The Day Before…


Pulling off any meal successfully, whether big or small, boils down to the planning, preparation and execution… down to the last detail. Event planners, must be, by nature, obsessively compulsive type-A individuals that are, at the core, insecure and unsatisfied unless they fret over every single little thing, again and again. But once the “event” starts, none of the blood, sweat and tears that went into planning it should be obvious to the guests. At least that is how Marketman thinks it should be. The day before the “No Reservations” shoot, I went to the Carbon Market to stock up on fruits, vegetables and flowers. It was dreary, wet, overcast and the streets of the carbon were muddy and filthy. This was not an auspicious start to the final leg of preparations. With a quick look up at the heavens, a quiet discussion with deceased ancestors who would understand my current state of craziness, I announced to my crew that despite the incredibly grim weather conditions at 7 am, the skies would part and the sun would be shining by 10:30 am…


They looked at me like I possibly needed a straightjacket, but lo and behold, at 1020 am, just minutes before the “No Reservations” party landed at the Mactan airport, the skies cleared and the glorious sun shone through and the remainder of the day was bright, dry, and simply perfect. The crew later said they got wonderful shots from the plane’s windows, and had no idea how wet the conditions were just hours before. Never underestimate the power of the dearly departed, particularly ones who share my love for food, and who, at their core, were incredibly good souls. Good events planners must have the right connections… even in heaven. Heehee.


My shopping list had several ingredients on it and as I coursed through the market, I picked up several kilos of chillies, tomatoes, onions, garlic, several sizes of mangoes, kalamansi, mangosteens, pomelos, etc. I bought 3-5x the amount required, because I wanted to make sure I had lots of extras and I could pick the best looking specimens whenever necessary…


In the bowels of the market I found several kinds of green mangoes, several sizes of ripe mangoes, durians and even fried peanuts cooked on the spot…


Other vendors out on the street had HUGE baskets of single vegetables or fruit, here the motherload of eggplants…


Gorgeous okra…


Dried shrimp…


A basket wholesaler unloading her wares, and what better place to bargain for a few dozen baskets but right here streetside…


And a picture of the back of the AUV after just 30 minutes of shopping gives you a glimpse of the volumes we are talking about…


We passed by the nearby flower market and checked out the incredibly varied offerings, at wonderful provincial prices…


…settled on several dozen white gladiolas at just PHP5 a stem…


…and was stopped in my tracks by this basket of searingly nuclear orange flowers, “fleur de lis” according to the vendor…


…and finally, a quick stop at a large grocery at the Ayala mall for the rest of the ingredients, a lunch in the food court, and for final inspiration, a moment with Bond. James Bond. Old-timers on this blog know Bond means a lot to me. Now if only my attire was personally designed by Tom Ford and could conceal my 3 month pregnant belly (what the heck happened to Brioni?)… The die was cast. The ingredients on hand. The menu decided. The kitchen prep work about to start. Next up, snippets of my day with Anthony Bourdain and crew… :)


31 Responses

  1. “But once the “event” starts, none of the blood, sweat and tears that went into planning it should be obvious to the guests” …

    YEAH, SUPER AGREE W/ YOU. :) hehe

  2. This is classic MarketMan prep. Attention to details and that dash of humour :)

    I’m excited!

  3. MM you really look in your glory there. I’m glad that you’ve been given this chance to shine–I’m sure it will be a lot of fun despite the hard work! Enjoy it all!

  4. oh, what a beautiful market!! okra that fresh were probably picked couple hours before!

    looked like you were visiting James Bond in a chapel, MM.


  5. yey! Thanks for the preview! I can’t wait to hear more of your day with Anthony Bourdain and see more photos. The shots of the produce are all gorgeous. Nothing really beats the freshest ingredients. I am excited to hear how Anthony enjoyed the special meal you prepared. I am so looking forward to see the episode when it airs in the Northeast!

  6. Colorful fresh selection of nature’s bounty you got there, MM. Looking forward to seeing a great cooking maestro orchestrate and elevate simple ingredients to gustatory delight.

    MM’s OCD in action!

  7. Beautiful shots at the market. Those orange flowers look wonderful! I am holding my breath for the next post.

  8. What an exciting preview for a great day with THE Anthony Bourdain :-) I love Carbon market! i used to go with my mom when she did her early morning jaunt. and i have to agree with you MM… my favorite would be the local flowers at such great prices. Beautiful Celosias at only Php5/stem!! :D

  9. MM, not only are you Marketman, Weatherman ka na rin! :) It’s really nice to have heavenly connections, no? I’m excited to see the next post featuring the meal w/ da man. And of course, the best pig ever!

  10. The talong and okra are to die for. Were you going to do a pinakbet?

    I don’t see any basket (nigo) at the back of your vehicle, did you get to buy them? I am dying to know what you come up with it. The main use I remember back then was just to shake the rice when you are picking off the “tipasi” before cooking but then you won’t need a couple of dozen of them. I refuse to think you were gonna line it with banana leaves and make it as the dinner plate that would definitely be an overkill!

  11. oh my, what a great place to go shopping! the bilao (i think that’s what they’re called) reminded me of kakanin like tibok tibok, kalamay na ubi, cassava and palitaw. when i go there next month, i will remember to buy a few and smaller ones to use as plates when i make filipino food. with fresh banana leaves on the smaller bilao, they will make good plates.

    i am really excited to see the highlights of the preparations and the dishes that you served anthony bourdain. with your attention to details, i am sure that you wowed anthony bourdain with all the dishes that you’ve prepared for him…
    the best pig ever just one of them!!!

    mm, thank you for sharing with me and your readers this experience of a lifetime. i look forward to seeing you and anthony bourdain in this philippine episode on the travel channel…

  12. Who are going to be invited to dinner with Anthony? I am sure he will be impressed with “Pilipino Hospitality” by a very good host. Show the world Marketman.

  13. I am really excited to see more of these! I want the world to see our country through your eyes .Best of luck.

  14. MM..I had to take a second look on the last picture……I thought you were infront of a mirror!!! hehehe

  15. poch, yeah–like MM was praying for some kind of guidance..artisan choco: hahahaha!!

    can’t get over the fabulous produce from our markets!! that’s what i’ll call “simple abundance”.

    striptease–we’re down to the last item of clothing!!! takam..

  16. MM,was that a crate of calamansi? All the vegies and flowers looks so gorgeous!

    Am looking forward to your next posts,can’t wait!

  17. “Good events planners must have the right connections… even in heaven.”
    Hahaha! good connections indeed, no need to offer eggs to Sta.Clara as our old folks do :)

  18. The interesting thing about holding large scale events is that even if something doesn’t go as planned, guests never really know what they’re supposed to expect anyway so mishaps can go unnoticed.

    But do I like what you say about how guests are not supposed to realize how much work goes into things planned for them … =)

  19. Ofcourse all the preparations will not be complete without a quick peek to “Mr.Bond”, who’s only a few inch taller than you MM! :)

    I’ve never seen okras that biG, you can’t go wrong with gladiolas for PHP5/stem, that’s a bargain!

  20. haha LOL on that Bond moment! Loved it! And I sooo get this Bond-Craig version so amen to that!



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