It’s a slippery slope in all forms of media… which is why years ago, the company I worked for put a cap on “gifts”. Like in Customs, we were required to declare if we had received anything that cost over a certain price/amount. I believe it became the responsibility of HR to determine if the “gift” was appropriate. Of course, it also depended on the personal integrity of each employee…

    Which brings me to an example of integrity that I never forgot. My very first boss in media collected every single “freebie” that wasn’t perishable (we ate the perishables with much delight) and held monthly raffles for the office. It was sometimes funny to see the driver win makeup, but I NEVER FORGOT this example and use it as a guide to this day.

  37. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t most cover stories in the Sunday Inquirer magazine paid advertisements as well? When did this practice start?


  38. What a surprise…PR firms for blogging?? When did this happen?

    I constantly got emails too…turned me off to blogging. I appreciate comments from readers more than anything. Now I’m thinking of blogging again.

  39. Sigh. What people do to make money is sometimes sickening. Thank you for writing about this and making people aware of it – on the side of the merchants who will hopefully not cower and fight back and for the reading public who I hope can discern whether what they read is a personal and sincere opinion/reflection/experience or a paid one.

  40. you’re the MAN, MM!!! you’re the only blogger who gives blogging a “good” name! saludo po ako sa inyo!

  41. haha im so proud that i know who you are (MM) because of my professor! but wont tell anyone of course!!

  42. It’s not surprising there’s a whole payola-type scam going on in the Philippine blogging world … eating out in Manila is admittedly expensive and I can imagine some folks wanting to get a free meal (or several) in exchange for a positive (or even just semi positive) review.

    But in reality, I think even traditional media may not be completely innocent either … when press folks go on fully paid press junkets to report on new product launches and/or they’re given free new tech toys to try out, how can readers expect full transparency and honesty? You’re correct in saying readers need to think for themselves, but unfortunately, given not too many options some times it becomes difficult to do distinguish the genuine from the sea of fakery.

    In the end, this is something people will talk about and speculate on for a couple of days … and forget in a week or two.

    The best the legit can do is say loud and clear (like you do) that you don’t accept bribes, freebies, payment in any form … and hope the sketchy PR firms stay away.

    In Manila I’d want to see a yelp.com type site started … where you have opinions aggregated so it’s more difficult to game the system because you’re dealing with everyday folks en masse.

  43. that is why marketmanila.com is the ONLY food blog i follow. credible. i have learned so much from marketman and other commenters like bettyq and others. thanks so much! halos makunan ako noon nung sabihin ni markertman na baka tumigil na sya sa pagba-blog! I was in a state of panic because i have not yet finished reading all the blogs in the archive. but i thank mm that he chose not to. life will simply be not the same with marketmanila.com and that’s no bola. if i get to open my restaurant soon, i’ll invite you marketman but still make you pay. hehehe. dahil mas hindi ka pupunta kung alam mong ililibre kita. :) but truly, i thank you mm for everything i have learned from your blog that has made me a better person in and out of the kitchen. thank you and more power.

  44. it’s sad lang that after all the hype that food bloggers got from the jessica soho segment, lumabas ang ganitong balita… i’m glad ms. salcedo highlighted in her article that the exception is you and lori baltazar… of the four food bloggers in the show, she only mentioned the two of you as the upstanding ones… why kaya?

  45. One of the worst locations for “paid” bloggers is Singapore. In fact, there was a huge brouhaha relatively recently over a blogger who got upset when the restaurant that “invited” him and a guest wouldn’t comp the additional two guests he brought. Several bloggers (of the same ilk, i.e. those who rely on “invitations” to dine out) came to his defense when Yahoo Singapore published a not-so-flattering article about the incident and that blogger.

    I still read a couple of Singapore bloggers, mostly to find out about new restaurants, but I don’t rely on the reviews to be accurate regarding the quality of food or service. I can’t put any faith in a review that has been “paid” for, even if it was paid for with free food. What really pisses me off is when bloggers don’t admit they are getting compensated, and try to hide the fact by not mentioning it at all, or by adding a small “Thank you” to the restaurant or business, as though readers are too stupid to realize that means “Thank you for allowing me to mooch off you in return for a positive review.”

  46. kung maari lang po sana, maghulos-dili po tayo! let us heed mm’s advise about the “mob rule”. may mga “pahaging” kasi sa comments question.

    nilinaw ni mm na hindi masama ang kumita sa blog. may mga consequences nga lang. this is probably one of those consequences.

    marami din sigurong inggit sa success ng mga ibang tao kaya mabilis mag-husga at mag-kabit ng pangalan.

    bottomline: hinay-hinay lang sana. wag po sana tayong maging mapag-husga.

    salamat and PEACE!

  47. It’s absolute hypocrisy to quit your day job and make blogging your bread and butter then say you are free of biases when reviewing or recommending products or establishments who compensates you. Especially when you have family who financially depends on you. I am wondering how some bloggers support their luxurious lifestyle.

