My love for visiting flea markets, or tabo in my Waray and Visayan dialect, was born and nurtured by no other than my mother. She is the reason why I love tabo and wet markets and eventually learned to cook. Whenever I go home to the farm for a holiday from college she would tell me that she was going to the Tabo in Acacia, on the way to Tabango early the next morning and would ask if I would like to go with her. Of course she knew the answer to that.
The Tabo in Acacia is held every Friday. Once there, still half asleep on my feet, I would follow my Mom around and carry for her the vegetables and whatever else she buys with no complaint from me. It was also from watching her that I learned to haggle really well during tabo. When I get tired, I would sit down by the rocks where the livestock were being sold. I remember native chickens with bound feet still squawking, pigs still squealing and the goats, not to be outdone, bleating at the top of their lungs. And there I was in the middle of this busy, noisy, bucolic tabo in Acacia feeling so zen or maybe just plain sleepy.
When I relocated to Tacloban City in 2002, this love for tabo bloomed some more. In a place where shopping malls were still very limited, people got a lot of pleasure from visiting the tabo for their fresh produce and first catch of the day. I was a frequent shopper at the Taboan ha Palo held every Saturday. I would drive there in the morning to meet up with my best friend, and with still empty stomachs we would go around hoping to find a vendor that sell SMT or suman, tsokolate at mangga for breakfast. But of course we would only find suman and other rice kakanins. Usually, I would bring only P300.00 (about $6.50) for breakfast and the many other treasures like oks-oks shirts, shorts or Levi’s pants that would catch my eye. The rule was, with that limited budget, we only get to buy the best our money could buy without going overboard. No loaning from each other was allowed when we ran out of money. I had my own serious shopping to do.
When I became Manila-based and heard about the Saturday Salcedo Community Market, I grabbed every chance I could to go there to eat, and buy my favorite potted herbs needed for my cooking.
The Salcedo Community Market started out as a small, neighborhood food bazaar in 2004. It was organised informally by the residents of Salcedo Village in Makati, united in their love for food and fellowship among neighbours. They would do this every Saturday and pretty soon other Makati residents got wind of this Saturday food bazaar. Due to popular demand, it was formally organised and managed by the Women of Bel Air in the same year.
On weekdays, the Jaime Velasquez Park is a much needed paid parking area for the people who work nearby. When Saturday morning comes, it is transformed into the Salcedo Community Market that we know today. You suddenly see all the tents sprouting like mushrooms ready for the days’ activity. Located at L.P Leviste St. cor. Toledo St. in Salcedo Village Makati, the weekend market opens at 7am and closes at 2pm.
Two weeks ago, I went there to check out some potted herbs for my mini kitchen garden. I was very happy to find in Gourmet Farms my basic herbs like Spanish basil, tarragon, marjoram, sage, oregano, mint and parsley along with some organic vegetables. If you are a cook, these are your staple herbs to help bring your cooking to a higher level.
Next to it was Milea Bee Farm selling honey and tableya chocolate products.
But what really fascinated me was the live beehive, encased in glass so consumers could safely observe the bees at work from where they were standing.
I strolled further and I came upon this smoky barbecue corner where I found all things grilled like chicken inasal, pork barbecue and grilled fish to be eaten on site or “take out”. If you want to meet with your friends or family for a hearty, inexpensive brunch, this is a great place for that.
I was really getting hungry from the smell of barbecued food, however I still had to take some photos so I walked around some more and found DGM Organic Farms selling several kinds of mushrooms like button mushroom, shiitake, bamboo mushroom, asparagus, bell-peppers and other organic vegetables. I could just imagine the many dishes I could create with these fresh ingredients.
For those who love processed meats, this shop may interest you.
Then suddenly I saw this vendor selling Moroccan food like meat tagines, ratatouille, dips and Moroccan breads. Now this shop made me very hungry with its displayed food and the aroma wafting from them. Moroccan food is one of my favorite food to eat. (They also sell some leather goods and argan oil if that is your fancy.)
When Salcedo Community Market started in 2004, they mostly offered pastries and baked goods. But now, they already have an extensive seafood section that will satisfy your varied requirements.
And for those who want organic poultry and native eggs, just choose from the wide array of selection.
Fruit lovers, you won’t be disappointed here.
More herb options for the herb lovers and for those who are into indoor plants, orchids and succulents, you will be happy here.
Then I stopped in my tracks once I saw the porcelain section. Will I find something old, cheap and beautiful today? They had tea jars, bowls and other porcelain stuff I may need.
Then I saw it! – a cake server platter. Just what I was looking for.
If you want some Asian pancake dessert, you’ll find that too with different fillings.
If you love crabs, you can get it here cooked or fresh.
Smoked and salted fish are also available if that’s what you are looking for.
And as if that weren’t enough, right before you exit, you might want to pick up one of these meditative adult coloring books that is so popular these days.
So these are the treasures I found during my visit. When you come to check out the Salcedo Community Market, keep a sharp eye and go with the flow. You never know what treasures you’ll find.