Exploring the Legazpi Sunday Market

Originally posted on October 11, 2012

Shoppers crowding around a stall selling bagnet at the weekend market

WAS at the Makati Street Market with my husband Raff last October 7. It was the third Sunday of the first and biggest artisanal market of its kind in the Philippines, so there’s only one more Sunday left on its first run.

It’s actually the Legazpi Sunday Market, which Geiser Maclang Marketing Communications Inc., a Makati-based transformative social marketing company, and the Legazpi Sunday Market organizers transformed into the Makati Street Market for four consecutive Sundays – September 23 and 30 and October 7 and 14 – to further nurture the promising businesses of the artisans and highlight the escalating stature of Makati.

Cooking tapa a la minute upon order…

The Makati Street Market retained the Legazpi Sunday Market’s open-air venue layout in a dazzling urban backdrop to allow shoppers to freely roam around and check out the items, both food and non-food, on sale in the stalls and, when they felt tired or wanted to sit down and enjoy a good meal, they could do so with all the tables and chairs set up all around the place.

Having been around for the past seven years, the Legazpi Sunday Market is undeniably one of the pioneers in the weekend market trend and one of the most credible and successful ones at that. Unlike other weekend markets or food tiangges, which are now a big thing in the metro, the Legazpi Sunday Market is spearheaded by independent entrepreneurs and artisans, mostly home-based businesses without full-fledged commercial endeavors, so you get to find quite unique dishes, organic produce and products, hand-made products, and regional specialties that you don’t usually find in malls or shopping centers.

“Our market features mostly home-based businesses, mom-and-pop stores and artisans, no commercial establishments,” explains Rosanne Hugo, one of the three market managers behind the successful weekend street souk.

She adds: “With the Legazpi Sunday Market, these home-based businesses and artisans from different regions do not have to go through middlemen to sell their wares, as they deal directly with the food artisans themselves.

Takoyaki balls and ready-to-eat rellenong bangus

Raff and I actually went to the Legazpi Sunday Market for two reasons. One was to take pictures to accompany the post-event article that is coming out in the next issue of FLAVORS Magazine. I never liked relying on pictures provided by the PR because they will be the same ones that will appear in different newspapers and magazines, and I wasn’t trained that way. I was trained to “work hard for my money,” to be different, unique and self-reliant, and that means taking and publishing your own pictures, among others. The other reason we went to the Legazpi Sunday Market was to scout for business ideas and opportunities. I really want to have my own little business now, and after that stimulating talk with the Legazpi Sunday Market organizers Joey Casimiro, Mike Claparols and Rosanne Hugo in the Makati Street Market press lunch held at Conti’s-Greenbelt a week before its first Sunday run, I’ve been inspired to finally pursue that “entrepreneurial dream.”

Rosanne had said that they’re encouraging home-based entrepreneurs to put up their own stalls, and the organizers have set up a system that makes it easy for them to be able to do business. You just have to come up with a unique business idea or product line that’s not yet represented in the Legazpi Sunday Market. So, off we went to check out our business prospects.

Assorted daings (dried fish) for sale!

Raff and I really enjoyed ourselves, as we went from one stall to another. Food finds are a-plenty. Paella, Chinese dim sum, Thai dishes cooked a la minute, steaks and monster burgers, barbecues, yogurt pops, kakanins or native delicacies like Budbud Kabog gourmet Visayan suman, bangus patés and homemade jams, even vegetarian cuisine… Fresh lettuce, arugula, carrots, cucumber and other fresh fruits and vegetables, even potted herbs and plants, and cut flowers from Bukidnon, too…. Health products like imported Manuka honey and our very own Milea honey from the bee farm… Lemongrass and pandan iced tea in cups…

Manuka honey for good health

There’s also a whole lot of non-food items that caught our interest. Fashion accessories, clothes, shoes, pottery and earthenware, works of art, home décor, beadwork and handicrafts…

When we were there last Sunday, an added attraction was an Adobolympics cooking competition graced by former Malacañang chef Babes Austria. And it’s true what Rosanne said that Legazpi Sunday Market is a personal experience. You’ve got to be there personally to feel the vibe of the place.

“Sometimes, some shoppers would just start dancing to the music, and other people would join in. Anything goes,” Rosanne says.

Last Sunday, I saw that. I felt the vibe, the spirit and enthusiasm of the place – shoppers joining a group of live musicians and tapping their way to beautiful music and hearty laughter on the tambourine.
So don’t be surprised if, in the near future, you’d see me manning a stall at Legazpi Sunday Market with my sisters. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and sending geisers of prayers up to heaven.

Category(s): Hobbies, Lifestyle
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