    I highly commend you Marketman for keeping your blog ads free. I applaud your credibility.

  48. I love reading MarketManila but he hardly ever reviews restaurant. The advocacy on this site seems to be the use of good quality ingredients to produce terrific home cooked meals.

    That said, we do need to know where to eat, and food blogs that do offer reviews can be valuable resources. Great food will survive on its own merit, and bad food will fail the true test of taste, no matter what some blogger says.

    The title of this post as well as the use of all caps seem a bit much, considering that this was based on one incident. This is the problem of one unknown blogger, and it doesn’t seem to be a widespread practice as yet. I say expose the blogger and the firm so this won’t happen again.

    As a food vendor, I seem to recall getting some solicitations regarding internet promotions. I ignored it and never heard from them again. If this hostaging situation is indeed prevalent, I would like to see restaurant owners tell their own story.

    As for Yelp, I seem to recall that they had a bit of controversy themselves in an article I read from the WSJ.

  49. Sounds like we both start our Sundays in simillar fashion…all the way down to the mismatched chopsticks. Except mine aren’t really mismatched. I bit off the end of one so one is shorter than the other. The chopsticks are from a friend so they are not easy to dispose of. Besides, they still work.

    Transparency is important element and even more so as a blogger as there are no formal policy to dictate the writing. The blog is a reflection of its writer.

    However, what is interesting to me, is that in the Philippines, where such practices are criticized, it is yet somewhat condoned. Is this a reflection of what I read in a past newspaper article as a symptom of ‘corruption as institution’? I’m not condoning such practice and agree with you MM. However I’m a bit skeptical of the sincerity of some of the responses, as you mention in the post:

    ‘Pinoys like to be in “groups” and feel protected when there are lots of others of a similar ilk or frame of mind, regardless of whether the discussion is logically framed and conclusions are drawn from facts.’

  50. @wysgal: Yelp isn’t above reproach, either. Although crowd-sourcing reviews does make it more likely to get a true picture of the quality of a business’s offerings, it’s still open to manipulation. Yelp is constantly hounded by controversy regarding its business practices, because business owners accuse the company of deleting and/or de-emphasizing good reviews whenever a business declines to buy sponsored listings on the site. Conversely, it’s also been accused of bumping up good reviews for companies that do pay Yelp.

    When it comes to restaurants, I rely mostly on word-of-mouth from friends and family, as well as professional reviewers who have explicit policies against getting payment or freebies. Examples are the reviews in the major urban broadsheets like the NY Times and books like the Michelin Guide. As for blogs, I tend to trust those that have no advertising – like Market Manila – or those that are well-written and have a small readership base. My thinking is that blogs that have hardly any traffic will not be approached by businesses and PR firms in the first place. lol

  51. Marketman, you remain credible to me along the lines of dessertscomesfirst and pinoycook.net.

  52. Good morning folks. Good grief, the internet is a bit abuzz with the Salcedo article. FIRST, let me caution against ANYONE posting names of food bloggers who they think are the subject of the article. Do not speculate without proof. I have intentionally deleted names on posts, or whole comments themselves, because I do not want to encourage identification without confirmation from a reliable third party or more. Some food bloggers have categorically denied that they are the subject of the article and let’s take that at face value… Mistaken identity is a terrible disservice and unfair to anyone targeted by it.

    fried neurons and wysgal, I thought yelp was the english equivalent of “aray!” — I jest. I am not particularly internet savvy, and don’t even have a facebook, so obviously I am missing a lot…

    Gerry, you are absolutely correct, I rarely do restaurant reviews in the Philippines. I do posts on meals in restaurants abroad, more for information (as I often don’t visit them several times before writing the post) than detailed reviews, with some exceptions.

    Marketfan, your impression is similar to mine. I used to keep Inquirer magazines for several months and felt that that some 50+% of covers were about products/services/companies featured within that advertised or appeared to pay for the coverage…

    Leticia, how nice to see a comment from you after all this time. How are things in Brazil? :)

    lee, scoot over to Cebu when I’m there and you can make your own sisig patties! :)

    rowie, yes, I wish such standards applied globally.

  53. Next time, eat and enjoy your longganisa fried rice first, then read the papers…..
    i too, when i have the same leftovers you had, cook the same thing. nothing like comfort food for instant comfort….just don’t read the papers!!!!!

  54. P.S. Thank goodness, i’m in the US…..Los Angeles for that matter….too many bloggers to read and too many restaurants to try. not enough time or money to try them all.

  55. Hi MM,

    Great post as usual!!! Would just like to ask if you intended “RAILED” to be RALLIED in the quoted sentence below:

    “I have RAILED vehemently against the lack of disclosure, the freebies, paid endorsements, etc. several times over the last several years”

  56. I never knew you put eggs AFTER the rice. I normally cook the egg first in the kawali, then put the rice in. And i generally stay away from blogs coming off as too slick.

