Cebu Carbon Market, Part 2

Crates and crates of dried fish of different varieties arrive in Cebu Carbon Market from other parts of Cebu and neighboring provinces for sales and distribution.

Whoever said that you cannot eat in wet and smelly markets? Marketing for the weekly food supplies is a serious and tiring endeavor. One can get really hungry and thirsty. Thankfully, there are a few carinderias inside the Cebu Carbon wet market which is a God-send for most people because it is cheap and very filling.


If you aren’t squeamish and don’t mind eating with the smell and messy surrounding, you can sit down in one of these carinderias for a cheap and filling breakfast or lunch. It’s also where locals go to eat and see old friends to update on the latest news and gossip.
But if you are in a hurry and do not have the time for a sit-down meal at the wet market, there are these hawkers on bikes that carry all the elements of a cheap pinoy meal on the go – hanging rice with fried chicken, hot dog and ngo-hiong contained in the plastic container.

I decided to go out of the wet market to look for the vegetable area just a few meters away but in a different complex called Taboan. Make sure that when you come visit Carbon market , you dress simply, avoid wearing jewelries and do secure your wallets and phones at all times as this is not the safest area to be in.

Vegetable Area


There were many areas where fresh vegetables were being sold but I climbed the stairs to appreciate the view of the leafy greens and piles of squash as well as the tubers such as gabi, ube and camote. The vendor isn’t the least bit concerned with all that squash piled high above him.


The Taboan area is not strictly zoned for some reason. Below the vegetable area, these vendors selling guinamos (fermented or salted fish) and bagoong (salted krill or tiny shrimps) which is distinctly colored pink.

Thank God this is an open air market because the malodorous aroma of these two Filipino delicacies put together in one area like this plays havoc on your nose and can make you feel nauseous if you aren’t familiar with it. It’s either you love it or hate it. Imagine rotting and fermenting fish in salt brine and left for 30-90 days in room temperature. The smell can kill you but somehow when you eat it with rice, boiled bananas or camote with fish, it works! I have grown to love this bagoong (sweet krill) but so do flies so I consume it very sparingly.

It is rather a very hot day and I am getting sweaty and thirsty exploring the streets of this market so it was pleasant to come by this vendor selling Del Monte pineapple juice with the juice cans displayed on his makeshift portable beverage store on bike as an advertisement. The P10/glass pineapple juice was cold, sweet and diluted but nevertheless refreshing.

The highly fashionable, cool dude selling cold, diluted pineapple juice who refused to have his photo taken unless I buy a glass from him.
While sipping my cool drink, this parol vendor caught my eye with her very charming and old-fashioned parols. I bought one as looking at it makes me happy reminding me of my carefree, heartwarming childhood Christmases in the provinces. Christmas 2017 is just around the corner after all.
She must be thinking… “Mmmm it’s a bit of a downtime period after a hectic morning…perfect time to update myself with what’s the latest news while I can.”
These two salted fish vendors have time to gossip how one almost won the 3-digit numbers game last week had she gotten the three numbers right.



These vendors were selling my two favourite fish, fresh Tangigue , Mahi-mahi and another one I don’t recognise that is already being cleaned for the waiting arms of the buyer. These fresh fish would be perfect for a Fish Tinola, a ginger-based clear soup dish.
This is a Tinola Kit. For P10.00 ($0.20) each bowl contains all the basic ingredients to make a Fish Tinola. Buy the contents of a bowl plus your fresh fish and you are good to go.


These two cheerful old dames have become great friends through the years. Tobacco Lady sells tobacco and lomboy leaves for smoking. Bag Lady has been an old client for tobacco and lomboy leaves. When I arrived they were both chatting gingerly as old women are wont to do with low voices only they can hear. They were both putting some tobacco inside the lomboy leaves before rolling it slowly when I asked to take a photo of them. The lady selling the tobacco asked me if I smoked. I told her I don’t but I bought a tobacco leaf anyway worth P10.00/leaf. In retrospect I wish I had bought more so Tobacco and Bag Lady could go home sooner to be with their families.

Tobacco Lady handing me my tobacco leaf after I purchased it. They went back to chatting after I paid for my leaf and taking my photo.


Me, with my purchases from the Carbon & Taboan market. A parol made of glittery material, a tobacco leaf, camote-que for snacking (I got hungry walking around taking all the photos) and a Batik piece of cloth for my future travels.

Cebu Carbon Market
M.C. Briones St.
Cebu City, 6000


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