Saturday, November 12, 2011

Mercato Centrale and Midnight Mercato in Bonifacio Global City, what is Cebu’s version?

Community market or farmer’s market (or correctly termed community supported agriculture) are gaining popularity nowadays. Consumers now are well-informed than before, and if given an option, they would rather choose or buy foods directly from farmers - all that are local, seasonal and organically grown. Consumers now are more “responsible” on what they eat and how their decision or choices would affect the food chain. If you are keen observing what’s happening in our society, we are in a phase of time that is “going back to basics.”

Locally, we have the likes of Mercato Centrale in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig or Salcedo Community Market  or Legaspi Sunday Market both in Makati that are closest to the definition of a community market. Zooming-in here in Cebu, I wonder if we have  those versions.

 The blogger posing at the welcome streamer.

Last August this year, I had a chance to visit Mercato Centrale, in both its Sunday Organic Market and the late night food market (Midnight Mercato). This community market that opens
only during weekend is located in 32nd street in BGC. You can easily spot this amid the vast open spaces in BGC, noticeable because of the tent structure. The Midnight Mercato starts at Friday (and Saturday) night 10pm-3:00am, followed by the Food and Organic Market during daytime (Saturday and Sunday) 7:00am to 2pm.

The tent structure located at the middle of wide open lot in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. This houses both the Midnight Mercato during night time and Mercato Centrale during day time.

 Everything is simple --the table and chair set-up, all food displays surround a central dining area.

After "shopping" from a buffet of food displays, foodies are enjoying the dinner.

Midnight Mercato is a haven for foodies like me. It houses all the best of the best food vendors and budding entrepreneurs in the city. Foods are cooked and simply displayed in tables with one central dining area. Food offerings are unique from each other, and this venue has been the springboard of some venturesome entrepreneurs. There is also acoustic band playing to entertain foodies and eaters alike.

Your basic food street offerings, in a clean, appetizing arrangement.

One of the food vendor offering Mexican foods, all is prepared and cooked right in front of you.

Ilocano's bagnet in a new twist: Bagwang, thinly sliced bagnet spiced with garlic.

Balls, in different shapes and colors (sorry, I forgot to ask what dish is this).

Everything sweet wrapped in handy boxes, for sale at P50.00 each!

The famous Manang's Chicken with a tagline "Ang bagong Fried Chicken ng Pinoy", the fried chicken that comes with a signature taste and flavor. I hope this will also invade Cebu soon.

Refreshments come in inviting colors! 

These are the one's I have bought at the food market. From left to right: Manang's chicken, bagwang, and cutie malunggay tacos.

Mercato Centrale is like central public market, but in an much organized manner with clean presentation. Almost all produce are natural, all-organic and directly from farmers. There are also home-made delicacies, artisan breads and pastries, fresh herbs and even organic items for personal grooming and household items. You can see variety of products and merchandise under this airconditioned tent. From time to time, there are also food and product presentations from known companies. If you are lucky, you can spot personalities dining in this simple yet unique venue.

Fresh organic produce: lettuces, herbs, etc.

Organic rice packed per kilo: heirloom Ifugao rice and other specialty rice from Philippine highlands.

Muffins in different variants, crinkles, rolls...

Pan de bagnet. Picture shown is a freshly sliced bagnet ready for making a bagnet sandwich.

Black tomatoes, my first time to see such variety of tomatoes.

Everything for Vegetarian! I bought one botlle of vegetarian bagoong --salted dessicated coconut in vegetable oil. It tastes like a real bagoong! Vegetarian life is enjoyable if we have always an alternative!

Chia - seeds that are very rich in fiber.

Pastries beautifully packed in boxes

Even soaps and other personal effects, all are organic!

Now in Cebu, what comes closest to these community markets in Manila is Banilad Town Center’s Sunday Market (see earlier posts). It probably started early 2009 with Zubuchon as one of the first few entrepreneurs. I have noticed it evolved from merely tables with products on display to what is currently now stalls that are much presentable than before. I also noticed a number of loyal customers coming from nearby posh villages.

Now the question is, are Cebuanos ready for this community market? Expect that prices of organically grown produces are twice costly than what is beingoffered in supermarkets. For now, only few can afford to enjoy the benefits of this community market. Nonetheless, the good thing is, it is now being embraced by Cebuanos and it gives us more choices as consumers.

Hope to have these “markets” mushroom anywhere in Cebu in the coming days.


  1. there are some farmer's market versions in cebu and mandaue city, though they aren't that known and are run by local coops; nothing close though compared to the one in's quite difficult to figure out the general taste's of cebuanos, i;m still trying to figure it out too!

  2. Hi Vernon, I have heard that one too. In Mandaue, there is one farmer's market or farmer's coop that runs a supermarket (in Bridges Town Square, Alang-alang Mandaue) but no one is at par with those community markets in Manila. Long way to go for Cebu, but I believe there will come a time it will eventually be embraced by Cebuanos....


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