  57. Elmo, I did mean to write “RAILED” as in “complain or protest strongly and persistently about…” definitions here… But I understand the confusion, I am highly prone to typographical errors… :)

  58. present tense, eggs before the rice is chinese in origin and probably the more common way of doing it. My version is the lazy hungry person’s approach. :)

  59. Wuuhaattt?!?! Has our country become so corrupt that even some bloggers have become extortionists. :( I think I have an inkling who this big bad blogger is. Obvious naman eh.

    The reason why I like your blog is that at its core it’s a documentation of your passion for ingredients, food, cooking and traveling. I also like the camaraderie and interaction I see on the comments section where people get to share their experiences and tips.

  60. Whoah, blogging mafia! Insane! Gosh, I’m curious to know the identities of the PR group, blogger and restaurant as well!

  61. What a nice way to start my week. hehe i was just going to look for a recipe and got into reading this. when you see an MM post with a title in caps, who could resist? :)

    I, like many of the followers here have nothing against a blogger who gets something out of his reviews or has paid ads on his site, but it is indeed one’s responsibility to at least be credible for what they say. People who would believe on what they write and then soon personally find out that what has been written is wrong would be disappointed and probably would lose interest on that blog.

    Filipinos, i am guilty of this as well, do get excited of something just so because they have read about it somewhere or people have been talking about it. I, in particular do get interested of a restaurants. but some restaurants because of these reviews or would-of-mouth tend to be overrated. in the end, it would just be a bad experience… a big disappointment. lesson learned, do not believe everything that you have heard of or read about.

    I have appreciated MM’s anonymity and the first time I saw a feature on him on Jessica Soho, that episode with the nayong filipino gingerbread house, I was expecting that you would be on silhouette or something to hide your identity. But I think coming out is a good thing, because some would like to know who the person behind something they read or has heard about. It makes the person real and more believable.

    keep it up, MM. And thanks for this great site that i hope would remain free of annoying ads. have a great week ahead to everyone.

    PS. i like this post by lalaine ‘halos makunan ako noon nung sabihin ni markertman na baka tumigil na sya sa pagba-blog!’ although it would be a bad publicity for marketmanila.com if one would hear from the news “a woman had a miscarriage because of a blog site” hehe (so sorry for the lengthy post)

  62. Whenever I look at blogger reviews, I tend to look at the comments as well. The sum of these opinions will give me the bigger picture.

    Jin of jinlovestoeat is one of my favorite restaurant review blogs. She seems to have an unlimited appetite when it comes to eating out both here and abroad, and her experience includes some of the best in the world. Her humor definitely makes her blog a most interesting read.

  63. Now, you know why we keep coming back to your site MM. It’s because of your credibility. And of course, of all the “sinful” pork recipes you shared.:)

  64. this post solidifies why I am a fan of your blog, MM.
    i have a personal blog and i write whatever that fancies me. I have been invited to some of those “bloggers’ night” to make a food or product review and I always decline. I just can’t write about something I don’t believe in.

  65. Your integrity and credibility are among the reasons why I read your blog. Those two things are power.
    “Credibility is like virginity. Once you lose it, you can never get it back.” So don’t lose it. The credibilty- i mean! :)

  66. I agree wholeheartedly with your post. In fact when the article broke out yours was the first site I went to, to see your reaction. I knew you’d feel strongly about it since you always emphasize transparency and integrity in your posts.

    Like 50% of the comments on this post, let me declare that yours is the ONLY food blog I follow religiously and trust in completely. Am so glad you decided not to retire.

    P.S. Why is my location appearing as “China”? For full disclosure I’m here in Manila. :-)

  67. I don’t know what constitute a sell-out anymore, esp. in the food-blogging arena. I don’t even know how people can give-up their day jobs to become full-time bloggers. If that’s your passion, hmmm, might as well earn some few bucks doing what you love. Hey, you have bills to pay too. Reading the comments, I suspect they are alluding to that guy, you know THAT GUY. I’m not even sure what he violated. It was the PR firm who did the sneaky dealings. This guy operates his blog like a Travelogue magazine or an e-zine, some of his stuffs really do smell like “praise-release”. Not sure if there is something wrong with that. Same way that there’s nothing wrong being paid to become Erap’s spokeperson.
    I think BBB kinda gave himself away when he posted that he was looking for people to help him market projects or stuffs via social media. It would be interesting to hear his side.

  68. MM, this is brilliant :) I read your blog daily and found you consistent and credible…I’m not a foodie but I love reading your blog, and even mentioned this to foodie friends..and specifically cites, that this blog is not for ad, or any promotional product, except for Zubuchon – which is your own business…

    As a netizen, there are too much info elsewhere, but credibility is something which should pass the acid test (if there’s such a thing)….

    Thanks for making this blog available to us for free –
    All your followers would want you to go and make that cookbook that goes like “MM Faves” :D

    I’m a fan, and proud!

