Malls + Markets Shopping

Where Locals Shop: Top “Makamasa” Markets in Cebu

Find the best danggit in the Queen City of the South on a budget.

By: Aliana May Juson | September 17, 2016
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Want to get to know Cebu beyond the posters and postcards you see on Facebook and Instagram? Go to the public markets!

Of course, there will always be Magellan’s Cross, the churches, and the beautiful resorts. But at the markets, you’ll get to see what’s served on a typical Cebuano’s dining table. And it’s something to know that, because knowing about what a people eats is knowing about their culture. Well, okay, it’s not always food on the table. But, that would still be inside information, don’t you think?

Read on as ShoppersGuide uncovers the top three makamasa (for the general public) markets in Cebu: Carbon Public Market, Taboan Public Market, and Farmers’ Market – South Road Veggies. Know about what products they offer and how to reach them.

Carbon Public Market

If you have been to at least five public markets in the Philippines, you will know that Carbon Public Market is three to five times wider than your typical Filipino market. It’s not surprising that it’s hailed as the largest market in Cebu. Here, you can find all sorts of local poultry and meat products, as well as grocery items at prices two to three times cheaper than what other stores typically offer. For PhP23, you can buy ¼ kilo of onions or around eight pieces of medium-sized ones. In the neighbourhood stores, you can get them for PhP5 per piece. You see, there’s a significant price difference there. Tomatoes can be bought for as low as PhP17 for half a kilo.

budget-friendly public markets in Cebu

Chorizo is made and sold inside Carbon Public Market. (Photo by Writer)

In front of Carbon Public Market is Freedom Park, where fresh and locally produced flowers are sold all year round.

budget-friendly public markets in Cebu

Colorful flowers abound at Freedom Park. (Photo by Writer)

Among the jeepneys that pass by Carbon Public Market are those marked 4H and 12A. If you feel like walking, you’d be happy to know that it’s only five to ten minutes away from Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño and Magellan’s Cross.

Carbon Public Market is open as early as 4:00 AM.

Taboan Public Market

Danggit (dried rabbitfish), with its salty, sun-dried taste, makes for a great breakfast when fried and paired with a sunny-side up egg and rice. And danggit in Cebu is love. So, if you want to find love, Taboan Public Market is the place to go.

This market is known for selling the best danggit in town. Here, you will see piles of dried fish on display. Niño and Khristy Dried Fish Dealer and Pasalubong is just one of the many stores selling this local product. From them, you can get a pack of danggit for as low as PhP50 if you are buying in bulk.

budget-friendly public markets in Cebu

Heaps of dried fish for the taking at Taboan Public Market (Photo courtesy of Niño and Khristy Dried Fish Dealer and Pasalubong)

Also sold in Taboan Public Market are Cebuano delicacies like otap (an oval puff pastry), dried mangoes, and Carcar chicharon (pork skin cracklings from Carcar City). Other interesting food items you can find here include dried squid, shrimp and fish bone, and fish tocino (sweet cured fish).

Some jeepneys going to Carbon Public Market also pass by Taboan Public Market. Otherwise, you can ride a jeepney marked 08G bound for Alumnos Street. From there, you can either ride a trisikad (a foot-powered vehicle) from the jeepney’s drop-off point or walk for five to ten minutes to get to Taboan.

Taboan Public Market is open as early as 7:00 AM every day.

Farmers' Market – South Road Veggies

Farmers' Market – South Road Veggies started as a weekend market but is now also open during weekdays due to insistent public demand and a growing number of visitors.

budget-friendly public markets

Fruits and vegetables at Farmers’ Market (Photo courtesy of Tommy Osmeña)

The market currently has over 50 merchant-farmers selling fruits and vegetables in season fresh from their farms. Products here are relatively cheap since they do not go through middlemen who charge more. As a bonus, you also get to know more about the very farmers who cultivated the produce sold here.

The only thing that makes Farmers‘ Market not accessible to the general public is that its location is not along the route of any jeepney in the city. When taking public transport, you can get off at Mambaling Flyover and either ride a taxi, take a walk, or ride the free shuttle from there.

Some tips

First, wear simple and comfortable clothes as markets can get crowded. Second, talk to the farmers! Get to know more about the produce you’re buying and the people who grew them. Finally, haggle reasonably and enjoy shopping!

Click the store names to see their exact addresses and contact numbers.

Prices may change without prior notice.
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About Aliana May Juson
Aliana May Juson is a 20-something ex-reporter in a Manila-based TV station. She tries avoiding single-use plastic straws as her contribution to saving Mother Earth. In her spare time, she volunteers to communities with happy and loving kids.
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