Carbon and Taboan: Locals' Most Affordable Public Markets in Cebu City

Getting the best bang for your buck in the Queen City of the South

By: Peter Parcon | March 25, 2017
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One of the biggest household expenses is food, and the best way to save on food cost is to buy ingredients from public markets. Cebuanos are known for expecting the best bang for their buck, which means they always look forward to purchasing items at bargain prices.

Because of this, Cebuanos typically flock to public markets to buy the things they need in the house. Cebu has numerous public markets because it is a major metropolitan area. The following are two of the best public markets where you can find good buys in Cebu City.

Carbon Public Market

best public markets affordable prices Cebu

Fresh vegetables at affordable prices

Carbon Public Market is the biggest and oldest public market in the entire island of Cebu. Located close to the Cebu City Hall, it has evolved from being a mere place where people can buy fresh meat and produce at low prices into a tourist attraction.

Coal was a major product sold in the market area, and that’s where the market got its name. The Cebuano word for coal is karbon, hence, Carbon Public Market. During the time of the Americans in the country, the Cebu railroad running from Danao in the north and Argao in the south used to transport coal into the area where the market is located.

Carbon Public Market offers just about anything you can use to make a delectable dish, from meat to seafood and fruits, to vegetables. Many restaurants around the city source their ingredients from this market. Nearly everything sold in the market can be considered good buys since they are priced significantly lower than what one can get at supermarkets. In fact, some major stores in the city also buy the products they sell from Carbon Public Market.

The market is divided into three units. Unit 1 is where all kinds of meat and seafood are found; Unit 2 is where the vegetables and grains are located; and, Unit 3 is where all fruits are sold.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Carbon Public Market would be early in the morning or late in the evening since many vendors with stalls inside the building display their wares close to the streets during these hours. While there is a parking lot close to the market guarded by the barangay tanod (community police), it may be a challenge to find a slot during the weekends when many people visit the market.


It is not advisable to wear any jewelry or bring expensive gadgets when visiting Carbon Public Market. Even though a police station is located nearby, it still pays to take proper precautions to prevent any untoward incidents.

Getting to the Carbon Public Market is easy since nearly all jeepneys in Cebu City pass by the place. One can look for the sign on jeepneys that says “Carbon” or can simply ask the drivers if their routes cover the area.

Taboan Public Market

best public markets affordable prices Cebu

Dried rabbitfish

Taboan Public Market is popularly known as the best place to buy the renowned boneless danggit (rabbitfish) of Cebu. And that’s rightly so! The best thing to buy at the Taboan Public Market is the boneless danggit since most suppliers bring their stocks there. But aside from danggit, other Cebuano delicacies are sold there as well, including dried mangos, otap, and chicharon, among others. The market also has local staples such as dried squid, dried shrimp, fish tocino, and fish tapa.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit the Taboan Public Market is mid-morning or early in the afternoon since the place would not be crowded at this time of the day. The public market has a suitable parking space in front and on the sides. It is advisable to dress down when visiting the place and to keep your expensive belongings safe. At Taboan Public Market, you can haggle with the vendors and get a good price for your purchase. Stalls inside the building tend to give better deals on their products.


While the best way to reach Taboan Public Market is by riding a taxi, it is also the most expensive. Adventure-seekers can take a jeepney marked 4D or 4G and ask the driver or conductor to drop them off at the market.

These days, saving money is the top priority of many households around the country. And this is particularly true for Cebuanos who are always on the lookout for a good deal. For this reason, the public market is always the first place that comes to the minds of Cebuanos looking to get what they need at the most reasonable prices.

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

All photos are credited to the writer.

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About Peter Parcon
After leaving spending 16 years of his professional life in the academe, Peter decided to try his luck in the world of online freelancing. For the past eight years, he has been creating content for clients all around the world. He can work on just about any topic - from tattoos to technology and food to finance. He dreams of visiting every island in the archipelago some day.
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Disclaimer: All articles in the Consumers Magazine of Yoorekka are for general information and entertainment purposes only. Although careful research has been made in writing them, Yoorekka does not make any warranty about the completeness and accuracy of all information presented in our articles. Our content is not intended to be used in place of legal, medical, or any professional advice.
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