  69. BRAVO MM. I have always admired your honesty and integrity in writing and have so much faith in your blog. Although I do wish I had more time to find more great blogs out there, most of the time I find it disappointing as soon as I smell a commercial angle to the blog. I cam in fairly late into the blogging world (and by that I mean being a reader, I have neither the patience or the skill to be a blogger) and am sometimes completely aghast by what some people write about. I personally don’t have anything against commercializing a blog, as long as you are honest and transparent over it. Also, I think if you are a blogger “professionally” then at least honor your audience by educating yourself over topics you write about. It’s tragic sometimes how some bloggers completely demolish a product or business without knowing what they are talking about. Free speech is precisely what the internet is about but I truly admire that you share both your passion and education and not just your opinion.

    There are more blogs out there than stars in the sky, but few shine as brightly as yours in the manila food scene anyway. Kudos to you for that and for the article written last sunday.

  70. Amen. I used to frequent 3 other food blogs but have since “abandoned” them. For some reason, I began to “smell something fishy” on their later posts.It became obvious that their blogs are no longer about their food finds but more about food offered to them, or food they were compensated to review.

  71. I love your rants marketman! Ha ha ha. Carlos Celdran has been raving about this and has posted a status on facebook, directly challenging the person to clear his/her name. Ah, nothing gets my blood flowing than a controversy such as this one. This is going to be one helluva food fight!!!

    And yes, truth be told, some of my friends have already been questioning the credibility of this blogger for many reasons. I, for one, have just these to point out:

    1. Restaurants don’t serve everything on their menu as though the plate will make you fall out of your seat. Don’t expect everything to be so tantalizing you just have to have it! It’s all about the repertoire. It’s what you make it. Food is balanced by the tastes, texture, and the next dish that comes after or before it.
    2. A balanced review is not about saying something nice and then pointing out something bad just because you need to. A balanced review starts with full disclosure, I cannot agree more.
    3. And the food is more than the sum of its parts. Reading Doreen G and Jeffrey Steingarten will help everyone on that one.

  72. Keep up the good work Marketman! The world is filled with gullible people(mostly in the phils.hehe). Everything that gets popular is eaten by opportunistic beasts & commercialism! There will be no exception to that. I myself has been tricked to try foods from reviews out of curiosity or maybe a case of gullibility. Important thing is you learn from it. This article will help blogsphere newbies to be careful. Your piece really complemented the Inquirer’s article. Thank you to Mcdo for giving the free Inquirer last Sunday. Ooopps…sorry Marketman!

  73. thanks for keeping your integrity mm.

    that said, maintaining a blog tends to be time-intensive. to do this for free, as you do, requires resources. from what i gather, you run a business and can manage your own time. i don’t know that everyone has as much time or resources to be able to blog this regularly without finding a way to be compensated. the blogosphere can be a big wonderful world where we can hear from a range of perspectives. it would be a shame not to hear from (unbiased, uncorrupted) people solely for financial reasons.

    i don’t know if there’s a solution to this for some of the other bloggers (paid advertising on their sites?) just a thought…

  74. Mabuhay ang MarketManila.com
    its the only real food blog i follow! The high standards everywhere. Your raised my own personal bar on food. Now thats a real foodie. You dissect recipies and improve it further. What a guy!!! Other food blogs literaly leave a bad taste in the mouth by their obvious advertising of substandard fastfood companies. They even have the guts to call it gourmet food. and praise it to high heavens. Where is the foodie/gourmet in that?

  75. MM, your integrity and ethics are even more appreciated in light of this recent revelation. Wonder who that big bad blogger is… kasi yours is the only philippine food blog I follow with regularity so I have little to no idea of who it might be. Hint? LOL! Asa pa ko.

  76. bagito et al, I honestly don’t know who BBB is…

    BTW, I just googled now and realized that the outfit, MAD CROWD MEDIA seems to have become inactive… Did the business model fail?

  77. Dear MM,
    I admire your honesty and integrity that is why yours is the only food blog I follow with regularity. So saddened when you almost throw in the towel and very happy to see you writing again with such passion about your food. Keep it up.

  78. I might express disappointment in your rants but I truly respect your integrity with your every posts. So much effort for your articles, I can understand why you rant whenever IP rights are being breached.

    I first heard of the matter from your site, and upon first reading I had a suspicion as to who, because personally whenever I visit his site, I feel disgusted with all the marketing crap contents of it. I noticed he also now has a food journal for sale. What I do is I try to salvage what’s good of his site and try to ignore the blaring fact that it is fully monetized.

    Keep up the good work.

  79. there’s nothing wrong of writing a review and getting paid post/s, what’s wrong is if one abuses that blogging position given to him/hers.

  80. I have my own food blog where I write about my foodie experiences which I paid out of my own pocket. I have to admit though that I accept invites to some food-related blogger events from time to time but I choose the events I attend. I always disclose that I was invited when I post about events and this should be SOP for all bloggers. There is no way in hell that I will accept anything to write a good review. I am not indebted to the owners or PR firms. To do so is an injustice to readers and to blogging. This should be the mindset of other bloggers who accept invites to events. Unfortunately, there are many who go to events for the freebies and maybe even more. This is the very ugly side of the blogosphere. Some PR firms take advantage of this. Some bloggers take advantage of this. Readers in the meantime are fed false information if they aren’t discriminating.

