Sunday, March 7, 2010

Salcedo and Legaspi Markets: Makati's weekend moveable feasts

I must admit, one of the interesting aspects of living in Makati, near the central business district, is the proximity to most of the things you need.  Within walking distance are the malls, supermarkets, and eating places.  It's so convenient, it can spoil, nay, lull you to complacency.  Weekends when I am in town (ever since I went freelance, they've become more often that I would want them to), I wouldn't want to wander far from home if I can help it.  Hmmm, it must be weekend sloths like me who somehow inspired the creation of Makati's weekend markets.

TGIS. Come Friday night, the parking lot along Tordesillas Street empties itself of cars that crowd this busy place every working weekday and white tents take over.  If you're looking for fresh produce, it's nice to drop by first thing Saturday morning when the Salcedo market opens at 7am.  While much of Makati is still under bed covers and the temperature is cooler, you can have a pick of the freshest fruits and vegetables.  The lunch crowd swells at 11 onwards, eager to feast on a wide variety of fare -- from local regional favorites to international dishes (interestingly, I found Burmese food in one stall and Turkish fare in another).

Salcedo market was created five years ago as a venue for selling fresh produce and homemade specialties.  At present, it has expanded to include food from all over, including fresh and dried seafood, exotic plants, and a carryover from our childhood days -- the sorbetero (mobile ice cream seller) and cotton candy maker on wheels.  Now, if I get food cravings and can't travel, enjoying my favorite authentic budbud kabog (millet cake) can be as easy as strolling over to Salcedo on a Saturday.  It's a nice place to acquaint yourself with delicacies from places you may never get to visit.
EVER ON SUNDAY.  If you miss the Saturday market, you can make amends on Sunday by going to Legaspi.  It may seem like one and the same but my impression is there are more regional food fare available at Salcedo while more organic stuff abounds in Legaspi.  The latter is no suprise as the organic market section was way ahead of its time, maybe an anachronism, created 16 years ago by organic pioneer and champ, Mara Pardo de Tavera.

Aside from the fresh produce, there are curiosities elsewhere -- like the Zen toiletries that lend the air with fresh, fruity redolence, reflexology slippers that resemble those used in Batanes for reef fishing, and leather sandals handcrafted while you wait.

The Salcedo and Legaspi markets are the closest to a wet market the CBD can have.  The first is a macrocosm of the Philippines told mainly in gustatory terms and the other, an organic haven in a largely, chemicals-pervaded world; one offering a feast for the tummy, and the other, a feast for the other senses.

The Salcedo Saturday market is held along Tordesillas Street in Salcedo Village near the Makati Sports Club • The Legaspi Sunday market is held at the parking lot along Herrera and Salcedo Streets in Legaspi Village • Both are open from 7am to 2pm
Read more about Mara Pardo de Tavera's pioneering crusade for the organic movement and the organic market at Legaspi Village here.
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