The Clueless Guide to Visiting and Shopping at Carbon Market, Cebu
With the sprouting malls and your neighborhood sari-sari stores, there’s no denying that buying for your grocery supplies can now be very convenient. A quick visit to your nearby grocery store will give you the convenience of shopping for your breakfast must-have and dinner favorites. But with these modern and convenient ways of buying for supplies from these air-conditioned spaces, I am still a palengke fan. My weekly supplies are split into two categories: Supplies that I buy from a grocery store like toiletries, laundry supplies, red meats, and supplies that I buy from a palengke (“Mercado” in the Cebuano dialect) which are mostly veggies, fruits, and fish.
And if you are like me who is in Metro Cebu, you probably have heard about the Carbon Market. To those who are unfamiliar of the place, the Carbon Public Market is Cebu’s biggest public market/farmer’s market where you can buy fresh produce straight from the farmers and local sellers, and a number of things that you can purchase for dirt cheap prices.
I visit the place twice a week, and my in’s and out’s of the place have earned me my trusted suki (sellers) where I can purchase veggies and fruits at a lower price. Another surprising thing about this place is that most people assume that they can only buy local veggies there. But some western type produce grown by local farmers can be found there like celery, romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, herbs, Japanese cucumbers and more. Since I’ve been asked by many friends about tips in visiting the place, I decided to put this on my blog to give you readers as well these tips on how to visit the Carbon Public Market in Cebu City.
When to Visit
Most Cebuano’s think that Sundays are the best days to visit the place. But the market is actually more lively at nights. Do not visit during weekdays between 8am to 5pm as the roads are closed for regular vehicle traffic and vendors are not allowed to sell along the roads. 6pm is when the roads are open for vendors to lay their products along the streets. Best days to visit are Saturdays, Sundays, Fridays and Wednesdays. For Sundays, 3pm til even midnight are the best hours.
Personally, I recommend visiting around 7pm to 10pm. During these hours, farmers have already unloaded their produce from the trucks coming from the provincial areas of the Cebu Island. Bonus point, you don’t have to suffer the afternoon heat.
Where to Buy the Cheapest Goods
Technically, the Carbon Market is the entire block along M.C. Briones Street, where you will see rented stalls. But the best value goods are the ones being sold along the streets of Manalili and Ong Kin King (See my map below).
What to Wear
Nothing fancy! Skip the designer watches, jewelries and leave your cellphones inside your car or your house. Even if you are simply wearing shorts and a t-shirt, make sure you won’t be a thief magnet with all your expensive butingting (jewelries and accessories) hanging around your body.
Where to Park
I’ll admit, I’m lousy with logistics. And for this tip, I’ll leave it to my screenshot on how to find the most secured parking space in the area. This space is guarded by the Tanods of Brgy. Ermita making it a secured parking space in Carbon. Parking is at P10 per hour.
Ok, here’s my attempt of giving you directions. Follow the blue lines for the proper road traffic so you won’t be driving in circles since a few of these roads around the area are one way. It’s an entire block, so you won’t miss it.
Bring in bills in hundreds and a few coins so you won’t have to wait for the vendors to run around having your bills changed. At the same time, they scrutinize your bill making sure it’s not fake like dipping it in water, crumbling it. So don’t take any offense to it as these farmers are avoiding receiving counterfeit bills.
Although you can buy plastic bags there, best to bring your own bags to make your shopping convenient. Personally, I use fabric shoulder bags as it is easier to carry around. If you need to buy in bulk, bring a trolley.
Last and the most important thing to remember, DO NOT HAGGLE WITH THE PRICES (not unless you are buying in bulk). Why? Simple, these sellers and farmers are selling their goods to feed their families, and not building grocery stores and a business empire. So whatever it is you’re buying at Carbon Market it’s already a bargain.
Casing point, this video. This sweet old lady caught my attention, as I looked at her products I spotted a basket of chestnuts (locally known as Castanas). I’m assuming she was unaware of how expensive her product was as she was selling it to me at 10 Pesos per tray (1 tray is about 1 kilo), so I bought a few trays of it and paid her extra.
So now that you have my tips, do visit Carbon Market. And I hope you enjoy your shopping experience there as much as I do.