  81. People make choices to read and believe what they want. Thanks MM for keeping your site informative, interesting, honest, helpful, and updated daily, sometimes 2 or 3 posts a day. You share first hand experiences as well as help your community in worthwhile causes and these are qualities that are well worth the time (which we have so little of these days) to read Market Manila. All the busy clutter on all sides of some blogs just distracts me from the article itself and I have enough busy clutter to deal with on a day to day basis! : ) I hope you’ll be able to continue your blog for a looonnnggg time!

  82. I’m glad I have your site (one credible food blog site) visited everyday.. Keep it up MM

  83. hi..

    good read! i bookmarked it…i am a runner and i am sad that integrity and credibility is lost in the running/blogging community..hope they be able to read this… :D

  84. Your first sentence says it all. Amen to that. This lack of integrity is so well-ingrained in our culture. It’s everywhere. Anyone familiar with the parent who asks or hires another person to do her child’s school project, or who borrows previous year’s test papers to review with the child because the teacher just uses the same tests over and over again? Of course, the child gets first honors. Or those triple A fake luxury bags or watches that some people carry because they fool others into thinking they could afford those. In an age where everyone competes to be recognized the best, it takes real courage and guts to just be comfortable with who you are and show the world, to have that hiya, delicadeza and integridad for these are the values we shape within our kids and staff. Even if your child doesn’t end up as Ms Popular or at the top of the class!

  85. P.S. So don’t you fail all of us! The moment Marketmanila becomes tainted… Ayayay, you will start the next great depression.

  86. i saw the article as well and thought of MM even before reading it… not much of a fun of internet, except for quick info and marketman..

  87. Hi Market Man, I’m glad to hear that you feel so strongly about writing with integrity. In this day and age, integrity is one of the first values to go out of the window. I salute your efforts!

  88. Oh and I saw other paid food bloggers’ reaction. Of course they are all angered what do you expect. I think Margaux should come out with her facts and slam it hard on the face of that BBB.

  89. This post is so xxxxxxxx and so is our xxxxxxx.. :D

    but seriously the reviews in the other site is way way off.. Nakalagay best dish but kung natikman mo… Errr bat ganito lasa?? =\ may time na gusto kong itanong sa kanya kung ngtoothbrush ba since he posted a review about a dish in this newly open resto na sobrang sarap pero wala talaga ang mahal pa..

    kudos to your post keep it up!

  90. It is a sad fact that there really are some among us who choose to EXPLOIT and ABUSE whatever little power one has. One of the properties of Social media is that it can never be controlled by companies/firms/businesses rather, it is an instrument which if used properly can benefit both consumers and firms alike.

    Liken the concept of this subject to a bull fight, a firm which chooses to manipulate social media (for it’s own ends) is “taking the bull by the horns” (so to speak) and will eventually be overcome by the more powerful creature.

    Sadly, as you mentioned MM, we Filipinoes heavily adhere to the “Bandwagon Mentality” or “Majority Wins” way of thinking. Yet what can we do if our current state of education (usually prevalent in High School and elementary) encourages copy & paste assignments where our offsprings and successors are allowed to neglect critical thinking and take information from the internet at FACE VALUE?

    Haaaayyy…. it really is tragic, but then again, we must keep our chin up as there are people like MM and Margaux who upholds the highest standards which are entrusted upon them.

    As the famous saying goes.. “Truth shall prevail”! Keep it up MM! I’m with you till the end!

    PS. what a nice and moist fried rice! the only way i get mine that way with a lot of oil (either vegetable or rendered from meat) or with lots of eggs! the mismatched chopsticks add a nice touch of style to it pero pano ka nakakakain ng kanin gamit chopsticks? hirap kaya nun! :)

  91. By the way, for those who don’t know, Margaux Salcedo was Erap’s spokesperson so I wouldn’t heap too much praise on her just yet. I wish she would either come out with the names or else exclude those who are being put in the crossfire. The question was asked “Huy, xxxx ikaw ba si BBB?”, to which he answered no. Margaux has to answer the question “Si xxxxxx ba si BBB?”

    I do not often agree with the reviews of xxxxxxx, but those are his opinions. While I think his writing definitely needs improvement, he does readily admit this shortcoming with the promise of future improvement. He has on occassion been attacked on his own blog by some who do not agree with his opinion, but he has always answered with grace and has never taken the commenters to task.

    To cast aspertions on his motives without evidence is pure gossip at this point. The guy does make a living doing his blog with his integrity being questioned, he may find it more difficult to do so. From the several comments in this blog that seem to point xxxxxx as the BBB, not one has come out with first hand knowledge of this practice, not even anonymously.

  92. “and” with his integrity being questioned… Off topic – Why is it so difficult to edit comments using an Ipad? I can’t seem to scroll up or down.

