Monday, January 26, 2015

Old Fashioned Shopping in Carbon Market #CebuPhilippines

Cebu City, Philippines:  When I was a little girl, my mother and the cook used to shop in wet markets. If they wanted seafood, they went to Pasil; if they wanted dried fish, Tabo-an; the regular marketing was done at Carbon Market.

Carbon Market is in the old section of Cebu, along the waterfront. It is so-called because mounds of coal were deposited in the site a hundred years ago or so. During the so-called American Time (early 1900s), Cebu had a railway system, and aside from moving people, it apparently picked up coal from the mountains. Coal is called "Carbon" in the dialect.

 I remember accompanying my mother and/or cook when they went to Carbon and it was quite an adventure. The marketplace was sprawling. Some parts were enclosed, others were not. Different sections sold different items: meat, fish, flowers, fruit and vegetables, handicraft, just about anything needed at home. There was and is a small street (I think it retains its American name of "Wilson") where vendors sold/sell handcrafted guitars and ukeleles. The marketplace was, and is, lively, chaotic, colorful, sometimes smelly, sometimes dirty, sometimes a bit dangerous because pickpockets were around, but always quite interesting and enervating.

Even when supermarkets appeared, Carbon Market and other wet markets continued to thrive. Food and produce are fresher and cheaper there. Many regular folk would never think of wasting their money on supermarket food and items. (Carbon has a section that rocks at night precisely because people are no longer working and have the time to shop. Some friends brought me there a couple of times, and the number of people shopping at 1 a.m. was incredible.)

I checked out Carbon Market and noted that it's considerably cleaner than when I was young. A section of it has been turned into a parking lot -- well and good, because there had been none and the upscale shoppers had a difficult time finding parking along the streets. I understand the parking lot is another handiwork of Mayor Mike Rama.

I'm sharing some exterior pictures.  There are more vendors in the enclosed area with narrow pathways. It gets a bit more intense there, with muddy, wet floors and crowded spaces.

If you're in Cebu, Carbon is worth a visit, but it's best to go there with a local. One needs to dress down, remove jewelry, and be careful with your bag. It's a fun place, but it also has a lot of people, including pickpockets. But don't be scared if you're with a local because the person can guide you accordingly.  I find that people ignore me, but I follow my advice about dressing down, etc.

Read also
Walking Tour of Old Cebu
Pictures of Historic Cebu 1 
Pictures of Historic Cebu 2
Pictures of Historic Cebu 3
New Developments in Historic Downtown Cebu City

Tags: market, food, shopping, wet market, Cebu, Sugbu. Philippines, travel, Carbon Market, farmers market

This is all for now,

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