Carbonized - Weekend


Surviving Carbon Market

Text: The Weekend Team
Images: Crisanto Etorma


“BIZARRE!” “It is crazy busy!” “Not for the faint-hearted.” “Stinky! But a must-go!”

These are just a few of the descriptions that non-locals have used to describe Carbon Market on an online travel platform. We couldn’t agree more.

Cebu’s largest and oldest public market also happens to be the most colorful and vibrant, and, of course, the most chaotic. With a constant stream of people, four-legged animals and vehicles from pushcarts to jeepneys to trucks, Carbon’s labyrinthine alleyways and roads can be off-putting, if not disconcerting.

For all its cosmetic faults, Carbon nevertheless draws people from all walks of life and piques the curiousity of those who wish to see, smell and hear what a “real market” looks like, including the adventurous traveler and the guilt-ridden Cebuano who’s never been there before his entire life.

For visitors, Carbon Market makes for an interesting side trip as it is just a short walk from Cebu City’s more famous historic attractions, such as the Magellan’s Cross, the Parian District and Fort San Pedro. But along the way, you will catch a glimpse of old Cebu on narrow, busy roads with its arcaded buildings that hint of the downtown area’s past glories.

But to make the most of your trip to this melting pot that is Carbon, whether you’re a first-timer or a recent returnee out to grab a few bargains, we offer some valuable tips:

1. Bring your own sakolin (repurposed grocery bag) for your purchases, or buy it there for P20 to P30.

2. Wear rubber shoes or easy to clean ones to avoid as it can get muddy and wet in some areas.

3. Buy enough for the week, or until your next Carbon excursion.

4. Put your money in a sling bag or belt bag for easy access and safety. Don’t wear jewelry.

5. Be in carbon early to get the freshest catch and produce. Also, buy fruits and vegetables in season. They are cheaper and of better quality.

6. For the cheapest vegetable and fruit buys, go there at night for the best bargains as vendors lower prices to replenish goods.

7. Avoid haggling, especially with elderly vendors selling perishable goods that are already sold at cut-throat prices. You don’t haggle at department stores and supermarkets, do you?

8. Instead, make friends with the tindera or tindero and call them “’ki” (short for suki, or your regular vendor). This way, have better chances of getting a good deal. You can even get their numbers so you can call them for advance orders.

9. If you’re driving a car, park at the designated area near the Senior Citizen’s Park and Compañia Maritima ruins. Navigating the roads leading to the main market is not for novices.

10. Explore but plan ahead. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to get directions from the locals. You can always be spontaneous, but don’t say we didn’t warn you.

P200 all-in in one sakolin,/b>

1 bundle
Romaine Lettuce
(P34 per bundle)

3 pcs. Tomato
(P35 per kilo)

2 heads Broccoli
(P60 per kilo)

1 head
Iceberg Lettuce
(P14 per head)

2 pcs. Sayote
(P5 per piece)

1 bundle
Bok Choy
(P9 per bundle)

4 pcs. Carrots
(P40 per kilo)

6 pcs. Onions
(P25 per kilo)

1 head Cabbage
(P30 per kilo)

1 handful
(P100 per kilo)

1 head
(P60 per kilo)

Recipes with these veggies

Steamed veggies
Steam broccoli, carrots and cauliflower, then add a little salt, pepper and butter to taste.

Pickled Chayote
Sayote can be pickled with some onions.

Healthy Sandwich
Make any sandwich and put in lettuce, tomato, and onions to make it healthier.

Green Salad
Make fresh, crisp salad with your romaine and iceberg lettuce, carrots and tomatoes. You can throw in onions and broccoli, too. Dress with olive and balsamic vinegar, then salt and pepper to taste. You can also add chicken breast or your choice of fruit.

Beef and Broccoli
Saute onions, garlic, and thinly sliced beef, add oyster sauce, then throw in blanched broccoli, sweet peas and carrots for a beef and broccoli dish.

Make chopsuey with broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, sayote, carrots, chicharo, cabbage, tomatoes, and onions. You can add meat or seafood.

Onion Rings
Cut white onions into rings, dip in tempura or beer batter, then deep fry for golden onion rings!

Mince your cabbage and cut carrots into tiny cubes. Add mayonnaise, pickle relish or crushed pinepples, a squeeze of kalamansi, salt and pepper, and a dash of sugar for your coleslaw.

Bok Choy with Oyster Sauce
Saute garlic in oil, pour oyster sauce, sesame oil, pepper, sugar and vinegar mix, then add bok choy and simmer.


03A – Carbon
03L – Mabolo
04B – Lahug
04H – Plaza Housing
04I – Busay
06C – Colon
07B – Banawa
13B – Talamban
17B – Apas
17D – Apas
62B – Pit-os

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