  93. Way to go MM!!! Keep it up!

    I agree with Meg Gerner that “Integrity” is becoming a “rare” value not only amongst the Filipinos but also amongst people of every nation. I still believe in the old school standards that I learned from my parents & grandparents.

  94. one of the reasons why i follow only 3 food blogs :)

    btw, Jessica S show’s on food bloggers just aired
    last weekend … great job indeed!

  95. @Present Tense, I too scramble the eggs separately and add it to the fried rice afterwards. I do make shortcuts on my Benihana style fried rice, as in using frozen peas n carrots and sauteing them with butter and diced garlic and chopped onions and white part of the green onion, adding day old rice that’s been refrigerated and then a few tbsp of light soy sauce for color, lastly the scrambled eggs and the chopped green part of the green onions. I do this almost every Saturday, with my eyes closed.

    As for yelp, i used to read what the comment says and almost always disagree with after i visited the place later, now i only use it to find the address of the restaurant i want to visit.

    Are there other Food bloggers out there? Really? I’m hooked on MarketManila for 5 or more years now, i don’t read other food blogs anymore, just a waste of my time,,,coz don’t want to say i told you so.

    @BettyQ, im doing well my bff, haven’t heard from MariaClara at all, have you?

    MM, thanks again for a major major good post. All I can say after watching the last KMJS is, your tagalog is getting better :-)

  96. ted, OMG, what a compliment, I am jumping up and down! I jest of course. I answered some 15 questions from the interviewer on camera right on the farm in 80% Filipino and they edited out the ENTIRE interview. Hahaha.

    BTW, FOR ALL READERS AND COMMENTERS : The post above is NOT TARGETED AT ANY SPECIFIC INDIVIDUAL, but rather at the concept of blogging and accepting compensation and the impact that has on credibility. People trying to suggest I am meddling in someone else’s business are simply OFF TARGET. My position stated above has been consistently stated throughout the six years I have kept my blog active. I wish more bloggers would read up on ethical standards and apply the strictest levels rather than assume they can re-define what is right and wrong…

    albert, that longganisang hubad was already colored with 3 tablespoons of acuete oil. So that just shows how much food coloring is added to most commercial sausages that have a vibrant color. Cooked pork is very pale…

    tonceq, barely cook the eggs and let the residual heat from the rice finish off the cooking, that way, the eggs aren’t too dry and the overall rice dish is a bit moist.

    Faust, I beg to disagree. I think it is WRONG to write a specific review or post in exchange for a direct fee or payment or freebie without at least disclosing the fact that you were paid for it.

    I personally DON’T LIKE ADVERTISING on blogs, but I have NOTHING against others having banner ads, google ads on theirs. As long as they do not change content or opinion simply because they get advertising from the business/service being reviewed. Newspapers, after all, have ads, but that doesn’t seem to take away from the integrity of say the New York Times, does it? A few years ago, a story broke of a sales manager at Saks Fifth Ave (who happened to be Filipina) potentially involved in unsavory practices and the Times kept writing about the story despite the fact that Saks is one of their largest advertising accounts…

  97. oh, and Ted, as a good friend and academic pointed out to me, it’s now PC to say speak “Filipino” rather than “Tagalog”… :)

  98. oh the outrage…and hypocrisy.

    i applaud you MM for taking a stand against payola and x-deals. but i know that most newspapers and bloggers, who are outraged over this whole thing are into deals themselves.

    and like the rest of other issues surrounding us, i agree with wysgal that people will talk about this for a couple of days, then forget about it, and move on. how lucky this BBB and this PR firm are, that we’re such a forgetful/forgiving bunch.

  99. Really, MM? I didn’t realize it’s more PC now to say “Filipino” rather than Tagalog. Just wanna clarify, is it Filipino w/ an eff or Pilipino with a pee? Ay, that didn’t look right. LOL!

  100. i think it is fairly easy to suspect that that guy is the BBB. although, correct, as long as there is no hard proof evidence, then we all don’t have any concrete evidence.

    still, the important thing here is that this article made people aware of the “possible” dark dealings being made by some PR firms together with these greedy foodbloggers.

    and i am sure whoever that BBB is, that person will think twice now about his ways and means to make a living. i am happy that this incident is brought to light.

    i love to cook, ergo, i will follow those food bloggers who actually cook and prepare food. as for the rest, hmmmmmmmmmmm…. *wink *wink.

    and that is why i will always be a loyal marketmanila reader. amen to that!

