The joys of the Philippine Markets. Being a spoiled American, you will never find me hyped about an upcoming grocery visit to an Albertson’s, Vons or Trader Joe’s. However, I was STOKED when given the option to go and explore the street markets throughout the Philippines. The two largest I had a chance to see were Quiapo Market in Manila and Baguio City Market in Baguio, and of course many corner Philippine markets along the way.
It’s rare to find large commercialized grocery stores in the Philippines. Open air markets on the other hand are very popular and are centrally located so that the residents have easy access with a quick walk from their homes.
Similar to a corner store here in the States, corner markets are everywhere and sell a variety of items. Usually they have homemade sweets, cooking necessities, local snacks and drinks. They’re usually owned by a family that lives in the home right above the shop or next to it. If you are in the mood for something other than street food, or need to grab something for a party you are heading to, these are the markets for you!
The larger open air markets are in a central location housed in a simple roof structure to protect the vendors and shoppers from the weather. Here you can find fresh and affordable produce and meats. (Some meats are still live! Like chickens or fish in tanks!) Everything arrives through local farmers or nearby towns like Baguio.
Speaking of Baguio, they are known to be able to grow all sorts of fruits and vegetables because of their weather, so their market is massive! Strawberries everywhere too. It was almost overwhelming with the different products available. It’s difficult to decide which vendor to buy from since everything is delicious and fresh. You can’t go wrong in Baguio City Market. It was definitely the larger of the fresh food markets I visited in the Philippines.
Then there was the one in Quiapo Manila. It of course had many vendors, but more handmade goods than food items. Quiapo is also extremely crowded. It didn’t give the same enjoyable shopping experience that I had in Baguio, but it was an experience nonetheless.
Regardless which open Philippine market you decide to visit, it will be memorable and it makes you appreciate your meals and snacks that much more. Word of advice though, be aware of your surroundings. Pickpockets are notorious in the Philippine markets. Guard your bags! Both your personal items and your newly acquired.