  101. Been reading Marketman since this poor little kingfisher slammed face-first on a sliding glass door and bounced into the pool. Credibility and Integrity are no big deal. They’re a dime a dozen in this blog site. What deserves attention are his Fishpan awardees.. Piss off Marketman and you have yourself an article (most of the time series of articles) to enjoy 

  102. I’m taking this as a warning. I’ve been blogging for years and just started a food blog last May 2010. I don’t know if you can call it a review but it’s more of narrating OUR experience. Sometimes it’s me, sometimes it’s my boyfriend who writes the post. I have at least 10 more pending post because of missing menus. Errr, I mean I have the images taken by my cellphone but we lost the receipts and it’s been a while. So hard to recall what we’ve ordered. There are actually few post on that blog, got no luxury of time to write, but have plenty to EAT. :)

    I salute you MM! My first time here by the way. I have more than 12 blogs and monetizing 1/4 of it. Now that couplestrip is PR2 (after the most recent PR update) I believe that it will also be on it’s way to monetization. But because it is a niche blog, I’m seeing link advertisers as the target market. In fact, I just declined few offers earlier via email. $50 for 5 links on my sidebar, life time. Oh well. It’s supposed to be my first ever earning from couplestrip but I think it’s too early to decide, and somehow, too low. :)

    The article caught me in a sense that it exposed some Bloggers (ok, just BBB) as a threat in the food industry. And with this hype, I’m not sure what future awaits couplestrip. Whatever happens, I’ll keep updating this blog. It’s our FOOD Trip anyway. And I am not a professional food blogger to start with. :D

  103. For reviews, even the Yelp! site (saw it mentioned in the earlier comments) has had its fair share of intrigue, as they were allegedly moving bad reviews further down the establishment’s page in exchange for ad revenue.

    I guess the more we get bombarded with blatant advertising and promotion, the more sensitive we are to displays of honesty and integrity. We’ve grown to be reliant on others telling us where’s the best place to go and eat and do stuff, and I guess we just don’t want to take the risk of being disappointed or short-changed. We just have to be more wary of taking those “opinions” at face value.

    Now, on that longganisa thing, I distinctly remember our family having uncased(?) longganisa cooked when I was a kid. They were shaped in patties around half the size of a small burger, and I would usually have them with sinangag and a fried egg for breakfast. Not sure if its a specific Bulacan thing, but I wonder if the longganisang hubad was what they also used in filling pan de carne.

  104. @MM said “oh, and Ted, as a good friend and academic pointed out to me, it’s now PC to say speak “Filipino” rather than “Tagalog”… :)”

    Whether Tagalog is now called “Filipino” or “Pilipino”, doesn’t that marginalize all the other languages (and cultures) that make up the Philippines? Are the people who speak those other languages any less Filipino than Tagalogs just because they don’t speak “Pilipino”?

    Not arguing, just wondering aloud. I recall a conversation my mother had with another Filipino. He said she couldn’t be Filipino if she didn’t know her language and she replied, “I *am* Filipino and my language is “Hiligaynon”! Even Claude Tayag said he was Kapampangan first, Filipino second (or something like that. . . can’t remember the exact words).

    And you know what George Carlin says about pc language and euphemisms! “Smug, greedy, well-fed white people have invented a language to conceal their sins.” The “white people” may not apply in this case, but it is always the upper echelons who are first in line to use pc language. I wonder why?

  105. Margaux though should have mentioned who the PR firm is and who did the review. I think they said they were fearless on their publication, dropping the names in this case may be a good start. If it was true (or if it isn’t) then names should come out to warn others of these unscrupulous individuals.

  106. Rona, I think the attempt is to have one national language, even if it does mean “tagalog” is forced on the rest of the country. In fact, more people spoke some form of “visayan” than tagalog when the decision was made decades ago. It’s similar to what happened in Indonesia, I think, where they mandated that “Bahasa Indonesia” would overlay all regional dialects, etc. It seems to have worked a little better there than it does in the Philippines. It’s hard to appear unified when our history and geography as an archipelago supported 80+distinct dialects/languages until we were all cobbled together into one national entity… KUMAGCOW, yes, I agree that names of at least the PR company should now be mentioned so folks can get closure. I think its unfair to cast doubt on an entire blogging community rather than pinpoint the culprit(s)…

  107. I really hate it when these bloggers post products that are given to them and they give outstanding recommendation about it. Just because it’s free doesn’t mean that you should kiss A**. Bloggers are part of the social media and sad to say there are only a little left of them who are credible and unbiased. Those bloggers shouldn’t call themselves “bloggers” but as “Kiss a**sers”.
    I know MM that you will stay as true as you are. More power to you!

  108. Rona Y, Tagalog is still Tagalog. Filipino being the national language is deemed to be the national lingua franca that evolves from all Philippine languages.

  109. ^Or such is the spirit of its declaration, at the very least. There is a Commission on the Filipino Language composed of representatives from major ethnolinguistic regions whose mandate is to develop, promote and standardize the use of Filipino as the national language.

  110. such a great read…thank you for this, its just sad that these things happened, sana di naman maging masama tingin sa mga bloggers. and nakakainis lang na may mga ganun blogger…

  111. I think this whole thing is all blown out of proportion. The PR firm that was trying to extort money was using the popular blogger without him knowing about it. The BBB didn’t know about what the PR firm was doing. The restaurant in question is really not doing too well and the blog post in question wasn’t that bad and seemed truthful.

    At the end of the day, any restaurant owner or chef should not worry about any blogger. If the food in the restaurant is good, it will translate to sales and success no matter what BBB or any blogger will say.

  112. sometimes, people (writers, bloggers. columnists etc) start out with good intentions, full of sincerity, but along the way, as they are learning the ropes, so to speak, their eyes become opened to all sorts of possibilities and opportunities, and that is where the problem starts. and credibility becomes a big issue! you wonder why there is a tendency to favor some restaurants more than the others in food reviews, personal favorites ika nga,
    or why a blogger has to come up with some rackets like food tasting events (i, unfortunately, attended one, and swore never to be in one again!) small venue, long queues, by the time you got in, there was no more food to taste!!)….and by the way, i think that for a food blogger to be truly credible, he must at least know how to cook!! :)

  113. @ Kit and others,

    Just because you are not sure or does not know how a thing works, does not mean it’s wrong or unethical.

    Do you really know how Bill Gates made his money in details?
    Do you really know how Henry Sy made his money in details?
    And it goes on and on…..

  114. @iFoodTrip,

    You’re correct, if a restaurant has bad food or service no matter how much good reviews any bloggers give them will only magnify their having bad food or service.

  115. @ Rona Y,

    People cannot blame Tagalogs as not all Tagalogs are from what some Visayans and people of Mindanao call ” Imperial Manila”. Tagalogs speaking provinces (YES! provinces) are just like any other provincial people, not CITY people.

    Actually a lot of non-Tagalog speaking Filipinos (in the Philippines) make fun of their own people whan they talk funny in Tagalog (just watch you favorite TV show (Willie Revillame always does this) or listen to some politicians – I heard Mig Zubiri say di man ako bisaya dong jokingly – but he kinda is). I’ve never made fun of my friends when they speak funny in Tagalog as I probably would sound funny in theirs ( no need for me to speak theirs though for any reason other than to be polite). Kasi status symbol po pag detso ang Tagalog nila, it means they studied in Manila (eh puede kayang laki lang sila dun)

    In the Philippines you need to speak proper Tagalog or Filipino to work a good job besides knowing good command of English. Again watch TV, Filipinos are celebrity crazy. The regular Tagalog speaking population had nothing to do with all this political rocous.

    Call it Filipino or Tagalog, whatever but you ain’t gonna change “Barong Tagalog” (YES! the national attire for men) to Barong anything – though people call it “Barong” nowadays not realizing it is the shortened version of “Barong Tagalog”. What people are gonna come up with their own ethnic attire?
    Yeah, I want to see that on your weddings, or are we then all gonna be wearing Tuxedos?

    If one has a very Filipino lastname, no matter where that person is born or from you’d know he/she is Filipino.
    The new World Super Model Ms. Magpantay, wow! very Filipino she ain’t Lopez, Araneta, Ayala (all foreign names of slave masters or lastnames given to their slaves). So, Mabuhay ka Pilipina!

    The Filipino Language should unify us not divide us, if you can think of a better way or language for our people to use then please go ahead let us know, let all the Filipino people know.

  116. We won’t be able to enjoy this ad-free and independent blog has MM not been well-off. He is a privileged person. US-schooled, owning his own business, (and, maybe, now retiring comfortably), he could afford to do his blog out of hobby and passion alone, not for money-earning purposes.

    I praise MM’s blog for its aesthetics: clutter- and ad- free, pictures of enough size, text size that’s relatively friendly to people who are optically challenged. Adding to its beauty is its writing; it is competent yet unassuming. It gives you a feeling that he’s an accomplished brother-friend yet he will never talk down on you. Finally, from it I derive practical information and interesting history, both from the articles and the comments.

    I second MM when he said there’s nothing wrong with doing a food blog for economic ends. Earning a living doesn’t mean losing integrity. But, of course, a food blogger mindful of his reputation, should make full disclosure at the beginning of an article, should not be a part of a payola, and should not expect payback after an advantageous article is written.

    I read Market Manila as much as possible and prefer it over other Filipino food blogs I’ve visited. But the fact is just like any blog with its unique offerings (read niche), it doesn’t contain all. I visit other sites for new recipes and restaurant openings. Those two (especially the latter) are not offered by MM’s blog. But if I do so, I exercise critical thinking all the time. I study the entire blog: its articles, its aesthetics, its advertisements (if any), its character, the presence and quality of comments. A blog reader with some experience will eventually sniff a biased article or blog, whatever the cause for the bias is: commercial or simply personal .

    I admire MM’s blog very much. But as with all other blogs food and not, I’m not always a sell-out. I may someday find (or I might have already found) something in MM’s blog petty or substantial, that I may or may not choose to comment online about.

    Yes, we are still awaiting the promulgation of government laws to curb unscrupulous blogging. Yet there has always been an instrument to spot fairness, justice and integrity in blogs. It’s called common-sense, analytical and critical thinking.

  117. mr marketman,
    check this from -https://www.goblogging.net/disclosure/


    This disclosure policy is valid from 29 July 2010

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